Friday, May 2, 2014

1940s Pinafore Maternity Dress

Ignore the color in this picture. It's completely inaccurate.
Oh, and the hem is even, I'm just pulling it up the way I'm holding my belly. 
Unbelievably flattering: that's how I would describe this 1940s maternity pinafore dress. I surprised myself how much I love it. I made the sleeveless version with a square neckline (mainly because the scalloped neckline seemed likely it would be hard with the fabric I used). 

Simplicity 4635
 This has to be one of my favorite pieces of maternity wear ever. I have always loved the look of the 1940s pinafore dresses, but this maternity version is brilliant. It's also meant to be worn post partum, but won't be conducive with breastfeeding, so it likely won't come out again for a long while.

I saw this rayon-like material in this amazing blue flower print and knew it would be perfect for a pinafore dress. I think it's fairly flattering on me, not to toot my own horn or anything, and I think it's awesome for maternity clothing.

I have only one regret with this entire outfit. The day started out sunny, so a gorgeous 1930s(?) navy sunhat was ready to make it's debut, only to be cast aside before ever going outside because thunderstorms showed up. I really wish there were more opportunities and occasions to wear such beautiful big hats, and am looking forward to any event that could be reason enough to wear it in the summer sunshine.

 I've spoken before about how much I love the practicality of 1940s sewing patterns. The fact that they use minimal fabric, as few or no buttons or zippers as imaginable, and seaming used to create shape. This dress is a perfect example. I was a little nervous initially about the ruffles at the top, but I think they look fine and are a great way to wear sleeveless without having to have perfectly toned arms. My upper arms actually swell during pregnancy and don't really go back down until after I quit nursing. Yes, I'm self-concious, and yes, I HATE the way my arms look right now, but knowing that I've got a summer of pregnancy ahead means sleeveless will have to be included in my wardrobe.

Pockets! Sewed right into the princess seams. 
One of my favorite features is the princess seams. What?!? Princess seams on a maternity dress? Yes, and it's brilliant. I know I gripe about this a bit, but seriously where are designers of modern maternity clothing? I think about twenty years ago they designed jeans with big elastic waistbands and said we'll give 'em a wrap dress, a maxi, and the rest of the time they can wear sweats and graphic tees with corny references to the fact that they have a baby in their belly. Thanks maternity designers. I feel so stylish and confident at one of the most physically awkward moments of my life. Thank God for vintage and sewing!

Outfit Details: 
Pinafore Maternity Dress-Made by me from 1940s Simplicity 4635
Bakelite Bangles-Various purchases and sellers on eBay and Etsy
Earrings-Vintage Golddigger clip on earrings from Etsy
Necklace-plastic buckeye necklace purchased years and years ago somewhere, sorry I don't remember where.
Hat-Vintage 1930s(?)sun hat purchased on eBay
Shoes-Camel-colored, woven, platform wedges (not pictured, sorry)

So basically, I really love this dress, but if I make another one I will use a printed cotton for it so it can be more of an everyday dress. I'm on the fence with whether to make another anyway, because well, this will be our fourth child and it could be my last and it's not at all nursing friendly. However, I have a lot of a cheap vintage looking cotton print and if I have time to sew it, I'm sure I would get a lot of wear of it for the next few months.

What do you think? Should I make up another version just to be worn for the next four months (I'm 24 weeks as I type)? Or, should I wear the heck out of this one regardless and attempt another pinafore dress that is non-maternity afterwards? Or should I do both?


  1. What a cute dress. I have a 1940s reproduction pinafore from hey day vintage with ruffled sleeves that I love! I had a momentary panic that I might be too old for ruffles but I love it so much Ill wear it for decades if it lasts that long

    retro rover

    1. I was totally afraid of what I would look like while sewing this too, because of he ruffles, lol. But I love this dress, my husband loves this dress, and I've gotten compliments everywhere I wore it.
      This dress is also supposed to be able to be worn after you're pregnant, but we'll see how it looks then.

  2. A very nice dress! I would make at least one more - you've still got quite a ways to go & one dress will get old fast. Now for nursing - could you perhaps put a fastener at the shoulder (similar to a sundress) to provide access. Or how about a fold down pocket that conceals nursing openings. I saw one years ago with that design - I think the company was Motherhood. Or maybe fasteners along the seam line since it goes over the bust but instead of the ruffle it would be a flat fabric (to hide) similar to a placket?. I've nurse a lot of babies and understand the no access that seems to go hand in hand with favorite clothes.

    1. Thank you. I did modify a couple dresses that way after my oldest was born, but found I didn't like wearing them because it was too much trouble to hook and unhook. I would definitely do it differently this time, but I Lso have a non-maternity pinafore pattern that buttons up the front that I'm hoping To use next summer.
      I'm looking forward to lots of shirtwaist dresses for easy access and full coverage as I always end up nursing in public a lot.
      Oh, and I've got another version on the sewing machine right now and considering another since they're quick to sew up, require no fastenings, and take minimal amounts of fabric.

  3. This is such a lovely dress. i would certainly make another, especially if you feel so good wearing it. Embrace feeling good during this time

    1. Thank you! I've for another version at my sewing machine right now, lol. Maternity sewing is always such a conflict for me. The last two pregnancies totally surprised us and so each time I think this could be my last and I'm 25 weeks after tomorrow, which means I'm more than halfway there so I think I don't want this to be a waste. But whatever I'm sewing another anyway, lol.