Another resort collection – first up, a Bento dress

Hello lovelies. I’m rather excited as this week I’m a guest writer over at the Oliver + S blog, where I get to rhapsodise about one of my favourite patterns, the Bento tee. It was quite fortuitous in timing as I wanted to use the Bento to try a sleeve adjustment inspired by the fabulous Abby, another Melbourne seamstress, AND I have an upcoming little tropical holiday coming up with my beloved where my sartorial needs are becoming quite specific and niche as this bebe keeps growing. My guest post deadline was just what I needed to get the job done.

As seen on Abby’s tutorial the adjustment involves extending the depth of the armscye quite signficantly, to below bust level and allow nursing access through the side of the tee/dress. I must say most of the RTW nursing gear I find pretty depressimo and I have been busily planning away for some practical clothing for summer that makes nursing easy but that is still something I get pleasure from wearing. I just can’t come at the visible horizontal slash access that is the standard for so much nursing gear, so instead I am embracing the surplice neckline, the draped neckline, the button-through shirt and the RTW nursing camisole for the summer. And, via this frock, sleeve access!

This was the easiest adjustment ever. I traced off my medium Bento tee pattern, added an extra 15cm depth from the top of the shoulder about halfway through the sleeve, and extended the length to knee length, adding an extra 1.5cm width from waist to hip for a little more bump room on each side. The sleeve cuffs had an extra 30cm added (2 x 15cm). Construction was exactly the same as for the tee.

The fabric is a beautiful quality Japanese cotton-lycra from the Drapery. I decided some lycra content was wise for recovery from being stretched by the belly (for reference I’m 24 weeks in these pics). The extra weight of the fabric in the cuffs required them to be tacked down to prevent them unfolding – I did this by hand at 4 points around the cuff. Adding that extra depth to the armscye means some flashing of bra is inevitable, so I will be pairing this dress with a nursing tank (or a long line nursing crop bra if such a thing exists, I suspect not!). Do let me know if you spot a neon pink nursing tank anywhere – I rather like the idea of a flash of colour.

I may make another version – I suspect the fall of the sleeves will be a little better in a knit with more drape, but otherwise I’m thrilled with the finished dress. The style reminds me a little of the Sea Change top too – and definitely stylish enough to be worn well beyond nursing I hope!

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