Thursday, 14 July 2016

Drafting The Basic Pattern for the 4 Piece Maternity Wardrobe.

I have finally had the chance to sit down and write up the drafting instructions for the 4 piece maternity wardrobe!

The pattern is really essentially a really simple change to a basic knit dress. I used my existing basic pattern (block), although you could change pretty much any simple knit dress pattern (or t-shirt) in the same way. I made mine by tracing existing clothing (details/tutorials here) and have tweaked it over the past few years for a good fit. Burda style has a knit sloper which would work well for this.

I have used my pre-pregnancy size to start with. I added extra along the side seams as I go, for 2 reasons. Firstly, I gained weight that wasn't all baby, and secondly little extra along the seams will allow me to re-cut and convert things to non-maternity at a later point. I've kept the shoulders the same because my shoulders haven't gotten any wider. 

The fabrics I've chosen are quite stretchy, mostly viscose jersey. This is clearly important because these garment needs to have a bit of give! I swear I felt bigger each morning when I got up.

So I'm starting with this.  Front on the left, back on the right throughout.

Mine has a dart at the bust, although it would work well with or without.

I have three horizontal lines across this pattern - one on the bustline, one to mark the underbust line and a waistline. You can get away with just a waistline.

The block also has sleeves (long and short shown here). I haven't included them as they remain unchanged throughout.
 To begin with, I drew in the hip line (based on where the pattern is at it's widest) and marked some notches. The notches are placed 2.5cm (1 inch) above the hip line, and 2.5cm (1 inch) above the waistline. These will be a reference point for the gathers.

I measured the distance between the hip and waist.
I used this measurement as a guide for how much to add. I doubled mine, but with hindsight, I decided that an increase of 75% would be sufficient. So I am going to add 75% of that measurement to the length. I've drawn it just under the waistline to the side here. My measurement was 16cm (6 1/4"), so I would use 12cm (roughly 4 3/4") on the side. 
 I split the pattern at the waistline, and spread it apart that 75% measurement.
I connected from below the bust dart (I would work from approximately where the bust would be if there were no dart) creating a bit more space rather than coming into the waist. I also added 1cm (3/8") all the way down the side on both front and back.
 I eliminated the vertical darts in the front to make space for the bump.
 Which when filled in, looks pretty much like this.
This pattern is the complete basic dress pattern just as is. I can switch up the necklines / sleeves as I would for any basic dress.

To create the t-shirt I crop the pattern by the same amount front and back. So here, with a t-shirt pattern laid over the back, I establish how far below the notch the t-shirt should finish.

 And I mark the hemline on the front for the same space below the notch.

 Which when cut down looks like this. In the case of the t-shirt, I ignored the back dart on construction.
 To make a tank top or tank dress, I cut the neckline a bit lower, and the shoulder in a bit to make a narrower strap. Obviously I cut to t-shirt length for a tank top.
To create an above the bump skirt, I use the underbust line, or a line 2.5cm (1") above the top notch... 

 And then an additional line 2.5cm (1") above that for an elastic casing. This is based on using a 2.5cm elastic, which is zigzaged to the edge, folded and zigzaged again. If you wanted to create a casing, it would need to be deeper than the elastic to have an edge to fold over and stitch down. 
Which when cut out looks like this. I ignore the back darts on the skirt as well.

 So that left me with a basic pattern, from which I could trace the different variations.
 Construction for all garments starts with gathering the front between the notches to match the back between notches. For the dress or tank dress, also sew the back darts.

Then construct as you normally would for a t-shirt, or skirt with elastic waist. I started by making the dress, and basting the sides together in case I wanted to move the gathers up or down slightly. Once I was happy with it, I made the other variations.

All up, fairly quick to make, but it covered most of my requirements.

For more maternity and bump friendly stuff, have a look here.

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