Vintage cowl neck dress

Wednesday 2 July 2008
I've had this gorgeous cowl neck dress sitting in my pattern collection for quite some time, I've just never found the right fabric to make it with. Since it has an empire line and a generous cut skirt I thought it would be an ideal pattern to adapt for maternity wear.

It's a 1977 Style pattern, purchased by someone called Elma Elliott on 6/10/77. And since 1977 happens to be the year I was born, I thought it was karma for me to make it to wear whilst I'm waiting for my first to be born.

I made the red version in the middle of the pattern picture. The pattern is designed for woven fabrics, but since I used a lovely soft cotton jersey for it's stretchability I omitted the centre back zipper, and cut the front and back skirt panels on the fold. I also added a little extra fabric across the front for when my bump gets ginormous (I believe that is the correct medical term!).

I absolutely love the way it has turned out, although it looks very modern in the charcoal and black striped fabric I chose. I think I will make this again when I'm non pregnant in a nice wool crepe or cotton as suggested, because it's a flattering cut. It came together very easily, but as you can see from the close up photo the stripes in the very centre (the most obvious spot of course) didn't line up. I had pinned them in the correct spot but when sewing the fabric must have stretched or slipped. I supposed I should have basted them together, and I suppose I should pull it apart and fix it, but I know I won't....

Thanks for all your comments on the last post, and in fact all the posts recently - it's very heartening to get such positive feedback. fdw - thanks so much for your offer of 1960s mod maternity shift pattern, but in amongst my 600+ patterns I do already have something along those lines. And Carolyn, I totally agree with you - I plan on making as many clothes as possible, since I have the fabric, the patterns and the skills, so why not? People have said to me not to bother since it's only for a few months, but I figure I'll spend the next year post baby in casual stay at home clothes, and then the next many years after that wearing clothes with baby vomit on, so I view this as my last hurrah for a while to be stylish (and clean!). So stay tuned for much more


  1. Your dress is wonderful and you look great.

    CarlaF-Atlanta, GA

  2. Congrats! What wonderful news!

    I love the dresses you've been making.

  3. Man do I feel lazy!! Here you are pregnant and pumping out some super lovely garments like this one and I can't seem to get into any sewing or knitting. In fact I sat and watched TV all night. Geez, maybe your fabulousness will rub off on me :O)

    Great Job!

  4. I never did leave a comment on your previous posts saying congrats, so congrats! The dress is perfect!

  5. I don't know how you do it, working full time and sewing up a storm making wonderful garments. Congratulations.

  6. I have a top just like that. It is my favourite and I bought it about 6 weeks ago, so yes, this dress is very current. I love your dress.

  7. Kristy - that is a great dress and I love your fabric choice! Very stylish! This is also a great pattern because the neckline had several different looks that can be used for future versions.

  8. I agree with Caroline! It's important to look great and feel great about how you look when your pregnant! Your worth the time effort and the money so why not! And like you said, you have all the material, patterns etc... and the know how! Why not!
    Ahem, my first baby was born in 1977, it was a good year!
    Did you say you are or are not going to find out what the baby is? Just wondering.
    Your dress turned out so pretty.
    So is your hubby getting all geared up too about the baby that is?
    Take care.
    Jean C.

  9. Great idea to adapt regular patterns for maternity wear! I just had our baby 4 weeks ago and wish I had been as industrious as you during my pregnancy!

  10. Congratulations! And oh my gosh, what a gorgeous dress!

  11. I love your dress! It is so elegant!

    No one is going to pay attention to your slightly off stripe in the middle. The overall package is fabulous!

  12. Wonderful dress, in a lovely fabric!

  13. Great dress. From your earlier comments, check out wardrobe refashionists (your blouses you remade). If you can't find it, email me @

  14. Even if it's only going to be used by you for a few months this time around, that doesn't mean it will just be thrown out afterwards, right? Even if you feel that one child is enough, I'm sure someone else will want/need the clothes. And if you are pregnant again in the future, how awesome to already have clothes!