Saturday, August 28, 2010

Simple Maternity Dress

So far my foray into maternity sewing has been quite interesting -- there are simply *no* good maternity patterns on the market (at least for dresses, skirts, and blouses, which is what I'm looking for).

The best pattern I've found so far is actually a modified pattern -- McCall's 5039. It's supposed to be an empire waist dress with gathered bodice, elasticized sleeves and neck, and A-line skirt. But by simply extending the two bodice pieces and adding a casing at the waistline for elastic, I was able to come up with a pattern that works great for both blouses and dresses.

I've made several variations on this pattern already, and I love how simple it is to make and comfortable it is to wear! This is my first dress from the pattern, and I used a lightweight cotton with contrasting trim (I use simple rectangular strips for all elastic casings, which is a little different from the pattern construction). I cut the skirt long, but decided I wanted it a bit shorter -- so instead of hemming, I added five 1/2" tucks. A bit of eyelet at the bottom, and that was that! I doesn't get much easier than this!

Best of all? That elasticized waistband eliminated the need for a zipper. *blissful sigh*

I'll probably be sharing more creations from this pattern in days to come! Speaking of which, I need to get back to sewing...


  1. Wow! It looks great Shanon! :) You did a great job adapting the pattern! That is a shame there aren't really many maternity patterns you can use though. :( It's a good thing you are so creative! ;)

    Keeping you and baby in my prayers! :D
    Have a blessed weekend!

  2. That has got to be one of the cutest and most lovliest maternity dresses ever. =) The other day I was sorting through patterns and I came across a maternity jumper pattern, Butterick 4408, and while I don't know if you're into jumpers you may want to look it up.

  3. This is lovely! I'm definitely inspired to put pin tucks in the next one I make.

    I made the same changes a while ago for my daughter. I didn't alter the bodice. Instead, I made the dress one size larger than her size. The seam allowance at the waist wasn't trimmed but stitched closed to make the casing, and threaded with a thin piece of elastic.

    This is surely my favorite quick and easy pattern.

    Here's the link to the last one I made for her, if you're interested.


  4. Beautiful job on the dress- so feminine and flattering. Love the tucks in the skirt. So many current styles have a raised waist that with a little adapting you should be fine. The only thing to watch is that on a maternity pattern the skirt is cut longer in the front so remember to add that if using a regular pattern or your skirt will look hitched up in the front and long in the back. I recently used your tiered skirt tutorial and was so pleased I wound up making three skirts instead of the one I planned.

  5. Congratulations, Shannon! Love your blog and am so excited for you.
    Recently came across this post on maternity patterns and adaptations:

    I won't need it for a while but maybe you'll find something that appeals to you :)

    God bless you,

  6. Wow Shannon, you are very talented!

  7. Beautiful gal and a beautiful dress! Love it Shannon! A friend of mine is also expecting and she needs some maternity patterns. I will be emailing her your post about your dress! thanks for sharing what you found!

    In Christ,

  8. That is such a lovely dress!!! You are such a beautiful pregnant woman. :) Your baby is going to be the best-dressed little boy or girl in the area! :)


  9. How did I miss your last post?!?! CONGRATULATIONS!! <3 I'm so happy for you both. :) You look wonderful dear...that dress is so flattering...I wonder could you make a lining for the bodice with nursing slits, then make the top layer (with the casing) a drawstring for easy and stylish nursing? The style would be very forgiving of the post-baby shape! congratulations again dear... :) Will you find out if you're having a boy or girl?

  10. Congratulations :)

    Yes, I too, am wondering if I missed your post...I don't believe you ever announced on your blog that you were expecting...I don't know if any of your blog readers knew...

    Don't forget about your blog readers, they are supportive and love updates about your new life.

    Good craftsmanship on the sewing projects, that has to be a lot of time put in and especially money with all that fabric.

    Where do you get your fabric? Craft stores, estate sales, garage sales, discount stores ?

    Most of the time, I don't do many of the projects I want to due to a small budget, which doesn't allow me to buy yards of fabric to make quilts and projects.

    Good luck with everything and wish you the best.


  11. Thank you all for your kind words and recommendations!

    Miss Heidi, your daughter's dress is lovely -- what a clever idea about the elastic in the seam allowance!

    Anonymous (1), I'm so glad you like the tiered skirt! I hope you find them as comfy as I do! And yes, it's nice that so many of the styles today work for maternity -- I can finally wear those cute shirts that were always too long before :-) I've thought about the "rise" from the baby bump; it's something I need to keep in mind!

    Aoife, thanks for the link! Those look like some great tutorials!

    Mackenzie, I've thought about this dress for nursing! I think it should work as-is, as long as I have a cover. If not, I'll probably be making some with nursing in mind -- that empire waist and elastic seems like it will be very friendly to a post-partum figure :-) We did find out the baby's gender, but we're keeping it quiet :-)

    Anonymous (2), I made the announcement in my last post -- I most certainly appreciate my blog readers and love to share with them, but at the same time my husband and I value our privacy (which is why I waited a while to announce it). Fortunately the dress was super easy, so it didn't take too long -- and I generally use JoAnn's for fabric (with either sales, clearance, or coupons). The fabric for this dress was $4 per yard, and then 30% off. Not quite as cheap as a thrifted dress, but I'd probably have a hard time finding something to fit at a thrift shop! I do love to pick up fabric at yard sales and thrift shops -- I know exactly what you mean about a budget restricting fabric options! So much of it is ridiculously expensive, especially when you need several yards. Thank you for your kind words!


  12. What a pretty dress, Shannon! I love the fabric you chose! Blessings! And congrats on your little blessing, too!

    Joyfully in Jesus,

  13. Shannon, I hope I look as beautiful as you when it's my time to be a pregnant wife!

  14. Very pretty! I love the tucks and lace at the hem. What a clever way to shorten the dress!

  15. oh! lovely as always!! You have such talent for making your dresses turn out so beautifully!! Can't wait to see more! Again, congratulations!!!

  16. Hi Shannon! :) I didnt know you were pregnant, as i havent stopped by your blog for a while! :) Love it so much. I will be stopping by much more often! your so talented, and adorable pregnant :) So happy for you and your husband! When are you due? :) How exciting!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Hi there!! Im new on here and saw the maternity dress you had made. Im currently pregnant with my first child and am looking for modest maternity dresses.. my goodness!! They are really hard to find and they aren't cheap at all. I was wondering do you ever make them to sell?? The dress you made is sooooo lovely!!

    1. Lucy,

      Congrats on your pregnancy!

      I know, it can be very challenging to find modesty maternity dresses -- I have managed to find a few by combining them with knit camisoles (which I like to cut off about midriff level) as neckline fillers, and cardigans for spaghetti strap dresses. Oh, and thrift stores can be a good option (though I've had more success with tops than with dresses).

      Anyways, I don't sell maternity dresses -- it takes so much time that the cost would probably be even higher than retail dresses! I responded to the e-mail you sent with some ideas for making your own; I hope that will help!

      Thank you for your kind words, and good luck! :-)


  18. This simple maternity dress is pretty and I think comfortable to wear. Big thanks.


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