Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Chocolate and Mint Polka Dot Maternity Dress! Brief Dress Diary

Barely five minutes before my friend arrived yesterday so we could go to our ladies' tea society St. Patrick's Day tea, I finished this new maternity jumper. My heart was in my mouth...wasn't sure she'd ring the doorbell and I'd still not be quite dressed and at the ironing board.

Had a favorite jumper that I outgrew a few weeks ago, and loved the bodice. So simple and you just slip it over your zips or buttons or strings. When you get bigger, twisting and turning is less easy than it was.

Plus, the high waist is very slimming. Some of my other dresses have a natural waistline and I look much, much bigger -- I kid you not! Plus, most maternity dresses today highlight the shape too much: I am happier with flowing curves, not tight delineations.

Thought to use the Threads magazine pattern-making trick that uses painter's tape. I placed tape over each piece of the jumper bodice in turn. I made sure to cover each piece entirely and carefully so that when I pulled it off it would retain the shape of the original. (Exception: center front and center back pieces I just did half of, like one would in a regular pattern.)

Then I flattened them all out onto Kraft paper and made adjustments. I added extra room, lowered and widened the neckline, as the original was a little claustrophobic looking, and added 1" seam allowances for fitting. Voila: pattern pieces!

This jumper had no darts, but curved seams instead. They are easier to pattern and produce a lovely line, but are harder to sew.

After that I made a muslin toile, found I had too much room, and cut everything down, and made sure to adjust the pattern.

Using the toile as a full lining, I made up the bodice in the chocolate and mint polka dot polished cotton from Hancock's. Unlike some of their quilter's cotton, this is tightly woven -- it didn't fray much.

For the skirt portion, I used pattern pieces from a maternity dress pattern I already own, but because that pattern was not for late pregnancy, much less a twins pregnancy, I added two panels, one to each side of the front. I fully lined the skirt as well for better body and durability.

Only the front is gathered, and the gathers were handsewn at about 5-6 to the inch, as I think finer gathers look better. Sadly, some of them flattened out a bit too much when I machine sewed over them for durability. Phoo.

The dress has room to grow in both bodice and skirt yet because I have several months to go. It's loose in back. I wanted a straight back line, nothing clingy, but this looseness was too much, so I tied on a ribbon on the waist and it created two back bodice pleats naturally, one near each underarm, so the back still looks smooth (phew!). Now that was a nice, unexpected result.

The only thing I am unhappy with was part of the original: the back bodice seam between bodice and skirt is lower than the front; the ribbon tie accentuates the sliding line. I should have changed that too but wasn't thinking. Oh well.

Yes, the front hem rides up: I have a temporary hem there, but room to hem it properly. Just didn't have time yesterday!

If energy allows, would like to make the Regency dress pattern from Jennie Chancey's Sense and Sensibility pattern line, slightly shortened, as another springtime dress.

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