I’ve made lots of nursing-friendly, casual dresses this way – basically as just a rectangle with arm holes, a neckline, and a snap placket down the front. I wear them belted, and they look super cute. However, for this dress, I only had one yard of fabric, and it had been cut crooked. Once I straightened it, I only had about 34 inches. Now, looking back, I should have added fabric at the shoulders before cutting my neckline to allow for the dress to be a bit longer.
I didn’t think of that until after I had cut the neckline and placket, so I was in a bit of a predicament. The dress was a bit short. Not too short for me while standing, as I generally prefer dresses that hit mid-thigh, but too short for my current lifestyle, which involves chasing around a very busy toddler a lot of the time. I posted a picture of the dress in a sewing group I’m in and asked whether I needed to add a contrasting band to the bottom. I got some mixed answers. Interestingly enough, a lot of the commenters informed me that I should never be bending down in a dress, I should always squat. While I totally agree that squatting is ideal, mainly for lower back and knee stability, I began to question whether these commenters had ever had a crazy toddler. Maybe they just avoided dresses during that stage of their lives? Unfortunately, I need to catch a moving, low to the ground target on a routine basis, so I either need to swoop and scoop (chase after her and bend down and pick her up while still moving) or squat and waddle (squat down and continue chasing from the low to the ground position), often flashing the world my underwear in the process.
I did receive some great advice to leave the dress at its original length but to wear little shorts underneath, which prompted me to use my already optimized peg leg pattern to make the shorty length (I extended by about 1.5″). The great thing about these is that I can wear them under some other slightly too short dresses, and I can wear them to run! Since they’re such a fast project, I hope to make some more so I have a collection for wearing under all my summer dresses while chasing my own little Sonic the Hedgehog.
The dress itself is a 15-minute project, unless you’re spatially challenged like I am and spend two hours trying to attach a continuous placket. For help in that area, I used the Melly Sews tutorial, available here. Even with her detailed descriptions and pictures, I had some trouble, but I’m excited to try again on the next dress 🙂
I did have one problem with the peg leg shorties, though, and I’m looking for feedback. They kept rolling up/camel toeing. The full length leggings I made don’t do this, but of course they have the rest of the leg to kinda hold them in place. I believe this is because my butt is pulling the fabric back, and I need to make the pattern larger along the curve of the rise on the back piece only (at least this is what I dit for my daughter’s shorts to fit over her diaper. Here’s a super flattering photo of my problem! The stitching is intentionally showing – I did a flatlock stitch with the ladders on the outside.
The dress fabric is a Girl Charlee Exclusive (7.5 oz/sq yard cotton/poly blend), and the shorts fabric is also from Girl Charlee, a cotton spandex blend (can’t remember the weight).