It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, and I’m happy to (finally!) announce here that Jose and I are expecting a baby!!
We found out the happy news in March, and told our family and close friends in late April. I was very lucky in that I didn’t experience any morning sickness at all – thank goodness!! I was a little tired and felt kind of “blah” the whole time, so I didn’t spend too much time in my sewing room. Once I made it through to my second trimester, I knew I needed to get busy making clothes that will fit me through the next several months. :)
Lucky for me, Colette Patterns came out with their first set of knit patterns, and the Moneta dress is the perfect blank slate for altering to maternity. I realized I could just take the waistline and just raise it a couple of inches to fit over my growing belly. It turned out perfect, I think!
Here are the alterations I made, in case anyone else is interested in making the Moneta into a maternity dress (or, really, these alterations are good for anyone who wants to make the dress with a more “baby-doll” silhouette).
- Raised bodice waistline by 2.5″
- Bodice size – cut small (or cut out size that you would wear pre-pregnancy)
- Skirt size – cut large (or, cut out 2 sizes larger than your bodice size, in order to make room for expanding belly) :)
Other alterations (specific to me):
- Brought shoulder seam towards front bodice by 1/4″
- Extended the shoulder seam OUT by 1/2″
- Lowered underarm by 1/2″
- Extended the back shoulder blade by 5/8″, and made same adjustment to corresponding sleeve piece (per Sunni’s tutorial, here)
I could have made a few more alterations to make sure this dress sees me through the whole 40 weeks of pregnancy (like lower the front hemline and slash and spread the front skirt pattern piece), but I like that this ended up being a dress I can easily wear the first few months after having the baby. It’s super-comfortable, and very forgiving in the waist area, so I think this will make a perfect post-maternity dress.
First up is this red dress is made up of Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey fabric in Red, which I ordered online here. Unfortunately, the color is a little too red for my liking during the summer months, but I think it will work really well in the colder months with tights and a cardigan. The fabric itself is a cotton jersey, and while it has a nice weight and drape to it, I realized I hated cutting out the pieces because the cotton would tend to stick to itself, making it hard to smooth out the grain on my sewing table. Once the cutting part was over, though, sewing it up was a breeze.
I think the fit turned out really nice on the red dress. While I initially thought the bodice was going to turn out too tight, I think it actually ended up fitting nicely. I’m sort of glad it’s a little on the snug side, in order to help hold up the extra fabric that I added to the skirt. My only hesitation with the fit is the sleeves. I cut out extra room in the armpit, which helps the sleeves from feeling too snug (apparently my arms are disproportionately large compared to my more petite frame – weird, huh?). There is still some snugness in that area, but after wearing it throughout the day it didn’t seem to bother me too much. I think next time I cut this dress with sleeves, I might try out Devon’s tutorial on how to fix armhole gape. I didn’t realize this might be the problem until I made up another sleeveless version… (below).
So, for my second dress, I used a navy polka-dot bamboo jersey (which I also purchased online, here). I opted to sew version 1, without the collar. I love LOVE the feel and drape of this fabric, and it was much easier to lay out on my cutting board. However, the drapiness did make it a bit more difficult to manipulate while sewing, so I guess it’s a give and take on ease in cutting and sewing, depending on what type of knit you choose.
The only real trouble I ran into with the navy dress was sewing up the neckline. The lining might have been a little confusing to someone new to knits like me, but Sarai posted a brilliant video tutorial on how to sew those up without twisting out the bodice. I still can’t tell you why or how it works, but magically it does!! You just have to be very patient when joining the two pieces together, but it came together nicely in the end. Besides, since the seams are self-enclosed, it doesn’t matter if the stitching is perfect on the inside. ;)
You can’t really see it in the pictures, but like I mentioned earlier, I realized after making the sleeveless version that there is a little gaping at the front armholes. This might be the reason why the sleeves have some wrinkling in the front on the red version. I’m going to try and alter the bodice pieces this weekend, and see if that helps (using this tutorial that Devon posted on her blog). Also – I’d love to get the sleeves to fit just a LITTLE bit better without so much gaping at the top. If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them!
In the end, I’m so in love with this pattern, and I’d love to make a couple more to see me through this pregnancy!! I’d like to try out a maxi version, and then another version with a collar and 3/4 sleeves that I can plan on wearing after the baby arrives. It’s just such a comfortable and flattering dress!! I agree with Devon – this dress really makes you feel like you’re wearing pajamas, which is exactly the kind of clothing I’m looking to wear as this belly gets bigger each day!!
I finish up school in a couple of weeks, and have several sewing projects in mind I want to tackle when I’m done. I’d love to make a pair of leggings to get ready for fall – I love how Megan Nielsen’s leggings pattern is adaptable for both maternity and “normal” wear, so I can plan to use the same pattern once the baby’s here. I also really love her maternity tunic pattern – again, because it’s wearable for maternity and after. I really don’t want to spend a lot of time making clothes that I’ll only wear for 9 months, so I’m trying to keep that in mind as I make my plans…
And of course, I have a little baby quilt that I’ve already started. I think it’s turning out to be beautiful – can’t wait to share it here soon!
P.S. For reference, I took those pictures in the red dress at 19 weeks, and in the blue dress at 20 weeks. :)