Front view 1
And the search for vaguely flattering, comfortable and simple-to-sew maternity clothes continues on! True to disorganised form I've left it nice and late into my pregnancy to get started on this (37 weeks and counting yo)... But, I suspect I shall be bigger of belly, bum, hips, waist and thigh for some time to come, so I'm sure these outfits will carry on being worn in the first 6ish months after the little monster is born.
For this top we simply used the scoop neck variation of our Zeena Dress PDF Sewing Pattern, cut it at empire line, added a gathered skirt from the bust and a circle skirt for the sleeve flounces. Easy peasy!
Front view 2
Oooooh yes, and best of all, there are no fastenings...
Righty-ho! Let's get started.
1. Pick your size
2. Adapting your pattern
The only thing to hack with this bodice is to simply chop off a bit of length, so we get that empire line effect. I did this by going up 4.5 in / 11.5cm from the waistline. FYI this left me with about 1.5 in / 3.8cm of bodice below my nipple, when the top was all finished.
3. Sewing up your empire line bodice
Sew your Zeena Dress up as usual! The only difference being that of course we are not adding a zip, so just sew those back pieces together instead. You can of course subtract the seam allowance from your back piece and simply cut on the fold instead - just make sure you remember to do that with your back facing piece too then!
We highly recommend understitching the facing too, to avoid it peeping out.
For some good gathers we recommend taking a piece of fabric that is at least 2 / 2.5 times as long as your finished bodice waistline measurement.
I took two pieces to join at side seams so that there wasn't one gigantor piece of gathering to do and, so that the joins matched the bodice side seams. I first sewed the pieces together at the side seams and then gathered each section individually.
Once you have done all of your gathering, you simply need to pin and stitch it into place onto your bodice with the usual 5/8 in or 1.5cm seam allowance.
5. Giving those sleeves some 70s flounce
Measure the circumference of your sewn up sleeve and use that as your 'waist' measurement on our Circle Skirt Calculator. I went for a half circle skirt FYI and just chose the 'mini' option, although of course my actual cut out sleeve flounce circle skirt length was only 7 in / 17.75cm.
And then out should pop your cutting diagram complete with your all-important radius:
Now seam your sleeves together with the usual 5/8in or 1.5cm seam allowance.
And then, matching seams and with right sides together, pin into place at your raw sleeve edge and sew on with the usual 5/8in or 1.5cm seam allowance.
6. Finishing touches: Hemming
Now that your gathers are attached to your empire line bodice, your top is almost complete! Just hem the bottom of your gathered section to hide that raw edge. If you need a little help, just scroll down to the bottom of our Anna Dress Sewalong post for three ways to hem a straight hem.
As your sleeves are effectively teeny tiny little circle skirts, these babies require the slightly different curved hem techniques.
And now you're all DONE! Hopefully it should look a little something like this: