Even though I’m almost through the end of my second pregnancy, and even though I’m supposedly a seamstress… I think this is the first maternity sewing project I’ve done.
This has been in my head for a while, though. I want to make several house dresses (that’s where I am most of the time after all!). Dresses that are comfortable, easy to wash and dry, don’t show stains easily, and are easy to nurse in (just try shopping for clothes that fit all those requirements – they don’t exist! I’m sure other mothers share my frustration).
My goal (if it ever comes to pass) is to eventually make most of our ‘around the house’ clothes by hand. Washing with a hand washer and line drying in a humid climate really changes whats practical in clothing. Modern machine washers and dryers do well with modern clothing – which are made from mostly knit and stretch fabrics. The super agitation of the wash (mostly) gets the stains out of the knits, and the heat and movement of the dryer shrinks them back to shape and takes the wrinkles out.
However – hand washing and line drying knits and stretchy fabrics results in clothes that have lost their shape and are too stretched out.
Now, vice versa – modern machine washing and drying is pretty hard on woven fabric (printed cottons for example) and handmade clothing. It gets torn up, snagged, and raveled pretty fast if washed frequently. Washing them the old fashioned way seems to make them last longer, and wrinkles caused by the wringer blow out on the line without wadding up seams and tearing threads like modern dryers. They also seem to let go of dirt and stains much easier than knits.
ANYWAY. Sorry to go off on a tangent. Its not that I am against modern clothes, or that I don’t or won’t wear them – its just I think that for the majority of my home life there are definitely more practical and long lasting options (I also want to note here that I have not yet begun doing all our laundry in our hand machine. In these cold winter months Jordan’s family generously takes much of our laundry and does it for us! Its a huge blessing).
So, that was my purpose in designing this maternity house dress. I really like the results! My baby bump thanks me for the non-constricting style, and the front opening style makes it easy to feed Marian throughout the day. It has a dart fitted bodice, but I purposely made it to fit a tad loose and added a front tie closure as well for that much more adjust-ability. The full skirt definitely doesn’t minimize my baby bump – lol! But really at 8.5 months pregnant, who really cares?? It sure is comfortable though – the skirt length reaches just to my ankles, and it’s short enough I don’t trip on it while walking up the stairs with both hands full of Marian (big plus! most of my skirts were driving me crazy doing that). I decided on 3/4 length sleeves because you don’t have to worry about rolling them up while washing dishes and such.
Really like having a dress to wear that is a patterned fabric! It stayed looking respectable for many days in a row. (seems like most modern clothes are solid-colored. Usually I don’t last more than about an hour in solid-colored shirt, as Marian likes to use me as a giant napkin)
It is rather amusing that I started with the above vintage pattern. My results were quite different – definitely not ‘slenderette’! ha!
I just chopped off the bodice pattern at the shorter length I needed, added a rectangular gathered skirt of 2 fabric widths, used the sleeves as-is, and bias bound the neckline.
I think this dress rather ended up being a modern version of a 19th century wrapper. That was certainly a main inspiration.
So, yes. I want to make more variations of this style soon. Also – I apologize for the long ramblings on my wardrobe schemes. But it’s your fault for visiting the blog of a woman suffering from acute cabin fever and pregnancy brain. :)
I am so ready for spring, aren’t you?
I’d love to hear from other mothers about what they found the most practical during pregnancy!