The Long-Expected Maternity Dress


vogue 9800

First off: I am not pregnant. Just figured I should get that out there before the comments fill up with congratulations and my mom calls.

But, I have been pregnant (my son is now almost seven!), and many of you dear readers who are pregnant now or anticipate being pregnant at some not-so-far-off date have emailed me asking for a link to a good maternity dress pattern.

I only ended up making this one maternity dress (I got so big, so fast, that it seemed impractical to make something I'd burst out of, Hulk-like, before it was even hemmed). It's a great pattern (and I made it in an even better fabric: gorgeous Nicole Miller silk with lycra, a deep green with an abstract celery-green pattern of what looked like tangled webs).

And that, my friends, is what I consider the key to maternity sewing: love your fabric. While pregnant, you will be wearing so much of it, so often, for so long, that if you have even the slightest doubt about your love for a particular fabric, don't buy it.

Whereas in the normal course of events my wardrobe choices have a fairly close one-to-one correspondence with the days of the year, I think I had only about five maternity tops, all in bright colors. I'd rotate through the week masquerading as the Fruit of the Loom guys. First I'd be a giant red strawberry, then an obviously mutant raspberry, followed by a blueberry with a glandular problem, then an outsize yellow banana, until finishing up as The Great Pumpkin in my favorite, which was bright orange. (I had a ten-pound baby: you could see me coming from SPACE.)

If you feel guilty about buying nice fabric for something you will only wear a few months, remember that this dress takes SO much fabric that you can take it apart later and make it into something else. At least a blouse, if not a skirt. (Not that I've done that to mine, since I figure, in my superstitious way, that taking apart the only maternity dress I could stand is the #1 way with a bullet to become enceinte again.)

This pattern is $5.99 from Lanetz Living (and check in the upper right corner for your discount!). It's sized up to B38, but I remember it as being very generous — so much so, that because my fabric had a bit of stretch, I was able to eliminate the back zipper. It was very easy to sew.

And, by the way, if you are pregnant, congratulations!

0 thoughts on “The Long-Expected Maternity Dress

  1. So glad to know someone else understand the difficulties of clothing yourself while carrying 10 1/2 pound babies. I was in maternity clothes from six weeks on and grew out of them at about 6 months. I did laundry in my nightgown as I didn’t have enough clothes to wear everyday of the week. That looks like a great maternity dress, and would still look good for those after baby days when your belly feels like a bowl of Jello and just hangs there. during my baby years, every new clothing item I made/purchased was always evaluated on the possiblity of wearing it while pregnant also (money was scarce in those days). Glad those days are past.

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  2. I had to take an online trip to onlineconversion.com so I could say: 10 POUNDS??? My God! đŸ˜› I’m two weeks away from birthing myself and shall fervently pray for a baby just under the 4 kg mark, like the two previous ones… And you’re right, never throw away baby stuff. Then you get pregnant. This is what happened to me – when we finally threw out the cot, that’s when…

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  3. You are so right about the loving the fabric. I was not ambitious enough to make my own maternity clothes but the few pieces I didn’t mind wearing so often were really soft or just great patterns. And I see where you are coming from with the superstition. I have hestitated to give away a lot of things for that very same reason.

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  4. I must ditto the comment “love your fabric”. I made several pairs of work pants out of some nice Ralph Lauren wool, some wonderful stretchy skirts and had a few dresses as well. You wear them so much that buying nice fabric is well worth it.I recently gave away my rather large maternity wardrobe from 2 pregnancies to one of my friends. So far, not pregnant yet! However, according to a palm reader I went to a month ago there is a baby girl really wanting to come out in 12-18 months. Eek!

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  5. One of my classmates in a fit class was working on Vogue 1689 which is very similar to the pattern you posted. My classmate said she was going to make it shorter and in daytime fabric.

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  6. I made this for a wedding in a beautiful blue/pear green silk dupioni while eight months into a very difficult (for me!) pregnancy. I tweaked it, of course – more of a jewel neckline and sleeveless – it was so pretty and flattering, it was one of those rare maternity pieces one wishes was in one’s regular wardrobe. Several strangers at the reception told me I looked “gorgeous” which I remember to this day, since it’s rarely heard (or felt) at that point in the process.

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  7. I’m four months pregnant, and I’ve just ordered this pattern. I’m planning to make dress E in a pink toile fabric, and wear it with a big floppy hat and my pink espadrilles.

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  8. This is a beautiful pattern. I’m beyond the possibility of ever being pregnant again (phew!), but I love this pattern and was wondering how it would look on a non-pregnant person. Any thoughts?(I would like to avoid the awkward “are your pregnant?” Q&A)This is why I said “phew!”: speaking of 10 lbers., I’ve had 2! My most voluminous dress was stretched to the limit and I had to wear it every day to work for the last few weeks! I wholeheartedly agree that you better love that fabric! My first 10-lb. boy was not the star of the nursery that day; a 13-pounder had been born just minutes before. It’s all relative, I guess!

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  9. I loved sewing while pregnant! The energy burst of the mid trimester is amazing. And I made little matching tops for my baby to wear after she was born and I was still wearing the tops until my body went back to normal.

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  10. Any comments on how this patten fits those who have a very large bosom? My daughter’s first pregnancy increased her double D’s to something else and she was miserable in most of her clothes. She’s only five foot tall so her baby, tiny, thank goodness, had no where to go except out, and she had trouble with eclampsia. She was a truly miserable bunny rabbit for nine months! Even the maternity tops I made her grew too small quickly. Since she will more than likely have another child in the next couple of years I’d like to be ready to make her something more comfortable. She will be in a much warmer climate, Louisiana or Oklahoma. She had one red sack dress that she wore in the last two months of her pregnancy last time and she doesn’t even want to see it again!

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  11. I sewed both of my maternity wardrobes, many years ago. My first child was born in Texas so I made sundresses with little bolero jackets. I also copied a very expensive dress from Lord and Taylor, in the same identical fabric, to wear to an Xmas party. I gave those dresses away to a pregnant friend, because I was tired of them and decided,if pregnant again, I could make new things.My second pregnancy was in Boston and I sewed the most luscious mohair coat in a loosely fitted Geoffrey Beene pattern. I wore the coat out eventually. I have another version of the same coat now, in a black/brown check mohair…21 years later! Just about everything else I made in Jasco wool doubleknit. It was worth it. Although expensive, that fabric is warm and always looks good. I later converted the items to non maternity wear. I also copied a Chanel crepe dress for Easter. I wish I was as prolific now! So, I would agree that when people complain about maternity wear, which is hardly a new complaint, it is not always so much the style, but the cheap fabric and construction which is so unappealing. I was much happier with my own work and designs!

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  12. Ha–I agree that you might jinx yourself! I just cut up my last maternity outfit (a wine-colored velvet number) for a gypsy costume at Halloween. I hope that I have the flu right now and that it isn’t morning sickness!!!

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  13. Beatyruth, I am also short (5’3″) and extreemely chesty when pregnant and nursing (34 G). I sewed this exact dress when I was pregnant with my first, and grew out of it almost right away. It was one of the first things I’d sewed by myself (always was with my mom before), and I didn’t know about choosing the correct fabric and how to adjust measurements very well. If I ever did this pattern again, it would be in something gorgeous that has some stretch to it, and I’d add a good deal to the bust area.That being said, it was really funny to see something I’ve actually sewn here on A Dress A Day, since I’m primarily a knitter and spinner. =)

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  14. I made this dress for my first pregnancy 4 years ago (currently 30 weeks pregnant with my second child) and I loved it! I did the sleeveless v-neck version and wore it to Christmas etc when 8-9 months pregnant – I felt very elegant! It’s a great pattern – and I’m very excited to see a pattern I’ve made on this brilliant blog!

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  15. I made this dress when pregnant with my 3rd. LOVED it. I felt so pretty. You can see it here. I had to do a full-bust adjustment to get it to fit the girls properly, but that’s a standard adjustment for me anyway. I’ve always loved the Lauren Sara maternity patterns. I agree, it’s all in the fabric. Your skin is so much more sensitive when pregnant. (I also made a few pairs of underbelly pants — loved those too!).

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  16. darnit! i gave the wrong link for the dress i made. it’s here.i can hardly believe that baby is going to be THREE this august!

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  17. I have a question about vintage patterns. When selcting your size do you go buy your actual fullest part of the bust measurement in inches (which is what I was assuming) or do you go by your bra size? So do I look for B44 (as in the actual inches) or B38 (as in 38DD bra0? And WHY are all the vintage patterns B34 and smaller?I know my grandmothers and greatgrandmothers needed a bigger B-size in their patterns.

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  18. Theresa, the real answer to your question is “it depends.” If you wear a Bcup bra, you go by your bust measurement – that is, you measure around the fullest part of your bust. If you wear BIGGER than a Bcup bra (which is what ALL PATTERNS are sized for, unless they state otherwise) – say a DD bra – you measure around your upper chest – yes, you put the tape measure under your arms, but above your bosom – and then you pretend that’s your bust measurement, and buy by that. You then have to make a full bust adjustment (see any sewing book, but best you should get Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto) for every single pattern that you buy. Sometimes you’ll see patterns that include separate fronts for C, D and even DD cups – in heaven’s name, buy them! My guess – and it’s only a guess – is that your upper chest measurement may come in at 38″ or 40″; you would then buy the pattern for a 38″ bust, which I think is a size 16. What size are you waist and hips? How do they compare to the pattern measurements? The reason you make the full bust alteration is because, as I said, the patterns are sized for a B cup, and in order to make certain that the neck, shoulders, and back fit you properly, you need to buy by the chest measurement, and alter for your bust, which is bigger than their standard B. If you were to try to buy a pattern for a 44″ bust, you would find the dress swimming on you when you were done. There ARE websites that have “bust 40” vintage patterns available, which I suspect is the largest you should need (plus the full bust alteration, of course).And, IMO, the reason there are so many of those darned little patterns around is because your grandmothers, and mine, and a lot of other people’s, used up those bigger patterns, and their children just chucked them out. It’s the teeny ones that haven’t been used. (No offense to the folks who can use them! I just want them in my size, too!)

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  19. While we’re (kinda) on the topic, where did your post about nursing tops go? I swear you wrote about making them but tried to use your “search this blog” function with no luck…

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  20. very nice! I wish I had something, anything, I liked when I was pregnant. What I really need now is to find a pattern or a dress that allows for nursing access. Until that day, alas, I wear skirts and tops instead.

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  21. This post was published the day after I found out I am pregnant! I don’t think it’s a sign or anything… but I did just buy the pattern. ;)I’ve already made myself a cute maternity peasant top, and I can hardly wait to try and make this, my first dress! This blog makes me want to make all my own clothes. That way I can have the clothes I want, just the way I want them!

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  22. I was wondering if anyone knows where I can get this pattern now? I have a friend who has graciously volunteered to sew a maternity dress for me and I am having the hardest time finding a good pattern! I love this one though!

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