black is the new red

A little bit of selfish sewing in the midst of baby-sewing craziness! As it happens, I finished this dress just in time for my birthday tomorrow. But I won’t be wearing it, because there’s a chance of snow and it’s only supposed to get up to 33 degrees, tops. That’s .5 degrees for you Celsius folks, and I don’t know how you live with that temperature scale, because that sounds even worse! And this isn’t the sort of dress that would work well with close-toed shoes. February birthdays can suck like that.

IMG_2327Anyway. This is Simplicity 3678, now out of print, which I’ve actually made once before. I’m laughing because in the original post, I did specifically mention possibly revisiting it if I ever needed a maternity dress, because of all of the gathering that I needed to remove to avoid the preggo look! I’d kind of forgotten I’d said that, actually. I guess it’s a good thing I never threw the pattern away. The funny thing is, at least in this picture, I seem to look pretty normal from the front, right?

Maternity maxi-dress
Nope. Definitely a maternity dress. (I’m at 24 1/2 weeks now.)

Aside from lengthening and slightly flaring the skirt, since I really wanted a maxi-dress, here’s the adjustments I made:

  • In some ways, I followed the instructions more closely than the first time. In the original dress, I stitched the pleats down into more of a pintuck, because it was kind of ballooning out funny. For this version, I figured I’ll need the extra room and left those as pleats. I also sewed the facing more as it called for, though with a double row of stitching to try and give it a little more of an RTW look. (I wish I knew why my machine is occasionally skipping stitches for that, since I am doing a slight zigzag on a longer stitch length with a ballpoint jersey needle, just like I’m supposed to be! Any thoughts? My machine doesn’t have that lightning bolt stretch stitch.)
  • I added a little more gathering in the front to accommodate the bump. Probably somewhere close to 2″–honestly, all I did was go out from the center front fold to the still uncut edge of the original pattern tissue.
  • I still had to cut the back in two pieces, which I apparently had to do the first time, too. With all of that extra skirt length, I was barely able to get the pieces to fit! I actually also had to cut the midriff pieces perpendicular to what it called for as well–but after the recent leggings disaster, I made sure the stretch would work for that before I cut it this time. 
    1. IMG_2322
    • Doesn’t look so V-neck now, does it? While that also would have been nursing friendly, my size has already changed enough that this would have been very mentally uncomfortable for me to wear in public. (Seriously–while I know there’s a good reason for it, I’m actually kind of embarrassed at the size bra I had to buy recently!) So I improvised a bit of a faux camisole front for it, and even inserted some elastic in the casing that the stitching made to help hold things in place. It’s not quite as snug as I would have hoped, but it should do the job. 
      • For the bodice/midriff, I did slim down the seam allowances on the side slightly– 1/2″ instead of 5/8″– just to give me a little extra room, since I’m not sure how things will go in the third trimester or if my ribcage will expand or anything like that.
          Nursing adaptation

        • To make this nursing-friendlier so I can wear this for more than just the spring, I took a suggestion from Joanne and added an invisible zipper in the front of the dress! It’s sitting right at the top of the waistband, which I’m hoping will also stabilize the weight of the longer skirt. (I also sewed some clear elastic in the back to help with that as well.) Because of that, I did somewhat have to change the order of the directions, as in sewing the side seams for the bodice/midriff separately instead of all at once. But again, I took a cue from the leggings issues and made sure to baste things first so the seams had a better chance of lining up. Overall, I’m very happy with how this modification worked, and will possibly be doing it again, since I’m hoping to make a second maxi-dress before Hobbit comes. It’s just a case of deciding whether to stick with this pattern, since I already did the hacking, or to play around with modifying last summer’s Tiramisu hack. If I do the latter, I may not need to add extra access points, since that one works better on me as a V-neck.

          It’ll be good to have something new to look forward to, if it ever warms up around here. If I’ve learned one lesson from the last month or so of trying to cobble together outfits, it’s that I’m just not a wardrobe minimalist. I admire those people that can fully commit to the Wardrobe Architect-type thing of paring down her closet to a set of core outfit components that they can mix and match and accessorize to their heart’s content. But frankly, I like having more options, and I’ve definitely been missing having more prints in my life, even if they don’t necessarily go with everything! (I say as I show off a solid black dress, right?)

          IMG_2332Oh, and the title? I’m still trying to play around with keeping up with some of the monthly themes/challenges for the Stashbusting Sewalong and The Monthly Stitch as I can. I can use this for the latter, since it’s a solid color, but the only color specified in this month’s Stashbusting theme was red, which I hardly ever wear or even buy. But Malkin was kind enough to sport a little red on his collar while photobombing me, so that has to count for something. Right?

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          17 thoughts on “black is the new red

          1. That dress is fab on you! And you should wear it for your birthday anyway. Maxis are great because you can hide long johns underneath and no one knows!
            For wht it's worth, most of the school sin my area shut on Monday be we had windchill of -40… and doesn't matter if that's C or F, because it's the same! Crazy cold. My school hasn't had outdoor recess in ages!

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          2. Happy birthday! This looks absolutely fantastic and very well sewn. I love the idea to put the invisible zipper in the front like that. And the camisole add-on looks really nice — and you won't have to layer anything underneath your dress to make it wearable.

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          3. I ended up not even trying–the snow cancelled my at-school music lessons, and Doug took off last-minute to spend the day with me, so I spent the day comfy in either jeans or pajamas, depending on the time. 🙂 And brrr, that's cold! You Canadians are so much tougher than I am!

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          4. Not to mention this dress probably would have cost way more if I'd bought it. Since the fabric was a Christmas dress and I already had the original pattern, all it cost me was basically a zipper and time!

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          5. That was the idea. I always have to wear something under the original version I made, and from what I've heard from other moms of newborns, the simpler the better when it comes to outfits. And thank you!

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          6. It's still a little cold for my taste to try it, but I have a feeling the leggings under the dress thing will be happening before too long. I'm getting too bored with the 5 outfits I've been wearing on repeat!

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          7. Cold weather birthdays aren't fun, are they? I'm finding myself envying the baby since he'll have the summer birthday I always dreamed of! Maybe after this year I'll just have to make myself new clothes for his birthday instead of mine, lol.

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