As I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy (35 weeks + 3days!), my selection of clothes is getting scarce. I’m too far along to justify buying anything new and at this point, I’m on the hunt for nursing-friendly options. Button plackets, loose stretchy shirts, I’m sure many of you mamas know the drill. Until then, I’m wearing everything in my closet that still fits on heavy rotation!!
I had the utmost pleasure of pattern testing for Afternoon Patterns this summer. I was SO excited that the dress even fulfilled BOTH of my needs – maternity and nursing! Say hello to the Afternoon Patterns Sparrow Wrap Dress! With a few simple adjustments, I was able to make this adorable dress fit my growing bump AND potentially be nursing-friendly.
I made this dress when I was 22 weeks, took the pictures at 24 weeks and it still fits at 35 weeks. Talk about a major win! Plus, it’s so versatile, you can wear it to the beach, around town or while doing yard work lol!
I started with size E.
BUST: I used my bust measurement at the time of sewing, 41 inches.
WAIST: I used my pre-pregnancy waist of 30 inches and compared it to my measurement above the bump (aka below my boobs) of 32 inches.
As of mid-June, around 22 weeks at the time of sewing, my baby bump had pushed my “waist” to 37.5 inches. That would have taken my waist measurement literally off the charts lol, so I just went with my regular size. With the maternity adjustments, my body changes were taken into consideration.
Fast forward to 35 weeks and my “waist” has grown to 42 inches and the dress still fits very comfortably!
HIPS: I used my pre-pregnancy hips of 38 inches.
This would technically fall under size B. However, because the dress was flowy, not hip hugging, I didn’t worry about that measurement too much. I included a grading adjustment to my hips in my maternity hack.
NOTE: I definitely suggest tracing your starting size on separate paper, so you can easily refer back to the original pattern later. Especially if you’re making a lot of adjustments to the pattern, like in this maternity hack. As much as it’s an extra step, I find it really helpful!
SELF: Telio brand 100% rayon poplin. Width 56 inches, bought 4 yards (to be on the safe side). It was really soft and flowy, so the skirt ruching adjustment didn’t add any noticeable bulk.
LINING: Rayon challis. Width 56 inches, bought 1 yard.
Here are my 3 adjustments. They are so simple. I got you, sewing mama!
1) BACK BODICE: Raise back bodice by 3 inches along centre back fold line, to cover maternity bra. Then taper to the side using a french curve.
You can see above what the original bodice looked like. The new curve looks much more flat in comparison to the original back bodice, because there is less of a height differential between the centre back and the side. If you don’t have a french curve, you can achieve something similar by free-styling or using a ruler.
I marked the strap placement directly up from where it was on the original back bodice piece.
This is what the back looks like after it was sewn!
2) HIP GRADING: Adjust hip shaping on back and front skirt pieces, if needed.
In my case, I shaved 1.5 inches off, starting at the base of the skirt, continuing up and tapering to the size E waist line. I chose 1.5 inches because my hip measurement fell into size B and that was about 1.5 inches different at the base than size E. I did this for both the front and back skirt pieces.
I don’t have much in the way of hips, but the baby bump can sort of distort things. The ruching of the skirt (in next step) added some flexibility, so this worked for me. Here’s a picture of how it turned out.
3) SKIRT RUCHING: Add 10 inches to front wrap skirt piece (opposite of hip). Then ruche/gather starting at about 4 inches in from either side until it matches original pattern piece length.
I took a ruler and drew straight across from where the waist was near the grainline marking (where it was the most flat), then re-adjusted the slight curve that was there on the right edge in the original. In hindsight, the exact same could have been achieved by cutting along the grainline marking and inserting 10 inches. I just love to make things extra complicated for myself lol.
Below is a close up of the waist markings. I started the gathers for both front skirt pieces about 4 inches in, so I didn’t run into any problems attaching the skirt at the sides or hemming the wrap sides afterwards. I gathered mine until it matched the total length of the Size E waist line. This way, everything would line up nicely when attaching to the front bodice.
Here’s a close up of the ruching/gathers afterwards. Since the fabric is lightweight, there wasn’t any bulk!
Possible Changes Next Time:
- I would try shortening the bodice a little bit. The pattern is drafted to sit a little lower (which would be SUPER flattering pre or post-bump!), but right now everything ends up just sitting directly below my boobs lol.
- Make the waist tie a tad longer. I like a big bow, so I’m a little biased here. But see how long the tie is on you above the bump and maybe lengthen it if you desire!
SHARE YOUR MAKES!
I’m excited to wear the dress post-pregnancy. The wrap v-neck detail looks great for nursing. Please tag me in your maternity hacked Sparrow Wrap Dress too @saricaalice . As well as, of course, @afternoonpatterns and #sparrowwrap . I love bump pics, especially when it’s rocking this cutie!
Pattern: Sparrow Wrap by Afternoon Patterns
Fabric: Rayon from Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley, California