Megan Nielsen ‘Perfect Nursing and Maternity Dress’ (Simplicity 1469)
There are two versions of this pattern: a Megan Nielsen published pattern (which were sold out and not available as PDFs yet when I was starting to plan these projects), and the Simplicity Version, which I followed. This is Simplicity 1469 View A. Many thanks to Gillian for giving me the patterns for this and the Megan Nielsen wrap top, which involved them being sent from another blogger in the US! The sewcialist community is pretty amazing.
My sister lent me her serger while I’m on a sewing kick! Amazing. Thanks Kris!
Gillian helped me get started on the bodice and sleeves. She added the bands for extra stability, while still allowing for plenty of stretch.
We thought the top looked kind of large, so I left the side seams until the end, so that I could tighten it up once the other pieces were together. I added the pleats then attached the pleated top, to middle bands, and tried it on. The fit (shown below) prompted me to send an email to Gillian with the subject line: “saggy boob pleats – help!” Being the fantastic friend that she is, she came over the next morning and helped me troubleshoot.
I cut the bands off, and decided that instead of doing the pleats again I would try gathers. I attempted to make gathers by pulling thread, but that didn’t really work, so I went to an elastic band.
I then re-attached the top to the bands, and the bands to the pleated skirt front, attached the back pieces then stitched up the sides.
My main headaches were running the gathered bodice (plus added elastic “basting”) to 2 pieces of fabric for the waist band through the serger. That’s a lot of material. I also had some issues matching up one of the sides exactly. I think it was the super-stretchy heavy fabric (and my getting tired of working on this dress!). I left the sleeves and bottom un-hemmed, just trimmed them neatly with a rotary cutter. This fabric is super dense and is not going to fray or roll.
After wearing it a couple of times I’ve realized that when I shortened the bodice I didn’t take quite enough off of the “under-bodice”, and it’s now loose and baggy. So I’ll still have to make some adjustments on that…. another day.
Overall, I give this dress a solid “ok”. It’s definitely wearable, but not as great as I had hoped. I am lucky that Gillian helped me out along the way, otherwise I would have given up, or started wearing a weirdly baggy dress. Perhaps I just cut the size too big, or the super stretchy, heavy-ish fabric meant that the “right” size ended up too big. I was also getting impatient towards the end, which meant that all my seams didn’t align perfectly. So I chalk this one up to learning how to sew with knits, figuring out a serger, and learning how to size for a pregnant body (and guessing at a nursing sized bodice). And… perhaps the biggest lesson that sewing is teaching me: sometimes you just have to give up perfection and move on.
Have you made this pattern? What did you do to make it easier working with all the layers of pleated fabric and doubled waist band? Did you also have fitting issues with the under-bodice?