Saturday, March 24, 2012
A Few Thoughts on Maternity Dresses
I've sewed two maternity dresses so far, with fabric that I ordered online when it was on clearance that I didn't end up liking for snoods, and I was wondering if I could keep designing a new maternity dress each week throughout the pregnancy. Maybe I could sell dresses, I say to myself as I sew, before asking when exactly I would have time for that little venture.
I have a strategy that worked pretty well for my newly sewed favorite-dress-in-the-whole-world (which I desperately need to wash and then take a picture of since I walked nearly eight miles yesterday pushing a huge double stroller while wearing it, in heat that rose to 80-something humid degrees by the time we arrived at home!).
For those who are interested and like to sew, this paragraph is for you: I took a pattern that I liked and cut out the top portion of the dress. Then I cut the fabric of the dress off a few inches above the waist. I took the remaining fabric and made a super wide strip (sewed into a circle) and gathered the top. Then I fitted the skirt to the short, sewed together top. It took a couple tries of gradually attaching the skirt at a higher level on the top before I found the perfect maternity fit (there was enough fabric that I could flip the dress inside out and just sew a new seam a bit higher up until it was absolutely perfect).
Yesterday however, at the midway point in our walk (my walking buddy and I have found Target to be the perfect place to turn around!) I paused in the maternity section of Target and saw a maternity dress that I could not live without. At least that was how it felt at the moment with a major momentary lapse of self control.
I held it up. It was navy blue with cute little white stripes. It was a comfy knit fabric, and it was gathered at the bottom with elastic and buttons, so that it had a little runching at calf level. And it was a large. I'm not a large now, but my bigger than average pregnancy bumps make it hard to find even maternity clothes that fit by the third trimester, and this dress looked like it would have room to grow. And didn't I just sell something? Didn't that deserve a dress (the actual answer is "no, no it did not..." but sometimes reality doesn't overcome my pregnancy logic).
One dress? I asked myself. What's the harm in buying one maternity outfit for an entire pregnancy? Besides, I could figure out how to do the runching at the bottom and then I could make my own!
But that runching. It sucked the dress in. Half the fabric just draped in front of me. The other half was clinging to every curve, no matter how I tugged or adjusted. The dress made my baby bump look very cute. But it left nothing to the imagination. With the super stretchy fabric, I was sure it would fit me now and in 50lbs. I was also sure I would want to wear it less and less as my bump grew and that I would never be comfortable wearing it out of the house. And frankly, that level of clinging, felt more than just immodest. After years of wearing dresses where I can actually move my legs to walk, the dress was downright uncomfortable. I put it back in the bag with the receipt and sighed.
We returned to the store with Paul. This time Sadie came with me into the dressing room, along with three dresses. I tried on the first one, which I'd kind of liked on the hanger. "That one works!" Sadie said. "I like that one!" It was true. This one had a tiny bit of elastic gathering around the waist, but not the massive amounts of elastic on the back side which made the blue dress unbearable.
We gave dress number two a try. I had grabbed this dress because I liked the fabric, but I really didn't think it was very pretty. "That one is so pretty!" Sadie said. "Can you curtsey? Are you curtseying?" Sadie was right again. This dress looked barely bearable on the hanger, but was the prettiest of the bunch when I put it on.
This time the decision was easy. And I was impressed with the selection of Maxi-Dresses available at Target at the moment... with one exception that Paul is now tired of hearing about. So I'll share it here.
Why are they so long?!?!? I am 5'5". I don't think that's short. I don't think that a small dress should go five inches past my feet. That means that it would touch the floor on someone 5'10" and fit someone who's what... six feet tall? Most women are not six feet tall! I understand having "tall" dresses" (like how they have short, regular and tall jeans) but making certain that 95% of your customers will have to take their dresses to be hemmed (or hem them themselves) seems a little silly. Or are they supposed to drag on the ground? Because if they are that's just ridiculous!
End "why do they make these dresses so long" rant.
Anyways... those are my thoughts on maternity clothing at the moment. At least there are long dresses this season. 2009-2010 was not a fun time to be pregnant with maternity wear. Maybe stores have figured out that most pregnant women don't want to wear mini skirts? Do I dare hope they've discovered that insight? Probably not. Oh well. Stock up on maxi-dresses while you can!