Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maternity Solutions 1: Altering non-maternity dresses

When coming up for a title for this series I also considered "Maternity for Less" or "Maternity Refashions" or "Maternity for the Tall Girl".... I couldn't decide. I just wanted to share some of the ways I dress the baby bump, while staying comfortable and keeping it affordable. I will spread out my posts over the course of about a week and I invite you to please share your tips and tricks as well.

Tip #1: Shop non-maternity
Look at much larger sizes than you'd normally wear. Look for things with an empire waist. In this post I focused on dresses, because it's summer and I find them less constricting and more comfortable in the heat, but I do the same thing for tops.

I found this cream colored dress at Forever 21. The elastic waist made it a possible to add more room in the front, and the tiered bottom made it ideal for adding the length I often need because I am fairly tall. (I'm accustomed to doing this, preggie or not, but when your belly sticks out making things flare out, dresses seem even shorter.) Often I need to take a larger size in around the bust and shoulders, but didn't need to with this dress.

First, I secured the elastic at the sides by stitching over it a few times. Then, from the inside, I cut a small slit in the elastic casing and cut and removed just the elastic that was in the front. Now it is loose in the front, but still has shape in the back. I can always replace the elastic later when I don't need maternity anymore.

The hardest part was actually finding a matching fabric to add another tier to the bottom. I found something that was the right color and similar weight, but it was a crinkled texture. It was close enough and the difference is barely noticeable and even a nice detail.

When I can't find a fabric to match I often add something completely different, for a colorblock look, or a visible slip look, or for the dress below... a contrasting or patchwork look.

This dress from the clearance rack of Charlotte Russe was already a patchwork style, so I just grabbed a small piece of fabric from my stash that had a floral print in similar colors and added a panel at the bottom. It was an extra large size, so I did need to take this one in just a little under the armpit to the high waist area. Again, the empire waist cut and the adjustable ties make this one work with room to grow.
Disclaimer: I don't consider myself a fashion expert by any stretch of the imagination and am not trying to attempt that with this blog. I do love taking hand-me-downs and clearance rack finds and making them work for my own style. A special thanks to my uber-talented photographer sister who snapped this pics of me while our children ran wild around our ankles. Not only does she really know her craft but she helped get a few normal looking pictures out of me while the whole time I really felt like this:


Freckle Face Girl said...

Cute dresses & pictures! You look great. That is a wonderful way to get the clothes without spending too much money. One day, I'll have to work on my sewing skills.

As for maternity, I am just happy that I am done with being pregnant. I'll let you enjoy that part. ;)

Stephanie Hillberry said...

I can't believe you only have one comment on this so far! Because these are GENIUS redesigns. Cute maternity clothes seem difficult to come by (especially affordable ones), and these are great ideas for saving money and modifying existing styles. Can't wait to see what you do next!

Stephanie from Deviantly Domesticated

Sachiko said...

This is such a great post, and you look so cute in those pictures! Thank you for sharing!