McCall’s 3881 – Maternity Dress
Minnado of Minnado’s House very kindly sent me this maternity pattern after finding out I was expecting another baby. As she herself said, ‘it has an off-putting set of photos on the cover, but I think it could be a good set for basic pattern shells you could alter and make much more interesting’ - and she was right, the pictures aren’t particularly appealing. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me try to make something wearable! I already had some plain brown double knit set aside for basic maternity sewing, and I was thrilled when I opened Minnado’s parcel to find she had also unexpectedly included two generous lengths of lace trim which immediately made me think of So Zo’s ‘Faux Vintage Dress’. The slightly darker, biscuit coloured trim (below right) looked great against the brown and so immediately became destined for this dress. In fact, it is only as I have been typing up this post that I have discovered that the trim Minnado sent is THE EXACT SAME as the one Zoe used on her dress! So although I only intended to be inspired by Zoe’s dress, I have more or less replicated it in a maternity version, with the exception of a different colour and different sleeve length. Full credit to Zoe, and my apologies!
Based on the measurements given on the back of the envelope, I was looking at cutting a size 16. Now, I am not one to declare this impossible: I’m perfectly happy to admit I measure 38/31/40 - but… I knew that this would be way too big. The first clue is in the pictures on the pattern envelope. The second clue was that this is a maternity pattern, therefore it is bound to completely overcompensate size-wise and I would end up wearing a glorified sack. The third clue was that having worked with jersey before on numerous occasions, it always tends to come out that bit looser than woven fabrics so I have found it better to cut a size smaller. However, just to be sure on this occasion, I decided to cut two sizes smaller than indicated. Once this decision had been made, I traced the pattern only to find that in fact the pattern was the smaller-sizes edition anyway, and only went up to a size 12! Fate!
This would have been super-quick to sew if I had checked the length first. Normally I don’t need to – patterns are usually based on average height and because I am quite tall I rarely end up with something which is too long. But this came below the knee, and didn’t suit me, so having already sewn on Minnado’s trim, I had to unpick it all, chop 3.5″ off the length, then sew the trim back on. This took FOREVER. Zig zag stitch is a bitch to unpick! I also shortened the sleeves by 6.5″ as I wanted them elbow length rather than 3/4 length. However, sewing with jersey had its advantages: I omitted the centre back seam and zipper (I removed seam allowance and cut on the fold), and I didn’t finish the seams or hem the sleeves or the bottom of the dress. Double knit doesn’t fray, and besides I had the trim to finish the raw edges instead.
And that’s pretty much all I can tell you about this dress. It’s still a fairly loose fit, but I’m only halfway through the pregnancy so I’m going to need a bit of room to expand yet. The dress is comfy and practical, and quite warm, so good for autumn and winter.
Apologies for the bad photo quality – the photos to the left and right were taken at night, indoors, on my phone.
Below are some better ones taken in daylight with a real camera!
Thank you Minnado for the pattern and the trim!