Hot! The “Garden Tour” Dress- Maternity Style

Garden Tour- Maternity Style!

The Facts

Fabric: Twirls in the Woods by Art Gallery Fabrics from my shop, $20; Polka-Dot Charmeuse for lining, $15; Satin for sash, $6.
Pattern: Simplicity 2145, $.99.
Year: 2011
Notions: Just thread. It passed the Mena test, so no zip needed!
Time to complete: 8-10 hours? I didn’t keep very good track.
First worn: January 2012- just for photos so far.
Wear again? Yes! For the next month (maybe less), and then again after some post-partum alterations.
Total price: Approximately $42.

Garden Tour Dress

I’ve had this dress on my mind since Mena first posted it on Make This Look, so when I saw the theme for the challenge this week I knew right away that I wanted to attempt to do just that. I have a similar fabric in my shop with the same feel and the same brown and coral tones, and I even had the pattern that Mena suggested, Butterick 5030 in my pattern stash already. It felt like fate was in charge and I just needed to cut out and line up the pieces and make a killer dress. Obviously, there was just one (rather sizable) thing in my way- my eight-months pregnant belly! While the inspiration dress is designed with a sash that ties around the natural waist, and given that I have no waist to speak of these days, I trusted that it would still work just as well as an empire style. I set out to make some alterations to the pattern to fit my current shape, and that’s about the time that everything started to go horribly wrong.

See, it turns out that I’m not really qualified to make the kind of alterations that were necessary to make Butterick 5030 into a maternity dress, and I have three bodice muslins in my sewing room trash can to prove it. I considered moving on, and using my time to do something a little more productive, (like I don’t know- maybe prep for the baby who’s going to be joining our family in one month or less?!) but I’ve been down this particular garden path before. I’m fully aware that this time next month I will have ZERO time in my schedule for sewing, so I felt like I needed to embrace the moments that I have and figure out a way to make this look work already!


Garden Tour Dress


Luckily, it was $.99 Simplicity sale days at JoAnn, so I headed out in search of an empire waist pattern that fit the style of the inspiration. I found one in Simplicity 2145, a Project Runway pattern with a crossover bodice that looked like just the thing I needed. I made up yet another muslin, and confirmed my hunch. After that it was just a simple chop job on the sleeves, a few extra inches gathered into the skirt front, and we were in business. No, it’s certainly not as true to the inspiration as Mena’s rendition (nor am I as svelte and adorable as she is), but I did it! And I think it will just take a few minor alterations to make it work for me after baby comes too, assuming that I can find the time to make that happen.

I even found a perfect shade of watermelon polka-dot charmeuse, so I made a full lining and really took my time to make a beautiful dress on the inside too. Again, perhaps it wasn’t the best use of my time, but I feel good about the end result and who doesn’t love polka dots? It was worth every minute!


Garden Tour lining




Tiffany James is wife, mama, seamstress, homemaker, and shop keeper in varying degrees of success. Patiently awaiting the arrival of baby number two in February, her goal for 2012 is to eek out more time for selfish sewing because she deserves it!


Comments are closed.

  1. It’s sweet. Can’t believe you still feel like sewing at this stage! All the best.

  2. It works beautifully and the fabric is lovely. The lining is first rate. – may your last month go smoothly.

  3. This dress is so innovative+beautiful and you are glowing!

  4. Lovely! (I love polka dots too! :) )

  5. Fits your belly beautifully! You’re looking great for 8 months. Congrats & good luck. :)

  6. Lovely idea for a maternity dress, looks fab and that lining could almost make it reversable!

    • Thanks! I thought about the reversible aspect too. Might give that a try post-partum. I’m afraid that now I would just look like a big shiny ball of melon sorbet!

  7. Your version is absolutely lovely!

  8. OMG! We made the same look! And yours has room for a baby! Seeing that has made my day. Excellent improv on the maternity alteration. And, that fabric is gorgeous…I like it better than the original. Congratulations on making an awesome dress before delivering an even more awesome baby!

  9. Wonderful job. Hail to Stylish pregnant women everywhere!

  10. That just looks so lovely on you.

  11. Dang, you could wear that inside out and have two dresses. Nice job and best wishes on the new addition.

  12. I suspect anything at the moment that makes your brain think ie. takes your mind off the waiting is a good thing, and you’ve made a beautiful beautiful dress there. I wish I’d thought about sewing myself stuff in the last few weeks of my pregnancies instead of doing silly DIY/house painting that tired me out! All the best for Feb!

    • Thank you! I did all that silly DIY/house painting stuff the first time around, so yep- had to focus my creative juices elsewhere! I feel like I really should be sewing for baby, but she won’t mind me eeking out one little dress for myself- right?

  13. So purdy in every way! Good luck on the new arrival! :)

  14. Thanks for all the sweet comments and well-wishes ladies! Here’s hoping she makes a safe and timely arrival!

  15. I love your maternity version! It’s gorgeous! And that lining is fantastic!

  16. Yay Tiffany what an amazing job, this look seems to be very popular, love your version, good luck with bubs.

  17. This is so inspiring, I love the gathers in the front! I just started my first few sewing projects, hopefully I will learn quickly enough to sew some of my own maternity clothes before I pop! :)

  18. You look so lovely! Time well spent, imo, and I bet that lining feels divine :)