I’m so excited about todays guest post! Clio has been making the most gorgeous maternity wear during her pregnancy. When i saw that she had merged some maternity patterns to create her own maternity dresses i got really excited and asked her to share how she went about combining patterns to make maternity wear. Clio writes over at Clio and Phineas, so when you’re done reading her tutorial please head on over to her lovely blog and check out the rest of her fantastic maternity makes. So much inspiration there! Ok over to Clio.
First off, I was really excited when I was invited to write this guest post. When I learned I was pregnant, I immediately started thinking about and planning a maternity wardrobe even though it was months before I would actually need maternity clothing. So, it’s something that I really thought about and started working on long before I even announced my pregnancy.
I had a lot of grand ideas at first, but in the end I found that focusing on a few key patterns that were easy to sew, were versatile and that I could use again and again was the best way to quickly build a wardrobe that I love and still feels like me.
Without a doubt, the pattern I’ve used most is Megan Nielsen’s Ruched Maternity Skirt. I think it’s my most sewn pattern ever, pregnant or not. Once I tweaked the fit to my own preferences and size, it could not have been easier to sew and to mix and match. I not only sewed it as a skirt, but one of my best pregnancy strategies was the frankenpattern: I combined the skirt pattern with different top patterns to make it into a dress.
By far my favorite version was when I combined the skirt with the Megan’s Ruched Maternity t-shirt pattern for the bodice portion.
Using patterns from the same designer/same collection/same size made the tee and skirt pattern pieces easy to match up in the pre-cutting phase. It allowed me to cut the front piece and the back piece without a seam under the bust. Here’s how I did it.
First off, there was no special magic involved. I tried on one of my skirts to see how high it came below my bust. Using a tape measure, my body and the tee pattern, I “guesstimated” where I would need to merge the two patterns together – how much of the tee pattern I would need to get from the skirt’s top edge to my shoulder.
Since I like cutting striped fabric in one layer rather than folded, I traced a second half of the pattern, but you don’t have to.
I worked on the front pieces first. The top and bottom patterns lined up pretty perfectly. I used a ruler to line up the pattern pieces along the “Place on Fold” line and at about the level I had picked for allowing enough length. Then I just shifted the two pattern pieces up and down a little until I found a spot where the side seams met up smoothly, all the while making sure the fold line stayed straight. This ensured that the grain lines of both top and bottom were in agreement.
I used the same method for the back. However, one important detail that you do not want to overlook is that you want the front and back side seams to line up and be the same length. So, be sure to “walk the pattern” or again, use your measuring tape to ensure that the front and back side seams are the same length. Lastly, you can see a little peak where the top and bottom patterns meet. It’s because of how the bottom back skirt piece is shaped. I simply folded that peak to the inside so my frankenpattern would have a nice straight cutting line.
From there it was as simple as cutting fabric and following the sewing instructions. And now I’ve got an easy to wear tee-shirt style dress that is as comfy as it is stylish as far as I’m concerned.
You could also frankenpattern this skirt with a variety of other patterns. I found that it was very easy to merge the skirt with patterns that already had an empire seam using the same method. Sewing like this really helped me build a wardrobe quickly and always be able to reach into the closet and pull out an outfit I’d feel good in.
Anyway, wishing you all happy sewing and a healthy and stylish pregnancy!