Netta fitted four muslins and altered the patterns as soon as she found out that she was pregnant. This gave her time to work through them and something to look forward to once the little guy gets here.
The first pattern in the queue was Burda #7202 – a basic cowl-neck unlined slip dress that is a great dress for practicing a lot of hand sewing or detailed narrow hem on a machine.
We started off by expanding the cowl a bit and lengthening it by about 2″ in the front without changing the shoulders or armholes – just grading it to the shoulder point. This gave it a more generous drape in the front and the extra weight helps the silk sit inside the neckline better.
Be prepared if you are using this pattern in a slippery, silky, or particularly stretchy fabric in a lighter weight: Those long darts in the back are going to be a challenge. They are straightforward, and not difficult per se, but a challenge nonetheless because they will tend to meander and wobble toward the points. If you are getting bad results right out of the gate, we totally give you permission to leave the darts unsewn and wear it as more of a sack dress with a cowl neck. It would be fine.
Other than that, we used a really nice charmeuse in green teal from Fishman’s with french seams for the side and shoulder seams, regular straight stitches set to 1.8 mm for the back darts, and a very fine blind hem/chiffon stitch for the neckline and armholes sewn with a #8 between needle.
We left the hem raw in case there are hip balance issues after she has the baby. It would probably have been fine to do the hem and just put it away for a couple of months, but the hemline is at most 40 inches, so hemming it by hand won’t be more than part of a rainy afternoon.
This is a nice dress or blouse to work up if you have never sewn anything slinky before. It has a clean shape that isn’t hard to see and interpret – there is a kind of directness to it.
Here she models the original toile and holds the finished one:
And check out the final modeling shots!
As a note, if you are thinking about taking this approach to fitting before a pregnancy for after, it won’t always work. If you are really athletic and haven’t gained a lot of mass during pregnancy, you should be fine. If you gain a lot of mass (as opposed to just weight) during pregnancy or if you tend to yo-yo between sizes when not pregnant, you may want to hold off. We’ve had body types like Netta’s work well for this kind of sewing-around-a-pregnancy project, but be careful and approach it with realistic expectations. And keep it simple.
You can find Burda #7202 here.
You can read about Burda #7202 on Pattern Review Here.