Back when I first started contemplating maternity sewing, I picked out this Butterick pattern as having maternity potential, despite not being branded as such:
Since I’m blogging this project seven months after making it, I’ll just cut to the chase and say yep, it worked!
These photos were taken a little after I hit the eight month mark, and the voluminous skirt had plenty of room for my belly all the way up until the end of my pregnancy. I believe I cut this dress out based on my pre-pregnancy measurements, looking at the finished bust measurement on the pattern pieces rather than the suggested pattern size for guidance. I made some modifications, however, and I think these probably helped accommodate some of the extra inches I gained during prenancy.
First, you can see from the back view that there is a seam down the center back. This seam isn’t a straight line although in the line art it looks that way – it’s curved and adds some shaping. I didn’t have a lot of fabric, however, so I just straightened out this seam and cut the back on the fold. I lost the shaping, but that gave me a little extra width which certainly didn’t hurt. Since my fabric is very drapey, a little extra bulk didn’t matter either. I probably wouldn’t make this modification if I were using a fabric with more body. I also cut the sleeves a little wider because I thought I might gather them near the bottom with a little elastic in a casing. I haven’t done that yet, and not sure if I will.
Speaking of fabric, this is one of the first times I’ve ever worked with silk! I bought this from Fabricmart, and it had it labeled as a crepe de chine. I’m not sure this really is crepe de chine. It doesn’t have the texture I thought crepe de chine has. Maybe it was mislabeled? It feels so lovely to wear, regardless. It also has a little lycra in it, which means it has a nice give. Since I didn’t make a muslin (shame!) a little lycra goes a long way toward solving the issues I sometimes have with a tight upper back and restrictive sleeves.
Never having worked with silk before, I’m very proud with how this turned out. I used French seams all over the place, even on the armholes and with the side seam pockets. I don’t know what inspired me to take on such a challenge while pregnant. I tried to photograph the insides for you, but in this busy print the details are hard to see. Below is the shoulder and armhole.
The center back with the neck band slip stitched down:
Below is inside the front v-neckline. This is the one area I’m not that pleased with. My finish at the bottom of the placket is not so great (although you’ll never be able to tell with these photos!) I tried to follow the instructions, but it still looks messy. The outside is fine, but if anyone knows a good method for finishing this kind of neckline I would love to hear.
And here’s my favorite part! The hand-rolled hem:
It took forever, but I actually enjoyed this bit of hand sewing. It’s satisfying watch the edge curl inward as you pull your stitches tight, and the finish feels so luxe (even though I have some stray threads peeking out).
I didn’t add any extra length to this dress, and my pregnant belly lifted the hem quite a bit. Fine with leggings, definitely too short without!
Now let’s see how it performs post-pregnancy:
I still love it! Sadly it is not nursing-friendly, so it has been pushed to the back of my closet. I had hoped that the v-neck was low enough for boob access, but that is definitely not the case. I think the line art is slightly misleading in this regard. Also, I think the style line that connects the bodice and skirt hits at a really weird place. I figured it would be below the bust, but on me it cuts across the bust. Tried to show you this here… kinda failed:
Actually, if you scroll back up and look at the first picture of me in the dress, you can see this seam rides really high – much higher than it looks on the model on the envelope. Should I have cut a bigger size? I don’t know.
Overall, I think this is a great pattern for pregnancy. The only real modification it needs is a little extra length in front. I should have done this, but I was short on fabric and lazy. Lowering that bust seam might be a good idea too, but that is sure to be a much more fiddly adjustment and still wouldn’t guarantee this would work for nursing.
So that’s my mom’s-view pattern review! I’ll leave you with a twirl pic: