Tag Archives: maternity

Apples and turtles for Dolly

Getting in right at the last minute for Sew Dolly Clackett, I made a dress this weekend!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, I had big plans for the Dolly Clackett sew-along. I love dresses, and I love quirky prints, and cottons. (And I love Roisin’s style.) So this sew-along? Pretty much perfect, really.

Fabric was chosen, as was the pattern (to start with, making two Cambie dresses). And then, it happened.

The lack of sew-jo.

For a month.

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And not only that, exhaustion set in as well. I was just too darn tired to do anything except fall into bed at a crazy early hour every night.

My sewing machine was gathering dust. The fabric was sitting in it’s pile, untouched and ignored.

What happened?!?!



Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yep, that’s a 13-week baby bump, folks. 🙂

(Which also means there was no way I was gonna be able to squeeze into any Cambie dresses anytime soon. Or anything else with a fitted waist, for that matter.)

And then it was Easter. A 4-day weekend. And the end of the first trimester. The exhaustion lifted slightly, I was rapidly running out of things to wear. Gloriously, the sew-jo returned!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I dug out Butterick 4513, a re-released 1950’s pattern that I’ve made once before, way back in 2010. It’s a crazy-easy pattern to make, with a total of four pieces – front and back skirt, front and back bodice. Four darts, some elastic at the back, and you’re done. Voila!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s super-easy to wear, as well. A pull-on style, with elastic at the back so it looks fitted around the waist but that fitted-ness can stretch as required as a baby bump grows. Then spring back into shape for post-baby wear! Win!

Now, I was going to show you a photo of the first time I made this pattern, way back when. I know I did a blog post about it. But can I find it, anywhere?!?! No, I can’t. Argh! Instead, I’ve trawled through the archives and dug out a rather terrible image from Me-Made-June 2011. Here ’tis:

(What you can’t see here is that the top and armholes of the bodice are edged in red bias binding, which extends to tie in bows at the shoulders, just like on the pattern envelope. You’ll just have to imagine that part, I’m afraid.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I decided to make a couple of changes this time around. Firstly, I moved the darts, as they were in the wrong place for me. I moved the side bust darts down a couple of centimetres, and moved the bust darts across as well as lowering the point by a good inch. (Can’t remember the exact amounts – I wrote ’em down, but the paper has gone walk-abouts.) I also shortened the bodice by 2cm as I found the waist of the first dress I made from this pattern was a bit too low. (In hindsight, 1.6cm would have been about perfect for shortening. Next time.) And I shortened the skirt by about 16cm or thereabouts.

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other change I made was to the shoulder straps. While I like the bias binding finish and the little bows of the pattern, I’m planning to wear this quite a bit over winter with a long-sleeved merino top and tights underneath, and little bows on the shoulder look kinda bulky under cardigans. (Plus, I’m trying to channel Roisin’s style a bit here, and she goes for wider shoulder straps.) So instead, I just made some wide, flat straps and attached them at front and back.

(I reckon the result looks a little bit like this dress of Roisin’s. Only with little wee turtles and fruit on it, instead of floral.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with how this came out. It’s super comfy to wear, is gonna work for the next month or two of pregnancy, and will be all good to wear after the baby arrives as well. (In fact, I’ve been wearing it quite a bit the last few days. I’m seriously thinking about making another one with the same adjustments. And pockets, which I forgot to add to this one. And we all know pockets make things awesome-er.)

As to how it’s channeling Roisin’s style? Well, here’s what I was using for inspiration/ideas:

  • It’s a vivid colour (she is rather fond of blue)
  • It’s a cotton in a quirky print (little turtles! Apples and pears!!) (even though it’s a smaller print than she goes for usually)
  • It’s a 1950’s inspired style, with a fitted waist (plus elastic, woo hoo!)
  • It’s got a reasonably high square neckline and wide straps, like the Flora dress she’s been making a lot lately
  • Plus, it works well with brightly coloured shoes and a cardigan. And we all know Roisin’s about the shoes and cardigans. 😉

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – Sew Dolly Clackett, maternity style! (And our front door is even blue, so I could attempt to mimic’s Roisin’s photo shoot style. Hah.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The “Bookworm” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: about 2.5 metres of some woven blend, $4 from Fabric-a-brac, and a bit of navy lining from my stash
Pattern: Style 2382
Year: 1978
Notions: none!
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: about 5 mins after I made it, for a walk around the zoo
Wear again? already have!
Bump: 26 weeks
Total cost: $4

Yep, I admit it – I’ve made this pattern before. But heck, I’ve been wearing it so much, and it’s so comfy, I just had to make another one!

I have another confession as well – this dress was made for the TV Characters inspiration week at The Sew Weekly. And the TV series I used was the same as the one I used for inspiration last year. Not even that, but I also used the same character for inspiration. And just to completely clone May last year, I even used the same dress for inspiration. (Why was this? Was I just not feeling very creative, or is it that there’s something about that dress that just makes me want to make other ones based on it?!?) Here’s my inspiration:

Yep, it’s Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer! And a cute little (shapeless and geeky) pinafore dress. I heart Willow – she’s awesome. And something about her geeky-yet-cute style appeals to me.

I did try to find other inspiration. I went hunting all over the place for pregnant TV characters. Turns out there aren’t many of them. Mad Men is the best show for them, but I’ve never managed to get into Mad Men. (Hopefully that didn’t shock the online sewing world toooo much. I admit it – I watched three episodes in the hope it would grow on me, but it didn’t. I got bored.) It didn’t seem right to be inspired by an outfit from a character from a show I don’t like, so I fell back onto one of my old fave’s – good ol’ Buffy.

This fabric came from Fabric-a-brac the other week – as soon as I saw it, I wanted to make another version of Style 2382 in it. The TV Characters inspiration came along at just the right moment – being inspired by Willow’s preppy plaid pinafore, I made a pretty plaid pinafore of my own. Yay!

I love this pattern – it comes together so nice and easily. No notions either – you just pop it over your head and you’re good to go. I figure I’ll be able to wear this style post-pregnancy as well, with a belt around my waist. Or that’s the hope, anyway. Only reason it took 4 hours to make is because I’m slow at hand stitching (for the lining on the inside), otherwise it would have been a 3 hour dress.

As soon as I finished making it, I put it on and Steve and I took advantage of a beautiful sunny winter’s day to go for a walk around the zoo and look at the animals. We spent a while at the giraffes. I like the giraffes – they’ve always been high on my list of favourite animals. Also, they have blue tongues. How cool and random is that?!?

There’s all sorts of random things dotted around the zoo – they’re slowly turning it into themed areas for each country/continent. So up around the African area, there are things like huts and jeeps and the like. Since it was there, I sat in the jeep, as countless children have probably done before me. (It’s getting to be a bit of a struggle getting in and out of things like that gracefully though, I must say!)

This dress nicely fits into the ‘vintage’ and ‘dress’ categories of the Sew, Baby! challenge. As has pretty much everything else I’ve made for maternity wear. Hah. Figures.

So why call this the ‘Bookworm’ dress? Well, Willow’s a bit of a bookworm. And so am I. I go through books pretty quickly, and I’ve especially been doing so with this whole pregnancy thing – too tired to go out and socialise, so I hide at home with a book instead. I figure I’ll be reading a fair few in the future, wearing this dress and curled up on the couch with a snuggly blanket and a cat or two. Winter is prime book reading season, after all.

Speaking of which – anyone got any good books to recommend??

The “Generations” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: about 2/3rds of a cotton double-sized duvet cover I got in a clothes swap a while back
Pattern: Style 2382
Year: 1978
Notions: about 1 metre of hem binding tape
Time to complete: 3.5 hours
First worn: to work on Monday 6 May
Wear again? yep
Total cost: About $0.30 for the hem binding
Bump: 21 weeks


Check it out – I’m wearing a tent! Eek!!

(Much better with a belt, no?)

I love the fact that this pattern used to belong to my mother. It was published in 1978, so I figure she must have gotten it a bit too late to wear while pregnant with me, but I think she wore dresses from this while she was pregnant with all my siblings. The continuity of that makes me happy – different generations wearing dresses from the same pattern, while pregnant with the following generation. (*soppy moment* *cough, sorry ’bout that, the soppiness came out of nowhere*) Here’s my mum, pregnant with my middle brother, wearing a dress from a similar pattern. (I’m the little girl in the middle of the photo, aged around 4. My grandmother is holding the oldest of my three brothers.)

So, the pattern. This one came together nice and quickly – not surprising, since it consists of a front yoke, back yoke, and skirt panels. No fastenings, nothing tricky, just a few gathers in front and back. 3.5 hours in total, which included hand stitching the shoulder seams of the yoke facing and hand stitching the yoke facing down on the inside. I’m slow at hand stitching – this dress would have taken around 45 minutes less time otherwise. I made up version 3, the overtop without sleeves, only in version 2’s length (since as of yet I haven’t made any maternity trousers or slim skirts. There are plans afoot for both of those in the near future though….). I hemmed it using blue hemming tape, for a pop of colour on the inside. (One day, I will run out of this hemming tape. Then I will be sad.)

The pattern is very easy to put together. I made a couple of adjustments as I went along – aside from adjusting it to my size (taking it down two sizes) I also took it in a bit at the base of the yoke as it was flaring out at the back a bit more than I liked. And I chopped 8cm off the bottom of the dress, after my flatmate asked if I was going to shorten it. (Originally, I wasn’t going to, but she put the idea in my head. I got lazy and couldn’t be bothered pinning it up to see if I wanted to take any length out, and just grabbed the trusty rotary cutter. Sewing people – don’t copy what I do, it can go horribly wrong at times.)

Sure, it’s a bit of a tent. But hey, it’s a maternity dress. They’re kinda meant to be tents, right?!? And tents are most certainly comfortable to wear! I can see this one getting a fair amount of use over the next few months – add some heels (I’m seeing how long I can get away with wearing high heels at work for – too stubborn to give them up just yet) and a cardigan, and it’ll be good to go.

So there we have it folks – the next installment in my creations for the Sew, Baby challenge. This one fits into the ‘vintage’ and ‘dresses’ categories. Like all of the maternity-specific things I’ve made so far. (Note to self: branch out and make some separates soon!) Stay tuned for next week’s Sew, Baby creation – will it be another vintage dress? Or something completely different? Heck, even I’m not sure yet! 😉

(PS please to be excusing the photos. I didn’t quite get this finished before it got dark on Sunday, and it’s dark by the time we get home from work these days, so it was either photos-inside-at-night or wait until next weekend. I am an impatient sort, so photos-inside-at-night it was.)

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!)