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Awkward Moments in Modest Dressing: Pregnant Without Sweatpants!

Disclaimer: I am no longer pregnant. These pictures were taken in February and our son was born March 1, 2011. I just didn't get this post done before now ;)
The fact is that when I was pregnant with my daughter, which was mostly during warm weather, I could find a plethora of fairly inexpensive maternity dresses. Which if you've ever been pregnant, you know that in the last few months pants can become very uncomfortable, as everything is too high or too low, and if you've never tried it, trust me, dresses/skirts are not only more comfortable during this period, but actually make you look more put together and attractive instead of a waddling, frumpy mess, ready to pop any second.
This time I was big-pregnant during the coldest part of the year, and was astonished to find that my options for covering myself were either jeans/sweats with tunic type shirts, the same wrap dress (but they were really expensive), and *gag* the blue jean miniskirt (I don't know how many people are wearing miniskirts in the last trimester of pregnancy, but can't imagine that it's a good look for anyone), not to mention that many options weren't very modest.
Undaunted, I decided to go to a local fabric store and look for some maternity sewing patterns to fill this void in my wardrobe. (Which I must say was so unbelievably and amply stocked through God's grace in providing me clothing through some very generous mothers. Thank you Crissy and Mrs. Walker!!! So, I had plenty of tops and pants, but not even a skirt to wear.) The problem was that even in pattern books you could find that same wrap dress (which I don't particularly care for as I have a 3yr. old I can envision lifting the fabric to see what's under "wraps", and there's wind).
*Sigh* So, what's a girl to do?!?
One word. Ebay. Yes, ebay.
I went to ebay and started looking through vintage patterns for maternity wear, and was delighted to find so many so cheap (many as cheap as $0.99! Woo Hoo!) and they looked more like regular dresses. They weren't tight everywhere, but were totally tailored and gorgeous!
So, I sewed, and sewed, and sewed, and ........ here's some results!
The pattern I used was a size 10, and fit well without modifying. I used a thin knit jersey (think cool and comfy fabrics) in grey. This was one of the most comfortable dresses I've ever worn, and the drawstring empire waist made it perfect even in the last trimester.

This pattern was a size 10, too, but I actually had to take it in quite a bit. This was the easiest to sew, and I used black polyester suiting material. It doesn't wrinkle easily or require ironing and this style works well with a sweater or fitted blazer (even if you can't button it anymore) and it gave me a dressy option without being uncomfortable.

This photo was suggested by Shelby.

This pattern was a size 16, but I didn't have to do much taking in due to the full nature of the skirt, just added a fabric tie-belt in the same material to keep it from looking like a muu muu when I was at my biggest. I wish I would've made it a little longer, and I had to refit the sleeves and neck (apparently my neck is bigger than the average pregnant woman in the 60s). I used a plaid cotton blend, but the material I chose shrunk a little, so definitely wash your fabric before cutting. Also very comfortable dress that worked well with leggings.

I used the pattern below for this top. I used a brown wool suiting material that had a gold thread running through it. It has a beautiful removable cowl neck and box pleating on the back. I used the Simplicity pattern below to make the matching skirt.

This was my attempt to show the box pleating in the back. Neither of these pictures really do this suit justice. It turned out so wonderfully, and I loved wearing it. I always got lots of compliments in it, and it made a really nice church outfit.

I made this skirt from the above pattern out of a wool black and white tweed.  This was a wardrobe staple and was very comfortable. I did not make the red sweater, but already had it.

I made this skirt by cutting apart a pair of wide-leg jean maternity capris that I bought at Walmart on clearance for $1!!! I wore it a lot more when I wasn't so big. It had a low elastic waist band, and by the time I was really big, I just didn't find that comfortable.
I did actually make the three-quarter sleeve suit from this pattern, but didn't get a chance to take a picture before I had our son. I used a bluish green thin suiting material for it, and I loved the pilgrim collar. 

If you're looking for vintage patterns on ebay look for bundles and make sure you check the shipping (it shouldn't cost $5.00 to ship a pattern). Also look to see if it is being sold "as is" or if the seller has checked to ensure that all the pieces and instructions are intact. Also for making maternity panels in skirts I cut up old t-shirts with an elastic casing at the top, and they were definitely comfortable.
If you're pregnant, I hope you enjoy being feminine and modest as much as I did :)
So, should pregnant women start demanding better clothing options for winter bigness? I say YES!
What say you?


Michelle said...

I say you're a sewing machine! (As in you sew like crazy...not that you're actually a machine.) Amazing. We need to do lessons soon.

AND I LOATHE BEING PREGNANT IN THE WINTER! I will take a hot, southern pregnancy any day!

Sarah : ) said...

Ha, ha! I wish I still had the same amount of time to sew! For the last three weeks I've had three dresses cut out and barely sewed a little on one bodice, and I still don't have even the curtains sewn for Jonah's room. I don't know if I'd be a good teacher, but I'd love to have someone to sew with ;)
Really? I loved being pregnant this winter! I was so hot all the time while I was pregnant with Shelby during the summer, but this time I could actually sleep on top of the covers in a thin nightgown and not be covered in sweat. Plus, I got to enjoy the major eating holidays without worrying about how much I was eating :D
Here's hoping I get to use those maternity dresses again, because I've got even more vintage maternity patterns. But if I don't, maybe I can sew vicariously through someone else ;)

Gigi said...

These are great!!! I especially love the grey, red and plaid tops!

Sarah : ) said...

Thanks. Right now I'm trying to get some nursing dresses, little girl dresses, and some slips for both Shelby and myself. If I actually get the time to finish them, I'll try to post some results ;)