Sewing for myself has become a tricky proposition. I’ve more or less figured out how to sew for my pregnant figure, but now that I am fully 8 months along, any maternity clothes won’t get too much wearing before everything changes yet again. Not that I mind the change – for a long time now, I’ve looked forward to being able to make ‘normal’ clothes again, at whatever point my figure begins to look normal. I dreamed of frolicking in dresses with waists. Then one day it dawned on me: breastfeeding. The belly issues of pregnancy are only followed immediately by the access issues of nursing. So anything I sew now must, I feel, be wearable now as well as being nursing-friendly.
So I began to wonder if, at this stage, I could draft a dress pattern that would be
- Maternity friendly (so I can wear it now!)
- Accessible for nursing
- Adjustable enough to look good whatever my waistline
- Blessedly cool for my current overheated self, and my August-in-Texas post-baby self
AND I DID IT.
I started by buying, on sale, a simple wraparound maternity dress pattern (Butterick 5860). But I don’t really like true wrap dresses, because the skirt always splits open. I used the pattern as a useful springboard and cut and spliced it to create a dress with a normal skirt (and lengthened it to maxi length), which has wrapping capabilities in the top only, accompanied by long, long ties.
The ties cinch the waist as tight as you like, and can be tied however you like, front or back, above the belly or, eventually, down at the natural waist. They are long enough to wrap around twice before tying, meaning you have plenty of options.
Here I am, modelling it with the ties lowered to around my ‘waist’ to demonstrate. I swear, it used to be the thinnest part of my torso. For now, just pretend! I put on my skinny face to try to help the illusion along.
And here it is with the bow in front, back up at the empire line.Obviously this dress works fine for maternity, because here I am. But not only do I think it will also look good afterwards, but the wrap in the front makes it nursing accessible. The fabric is so stretchy you can yank it all over the place.
I heard someone say once that wearing maxi dresses during pregnancy would make you feel like a goddess…she was right. It’s nice to have the opportunity to feel graceful and columnar. I mean, it’s better to feel columnar than like a sphere, which is the other shape with which I often identify!