If you remember, a few months ago, I tested a pattern for Wardrobe By Me called the Sneha Tunic. I have totally fallen in love with this pattern and made more tops just like my first one! It’s perfect for a comfy maternity knit top that will grow with you and still look fabulous. The top fit so well, that when I was looking for the perfect maternity dress for my baby shower and maternity photos, I decided to hack the Sneha pattern and use the top portion for a dress of my own design. I’ll give you all the details on how to hack this pattern for your own maternity dress in my guest post over at the Wardrobe By Me Blog, but believe me—this is an easy peasy project for those of us who just can’t find the right maternity dress!
What you’ll need:
- Top: 1-1/4 yards of knit fabric
- Bottom: 2 yards (yardage may vary—see below) of contrasting non-directional fabric
- 3/4″ wide elastic (enough length to go around torso, below your bust)
- Your Sneha Tunic sewing pattern (you won’t regret this purchase—you’ll have more of these tunics than you’ll know what to do with before long!
Some of you might find it odd that there’s elastic joining the high waist band, but it makes perfect sense for a maternity dress—especially when you’re far enough along that you just want to have some sort of shape again! It holds everything together quite nicely.
How to Make a Simple Maternity Dress
Cutting the Fabric
Starting with the fabric for the top, lay the fabric out, right side up. Fold in both long edges to meet in the middle. This way, you will have enough yardage to get the entire top.
Using your Sneha pattern, find your measurements, and cut out the appropriately sized top half of the tunic. You won’t need to cut out the bottom or tape the top and bottom together for this, we’ll only be using the top part of this pattern. From your folded fabric, cut:
- 2 arms (on fold)
- 1 back (on fold) ADD 1″ to bottom (see images below)
- 1 front (on fold) ADD 1″ to bottom (see images below)
- 1 neck band (measurements listed on lower body chart)
To cut the fabric for the bottom skirt of your dress, make sure that you have enough yardage: first, measure around your torso, right under the bust. Take this measurement, and multiply by 1.75. This will be your total yardage needed to make the skirt.
To sew the top, follow the directions for making the Sneha tunic starting at step 1 and stopping at step 7. Set aside.
To create the skirt, first trim off the selvedge edges, these edges will be the top and bottom of the skirt. Match the opposite edges, right sides together (this is the fabric width, not continuous yardage). Using 1/2″ seam, sew up the side. If you’re doing multiple layers or a slit, like I did for my maternity shoot, make sure to take that into account on this step. Repeat this step for each layer. Set aside.
Cut your elastic to the length that you measured under the bust. add 1″ cut elastic to length. To check the size, wrap the elastic right where you’d like it and take a deep breath, make sure it’s snug, but not digging in, you just want it to lay nicely. Trim as needed. Sew the ends of the elastic together, overlapping 1/2.”
Pin your the top of your skirt to the elastic; match so that the elastic is on the wrong side of the skirt and the top is flush with the raw edge of your skirt. Stretch the elastic and pin generously to ensure that the skirt will ruffle evenly. Stitch at 1/4″ from the top of the elastic.
If you have additional layers, add them in the same way.
Joining the Top and Bottom
Fold your top inside out. Match the top of the elastic to the bottom of the top, right sides together. Pin and stitch 1/2″ from the top of the elastic, making sure to hide all raw edges and stitching on the inside of the dress.
All that’s left to do is hem the bottom of your dress! Have a lovely assistant (my dear husband helped me out here) pin the bottom so that you get the perfect floor length dress. Remember that your hem might have a large curve in the front to allow for your growing belly! I was convinced that my husband botched the pinning, but then realized that my belly was adding a whole new dimension to this dress!