Having a baby really throws your body for a loop. Well duh, Claire, we all know that. But I don’t think I did know that – not really – until I went through it myself. Pre-pregnancy, my measurements were pretty consistent (36, 30, 42-43). Picking a size on the pattern envelope was no big deal. But these days, I couldn’t really tell you what my measurements are. Maybe that’s why I feel so-so about this dress – which I suspect is a size too large.
This is Grainline Studio’s Alder dress, which (like many Grainline patterns) is wildly popular around the sewing blogosphere. I sewed it up in a Kaufman cotton lawn (Lennox Gardens) that I had been coveting for a while and then snatched up in a Craftsy sale.
During pregnancy, my bust went from 36 to 38 1/2 inches. My waist measurement? No idea. Not even going there. My hips – also no idea, but certainly several inches larger. After pregnancy, I did not immediately shrink back to normal, nor did I expect to. So I made this dress in a size 12. But I don’t think I measured myself immediately before making it. I just went with the last measurements I could remember.
There’s not much shaping to this dress – only a couple bust darts. So I expected it to be loose and a little tent-like. But it still feels like just a little too much fabric on me. A little too shapeless.
I became obsessed with how big the neckline felt on me.
You may notice I left off the collar and kept the collar stand. I also used Andrea’s method for altering a collared shirt to a v-neck. So really, I should have a gap at the top where the collar stand can’t meet, because I removed width there. Instead, I can close it with quite a bit of overlap. This bugs me, probably more than it should. But Andrea’s v-neck just looks so much nicer than mine:
In sum, not a particularly flattering dress on me. Evidence below:
On the plus side, I think the pattern instructions were great and helped me achieve a great finish on this. I’m very happy with the quality of my sewing, and it almost makes me want to sew shirts more often.
SEWING LESSONS LEARNED
#1 – Take your measurements every time you start a new project. You might not know your body as well as you think you do.
#2 – This pear does better with some waist definition. A couple little bust darts aren’t going to cut it.
#3 – If you’re going to sew something with minimal shaping, use a drapier fabric. My old pal rayon challis would work better here. The crisp cotton lawn stands away from the body and adds volume.
MOMHOOD LESSON LEARNED:
Your boobs might get bigger from having a baby, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. (Just one of many things I never knew about childbearing. Also slightly disappointing.)