The “Journey” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 3 metres of ‘travel icons’ print craft cotton, on sale from Spotlight last year, $4/metre
Pattern: Weigel’s 1703
Year: unknown, looks early 1950′s?
Notions: 4 vintage hooks from stash, 4 mismatched burgundy buttons from stash
Time to complete: 6.5 hours
First worn: hunting (unsuccessfully) for a new lounge suite
Wear again? yep
Bump: 20 weeks (halfway!)
Total cost: ~$12

Check out the fabric of this dress – isn’t that just so cute?!? (Well, I think it’s cute. Steve disagrees. But then, we have different taste in, well, pretty much everything. Hence the unsuccessful lounge suite hunt, over two full days. *sigh* Anyway….)

I picked this up in Spotlight down in Dunedin on Boxing Day – my mother and I inevitably go to Spotlight on Boxing Day, just coz we can. And they tend to have a pretty good sale down at the Dunedin store then. Also inevitably, I buy too much fabric and struggle to get it all in my suitcase to go home again. Oops! Luckily I managed to fit this in somehow, as when I found out the challenge for this week was ‘pink’, I knew immediately what I had to do – use this fabric!!! I’ve been hanging out to use it for a while. Different shades of pink, with little icons of planes and buses and taxis and suitcases all over it? Brilliant.

Weigel’s 1703 is a rather interesting pattern. It’s a bit different from the standard maternity patterns from the 1950′s, with their skirts with cut-out circles and their tent-like tops. (All of which are rather cute, I might add, and some of which are likely to end up in my wardrobe soon.) This dress does something rather nifty at the waist – the four pleats closest to the centre front are held together by hooks and thread loops, rather than stitched in place. See?

Then there are three more thread loops inside each pleat, so as your bump expands, you can expand the front of the dress. Meaning you don’t have to wear a tent until you need to – the tent grows with you! Pretty cool, huh?

And it buttons down the front, for once the baby arrives. (I’ve been informed I need things that button down the front for ‘easy access’ at that stage. I figure this dress fits the bill. Close those pleats to their tightest loops, add a belt, and it should be all good to go.)

Yes, that belt is worn above the waist at the moment. For some strange reason, it just doesn’t fit around my waist any more….. Go figure.

I indulged in a bit of blue to go with the pink (after all, I have no idea if this bump will be a boy or a girl, so probably best not to exclude either from a creation at the moment, haha!) and used some blue hemming lace on the hem of the skirt and also the armholes.

It’s a bit too cold to wear by itself around here these days, and I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold, so you’ll have to ‘scuse the merino top underneath. (It’s also a bit windy around here today, even though we were in a sheltered spot. Notice the vertical bit of hair on top of my head in some of these pics? There’s a reason I have long hair – so I can tie it back on windy days.)

My one issue with this dress is the fit in the bodice. Even though it’s for my bust size (in theory) it’s rather loose. Not sure what’s up with that – perhaps they just expected that everyone with a 34″ bust would swell up to a 38″ bust and not change pattern size? *shrug* If I make it again, I’ll take a bit of volume out of that front bodice somehow.

Actually, now that I remember, I had one other issue with this dress. The front skirt pattern piece was missing. Argh!!!! So I hacked it together by using the back skirt piece, drawing the pleat lines on to match the front bodice pleat lines, then measuring what was left and making it into a pleat on either side (as indicated on the pattern envelope) to make it fit the front bodice nicely. I think it worked out quite well. Gotta love those little hacks at times. I’ve worn this dress twice now, and I’m loving it quite a lot, so I think I will be making the pattern again. Next time I make it, I’ll take the time to properly draft a new front skirt piece so it’s there for whoever makes it up in the future.

And just because this is a maternity dress, here’s a photo of the bump. 20 weeks now, halfway there! Eek!!

(It also fits in nicely with the Sew, Baby! challenge, for both the vintage and the dresses categories. Yay!)

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21 responses to “The “Journey” Dress

  1. Wow what a cool pattern, great idea for an expanding waistline, totally ripping that idea off when I get pregnant! I like that it’s the “Journey” dress because of the fabric print but it’s also a pregnancy journey dress, since it travels with you (and expands) all the way through. Sorry that’s probably a bit lame ;) Great job xx and you are looking fab with your cute bump.

  2. Looks lovely, plenty of room to grow and love the fabric. Not sure the lounge suite is a good idea though. I bought a new one and new carpet just prior to my first child and my first grandchild only to have them wreck both. Milk, food spills and vomit inevitably leave stains – maybe leather so it is easy to wipe up?

    • Thanks!

      Yeah, I’m of two minds about the lounge suite. Main reason we’re looking at getting a new one is the current one is rather old and I’m already struggling to get out of it – am a bit worried I’ll have to employ the “roll off onto the floor” method in another month or two to escape it!

  3. bramblerosenat

    Wow Kat I really wanted to see this pattern made up. It’s such an interesting idea, and it has come together really really nicely! It looks great!
    Love love love this fabric. Def works in a small print as it hides the hook and eye. Will def be doing something similiar when the time comes

  4. bramblerosenat

    Wow Kat I really wanted to see this pattern made up. It’s such an interesting idea, and it has come together really really nicely! It looks great!

    Love love love this fabric. Def works in a small print as it hides the hook and eye. Will def be doing something similiar when the time comes!

    • Thanks darlin’!

      Well, depending on how you time it, you can always borrow this one for a few months. ;-)

  5. Such a cute little bump! That expanding dress is a great idea. Oh and don’t worry too much about the front buttoning things for afterwards – in my current experience easy lifting tops are easier and more discreet ;-)

    • Thanks! :-)

      Haha, yeah, I think the whole feeding thing is going to be another wardrobe challenge for me, when that time comes! Eek!

  6. ahhh thats lovely Kat , you look beaming of happiness

  7. I love the print, love the dress and it looks lovely on you. So nice to see a pregnant woman not trying to hide her pregnancy. Enjoy.

  8. Wow, halfway, congrats! Love this print– it’s so cute! And what a clever design!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I love the design of this – it seems so much more wearable than a lot of the ‘tent’ styles from that era, that just look like they’d be rather voluminous until you’re in the third trimester!

  9. OMG. I love that you made such an awesome dress that will grow with you!! Positively brilliant! And that fabric is very fantastic – all of those little travel symbols – the whole dress is really too fabulous for words :)

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