Why would I know anything about maternity dresses if I don't have any kids? About 2 years and 9 months ago, my sister Abby got her eggo prego and quickly found her uterus stretched to the size of a hot air balloon and in need of some maternity wear. Of course, she bought a ton of cute stuff at those fancy maternity shops but I thought she might need a break from looking good all the time so I made her a few dresses.
Surprisingly, there was not a big selection of maternity patterns so the first dress I made for her came from this pattern:
Cute, right? I made dress B with the band across the bottom but I made it with the short sleeves from dress A. I only went up one size to accommodate the bump and even that made it almost too big in the shoulders so if I had to do it again, I would just make the body of the dress a little looser. Also, I did not take into consideration that the band across the bottom does not stretch so it ended up being a tight fit to get it over the head and shoulders (and that was just me trying it on, I can't imagine if I had huge knockers and a belly to pull it over too).
This was the end result:
How cute does she look pregnant? Now if we can just stop her from going to HoJo's on 'Truckers Eat for Free Tuesday', she might not end up this way every 10 months. Oh wait, that's my hobby.... okay, back to the dress.
I made the body of the dress out of a ribbed cotton jersey. This was kind of a heavy weight jersey, which I thought would be good because sometimes thin cotton shows all the bumps and who wants to be showing off their granny panties while growing another person, right? It was okay for Abby but this fabric was too heavy for a friend of mine in Miami who was pregnant at the same time. So consider your climate when choosing your fabric, then go even more lightweight. Apparently those pregnancy hormones combined with the hitchhiker in the belly makes pregnant women pretty hot. In a temperature way. Not a pervy fetish way.
The patterned fabric is a polyester that is kind of heavy but matched the weight of the cotton jersey. I just loved the print but I thought polyester for the entire dress would be hot or itchy so I just used it as accents. I put an elastic band in the sleeves but I would do just a band at the bottom next time. I'm just not crazy about the look of the sleeves with the elastic and honestly, if the arms are so tight that you need elastic, it's probably going to be uncomfortable to wear anyway.
The top yoke part (the top printed fabric neckline part attached to the sleeves) was easy to make, even with the curves. Curves make me nervous so I always go really slow when sewing these because one little slip while you're doing a shot and the neckline is not going to be symmetrical and people will be thinking, "Oh, she's loose AND she can't sew!". But the yoke is completely faced (meaning it's lined with a piece of fabric the exact same size) which I really liked because then you don't have seam stitches on the neckline, just a nice clean seam on the neck.
The hardest part about making this dress was trying to do a fitting with Abby being in Maine and me in Florida. Since we are the same size, I had to put on a sports bra and stuff it full of dog toys and then strap a pillow onto my stomach with a necktie. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of that. And to do the hem, I made Bobby wear it while I marked it. He is very grateful to my mom for giving me a dress form that next Christmas.
The next dress I made for her actually came from a maternity pattern but with the long sleeves from the first pattern.
By the way, what pregnant women really look this happy? Come on! I guess they have to sell this tent pattern somehow. And I'm not kidding- it was huge. You use their pre-pregnancy measurements when you're picking the pattern size and it automatically accounts for when they've gained 100 lbs and are about 16 months pregnant. I would only recommend this pattern if you tend to gain a lot of weight because for Abby and my other pregnant friend, I ended up taking it in a lot so they didn't look they were dressed by Omar the tent maker.
I had my dress form for this dress, so to make it pregnant, I used a plastic grocery bag full of other plastic grocery bags and tied it to the the dress form. Here are some pics of the finished product:
I used a cotton knit for the body again. I loved the color of this and then I had this patterned fabric that coordinated really well with it but it was a loose knit, like something you would use for a bathing suit cover-up because it's pretty much see through. Because I wanted Abby to have something to keep her arms a little warm, I actually made a short sleeve underneath the long sleeve made out of the jersey fabric. But using the loose knit fabric on the collar ended up being a pain because I basically ended up making a collar out of the blue fabric and then just used the patterned fabric as an overlay but because it is such a loose knit, it tended to pull out of the stitching. I still have a bunch of this fabric but I would only make a garment out of it that can be worn over something else, like a tank top, instead of trying to pair it with a fabric of such different weights like the cotton.
Also, I like the cut of the first dress better. While you'd think the A-line of the second dress would work best for maternity, who wants to feel even fatter than they have to? It's funny that both of these dresses ended up looking like they came from the set of Three's Company after Jack knocked Krissy up. So retro. On the blue dress, I did find the coolest buttons though. They were clear squares that looked like glittery little ice cubes.
So in the end, I would recommend just going out and buying maternity clothes. But if you really have a strong desire to make something out of that wife-beater that is the only reminder of the man who knocked you up, I would suggest getting a pattern like the first one that has a little more style than the standard maternity pattern. Good luck! And I hope your hoo-ha eventually goes back to it's original shape! Ah, who are we kidding? It's pretty much ruined at this point. Oh, and congratulations on your upcoming bundle of joy!
I want to give a shout out to all the ladies in the Ellsworth Maine mommy group- you guys rock!