Here's my next sewing creation with maternity in mind, though the original pattern is a teen girl's style and not intended at all for pregnancy. Yet I think it will work very well, and doesn't look like a maternity pattern so I can wear it afterwards too!
I made it out of some lightweight cotton in cheery nautical stripes. It features an adjustable waist via wrapped ties and loose front panel that can gather more or less as needed. I think the panel would hang well in rayon or a drapier fabric as well, but this fabric makes a great summer 1940s house dress.
I had a few adventures with this pattern. For starters, when I opened it up I found out it was missing two pieces - the collar and the front panel. The collar I knew I could substitute, and the front panel thankfully I could eyeball when I compared the sketches of the front and front side on the back of the pattern envelope. It worked!
Then too, I had to size it up 4-5 inches, which created a few bumps later on with fitting. Again, though, since there is no waist seam in the front and the panel is adjustable depending on how tightly it's tied, it wasn't as big a deal as it might have been since I could already adjust the fit. I overdid it a bit, ended up having to take a few darts in the back neck, and still couldn't quite fit the collar correctly. I also had to open the front seams a bit and move down the ties which I first placed too high, and it ended up on the short side despite the narrow hem. But I have a better idea of how to size it up if I make it again - and for an everyday dress I'm not terribly particular about perfection.
The front panel I did differently so that it could open for nursing. I still sewed it at the top to the yoke, but faced it at the top down to the waist and overlapped it all the way down, topstitching it from the waist down to the side front. On the under layer, I used wide bias facing to double as both seam finishing and a more solid base to sew the buttons to. It adds a fun interior touch.
Facing on the top inside:
Because of the wide waist and the neck zipper, I don't need to use the buttons to take the dress on and off, so I won't find out until it's time to use it for nursing if I left enough room to do it comfortably. Meanwhile I think they add such a cute, double-breasted touch to the dress! They are some of my favorites from my new additions to the button stash and I have a few left for another project yet.
I used a bodkin for the first time to turn the belts and it made the process a lot easier! I definitely recommend.
I simply turned up and top stitched the sleeve and hem edges since it's an everyday dress...that saved some time, so the only hand sewing was the neck facing, hand picked zipper, and the buttons. Once more my one step buttonhole foot came in handy.
I really like the way the front panel looks. It is very comfy, and there is plenty of room for expansion. On me it looks like a maternity dress at the moment, but on my mannequin (whose size I used to be) it looks very trim. I have a dress pattern of similar design actually intended for maternity which would need less alterations and has all the pattern pieces, so I don't know if I'll do this pattern again - I may just stick with the other. At least I'm pretty sure now I will like it when I do make it up.
Because it is for everyday, I merely accessorized it with my comfy red 1940s slingbacks. A brooch distracts from the buttons, and a house dress like this one most likely wouldn't have been worn out of the house, so gloves and hat weren't necessary. Another time I might add red nail polish and a bracelet, but otherwise leave it simple.
This was yet another one of those projects I cut out, eventually got around to putting the front together (the difficult part since I had to figure out how to make it work with buttons), then had to drag myself to work on it more...until I actually sat down and started. Then it was a breeze to finish and really enjoyable. I guess it really helps to take my own procrastination advice! ;-)
The dress is trim, breezy, and comfortable - everything a house dress should be. Despite the few hitches in the process, I'm fairly pleased with this dress, chalk it down as another successful learning curve, and am definitely ready to keep experimenting with maternity-friendly vintage dresses in the future.