It’s Laura again! I’m talking to you today about how I made the newest release, the Adalynn dress, nursing friendly!
When I saw the tester call for this pattern, I was VERY tempted to test it, but I chose not to, because it was not practical for me right now since I’m nursing. I don’t want a Yipeton of dresses I can’t wear right now. Then, when I saw all of the versions people shared during release week, I regretted not testing it. It looked amazing on EVERYONE. I really wanted an Adalynn! But I still didn’t really want a dress I wouldn’t be able to use immediately.
SO… I decided I had two options. (A) I could either make tunic length that could be lifted up, or (B) I could make dress length and hack it. I’m a sucker for dresses. I love them. I used to live in them before I had babies and they became impractical. Obviously I decided to go with option B, and hack the pattern to make it a nursing friendly.
Nursing mamas, this is for you! You can now feel free to grab the pattern and participate in the sew along coming up too! Yipee!!
Go ahead and print and assemble your pattern. Go ahead and cut one back piece, one front piece, your neckband, sleeves (cut everything according to the pattern instructions).
We are going to make an overlay for the front of the dress. We will be able to lift this to nurse. We have to decide exactly how long we want our overlay piece to be. Measure from your shoulder down to below your bust, where you would like your piece to stop. I think I chose about 14″-15″. I can’t remember for sure. Take that measurement and add 3/4″ to it. So, if you chose 14″, you’re going to make your overlay piece 14 and 3/4″ (this will allow room for a hem).
You will take your pattern piece and measure from the shoulder down to the number you chose. I probably measured 14 and 3/4″ down. You can either cut your pattern piece off here or just mark it. Trace your pattern piece onto your fabric. You need to cut the BOTTOM of your new piece of fabric where you either marked or cut your pattern piece. So now you’ve got your full front and your other front that is a bit shorter. This shorter piece will be your overlay that you can lift up for nursing.
Remember how you added 3/4″ to the bottom of your overlay piece? Well, now it’s time to flip that up to the wrong side and hem. Knits do not fray so there is no reason to finish the edge if you don’t want to. If you do, feel free to serge or zig zag that raw edge before hemming.
Step 4: Optional Ideas (These ideas are not necessary, but will keep the front overlay piece from gapping. It’ll make the piece lay closer to the body)
Optionally — you can add a piece of elastic (3/8″ or 1/2″ in the hem of the overlay piece. You can use a measurement slightly shorter than the length of the hem. This will pull this piece in, closer to the body when finished. If you choose to do this, stitch it on either side. I did not do this on mine. Your finished piece should be a SLIGHTLY SHORTER width than what you started with.
Optionally — make a drawstring. Snip to tiny holes in the center of your hem [[you may choose to make tiny buttonholes here prior to hemming or add grommets here]]. Use two strips of knit fabric [or make a loop from knit fabric or purchase a drawstring) and insert it (using into each edge of the hem. You will stitch your drawstring piece into the casing (hem) on both sides to keep it from slipping out. You will pull from the edge of one side and pull it through one hole in the center. Repeat for the other side. You want these to be longer. It needs to be long enough that you can insert it and pull it through without pulling in the casing at all! Your finished piece should have the drawstring inserted, but should be the EXACT width you started with!
Optionally — make a sash! This is the method I used. I’m honestly not certain how to decide how long to make your sash. I just used a tape measure and guessed based on how long I wanted mine to be. Mine was about 30″ long on both sides, and I think that was a great length. I cut two strips of knit fabric (4″ along the length (grainline) of the fabric and 30″ along the width (stretch) of the fabric. I folded them right sides together and sewed a big loop. Leave one side open to turn. You can stitch one side closed (either straight across or at a diagonal). Turn your loops right side out and press them.
Lay them with the raw edge against the raw edges of your overlay piece. You want the bottom of your loop to match up to the hem of your overlay piece on each side. Baste them in place. Place some pins in them to keep them in the center so that they won’t get caught when you are sewing the side seams to the dress.
Now, lay your prepared front overlay piece on top of your front dress piece. You want to match up shoulders, necklines, armscyes. Pin them and then baste them together. If you used elastic on your overlay piece, you’ll have to be careful and kind of work with it to make the sides match up. It’ll be a little tricky, because your overlay piece is drawn in slightly less wide, and you want to keep the side raw edges matched up perfectly.
Once everything is basted together, you have your new front piece. It’s all one piece now, and you should have pieces that match everything else exactly, according to the pattern. Go ahead and sew together the dress following the instructions included in the pattern.
Your final step!! Now that your dress is finished, slip it on! Check the fit. If you want it slightly more fitted, you can bring in the side seams a tad more, if you desire. [[I did this because it helped with the way my overlay piece lays]].
Lift up your front overlay piece, and mark where you want your slits to go for nursing. You can use chalk or a washable marker. Slip your dress off, and make slits along your marks.
And, now we’ve got a nursing friendly Adalynn! Isn’t this a great pattern? I just love how it feels to wear a cute dress that really fits!
Hi, I'm Laura! I'm the mama of two sweet boys, Daniel and Luke. They're my primary reason and inspiration for sewing! I love seeing them wear mama-made things. I started sewing a little over three years ago after my first little boy was born, and I've never looked back! SO FUN!
I've also recently started sewing a few things for myself, which I love! It's so fun to be able to hack patterns to get a new outfit made exactly how I want it!
Sewing is such a great hobby, because there is ALWAYS something new to learn. It's impossible to know everything! If you want to, there is always a way to expand your skill set. At the same time, you can use skills you already know and ones in which you are already proficient to sew for fun/ relaxation. I love using sewing to wind down in the evenings. And getting something new and cute for my kids or myself is just a bonus!
I love being part of the MDCI promo team! I love these patterns! They're all so great. Truly staples that you can modify or hack to make them your own!
Thank you so much for reading my blog posts! I hope you find some inspiration! Feel free to check out my personal blog as well to find information on other patterns and tutorials!
Are you new to sewing? Follow along with me and see how easy it is to sew your own Raglan Shirt. I will walk you
If you can pin it, glue it, sew it, or hack it…. we’re in! We’re collecting all the awesome tips, tricks, hacks and how to’s from women everywhere on how to sew, hack, or and DIY your way through life :)