Monday, August 27, 2012

Crossover Nursing Dress

  It's been a while since I wore a dress... nursing and most dresses don't mix well. I've been trying for a while to design something that would work for nursing that would be easy to make. My first attempt didn't fit right, and the fabric didn't work well with the design I made. So here's my second attempt!
  This one has a ruffled crossover bodice with a nursing underlay... the underlay has openings to make things a little easier. There is a little bit of gathering under the bust, a waistband, and an ankle-length circle skirt.
  I used a queen-sized jersey sheet set from Walmart for the fabric on this one... If I was using yardage, I think it would have used about 5.5 yards, with lots of scraps.

 I didn't take pictures for a full tutorial on this one, but I can show you how I made the pattern pieces and tell you how I sewed them together.
  I started off with a plain t-shirt that fit me fairly well. I folded it in half, put the folded side against the edge of my paper, and traced around the other side. I also folded the lower portion of the shirt up, as I wanted the waistband to hit right under the bust.

  That gave me my bodice underlay piece and my back bodice piece, so I cut it out twice on the fold of my knit fabric. I also used this piece to create the crossover piece.

  I traced around the sleeve the same way, adding a tiny bit of length. I cut two of this piece, with the right (longer) straight side against the fold each time.

  For the crossover bodice, I placed my bodice underlay piece 2.5 inches from the edge of the paper, for a slight overlap, then drew a straight line from the lower edge to the shoulder.
  Since I also wanted a little gathering, I added 1.75 inches to the right side:

  I cut two of this piece, making sure they were mirror images:

  The waistband is the width of the bodice underlay times two, and is 2.5 inches tall. I cut 4 of the waistband. The ruffle is a really long strip cut 3 inches wide and folded in half along the length. For the skirt, I cut a circle skirt the same as I did for the ruffle on this skirt. Since it is so long, I couldn't fit the entire skirt on my fabric and had to cut it in two pieces. I added seam allowances to all of my pieces before cutting them out.

  Then to sew... I sewed each crossover piece to the back pieces just at the shoulder, then ruffled up my long strip, pinned it all the way around the new neckline, and sewed it down. I put some clear elastic in the seam allowance of the ruffle, stretching it slightly, and also topstitched around the neckline with a twin needle. I finished the edge on the bodice underlay neckline, pinned it under the shoulder seams, and stitched in the ditch to tack them down.
  I tacked the crossover and underlay pieces together along the armhole edges and pinned the sleeves in, then sewed them down, then sewed the side seam from the waist to the wrist all in one go.
  Next, I sewed two waistband pieces together to create a tube. I pinned the crossover pieces together at the overlap and gathered under the bust until the total crossover width was the same as the underlay width. Then, I pinned the waistband to the bodice all the way around and sewed it down.

  I sewed the two halves of the circle skirt together, then carefully pinned them to the lower side of the waistband and sewed them down. I added clear elastic in the lower and upper seam allowance of the waistband, stretching slightly, then sewed together the other two waistband pieces and pinned them in. I sewed the top portion along the same seam as the first waistband, then flipped it down, ironed the lower portion up along the seam allowance, and topstitched with a twin needle to tack it down. I hemmed the skirt and sleeves with the twin needle and topstitched on the upper side of the waistband with it, and I was done!

 Next time, I will make a few changes. The waistband width will be slightly smaller than the distance around my ribs, so I can leave the clear elastic out, and there won't be any rippling... the bodice and skirt will be tapered to the waistband to match. I will also cut the crossover pieces slightly shorter along the slanted edge, for the same reason. And, when I make the cutouts on the underlay, I will lightly interface the back before cutting to keep the edges from rolling and showing through the front.

  Overall, however, I'm happy with how this turned out. My husband really likes it, and I've received more compliments on it already than any other garment I've made myself. =)

   I just need a colored belt and shoes to wear with it.
  I love how full the skirt is. =)

  At some point in the future, when I try this again, I'll take pictures for a full tutorial, so I can explain things a little better.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Wow! Charity! You did a wonderful job! That was a sheet? It looks like a hundred bucks!

    1. Yes, it was... and not very expensive either! Thank you =)