Sunday, September 10, 2017

Shirt Dress For A Bump

Here are a few more things I made for the growing belly this summer.  All of these were for back to work.  I've worn the shirt dresses a bunch of times already, but haven't worn the separate pieces at all.  The best part about all of these pieces is that they don't look like maternity clothes (I think?) and I definitely plan to wear them after baby is here.  The shirt dresses in particular will come in handy when I have to go back to work after giving birth.  Don't ask me why I seem so prepared for all of this baby business!  I'm really not.  At least I'm not prepared in any other aspect of life. But I guess my wardrobe is prepared.  Ha! I did get all summer to think about what to sew and then had the time to do it, so that helped.

Pattern Description: The pattern is one I've made before, McCalls 7314.  In fact, when I blogged about this particular dress before, I actually noted that it would be a great maternity pattern.  And it is!  It's a typical shirtwaist dress but with a raised, curved waist seam.  It's perfect for a growing bump. And I will absolutely be wearing my very first version when the weather gets a little cooler (it's below).  I left the elastic out of the back waist in that version but I like how it looks with tights and boots. The sleeves are from a different pattern.

Pattern Sizing: 6-22.  I made a 14.  

Fabric Used: I made the navy, shibori print dress first.  It's a rayon poplin that I bought from a while back.  I've seen many other folks with the same fabric and for good reason.  It's really nice stuff.  I think rayon poplin might be my favorite dress fabric.  It's got great drape but is way sturdier than rayon challis and totally opaque.  I made the black and white gingham version next.  It is a rayon challis I've had for a while, too.  The top version is a plain white rayon challis that I bought yards of when Hancock closed down.  And the pants are made from the leftover rayon poplin from my very first version of the dress above.  I'm trying to sew through some of my stash as my fabric closet is going to be new baby's closet.  I've got to downsize!  I'll make some quick notes about the pants at the bottom of this post. 

Alterations/ Deviations: The navy shibori print dress has almost no alterations except my standard square shoulder adjustment. I played around with the shoulder fit more on the gingham version (and the armscye), but honestly, I think the shoulders look better on the navy version.  I also played around with button placement on the gingham version but I like it better per the pattern.  The gingham dress is longer, too.  About three inches, I think.  I spent forever matching up the checks on the gingham when I cut out pattern pieces.  The bodice looks decent but there is a little slant to the skirt. Oh well.  It was not fun to cut out.  I made the blouse last.  It's okay.   I put the elastic in the back waist of both dresses but did not like it in the top version.  So I left it loose and billowy.  The top version seems to fit so much larger for some reason.   Maybe fabric choice- cheap fabric, looser weave.

Likes/ Dislikes:  I love both dress versions. The curved waist seam is just perfect for a belly.  I plan to wear both dresses after baby, too.  I'm hoping the buttons will make it nursing friendly.  Like I said before, the blouse and pants haven't been worn at all.  I think I like both pieces separately, but not together.  It's too much fabric to wear at once.  I'll wear the blouse with a skinnier bottom but I'll probably just save the pants for later.  You can't tell in these photos, but the blouse has fun buttons.  They are clear with glitter.

And just some quick notes about the pants:  They are Butterick 5893.  I made view A, the straight leg version with side seam pockets.  I cropped mine.  I also shortened the rise a little bit.  They have an elastic waist.  They feel nice to wear in rayon poplin again, but I'm not sure what sort of top to wear them with.  I'll have to figure it out.

Conclusion:  Great shirt waist dress pattern. Perfect for summer and also happens to be perfect for early maternity wear!   I took these photos the same time I took the photos for my last post.  So this is just a 15 week little baby bump.  It's getting bigger now.  I think it's time to look at actual maternity patterns and for colder weather, too.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Well, Hello!

Well, hello there!  I didn't mean to be absent from this space for such a long time.  But it seems my posts are fewer and far in between as time goes on.  However, I have good reason for being silent for some time...

 Baby!  Yes, baby number 2 is on it's way.  I found out I was pregnant the second day of summer vacation (I'm a teacher) and have spent the whole summer taking it very easy.  It was fabulous.  I thought my timing with my daughter was great before.  I had her in April and got to stay out the rest of the school year. But I think this timing is even better as I got to spend my entire first trimester at home.  I'm back at work now but it's going well.  Baby is due early February.  I will have to go back to work the last month of school or so (womp, womp - American maternity leave).  But then I'll get all of next summer, too.  I've felt like my baby bump is enormous this time around, but looking at these photos I realize it's not.  Ha!  It's just a little bump.  I took these photos a couple of weeks ago so I think I was around 15 weeks at that time.  I am a little bigger now!  We still don't know it it's a boy or girl yet, but we'll find out in a few weeks.  Jane says she wants a little brother, believe it or not.

Since I was home all summer thinking about my school year and new arrival, I spent lots of time sewing for a bump.  I was actually making the orange dress in my photos when I found out I was preggo.  And I thought it would be a great dress for skimming over a little bump, with a few alterations.  So I made four versions!  I figured this would be a great dress/top for a growing bump but also would be nice for after pregnancy.  To the review...

Pattern Description:  The pattern is Simplicity 8333, a jumpsuit/dress pattern with a crossover bodice for knit fabrics.  I thought it looked like an easy pattern for summer when I first decided to make it.

Sizing: 4-20.  I made a 12.  I am typically a 14 but I usually size down when I make a knit pattern.

Fabric Used:  All knits, of course, but different knits behaved differently.  My favorites are the orange dress and the red/pink longer dress.  Those knits are a rayon blend and had strong recovery.  The black and white tie-dye top is a bamboo knit from  I works well for a top but would be too drape-y for a dress.  The green version is my least favorite.  It's a rayon jersey (Dakota jersey from and is too thin and wrinkly.  I think maybe it's a cotton/rayon blend?  Can't remember.  Anyway, I like well enough but I think it looks sloppier than the others.

Likes/Dislikes:  I love the bodice with the cut on sleeve.  It's the main reason I made these.  The skirt is modified from the get-go.  When I cut the pattern, I noticed that the skirt pattern piece was just a perfectly straight rectangle which does not work for someone with saddle-baggy hips like myself.  So I used the top of the rectangle as a guide and made it in to a-line shape to accommodate my hip measurement.   They all have pockets except for the top version.  I know people don't like pockets in jersey, but I love pockets no matter what.  

Alterations/Deviations:  In addition to the skirt modification I mentioned above, I also added elastic in to the neckline of all versions.  When I sewed on the neck binding, I threaded a long piece of 1/4" elastic through the binding like a casing.  I pulled the elastic slightly and sewed at the shoulder seams so the back neckline is nice and taut.  I just pulled the elastic ever so slightly at the front bodice to keep a little tension on the front neckline before sewing the bodice to the skirt.  It worked well on all versions except the green one (because the knit is so droopy).  I'm so pleased with the elastic in the neckline because that neckline is not going anywhere!  I also sewed one snap at the front where the bodice pieces crossover to hold in place.  My plan is to also wear these dresses after pregnancy while I'm nursing.  The elastic should keep everything from stretching out and I can undo the snap easily.  I cut all the back bodice pieces on the fold, too, except for the red/pink version due to amount of fabric. 

All the dresses have hem and sleeve length differences, too.  The orange dress is the shorter sleeve in the pattern and the skirt length is per the pattern plus one inch.  So it's a pretty short skirt as is, fyi.  The green dress I cut the longer sleeve and added several inches to the hem thinking I would wear this one to work.  I made the top version next.  And then the pink/red version is about ankle length because that was every bit of fabric I had.  That fabric is one I bought when Hancock was closing down.  I miss Hancock!

Conclusion:  Nice, easy knit dress pattern.  Perfect for a growing bump, but I stress growing.  The elastic waist does hit the top of my belly and I know once my mid-section gets a little bigger I won't want to wear any of these as is.  Maybe with a raised and curved waist it would work for an entire pregnancy.