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DIY Maternity Dress

The ability to sew is a great skill to have, especially when you want something you can’t afford.  Recently I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Oh Joy, and came across a dress that instantly reminded me of my friend Judy.  She is pregnant and as a true fashionista, has been trying to develop her maternity style.  I thought this dress would make such a chic maternity dress for her (but a great dress for a non pregnant person too)!

Judy loved the dress when I showed it to her and looked into the price, but it costs around $350!  So we decided that it would be the perfect sewing challenge!  Side note: I’m going to use some sewing terminology in this post, so if you are confused, definitely refer to this great site which has a great sewing glossary of terms!

First we went to Mood to buy fabric.  We found the perfect silk crepe for the job, but needed about four yards for a dress. So at $30/yard, it was way too expensive for our budget.  No wonder the original dress costs so much!  Instead, we opted for some sort of poly substitute with a similar hand and drape at $6-8/yard.  We chose one navy fabric and one purpley-taupe fabric so that we could make two dresses.

I’d say this project took about 10 hours total.  I was pretty confident that I’d know how to make this dress because the drape is really similar to my wedding dress.  We started by draping muslin, which I had plenty leftover from my wedding dress.

It was actually really simple.  We never looked at the original dress in person, but from what we can tell from pictures there are no darts or anything, and the whole thing is made out of two pieces of fabric, four seams, and a few pieces of facing.  The strap area is cut on the bias to contour the bust, and that cool drapey effect on the side of the skirt is made by creating a rectangle that sticks out to the side.

Once we finished making the pattern (including a 3/8 inch seam allowance), we cut the fabric.  We used random household objects as weights to hold everything in place.

this is a pile of facing for the armholes and neckline that we also cut.

Meanwhile the husbands patiently occupied themselves with the football game, the internet, and videogames =)

You can see our messy pile of cut fabric in the corner on the stacking chairs, haha.

Cutting was relatively easy since there were so few pieces to the pattern.  After cutting we decided to serge all of our edges first.  We only had one serge machine between the two of us, and we really didn’t want to have to change the thread colors back and forth.  Threading a serger is a huge pain in the butt!  Normally, on other projects, I’d do most of the serging at the end.

here I am serging every raw edge... you can see that we still have not totally unpacked all of our boxes yet

a finished edge with a serge stitch

Next we just sewed everything together.  This isn’t really a tutorial, so I won’t go into the step by step.

Judy, hard at work!

Here I'm sewing a pre-serged seam with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Half way through sewing we hung everything onto the dress form just to make sure it was coming together properly.  The pictures below show the fabric just roughly pinned into place.  It has not been pressed or finished yet.

the dress is just roughly pinned onto the dress form. We have not sewn the center front seam at this point yet.

The keyhole back, also unfinished, roughly pinned to the dress form.

Finally, once we did all of our sewing, we tacked down some facing and pressed all of our seams.

We decided that it looked better on us belted.  I might wear it unbelted if a had a cute fitted jacket over it.  But I think it looks way better on Judy because she is so much taller than me.  I need to hem mine a few inches shorter if I ever want to wear this in the future.  Judy is totally rocking it though!  You can just barely see her baby bump now =)


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