Maternity Dress Sewing Project
Now that I am obviously pregnant (31 weeks) there is just no hiding my belly. At this point I am clearly not just bloated. I absolutely need longer shirts and fuller dresses. I am still unwilling to pay super inflated prices for maternity clothing! The quality is terrible, and its not as if the cheap fabric it is made with increases the true cost that much! I decided to sew a maternity dress because I had nothing to lose. Besides, any thoughts of circus-tent proportions were outweighed by the shining promise of comfortable, non-restrictive clothes. I chose Kwik Sew 3486 Maternity Dress because it looked reasonably cute and comfortable. I made view B, the sleeveless version.
Kwik Sew patterns are available at my local fabric store for a good discount, so I don’t feel obligated to wait for a sale. Kwik Sew 3486 Sewing Pattern requires woven (not knit) fabric. I would prefer a stretchy, casual knit for a maternity dress, but I settled on a cheap cotton/poly purple broadcloth. I am still not at the point where I can realistically make a dress or shirt that I actually can wear in public, so I cannot splurge on nicer fabrics yet.
Overall, this maternity dress is a bit too at-home-on-the-compound for my taste. It has TONS of volume in the skirt, making me look HUGE! On the other hand, this dress would be a good choice for someone who really, REALLY wants people to know without a doubt that she is pregnant. But who knows, maybe by 40 weeks this will fit like a glove?
I made the sleeveless version of this dress (View B) instead of the three-quarters sleeve version (View A). This maternity dress pattern gets good reviews on Pattern Review, so I figured that it would at least be good practice sewing. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. Kwik Sew’s thick, real-paper pattern is great to work with compared with tissue pattern paper. Kwik Sew patterns often call for a serger (apparently) as they are often made for knit fabrics, but this pattern only included instructions to overcast stitch the edge of the fabric to finish it.
I am trying to figure out the best way for me to quickly cut out my pattern pieces without cutting up and destroying the paper pattern, so I can change sizes easily if I need to. This time I traced the roughly cut out pattern piece outline onto the fabric using transfer paper. This technique may have worked for some people, but I don’t think that the tracing was quite accurate enough as the pattern paper shifted several times. It also complicated the fabric grain alignment somewhat.
The construction of the dress was a pretty smooth process. No real surprises or major mistakes to report. The bottom edge of the dress came out a little uneven and I am not sure why, but I got it straightened out by hemming it.
Understitiching the Facings
I had to understitch the neckline facing on this maternity dress. The understitching tutorial at Coletterie was super helpful, especially because I had never been able to figure this out before. Next time I need to remember not to trim the seam too much to allow room for the stitches in the understitching.
My centered back zipper looks pretty pathetic, but honestly I have to call it a success because it is actually functional. Sure, the stitching veers off to the side where the zipper stop is, but it is still the best job I have done with zipper insertion! I used the instructions from Sew Everything Workshop and the Colette Sewing Handbook to help me out.
Sewing this dress was a good experience. Since I haven’t been able to sew during my pregnancy due to back pain (which is gone now, thanks Chiropractor!) I just wanted to at minimum not regress in my skills too much. This sewing project was good practice for me in that respect. I think that a nicer fabric with better drape (less stiff) would make this dress more wearable. Unfortunately most of the cute cotton prints available at my fabric store would require me to make a lined dress as they are semi-sheer. I wish I could find a cute dress pattern designed for a jersey knit.