Last May I made my first ever women’s clothing item, this red Staple Dress. I loved it and wore it all the time. However, since it was my first time sewing a women’s pattern after only sewing kids clothes for the past year and a half, I had a steep learning curve ahead of me. That is, I did not realize that what sometimes works easily on a children’s pattern does not work the same way on a women’s pattern, because kids bodies and women’s bodies have very different things to take into account.
But this was a good learning experience for me, and as it turns out, what was not in my favor then for a women’s dress IS in my favor now for a maternity dress. Can you tell what it is in the above left picture?
The Staple Dress calls for a line of shirring across that magical spot between your upper ribcage and high waist that is SO flattering when cinched. However, I’m not crazy about shirring so I opted to cut across that line and instead make an elastic casing inside the dress instead. Same cinching effect, but without the shirring. Great, right? Well…kind of.
What I did not know is that cutting straight across this line and then sewing it back together would cause the dress front to rise up, since more fabric is needed to drape over your chest and bust than is needed to hang straight down your back. Guh. So the dress rises up into a slight curve just below the bust on the dress. It is not a deal breaker, I still wore this dress a lot, but it is noticeable and something that I fixed on future Staple Dresses.
BUT for a maternity dress it was just right!! That IS what I want on a maternity dress, a little bit higher of a rise at the top of my belly than on the sides of my dress to accommodate my round and growing baby bump. Win!!
I just opened up the elastic casing that I had made inside the dress last summer, added about 3 inches of elastic so that the cinching wasn’t quite as snug as it was when I wasn’t pregnant, and closed it back up. Easy.
The main modification that I would make if I were putting this dress together for maternity wear now is to add some extra length, and maybe even round off the hem instead of keeping a straight hem.
The same rule that I needed to apply to the top, that filling out the bust area would cause the fabric to rise up, now needed to be applied to the skirt portion of this dress. The skirt is filling up with my growing bump and that hemline is creeping up accordingly. It still worked here when I was 23 weeks along, but now that I am 30 weeks along and my bump is considerably bigger it is just too short, and I can only wear it as a tunic over top of something.
But I still consider it a win! When I made this dress last year I never expected to be wearing it still while 6 months pregnant. Excellent. 🙂