Akram's Ideas

1960’s Maternity Party Dress

My sister @FateBee is expecting her first child in February. She was having a hard time finding maternity clothes that fit and ones she liked. So, she’s enlisted me and my new sewing skills to make her a couple of dresses.

I buy a lot of vintage patterns (I should really blog about that one day), and one of the patterns I had gotten in a lot of vintage patterns was a 1960’s maternity dress. My sister is very modern trendy so the idea of a vintage dress wasn’t appealing. That is until she decided she could use it as a Halloween costume and do a sort of Mad Men theme.

So, she found some fun satiny fabric and I got started. I really hadn’t sewed with a satin before, and it was slippery and easily frayed. I decided, because of the fraying issue and the worry about whether the fabric would be strong enough, to use French seams.

I’d never done French seams before, but a quick YouTube search and a little practice, it wasn’t hard. A French seam basically has you sew your seam with wrong sides facing, instead of the right sides of the fabric facing, as you normally would. You sew this seam at 3/8″. Then you trim the seam about 1/4″. Next you take the seam flip it over so the right sides are facing and sew you finished seam at 1/4″. You seam allowance is still 5/8″, but you have not only reinforced the seam, you’ve encased the raw edges, thus no unraveling.

Here's the dress pined up, a sample french seam and of course I added one of my personalized tag.
Here’s the dress pined up, a sample french seam and of course I added one of my personalized tag.

Of course this meant I had to sew all seams twice, plus do some creative thinking on how to achieve each seam, since its not in the instructions, and the collar and pleats were a little tricky.

Lastly, my sister didn’t much care for the strait sleeves, but knew she wanted some sort of sleeve. So, using a modern McCall (M6024) pattern, I created these lovely flowing cap sleeves. Through not authentic, I think it works well.

Here's a close up of the dress, still not very good at lap zippers.
Here’s a close up of the dress, still not very good at lap zippers.

Lastly, she had some left over fabric, so I made her a scarf to use in her hair. To make the scarf, I used one of my own scarfs to measure and cut the fabric. Then I folded the strip in half, and sewed the fabric together inside out; leaving a small opening to turn it right side out. Once flipped I sewed the end close and ironed the scarf flat. 

Here you can see the cut fabric, the fold and then the final hair scarf.
Here you can see the cut fabric, the fold and then the final hair scarf.

I worked a long time on this dress, longer than usual because I really wanted to get all the seams right and I wanted to impress her with my sewing skills. Overall I think it came out really nice, though a bit longer than the patter picture showed. I  just hope it fits her and that she likes. 

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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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