My new fabric obsession is everything linen. It’s not a fabric I have used alot in the past and I have no idea why not! I decided to find a dress that I could make in linen which would keep me cool through the summer during my pregnancy but also be nursing friendly once bub arrives. Of course, Tessuti was my first place to look as their patterns are all very roomy and designed to be made in linen.
I found the Lisa Dress which is the most perfect non-maternity maternity dress, with it‘s empire waist line at the front and extremely voluminous skirt.
I must admit, this was a project filled with many frustrating moments, which was entirely due to me having no idea how to sew for my new pregnant body. My first stumbling block was deciding what size to cut as I wanted to make something that could look good and be comfortable for the whole pregnancy. After much deliberation, I decided to cut a straight LARGE based on my new pregnancy bust size (going from a 12 DD to now a 12F in shop-bought bras!).
I didn’t make a toile- I was too impatient and too excited get sewing with my brand new linen purchase from The Fabric Store. This was a mistake. I made the dress in it’s entirety and absolutely loved working with the linen but when it came to trying the dress on, I was so disappointed. I realised that although I might be a size large around my new bust area, the rest of me had changed very little size wise and I felt absolutely swamped by the dress. (No pics were taken of the first attempt as I was too annoyed in the moment!).
I must admit that I came very, very close to cutting the dress up and re-purposing the fabric. Thankfully, I didn’t. After a good night’s sleep (let that be a lesson!) and alot of thought, I decided to approach the dress like an alteration- see my adjustments below.
This beautiful 100% linen in a rich burgundy colour called Marsala from The Fabric Store. I cannot fault it.
As well as having to size down to a medium pretty everywhere except my bust, I did make some adjustments to the original pattern too.
Swayback adjustment on the back bodice. Creating some shaping in the back creates a more flattering maternity look and made the dress feel less ‘swampy’.
Grading from large at bust to a medium at the bodice waist front and back. This took a good 6cm off the entire waist line.
I don’t like too much gathered volume around the waist so ended up removing a total of 6cm at the centre front seam and 6cm at centre back seam (total 12cm). Once again, this helped make the dress feel less like I was drowning in it.
The pattern calls for Tear-Away Vilene to be used on the neckline and armholes which are finished with bias binding. It is sewn in before applying the bias binding but then torn off after the bias binding is stitched. This helps reduce any stretching around the neckline and armholes. I initially wasn’t going to use it but after chatting to my teacher at college, decided to try it out and it worked really nicely.
What I would do different next time:
The bodice just fits over my bust but I fear it won’t once I start breast feeding. So for my next one, I will make a full bust adjustment to accommodate for post-partum changes.
This style of dress is not one I would have chosen if I were not pregnant. But after nearly throwing the towel in, I absolutely love the final make. It is roomy, cool and doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable like some other maternity dresses do.
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