So I’m pretty sick of sewing with knits. Or maybe I’m a bit sick of wearing mostly knits. Maybe I’m sick of wearing the same 8 garments. Maybe it’s a bit of column A, B and C! For my last piece of the Resort Collection I decided I really wanted to try to make a frock that could be worn post partum, and was made from a woven fabric. When I saw this beautiful navy and white bird print rayon at The Cloth Shop a couple of months ago I hesitated and hesitated, until it was nearly all gone and fomo kicked in. I’d been planning to make my dress from another less loved rayon in my stash, but then decided if I was going to go to all that effort I really should make it from some thing I loved and would enjoy wearing. I’m glad I went with it – it’s superb quality (no surprise there – Kim’s got a great eye for fabric) and was delightful to sew up.
I’ve got a few vintage dress patterns in my stash from the late 70’s and early 80’s of a similar style – mid length, maybe some gathering detail on the shoulders, either a cross over or button front, gathered waist or belted. Simplicity 9489 looked ideal for what I was after – shoulder gathers to accomodate an unpredictable bust size, a button front placket for bebe feeding access, no waist seam so suitable to cinch above a growing belly and not need adjusting post bebe, and nice and cool for summer.
It’s a size above my pre-pregnancy bust measurement, but doesn’t quite match my current measurements of course! It does however have so much ease that I knew after measuring the pattern pieces it would be fine for late pregnancy and accomodate my pelvis belt. It’s basically a mumu that is shaped by topstitching the belt to the dress after gathering the back and sides at the waist. I’ve left the gathering off and belt unattached until I can retrieve the exact location of my waistline in due course!
It’s got a few interesting construction techniques. I always learn something new making a vintage pattern, even from the 80’s. The back neckline is finished with a facing that also finishes the yoke – nice and clean and simple. The front placket wasn’t terrible to make, but the instructions did have some errors so if this was one’s first placket there might be a little angst and head scratching. If I was to make this again I’d actually reverse the recommended order – the instructions recommend the application of the inside placket facing first then the outside placket gets applied and topstitched. A neater finish would be achieved if the outside placket was attached first, then the facing, then topstitched from the outside.
I was feeling lazy and after an Instagram poll decided to cut the pockets as one with the main dress pieces. I would imagine pockets that were undergoing a lot of stress would be better separately seamed but I don’t imagine I’ll be working these ones too hard. I didn’t allow extra length at the front for the belly so it does have a bit of a high-low effect but it doesn’t bother me that much. If one wanted to prevent this in a non-waisted dress I presume you just hem the centre front a little longer, curving up to nothing at the side seams.
I like the belt – it’s made with a wider section that is topstiched to the waistline, then narrower pieces that get tied – a nice variation. Of course it I topstitch in the future I won’t be able to wear a different belt with it. Always the styling quandry is the attached/integrated belt option…
The verdict on my frock? I’m pretty pleased with it. It’s cute, comfy and breezy on a hot day. It’s definitely too big in the shoulders and bust, even with my bust measurement increasing a rather shocking 5 inches(!). From these pics it looks like it falls back a bit on my shoulders – I forgot to do a forward shoulder adjustment, but I must investigate how one does a FSA when there is a yoke that extends forward of the shoulder line…..I could probably take an inch of ease out each side. I’m tempted to take the side seams in now but will wait until after the baby arrives. Would I make this again? I’m not rushing to but that might change once I improve the fit down the track. I’m hoping this gets me through to the end of my pregnancy as my fancy outfit choice. I was about 29 weeks in these pics (I’m now 33) but haven’t had much chance to wear it since our holiday as we’ve had a pretty cool spring. If I can be bothered I’ll do a late preggo round up of how my me-made maternity wardrobe has held up……