Monday, November 11, 2013

Princess Seam Nursing Dress

On Saturday, I finally finished a dress for me!

  Technically, this is a wearable muslin... I was pretty sure it would work, since it was drafted from my sheath dress sloper, so I went ahead and used fabric I like. Next time around I want to adjust the back shoulder seam higher, and the princess seam in the front a bit lower, but overall I'm quite pleased.
   This dress has princess seams in the front and back, a full hem faced with bias binding,

a keyhole and corseting in the back,

   crocheted trim at the hem, sleeves, and front neckline,

  and thread chains at the waist seams for belt loops, and for a button loop. ( I had no idea how easy those were! I thought they were some complicated sewing knot... but it's just crocheting!) They don't quite match, but this white thread was better than any of my other choices.

   It also has a very functional detail... zippers in the front seams for nursing access:

  I've never seen anything like this before, so I had no idea how well it would work, but it does it's job quite well.

  There is a tiny bit of puckering at the deepest part of the curve due to the stiffness of the zipper tape, but it's not too bad. I chose to put the zippers in upside-down, because I felt that the pulls would be less noticeable below the waist than they would be at the armscye.

   The keyhole in the back made me cry. I didn't want one there to begin with, but I needed an opening to get it over my head, didn't want another zipper, and thought this would look better than a slit and be easier than a placket. I had a perfectly-sewn, tiny keyhole there, but I decided to wash the dress before photographing it since I had some markings on it. In the washing machine, the neckline ripped a whole inch down from the keyhole! I'm guessing I clipped the neckline just a little too close for this fray-prone fabric. I'd added plenty of fray-check before trimming, but it didn't help. Anyway, the only way to fix it without being too obvious was to sew it again larger. I had to add a new piece to the facing and topstitch it, and it just isn't nearly as pretty as it was, though not as crooked in real life as it is in this photo. I'm just glad I was able to fix it at all though, since to replace the back piece would have meant redoing the corseting.

  The grommets were the other truly difficult thing.... installing them wasn't bad at all, but cutting tiny holes through four layers of very thick fabric with somewhat dull scissors took a terribly long time. My thumb hurt all day after that:

  I made room for the corseting by adding 1.5" to each side of the back princess seams at the waist, tapering to nothing at the hip and bust lines.

 The grommets start 1.25" inches below the bust line and above the hip line, to be certain there was room for them in the seam.

  All in all, I love this dress. It's comfortable, and though it may look a bit too costume-y for some, I really don't care. I love this silhouette.

  I'm looking forward to another iteration of this, or maybe a few. =)

  Next on the list is another coin purse... I have the pieces cut out and just need to fuse, sew, and glue it all together. =)

  And just because she's adorable, here is a photo of my little 3-month old, who is growing more quickly than I thought possible:

Thanks for stopping by,

26 comments:

  1. I love the details in your dress. She will be 1 years old before you know it :)

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    1. Thank you. =)
      Yes, she will... that's what happened with her sisters too. =)

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  2. That's one heckuva detailed muslin! I love the nursing zippers--what a nifty idea!

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    1. I know right!? I was just sewing the main pieces together originally... but then I wanted to test the zippers out too. And I just figured if I was going to sew that detail in I might as well make it something I'd wear a lot. =) Thanks! They work even better than I'd hoped. =)

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  3. I had a hard time believing this was a nursing dress until you showed the zippers. WOW.

    I found you because I was looking at NDAD (which I followed at the beginning of her blog, but not recently). I saw the re-fashion of the maternity jumper & noticed you were wearing a skirt, so thought I'd check out your blog. It is refreshing to see something modest on the internet. I am impressed with what you're creating (and am inspired). Thank you.
    -Crystal

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    1. Yay! That's exactly the reaction I was hoping for.
      Thank you! I'm so blessed that I have the opportunity to inspire others through the internet. =)

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  4. Very nice. I could see this in a Navy Blue. You are a very good seamstress!

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    1. Thank you! I'm actually hoping to make a version of it in navy at some point. =)

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  5. Aaah! I love the way you made this into a nursing-friendly dress. I like wearing dresses as opposed to tops/skirts, but have a hard time do that while I'm nursing my little one. Bravo on a fabulous idea and excellent execution of it!

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    1. Thank you! I was really not sure if this idea would work... I'm incredibly happy that it did. =) I love dresses as well, but it really can be difficult to find modest ones that are also nursing-friendly.

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    2. Okay, I did it! I borrowed your idea and made my own nursing-friendly princess-seam dress. I just wanted to show you, so came back to leave a link to my flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29316409@N05/12859956015/
      Thank you for the brilliant idea!!

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    3. That is awesome, Joelle! Thank you for linking back. =)
      I love the fabric you used, and the belt is a nice touch. =)

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  6. I love this dress! Beautiful design and execution. You do an excellent job crafting attractive and tasteful garments! I've wanted to try "the zippers" for years, but by the time I have both the time and mental capacity to try, I'm finished nursing. Kudos for sewing at all with three little ones!!

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    1. Thank you for such a sweet comment! I love that we both had the same idea. It really is difficult to find time to sew... but I've found that I'm a much nicer person to be around if I've sewn or otherwise created something recently, so it's worth it for the whole family if I make it work. =)

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  7. If you'd omit the zippers, this would make a good "basic' RenFest costume!

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    1. I agree! That's kind of the look I was aiming for, so I'm happy to know I did it right. =)

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  8. Fantastic work, Charity. I wish I had thought of something that elegant when I was nursing.

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    1. Thank you! I just wish I had about 10 more dresses like this. =)

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  9. What an amazing dress! Nice work.

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  10. Great dress! do you think it would be possible to add nursing zippers to an already made princess seam dress?

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I do think you could! It would be fiddly but the basic steps would be unpicking the seam where you want the zipper, plus a few extra inches, installing the zipper, and sewing back up the extra inches. However, if the seam you are unpicking is serged together it would be extra work, and if the curves are clipped a lot the fabric might fray past the seamline while you are working with it, so that's something to watch out for. But it could definitely work!

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