Bump Friendly Dress Tutorial

The Arizona summer is starting to get to me. AZ heat+pregnancy+jeans = something I can no longer handle. I absolutly love maxi dresses. They are so cool, and hide so many flaws. Unfortunatly, because I am so tall, I have the hardest time actually finding any that are long enough. So how relieved was I when iI stumbled upon this amazing tutorial. It looked like the perfect summer dress, and although hers isn't "maternity" I was pretty sure it would work for my bump and I.

the finished product
I made several adjustments to this already fabulous tutorial, that I think make this dress even easier to sew {queen of corner cutting, that's me}. If you have never sewn before, or have very little sewing skills {me} this is the perfect project. It can also be made for any age, and any length {to the floor, to the knee, you could probably even make it a shirt if you'd like}.

{please note i have never done a tutorial before, and my sewing vocabulary is rudimentary at best}
{I also recommend you read the whole tutorial before you start}

Okay first things first, you will need some fabric. The other tutorial recommends you use a knit, all I had was rayon which I think will work just as well. Basically to make this an easy project you want a fabric that won't fray, and has good movment to it {think maxi dress material}. To know how much you will need, make sure to do the following two measurments before you go to the store.

For the first measurment, hold your arms straight out and measure the length from just above one elbow to just above the other. This will be the width of your fabric. You will probably need help with this, and since I was home alone I guessed and just used the width of my fabric {this also prevented me from having to make any cuts}
The next measurment is for the length. This one really depends on you. I had about two yards {68 inches} so I used what I had. Make sure to take in to consideration seam allowance at the top {about an inch} and hem allowance if you are planning to hem the dress {I didn't hem, and you don't have to if you are using a material that doesn't fray}

Normally you will now cut two pieces in your measurements. I avoided having to do that because I am using the width and the length of my piece of fabric. The picture above is that piece of fabric folded in half, right sides facing in. If you also want to save the extra cutting step {and later have one less seam to sew}, make sure the fabric you are going to buy is at least twice the width you need {since you will be folding it in half}. Your length measurment will just be how many yards/inches you have to buy. {I hope that makes sense} If the width of your fabric is much wider than you need, I would place it, folded in half on the ground {as shown above} and cut the excess fabric from the side opposite your fold. Later you will only have 2 seams to sew instead of three {one "seam" will be the fold in the fabric}

                                 the top of the dress ===>

Now that you have your piece (or pieces) the right length and width right sides facing in, you need to figure out how big you want your neck and arm holes to be. In this tutorial she has pictures on how to do that, but basically you just measure the neck and sleeve hole lengths of a shirt that fits you. Mine came out to be 9 inches for the neck and 9 inches for the sleeve.

cut 9 inches down from the top

On the side of your fabric that has the fold, you will cut down the fold from the top, the length of your sleeve {in my case 9 inches} and then put a pin at the 9 inch mark. On the other side just put a pin at the 9 inch mark {no cutting needed}

the top ===>                                                        
 Sorry my picture got flipped funny, but now pin along the top of your dress and sew your seam all the way across. Then do the same thing on the "open" side of your dress. Either start just below your sleeve pin or start at the bottom and stop at your sleeve pin. Either way works just make sure to leave the hole for your sleeve.
I didn't get a picture of this, but on the other side at the bottom of my sleeve hole I sewed back and forth a bit, just to prevent the fabric from ripping and creating a huge sleeve hole in the future.

You now should have a large rectangle, with a sewn seam at the top and down one side, with two sleeve holes.

To make the neck hole, fold your dress in half and cut as show above, half of the length you need. I needed nine inches for the neck, so I should have cut 4 1/2 inches, mine turned out closer to 5, but wasn't a big deal.

At this point turn your dress right side out and try it on. If the neck or sleeve holes are to big or small you can adjust that now. Also if you want to hem feel free. In this tutorial she now uses a technic call shirring. I didn't have any elastic thread so i created a fast "tie" out of some knit I had. I will probably create a real tie or wear a belt in the future.

I got my fabric off of the clearance table for about $8, and the dress took me 30 minutes to make. I think I will be making about 10 more of these.

I hope my tutorial made sense to you, if not please ask any questions. Good luck!