The Grecian Maternity Maxi dress

I really love how this dress turned out!! Sometimes I think it’s good to look at non-maternity clothing to get inspiration for maternity wear – and the other day when I saw this dress from Jcrew I thought it would make a great maternity dress with a few changes. Like an empire waist instead of natural waistline – and elastic instead of drawstring.

And this is what I arrived at! Cute hey?? And it was so ridiculously easy! A great beginner project!

Lets get started!!

You’ll need:

  • 1.5 to 2 yards of 58″/60″ wide jersey fabric depending on your height (I’d estimate that 1.5 yards would work well for those 5’5″ and under)
  • 1/2″ wide elastic

What to do:

1) Measure yourself from just above your bust (around about the crease of your armpit), to where you’d like your hem to lay. Add on 1″ for hem allowances. I am 5’5″ and for me the magic number was 51″ long

2) Fold your fabric in half width ways, and sew the side seam using either a zig zag stitch on a regular machine or a serger.

3) Neaten the top and bottom hems by serging if you’d like. Otherwise you can leave them as is since jersey doesn’t fray.

4) Fold down 3/4″ on the top of the dress, and stitch close to the edge, all the way around, but leaving a 2″ gap unsewn to thread your elastic through.

5) Measure from above your bust to just under. For me this was 9″, but I forgot that jersey stretches (duh) so I found it to be a little long in the bust after making it. So I”d suggest maybe taking an inch or so off your measurement.

6) Cut a strip of fabric 1.5″ tall and as wide/long as the width of your original fabric (ie 58/60″ wide). This is the casing for your underbust elastic. Fold it in half and sew the edge together.

7) On your large tube of fabric, measure down from the top edge as far as your measurement in step 4.

8) Pin  your elastic casing on top of the dress, folding under just under 1/4 to 1/2″ on each edge, and then top stitching. I found the easiest method was to put my tube of fabric on the ironing board (it made it easy to pin a section and then turn to another section), and pin the entire top edge, measuring carefully all the way round to make sure it was even. Then topstitching.

Then I went back to my ironing board on carefully pinned the bottom edge. When I topstitched I left 2 ” open to thread the elastic through.

9) Time for elastic! Measure your around your chest above your bust, and around your chest under your bust. Take 2″ off these measurements, and then cut some elastic to be the same lengths. These pieces may by the same length for you, but for me they were different. My overbust was 32″ and my under bust was 30″ so I cut 2 pieces of leastic – one 30″ long and one 28″ long.

10) Thread your overbust elastic though the casing. I find the easiest way is to attach a safety pin. Once you get around to the other side, sew your elastic ends together, and then close up your casing hole.

11) Thread your overbust elastic through the casing. And once again, when you get around to the other side sew your elastic ends together, and then close up your casing hole.

12) Lastly hem your dress by turning under 1/4″ and topstitching.

You’re done!! Enjoy your dress!!

What do you think?? Cute hey?!

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  1. says

    Love this. I am obsessed with maxi dresses for these hot Alabama summers. Being gigantic pregnant I refuse to wear anything tight over my belly. Thanks for the great dress.

  2. says

    Meg, seriously, you make me want to chuck all the insane reasons why I should not get preggers again (oh, being 41, having to inject heparin daily, gestational diabetes, cerclage) just so I can wear these cute designs!

    But fortunately I know a lot of (younger) mothers and I pass it on. And this dress is perfect for non-bump wear, too! Thanks!

  3. Tia says

    Just tried to make one and I’m having issues with it really bunching in the back, like it makes me look like I have one HUGE back roll. Any suggestions?

    • kay elle bea says

      I would make a couple of tubes from the jersey fabric and add spaghetti straps to hold it up since I love the strapless look but don’t trust it to stay put! This is such a cute design I don’t think little straps would take away from it… you could do regular over-the-shoulder, halter-type, or even cross them in the back. Lots of options there!

  4. Wendy says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!! I have been in love with that J. Crew dress (in the blue stripe) since the catalogue came out! I was going to try my hand at a DIY version but couldn’t wrap my brain around the waist band. Thank you for the great tutorial! :)

  5. Ilyse says

    I’ll be making this soon but I’m thinking of leaving the elastic waist out and just belting it because 1) I’m top heavy and it gets worse when pregnant so this way I can respond as needed, 2) I love belts and 3) when I’m done being pregnant I can belt at my natural waist if the mood suits me.

    Thanks for the tutorials. I was already excited about being pregnant and now I having more sewing to be excited about! :)