The first step in production was to get the pattern and instructions printed off as this is a PDF pattern. I always prefer to have a paper copy of instructions to flick through as I’m sewing. When printing the actual pattern though, I came across my first problem. I had downloaded the file for US size letter paper. Paper in the US isn’t A4 like in the UK…crazy! Anyway, I could not get the test square to print the size it needed to be. It was either at least 0.5 cm over or 1cm under, and I tried at least 8 different printing options. I ended up just going for the setting that was the closest measurement but it was a little bigger than it needed to be.
Once printed (all 48 pages of it), I taped it together and took a look at sizing. This is where it got a little interesting. Rosie is currently 5 months old and I am still exclusively breastfeeding her. My cup size used to be a D and has now gone up to almost an E cup *insert shocked face*. As you can see in the picture below, my current sizes fall between 3 of the pattern sizes. This is where I decided to look at the finished garment measurements and look at how much ease it would give me. I cut the size 12 as I thought that this would give me enough ease for all of my measurements!
Construction was relatively straightforward but I did have to overcome a few obstacles. I love how the sleeves are designed as they didn’t have too much excess fabric for me to gather into the seam. Even though the neckline of the wrap over bust sits quite high, I like this feature as it means that I’m not going to have any wardrobe malfunctions.
So, unfortunately there are quite a few parts of the dress that I just didn’t like; maybe it’s to do with the sizing or even the fabric I chose to use. The instructions say to put stay tape around the neckline to avoid over-stretching the material when it is pulled down to feed. However, this meant that I just couldn’t pull it down to get a boob out at all! The neckline doesn’t budge with the stay tape so it defeats the object of being able to feed really. I do understand that at the moment my cup size is on the larger size so maybe adjustments need to be made elsewhere to enable the neckline to work for me. I think the main adjustment will have to be extending the upper pieces on the bottom for a couple of inches. I feel that this would also make the elastic channel sit properly under my bust.
I’m not sure if it’s too clear in the finished garment but I also had a little trouble matching the seams and notches of the upper and lower bodice pieces. If I started with matching the notches, then the side seams would not match… if I started by matching the side seams then there would be excess fabric in the front and back. I decided to match the side seams and create additional pleats on the front and back in the hope that they wouldn’t be too obvious once the elastic channel was in.
The elastic channel was pretty simple as I’ve done a few of these before on other garments. This step in the instructions were slightly confusing though as it asks you to start inserting the elastic beneath a pleat. I wasn’t really sure why you would do it this way as it would have the additional stitching where you close the channel on the front of the dress. I decided to insert it on the side seam so you cant see where it has been inserted.
The hemline of the dress is quite suited for a pregnant tummy, which is great if you’re using this as a maternity dress. It is significantly longer at the front than at the back, which isn’t that great if you are wearing it after birth. I had to fold an additional inch up on the hem at the front. It would have been great if the pattern had a different cut line for the nursing dress.
I really wanted to love this pattern but the construction and function just didn’t make it happen. I do like the finished dress as a garment for regular wear but for me, it just isn’t suitable for nursing. If I make this again, I would make quite a few changes. I would lengthen the bodice so that the elastic fit under my bust. I would also omit the stay tape, possibly using a fabric that has a good amount of stretch but also one that had a good recovery from the stretch.
It would be great to hear if anyone else has sewn this top or dress…especially if you’ve got a bigger bust! How did you find it? Do you have any suggestions for me for if I am to make it again?