The Turn About the Room dress, with Miriam of Mad Mim


Hey everybody! I’m pretty excited to visit DIY maternity today and to share with you this fun little dress.  If there’s one thing that really rocks my world, it’s making my own clothing, and this time round the 9 month stretch (it’s my third round), it’s been nothing but a big belly and big fun.  One of my favorite things to do is go shopping for ideas around the internet, and then recreate something fabulous for cheapo. I spied this beauty a few weeks ago and thought it would make a great dress.

It did!

Round up:

-3 yards of 55” or 60” knit (jersey or interlock)

-serger or sewing machine with an overlock stitch (the overlock stitch isn’t necessary, but very convenient)

-matching thread

-1/2 yard lightweight fusible knit interfacing (cut on the bias into ½” strips—you’ll have lots left over)

-stretch or ball point needle

printable pdf pattern included

-4 ½” of ½” wide elastic

Get your sew on:

1.       Choose your size:

S/M = 36-40 bust (my best estimate—I think it would work for smaller)

M/L=40-42 bust (my best estimate—I think it would work for larger)

2.       Trace your pattern and cut:

TARpattern (it’s 4 pages; tape it together, overlapping the pages about 3/8’s of an inch and matching up lines. See the key for a guide).

Use tracing paper to trace your size (I use medical exam table paper found at a medical supply store). Trace pieces A, B, and C.

From your fabric,

Cut 2 of piece A Front Bodice

Cut 1 of piece B Back Bodice (on the fold)

Cut 2 of piece C Fitted Sleeve

Cut 2 rectangles measuring 12” X 20” (neck panels)

Cut 4 rectangles measuring 23” X 5” (2 twist bands)

Also cut your front & back skirt panels based on your chosen size, using the diagrams below.



3.       Sew!

*All seam allowances are ½” unless otherwise indicated.

*use an overlock or slight zigzag stitch to accommodate the stretch of the fabric.

1.       With right sides together (RST), sew back bodice to back skirt.

Pin elastic where indicated on bodice back pattern piece; pin it right along the seam line.

While stretching the elastic out over the full distance between the pins, zig zag over it, backstitching at the beginning and end.

2.       Sew left and right front bodice pieces to back bodice at shoulder seams, RST, making sure they are facing the right direction (see photo).

3.       Sew the two neck panels together RST at short ends, and then fold WST lengthwise.   Align neck panel center seam and raw edges to the RIGHT side of center bodice back. Pin along the neck and down the front on either side. Sew using an overlock stitch and scant seam allowance (allowing the needle to go off the right edge of the fabric). Trim excess panel length along bodice bottom.

4.       Baste along bottom edge of neck panels, aligning the two side-by-side at middle point and sewing from one edge to the other.  Pull the bobbin threads of basting to gather until the distance of both neck panels equals 3.5”.

5.       Find the center point of the top edge of front skirt panel, and mark with a pin.  Measure 5.5” to either side and mark.  Take center pin out and you should have a distance of 11” between marks.  Baste 2 rows between marks, the first with a ¼” seam allowance, and the second with a ½”.  Backstitch at the beginning, but not the end (leave your threads long).

6.       With RST, pin bodice front to skirt front panel, beginning on outside edges—pin toward center until you reach basting rows on each side (there will be a longer length of fabric for skirt between pins).   Pull basting thread until the skirt fits the front bodice. Baste and then sew.

7.        Hem and attach sleeves: apply a ½” strip of soft fusible knit interfacing cut along the bias to the wrong side of the bottom sleeve edge.  Fold under (enclosing the interfacing) and stitch with a straight stitch or a double needle.  *Important: stretch the fabric slightly as it feeds under the pressure foot; with the interfacing it will bounce back and add some give to prevent breakage. Also use a slightly longer stitch.  Pin sleeves to sleeve opening, matching center point of sleeve to shoulder seam and pin well. Baste and then stitch.

8.       Sew twist bands RST at sides using overlock stitch and scant seam allowance (allowing the needle to go off the right edge of the fabric).  Flip right sides out and press if needed. Place the two twist bands one on top of another in an X.  Take the ends of one band and pin together while you work with other. Check fit here: with the bands intertwined, hold across your ribcage between your bust and belly. They should reach your side seams comfortably and without slack, but not tightly. Trim if needed.

9.       With the bands intertwined, place the right twist band on the right bodice side, arranging the two ends so they meet directly over the seam between the bodice and skirt. The panel ends should be placed flat, touching edge-to-edge, without any gathering. Also, the band should be folded on itself through the loop of the other band, so that the top end shows one side of the band, and the bottom end shows the other.  Pin and then zigzag in place. Remove pins from other twist band and repeat on the other side. Double check fit of bands across the ribcage again by draping the front dress across yourself.

10.   RST, pin front dress to back dress, matching underarm and bodice seams. Carefully avoid stretching the fabric at all to avoid uneven distribution and puckering.  I find that a slight zig zag works best on side seams (if using a sewing machine). Check over all fit, and adjust if needed.

11.   Hem bottom skirt edge using same method as sleeve hem.

Thank you so much to Miriam for this literally amazing tutorial. This is quite possibly the best maternity dress I’ve ever seen. I”m so in love with it! I can see this dress working perfectly as a nursing dress too, and even beyond that.

Please don’t forget to visit Miram’s blog MadMim, I promise you will inspired by all of the amazing maternity clothing she has been creating for herself.

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  1. Olga says

    This is the most beautiful maternity dress ever! It made me bump my head at the wall, honestly: why, oh why didn’t i buy the striped fabric at the store last week… Thank you, Miriam and Megan!

    • says

      hehe that’s what I thought too – I can see this looking adorable when you’re not pregnant too, or as a nursing dress – which i think is what makes it a real winner!!

  2. says

    I love how Miriam took that Anthropologie overpriced top and made it into a dress! I’m doing that for a friend for a wedding this summer – there’s just no need to spend so much on clothes! (especially maternity or nursing ones) Yay for making your own!

  3. says

    Oh. My. Goodness. This is the PERFECT maternity dress. Hands down the best handmade OR store purchased maternity dress I have ever seen!! AND I just picked up 3 yards of jersey knit at the thrift store yesterday for a $1/yard. I cannot wait to make this. Thank you so much for sharing this very generous tutorial and pattern!

  4. Tahnee says

    Hi, looking forward to trying this, but have I missed the measurements for the skirt pieces? I’ve quickly read through and can’t see it anywhere.

    • says

      Sorry Tahnee, they accidentally got left out! The tutorial has been updated with the skirt measurements!

    • says

      Ok I’m backI’ve just checked a few thgnis on BBC America and the main BBC homepage.I have a sneaky feeling you can watch both programmes on the BBC iPlayer. The iPlayer is really handy if you’ve missed a programme, as it enables you to watch your programme on your PC, for a week or two after it has aired.It’s not showing you can at the moment on the schedule, but I’m sure you can after they have been aired.So everyone can then watch it wherever you are in the world.I have seen a few clips of it already. The BBC seem to be quite eager to advertise it, in that they are showing it on their main channels.Whether it will eventually air on BBC America, I don’t know. I’m hoping that it works that way for everyone, outside the UK.xx Karen

  5. Emily K says

    So pretty! I found some fabric and am getting ready to cut it out! Except, I didn’t see the measurements for the skirt pieces! Did I miss it? I actually read through the directions (this is a BIG deal for me) and didn’t see ’em. Thanks!

  6. liz says

    Yes please…what are the measurements for the skirt pieces? and what would be a good length for the skirt pieces to change the dress into a maternity top? Can’t measure myself…I’m not preggo, but sewing for a friend that is.

  7. says

    I like it better than the anthro version, and it’s perfect as I could really use more nursing friendly clothes.

  8. Maggie says

    I saw this Thursday (4/14), and built it on Friday for a wedding yesterday (4/16). I received so many compliments and people couldn’t believe I had sewn it myself. It was so cute and fit like a dream. Thank you for posting this wonderful pattern! And thanks to Miriam for coming up with it!

  9. Jen says

    I made the dress too, Mim’s design is wonderful, and its super easy to follow her instructions, even for a relative beginner. Seriously, anyone with even a basic sewing knowledge could do this and the results are fantastic! Thanks for adding this Meg, Jen

  10. Erica says

    I finished making this dress in one day. I’m short so it fits a little different than I expected, but it is really cute! And very easy. The most confusing part for me was figuring out which way to cut the extra pieces (neck panels, twist bands & front/back panels) and then which end was top and bottom on the front and back panels. All that said, it wasn’t that difficult to figure it out…I didn’t have to take out a single stitch! :) Thanks for sharing such a great pattern. It will be perfect for me to wear to my mom’s graduation in a few weeks.

  11. Bel says

    the pattern is for 2 sizes s/m and m/l. I am new to sewing and thought I would give this dress a go. I am a bit on the “curvy side”. Would this be easy to adapt for larger sized ladies?

  12. Trine says

    I love this dress, it is absolutely gorgeous. I’m not preggers at the moment, (might be soon… who knows..) but would still like to make the dress.
    My problem however is that I have broad shoulders and big boobs and are ‘curvy’. Any ideas how I can adapt the dress to fit me?


  13. says

    Such an adorable dress! I’ll have to give this one a try – my growing belly is leaving me in serious need of new clothes:)

  14. Sue says

    This is the cutest dress I have seen in years! I would really like to try it but I am more like an X-L, how can I make the adjustments? Thanks!

  15. judi says

    Like Sue, I would love to know how to adjust it for a larger size. I’m at least a 2x and there is nothing out there for us plus size mommies.

  16. says

    This is a darling dress! I am not pregnant myself (my baby is almost 9 months old) but would love to make a non-maternity version…any tips on how to adjust the pattern?

  17. Kate says

    Okay, I posted a comment last April saying how I wasn’t pregnant but I loved this dress…. and now I find myself 18 weeks pregnant and ready to use this pattern to make an awesome tunic out of an old jersey sheet! Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  18. Isabel says

    Just a question, for the skirt.. are the parts with the scribble the parts I cut off? (the top and bottom right corners) Thanks for the awesome tutorial! Can’t wait to try!

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  1. […] Karma got back at me with the next one, though: the day after I bought the fabric the Fabric Warehouse started their 40% off sale. Can’t win ‘em all. This is another one I’m planning to copy for myself; I think it would be perfectly good as non-maternity wear also. It is a free online pattern from DIY Maternity. […]