Norman Underdress
Cut undersleeves as long as possible tapering down along the forearm to a snug wrist.  Adjust the snugness of the forearm and wrist after initial roomier cut and initial stitching.  This is to get a good gathered effect.  Sew the sleeve extensions on first before sewing the dress front to back.  Remember, always put right sides together!

The small gore completes the missing angle at the hem and gives the dress its volume.  Flip the gore directly down, laying right sides together, and stitch along the vertical seam for each one before sewing the dress front to back.

After assembling and hemming the dress, cut a nursing slit up the center front of the underdress from roughly the navel to 3" below the neck hole.  Fold under and baste the slit to keep it from unraveling.  Reinforce the top and bottom points of the slits with stitching as they can come under stress.

 


Try the pattern 1st in muslin or other cheap material to get the fit right and then use that as the pattern.
Measure twice the length from your shoulder to the floor plus a few inches for hem and blousing or belly.  Fold at the shoulder and again down the center for the layout of the fabric.  Underdress made from 60" drapey material works well for taller women to maximize sleeve length and gathering.

Make sure you leave ample room at bust level for comfort and growth.  4-6 inches extra is a good place to start.  You can curve the seam under the armpit for added comfort and strength.

Cut 1/4 circle curve out for the neck hole after making the long cuts.  Start smaller than you think!  It can always be widened, but not narrowed.

The hem will need to curve upward to keep it from dragging.  The fuller the hem, the steeper the angle becomes.  Again, start small and trim as necessary.

 

Overdress

Adjust the length of sleeve to fall a couple of inches below the elbow.

The small gore completes the missing angle at the hem and gives the dress its volume.  Flip the gore directly down, laying right sides together, and stitch along the vertical seam for each one before sewing the dress front to back.

When sewing front to back, use a basting stitch along the sides until you are sure of the placement of  the nursing slits.   They must be low enough to be pulled in front and over the breast and be at least 5 inches long.  Then fold under the edges of the slits and baste them down.  Reinforce the top and bottom points of the slits with stitching as they can come under stress.


Use the underdress as a guide for the fit of the overdress as the second should overlap the first slightly.  OR  Try the pattern 1st in muslin or other cheap material to get the fit right and then use that as the pattern.

Measure twice the length from your shoulder to a few inches below your knee plus a few inches for hem and blousing or belly.  Fold at the shoulder and again down the center for the layout of the fabric.

Use the underdress as a guide for the fit of the overdress, but as a reminder:

Make sure you leave ample room at bust level for comfort and growth.  4-6 inches extra is a good place to start.  You can curve the seam under the armpit for added comfort and strength.

Cut 1/4 circle curve out for the neck hole after making the long cuts.  Start smaller than you think!  It can always be widened, but not narrowed.

The hem will need to curve upward to keep it from dragging.  The fuller the hem, the steeper the angle becomes.  Again, start small and trim as necessary.

To apply a facing:  1st cut identical holes or edgings to the dress' neck or sleeve edge at what ever width desired.  Pin and sew right side of facing to wrong side of dress' neck or sleeve hole. Then press to the right side and secure raw top edge with trim.

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Copyright 2003, Amy Elliott.  Please reprint for distribution only with permission of the author.  Contact Countesscaia@hotmail.com for questions or comments.