Maternity skirt

A month-plus ago, I went shopping for maternity skirts, figuring I could grab a couple of elastic-waist numbers to wear for the remainder of the pregnancy. Well, color me surprised – many designers apparently expect you to wear a skirt with the waistband at the apex of the bump! Huh? I tried on 3 or 4 skirts and was dismayed by how uncomfortable they were.

I have a pair of maternity pants with a stretch panel that goes very high – it starts immediately under the bra, pulls over the bump, and merges with regular pants at the hip level. If you don’t mind multiple layers over the torso while experiencing the heat of pregnancy, I think these are acceptable. Still, I think the Japanese Weekend line of clothing really gets it right. Their elastic OK waistband goes *under* the belly, which is much more comfortable, imo.

In a fit of pique, I decided to – what the heck – make myself a custom-fit maternity skirt. I pulled out my copy of Sew What! Skirts and sort of followed directions for drafting an elastic-waist skirt. The instructions tell you to make a 2-gore skirt — essentially, a front piece and back piece, with the grainline going down the center front and back. This makes for an oddly unflattering garment because the resultant skirt lays like a flat bedsheet across the belly and then hikes into folds and drapes around the side seams. If you look at the Sew What! Skirts flickr pool, you will see what I mean.

Since I can’t seem to do anything without making it excessively complicated, I decided to make an 8-gore A-line skirt with 2″ of ease around the hips. The waistband is 3″-wide elastic, cut to a length that fit comfortably around my body, and I used a remnant from this t-shirt to cover it. I basted and checked the fit before serging the seams. To decide where to attach the elastic, I tucked the skirt under the waistband, pulled until the hemline seemed mostly even, and drew where I wanted the waistband to land. I gathered the skirt in 2 parts (front and back) to match the waistband, checked fit, and serged it all together. You can see how sloped the waistband had to be to go under the babies but still go over my rear.

I did have some problems hemming the skirt. I didn’t do so well with my new chalk hem marker – I probably was leaning in to make the fabric touch the dispenser, and I sure as hell couldn’t see what I was doing on the back half of the skirt – but I tried 3 times (the last with Matt’s help), and I couldn’t get a straight hem to save my life. I ended up just pinning by eyeball, trying it on and rotating in slow circles in front of Matt, and readjusting when he would say things like “Is it supposed to be higher in back than in front”? I serged the edge and hemmed it by machine (blind hemstitch). And here it is!

So… Does this outfit make me look pregnant?

I wish I could wave my hand in a carefree manner and tell you in lilting tones that I just knocked this out in a couple hours one afternoon, but truthfully, this little skirt probably took about 20 hours from start to finish. Matt questioned why I was investing so much time on a piece that I would not wear for very long, but I think it was a good experience. Or that I gained experience, anyway, handling fluid fabric, using my serger, drafting a pattern, fitting a waistband, etc.

Sewing has been a constant sore spot for me. I am lousy at fitting, and it doesn’t make sense to me to spend the time, effort, and money to make my own clothes if the fit is worse than RTW. But I felt encouraged by this mini-interview with Kenneth King. I felt better when he said that I should “expect to destroy several acres before you get good” and felt he was talking directly to me when he said, “If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.” Thank you, KK. I expect I’m at least halfway toward destroying my first acre, anyway.

8 thoughts on “Maternity skirt

  1. So sewing has something in common with knitting, then? Ripping/frogging is part of the process…

    Your skirt came out great! And, no, it doesn’t make you look pregnant at all 😉

  2. The skirt looks great. My solution is regular elastic waistband (preferably a wide elastic band) size large skirts (I’m usually a Small or maybe medium). I just fold the front of it over and let it be a bit longer in the front then in the back. I only wear them for casual things, not to work so they are good enough to get me through to the end (July 20, if I make it that long this time)

  3. You look fab! So all that time paid off!
    And yes, lots of mistakes and retakes make a big difference in the general scheme of things.

  4. Of course you look pregnant, but the skirt looks terrific and so do you. You are a wonderfully capable woman.

  5. Oh, I like the design a lot! I think sewing is easier for those of us who grew up doing it. I made my first dress when I was 5, with just a bit of help from Grandmother on the zipper. I’ve sewn heaps of really ugly stuff, but I was a redheaded kid and thought it was all magnificent and didn’t mind when things didn’t fit just right. I did notice and make notes on my patterns (nearly always home drafted since I was so tall and skinny and perpetually growing back then) and improve it when grading up for the next time around. It generally took me about six months to master a piano concerto, so sewing a long concert dress seemed quick in comparison. It’s all a sense of perspective.

    I’m a huge fan of princess and 6- or 8-gore dresses/skirts. Triangular flared insets (can’t remember the proper name right now — need coffee!) can add a sense of drape to an otherwise “unbiased” skirt — nice if you want a firmer structure for the upper part of the skirt but don’t want to use tiers.

    Hemming is a party in my family. It’s such joy to be near to the finish line. My mom even has a yardstick with a metal stand. I have the record for holding the most pins in my mouth and still being able to speak clearly…

  6. both you and the skirt look fabulous! i wish i could be as fearless as you in attempting new things. you’re my hero! 🙂

  7. 1. Sewing maternity clothes is a quick way to go through those required acres of mistakes! 😉

    2. I sent a link to this post to pregnant coworkers/friends as I thought it’d be helpful. Thanks for spreading the knowledge!

  8. I promise you that the twin belly will go down. As long as you have a busy toddler and twins babies running you ragged, the belly disappears pretty fast. I know this from experience.

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