This is meant to be my magic transformer dress that will fit my expanding body, be suitable for breast-feeding (buttons), and then be able to be tightened up to fit my restored (hopefully) body. Perhaps too much to ask, but it is worth a try.
I’ve worn it a couple of times and am liking it more and more. I really like the sleeves and buttons. I will probably absolutely adore this dress once I’m not pregnant and have been able to tighten it up around the waist and hips like the original pattern intends. Right now it is more sack like than I’m used to wearing which is my only reservation. Sure I want to be pregnant etc etc, but I can’t say I’m keen on having a huge belly.
The first thing I noticed in planning and making this dress is that it is not easy to get the fitting right for using a woven fabric on a changing body. Starting with what size pattern to choose and what adjustments to make. If I make it fit for now, then it won’t fit later on. If I make it loose now then it will look weird.
This is the pattern that I started with – then changed heaps. I used a different sleeve pattern with less ease at the sleeve cap but in a slightly less fitted style. The version of the dress I wanted to make was way too short on my leg so I added 6cm to the length. I added a yoke to the back, put in side seam pockets, and obviously the massive pleats at the front.
The pleats are the key to it being a ‘transformer’ dress. The front pleats were made by cutting the pattern from shoulder to hem and spreading the pattern an even width. Then I’ve stitched up that added width just from the shoulder down to the under bust. This creates the pleats to give my belly space to grow now. My thinking is that postpartum I will remove the added width by continuing the seam from the under bust to the hem.
In reflection I chose the wrong size to start with and a smaller size would have worked better. The fitting issue I haven’t gotten right yet is the looseness on the front between the shoulder and under bust pleats, hence the vertical wrinkles from the shoulder to the bust point. Normally I would just tighten it up. Though friends who’ve seen me in this dress have suggested I don’t change it as I will need the room to grow into. It just kind of bugs me wearing something ill fitting so I will think a bit more about whether I leave it or make changes.
The fabric is beautifully soft chambray from Sckafs with a lovely drape.
This dress took ages to get the pattern right and then the sewing took a fair while too. It is all French seams which now I’m thinking wasn’t the best idea as the intention is to make fitting changes later on and French seams will just make that more of a hassle.
Doing French seam, in seam pockets was a challenge as I haven’t done it before. There were two tutorials on line that I tried out in miniature on scrap fabric, neither of which I really liked. One was too bulky and the other left where the pocket attaches to the side seam unfinished. I went with a balance between the two. After stitching the pocket pieces to the dress I overlocked just this section of side seam using a narrow 3-thread stitch. The rest of the pocket and side seam was then finished with a French seam.
I was excited to make this dress and I’m happy with the general look and my sewing skills. It is just the sack look I haven’t come to terms with. Though a sack certainly feels comfortable and it is great not having any pressure on my belly. The plan was to made another dress almost the same (just do a different collar) in different fabric, but now I’m not sure if I want to go with the sack look for this pregnancy. Maybe I should just leave the dress I had planned until I have a waistline again and I can make it fitted through the waist and hips…. Not sure yet. If I don’t go with loose dresses then the alternative is for me to make another fitted skirt perhaps similar fit to denim maternity skirt I made and wear stretchy tops. Style suggestions appreciated…