Maternity Sewing, Pattern Review

Starting my postpartum wardrobe: The Pina Dress

Here it is — the first item in my postpartum/nursing wardrobe! The Pina Dress by Megan Nielsen:

Creative Counselor: Pina Dress
Pina Dress by Megan Nielsen. Fabric from Girl Charlee

I thought Pina was a good place to start with my postpartum items since it serves double-duty as a maternity dress that will also work for nursing.

I really like the overall style of the Pina Dress, except for one thing: It is SUPER low-cut! I don’t consider myself to be an overly-modest person, but this pattern as drafted is WAY too low cut for me to feel comfortable wearing it without a tank top underneath it. Not to mention that the neckline is too low to fully cover my bra, so to wear it sans tank, I’d have to go bra-less. After having 2 kids and with crazy-big pregnancy bust, the girls definitely need the support of a bra! I am working on a way to install a nursing modesty panel into the dress — I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Creative Counselor: Pina Dress
See? Quite low-cut. A tank is a must!

Other than that, I like this pattern. It went together pretty easily, and the generous use of elastic in the neckline and waist gives me confidence that it won’t fall apart from the constant pulling it will get come fall.

The Pina Dress is marketed as a maternity pattern, and as you can see, it is a good fit for maternity. The beauty of this pattern, though, is that it really is one of those all-purpose patterns. The empire waist and gathered skirt make it maternity-appropriate, but the low-cut elasticized neckline also means that it will carry me through to the nursing phase. And when my nursing days are done, it will looks just as nice with a non-pregnant tummy and non-nursing boobs! Can’t complain about that!

Creative Counselor: The Pina Dress
The wall with the measuring tape was just too perfect to skip.

I made the full dress version and added the bottom ruffle. The only modification I made from the pattern was to omit the sleeve elastic. I like the puffed sleeves from the pattern, but I actually like how they looked without the elastic and, frankly, I was tired of sewing elastic by that time!

Creative Counselor: Pina dress detail
Details: Ruffled hem and flutter sleeves

I really do like the shaping of the skirt on this pattern. I like that it is a slightly narrower fit and really hugs the curve of my belly. By this point in pregnancy, a really full skirt just makes me look like I’m wearing a tent. Not my look of choice. With this style of skirt, I at least look distinctly pregnant. My belly tends to get so big while pregnant that I’d much rather show it off than engage in some futile effort to hide it!

Creative Counselor: Pina dress details
Narrower skirt — much more flattering than a tent dress!

The fabric is Mira Sky Blue Cotton Jersey from Girl Charlee. It’s the blue color way of the same jersey fabric that I used for my recent Briar top. Girl Charlee has this jersey in a few more color ways. There may or may not be a couple more sitting in my cart …

Creative Counselor: Pina dress details
More detail views.

I generally like how the fabric looks with this dress. However, this jersey is just slightly translucent (it’s definitely not see-through), which means that you can see where my tank top ends. Not a huge deal, but not necessarily ideal.

Not much more to say. This is a good pattern, well-drafted, as I’ve come to expect with Megan Nielsen, and is highly versatile. Can’t complain about that! I wore it on our date night yesterday, and it was completely appropriate for the casual/hip restaurant we tried.

Creative Counselor: Pina Dress
The Pina Dress

Pattern: Pina Dress by Megan Nielsen Patterns.

Size: Medium.

Fit: Great. Megan Nielsen’s maternity patterns advise making the same size that you wore pre-pregnancy. Before this pregnancy, I was hovering right in between a small and medium in her patterns, so I’ve been making mediums. So far, so good!

Fabric: Mira Sky Blue Cotton Jersey from Girl Charlee. Might be just a tad too lightweight for this pattern since the very low-cut neckline requires a tank top. Something completely opaque would probably be best.

Modifications: My only modification was to omit the elastic on the sleeves. Otherwise, I followed the instructions almost to the T.

Physical pattern: Beautiful, as with all Megan Nielsen patterns. I really love paper patterns!

Pros:

  • Extremely versatile! This dress was designed for maternity, but the low-cut elastic neckline also makes it perfect for nursing. On top of that, it will also look great on a non-pregnant, non-nursing body.
  • Construction is pretty straightforward. I like how the elastic is installed. It looks really nice and should be sturdy enough to withstand the constant pulling of the nursing days.
  • The narrower skirt hugs a growing belly, resulting in a flattering, rather than tent-like look.

Cons:

  • VERY low-cut neckline! As-is, this dress pretty much requires you to either go braless or wear a tank underneath. I’m working on figuring how to install a modesty panel.

Overall grade: A. The versatility of the pattern alone would merit an A rating. I love that I can wear this dress while pregnant, nursing, and after it’s all done!

It was nice to have some different backdrops for photos since Albert and I were out on the town for date night. Here are a couple of outtakes.

Creative Counselor: Pina Dress
My glamour moments

And since it was date night, here’s one of my hot hubby!

Creative Counselor: the hubs
The man behind the camera. We were treated to a full-on temper tantrum when we left the house that evening, so the drink was necessary!

**Please excuse my slightly greasy-looking hair in these photos. I’m about a week in to switching from “normal” shampoo to an all-natural PH-balanced shampoo and my hair is currently in the oily and greasy phase. It should normalize in a few weeks and hopefully will be much better then! Observations about this process: (1) My hair is quite oily; (2) It is curlier than it’s ever been with absolutely no product; (3) Thankfully it still feels clean even though it may not look like it; (4) This will be way cheaper, and hopefully better for my hair overall than “normal” shampoo.