Summer of the Dress: sewing with a plan

Friday 19 September 2008
To reassure you all that I don't see always see fashion in shades of grey, I thought I would share with you my planned fabrics and patterns for the summer of the dress challenge. For my work clothes I do tend to sew in neutral colours like grey, black or navy blue because I work in a conservative office environment, I like to wear matching tops and bottoms, and I like to add colour through wearing brightly coloured heels, scarfs and handbags (point in hand - I don't own a black handbag and my coloured shoes far outweigh my black ones). But since I'm pregnant, have 2.5 months left of work for at least another 12 months, I'm trying to make more casual style dresses so I'll be using all the great colours and prints that are sitting in my stash.

Now, I haven't really been one for sewing with a plan (SWAP) even though I have greatly admired those organised inviduals that do, so I'm not sure how successful I'll be in keeping to this, but at this early stage here are the proposals in no particular order:

First up is a simple cotton dress in a white with brown floral print that I already have cut out and will sew up this weekend. I plan to add a little more volume across the front to make it maternity friendly and I already have a white cotton jacket to wear with it, so I guess I'm being a slave to the pattern photo on this one!
A 1960s empire line wrap dress, to be made in a linen in a black and beige/yellow print. This should be large enough to wrap around my preggy belly, and also it is a good style for easy access to the 'girls' when I start breastfeeding.
The 'azalea' dress downloaded from Burda Style, as modelled here by the beautiful Maya511 on the Burda Style site and from her blog at the incurable homebody. I have shamelessly copied her colour scheme because a) I love it and b) I happen to have an apricot/orangey cotton voile with small brown hexagon squares in the stash. This will have enough volume for my belly, and I'll make it nursing friendly by making those straps openable with button attachments at the front.

A simple BWOF dress which I will make nursing friendly by making the straps openable, probably with a button closure, and add extra width to the front if those pleats aren't enough to go around my belly. This will be in a vibrant red floral cotton voile, that has a navy blue border print.
Another BWOF gem, this one should be low cut and stretchy enough to pull down the top for nursing, and should stretch nicely across my belly.

And yet another BWOF (gotta get my money's worth!) with a zippered front which will be ideal for nursing, and I may raise the drawstring section a little higher to sit above my belly and add extra width below that for gathering. To be made in a purple and green leaf print cotton voile.

The Mila dress downloaded from Burda Style, to be made in a blue and purple print cotton that I picked up in one of my recent op shopping sprees, with a contrasting centre panel in white similar to the Burda Style creation photo. This one might have to be post birth and return of waistline, or I'll add some pleats to the front under the bust line to accommodate my current extra girth.

And last but not least, a modern BWOF that I will make in a modern graphic print cotton that I've had in the stash for a few years after buying it off ebay and then not knowing what to make with it. I'll use a bright red cotton for the contrast panels for the pocket, armhole, waistband and central placket. To make it maternity friendly I will continue the pleat that starts below the pocket to the waistband to give extra width across the front. After my belly goes away and my waist comes back (fingers crossed!) I can sew down the pleat and reduce the volume.
Thanks to Suzy and others for pointing out the need for nursing friendly clothes, I'm now looking at all my patterns in a new light but lucky there are quite a few patterns that fit the bill or are easily adaptable.


  1. Wow -you are going to be the best dressed new Mum - I remember being shell shocked and never thought it through before the event - well done - enjoy this phase of your life - it certainly looks like you will do it in style! Bravo!

  2. I made two of the Simplicity 3874 this summer. I am now 5 months pregnant, and these dresses still fit. This is a great pregnancy (and immediately after, I imagine) pattern, especially with the elasticized ties in the front-- you can make it more flattering by pulling them tight!

  3. I like your plan and I like how quite a few of the dresses can be adjusted after the birth with minimal effort so that they are still wearable!

  4. Ditto what Carolyn said. And I admire your energy!

  5. Those are all of my favorite recent Burda/Burdastyle dresses! You are turning my dream wardrobe into a reality [just not a reality for me - LOL! :) ]

  6. Dang! That's some planning, woman! Yay for Summer of the Dress. We shall look smashing, shall we not, all of us SotD recruits?!

  7. Great plan! Some really nice dresses there.

  8. I've been enjoying you blog. There are nursing clothes patterns available from Elizabeth Lee Designs at They are sort of frompy, but are great for adapting and from what I've seen, you're really good at that. There also some patterns available on ebay. I've bought some (*gasp*) from, a Canadian company that has some great things also.

  9. I find very interesting the butterick pattern. The number is 4875, right? Because when I search for it in vintage patterns sites, I found an another pattern with this number.
    Anyway, I can't wait to see the result of your sewing of the pattern !

  10. I'm a little late in responding to this post, but I certainly need to chime in! Wow, I really admire your planning AND your wonderful choices! I'm also very flattered that my Azalea dress inspired you enough to copy the color scheme. All of these dresses will look fab on you -- before and after the baby!

  11. Dear Kristy
    have just stumbled upon your great blog. I am 5 mths preg with #2 baby and was looking for inspiration to alter some patterns (if I can work out how) that I already have. I also love recycling opshop/garage sale finds into clothing etc. I have one question for you - what does BWoF stand for? Many of your patterns say this - I have not heard of this before? And all the best with the birth, you might find you end up going into labour just before induction is due, that happened to me anyway and I hear it is quite common!
    kath v