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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

REVEAL: MY FIRST MATERNITY DRESS




I finally finished the maternity dress in time for a photo shoot at the Inn on our Babymoon upstate. I drafted the dress pattern copying two different maternity dresses, the bodice from one and the skirt from another and added the elasticated straps afterwards. I love the contrasting lace trim and the sweetness of the style but it was definitely more of a learning experience than a useful addition to my wardrobe because A. I am only pregnant for another 6 weeks (!) and the weather is already cooling down, and B. I made such a mess of the seams that it wont make it through a hand wash.
So here is what I took away from this practice:

- Fabric stretch really effects fit. The dress with the bodice I copied was made with a stretch fabric and my gingham cotton had no stretch at all, I should have added extra fabric to account for this so I wouldn't have had to redo the bust completely.  
- Fraying edges at seams, for a loosely woven fabric like cotton reinforcing the seams is vital, I am going to try french seams and always at least sew along the edge of the seam allowance again before I cut. I also need to be more patient with fitting and not cut the seam allowances too soon as you can't return from that point if its too tight (a recurring problem when fitting a pregnant figure!)
- Drafting for the bust is not simple, darts or gathers must be used!
- Front and back of skirt should be even. I thought I could make the back skirt wider than the front at the hem, since i had used so many gathers on the front to accomodate the bump, but I quickly saw this had a terrible effect when I tried on the dress. The side seams curved around my body and made an unattractive poof at the sides. It was easily rectified by unpicking the seam and trimming the front skirt to match the back skirt width, but still a step that could have been avoided and will next time!
- Direction of print, an obvious one but with gingham you have to be even more mindful as it is two directional and lines are very obvious when going in different directions on bust pieces which should at least give the allusion of symmetry, as they are unlikely to be mathematically perfect, for an aesthetic finish.

Techniques to research for next time:
Finishing seams
Crossing over seam allowances
Fabric properties

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