Hot! The “Journey” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 3 metres of ‘travel icons’ print craft cotton, on sale from Spotlight last year, $4/metre
Pattern: Weigel’s 1703
Year: unknown, looks early 1950’s?
Notions: 4 vintage hooks from stash, 4 mismatched burgundy buttons from stash
Time to complete: 6.5 hours
First worn: hunting (unsuccessfully) for a new lounge suite
Wear again? yep
Bump: 20 weeks (halfway!)

Total cost: ~$12



Check out the fabric of this dress – isn’t that just so cute?!? (Well, I think it’s cute. Steve disagrees. But then, we have different taste in, well, pretty much everything. Hence the unsuccessful lounge suite hunt, over two full days. *sigh* Anyway….)



I picked this up in Spotlight down in Dunedin on Boxing Day – my mother and I inevitably go to Spotlight on Boxing Day, just coz we can. And they tend to have a pretty good sale down at the Dunedin store then. Also inevitably, I buy too much fabric and struggle to get it all in my suitcase to go home again. Oops! Luckily I managed to fit this in somehow, as when I found out the challenge for this week was ‘pink’, I knew immediately what I had to do – use this fabric!!! I’ve been hanging out to use it for a while. Different shades of pink, with little icons of planes and buses and taxis and suitcases all over it? Brilliant.


Weigel’s 1703 is a rather interesting pattern. It’s a bit different from the standard maternity patterns from the 1950’s, with their skirts with cut-out circles and their tent-like tops. (All of which are rather cute, I might add, and some of which are likely to end up in my wardrobe soon.) This dress does something rather nifty at the waist – the four pleats closest to the centre front are held together by hooks and thread loops, rather than stitched in place. See?

Then there are three more thread loops inside each pleat, so as your bump expands, you can expand the front of the dress. Meaning you don’t have to wear a tent until you need to – the tent grows with you! Pretty cool, huh?

And it buttons down the front, for once the baby arrives. (I’ve been informed I need things that button down the front for ‘easy access’ at that stage. I figure this dress fits the bill. Close those pleats to their tightest loops, add a belt, and it should be all good to go.)

It’s a bit too cold to wear by itself around here these days, and I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold, so you’ll have to ‘scuse the merino top underneath. (It’s also a bit windy around here today, even though we were in a sheltered spot. Notice the vertical bit of hair on top of my head in some of these pics? There’s a reason I have long hair – so I can tie it back on windy days.)

My one issue with this dress is the fit in the bodice. Even though it’s for my bust size (in theory) it’s rather loose. Not sure what’s up with that – perhaps they just expected that everyone with a 34″ bust would swell up to a 38″ bust and not change pattern size? *shrug* If I make it again, I’ll take a bit of volume out of that front bodice somehow.

Actually, now that I remember, I had one other issue with this dress. The front skirt pattern piece was missing. Argh!!!! So I hacked it together by using the back skirt piece, drawing the pleat lines on to match the front bodice pleat lines, then measuring what was left and making it into a pleat on either side (as indicated on the pattern envelope) to make it fit the front bodice nicely. I think it worked out quite well. Gotta love those little hacks at times.

And just because this is a maternity dress, here’s a photo of the bump. 20 weeks now, halfway there! Eek!!



Kat stumbled upon The Sew Weekly at the end of 2010. Inspired by Mena's creations and dedication to sewing each week, Kat stitched along with all the weekly themes for 2011. Through The Sew Weekly and the girls who contribute to it, she deepened her passion for vintage styles and started amassing a large collection of vintage patterns. Now she needs an excuse to try using them all.


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  1. The fabric, the pattern, the bump, everything about this dress is adorable! I have an entire collection of 40’s and 50’s maternity patterns so I know what you mean about tents and cut-outs. You rock this : ) I’m so excited to watch your progress and pretty soon you’ll have an exterior bump to dress as well!

    • Thanks! :-) (I must admit, I’m looking forward to doing mother-and-child Sew Weekly themed challenges in the future, haha!)

  2. What an interesting fabric! It reminds me of the one I used in the city/locale challenge. You can’t really tell what it is until you get up close. I love the pattern that you used. I can see why it’s a winner even though you had to device the skirt front, it’s very clever. You can look fashionable for months! Keep warm and stay healthy!

  3. This is great Kat! Love the print and the cut of the skirt. You are too funny and the boob fairy will be paying you a visit lady – so get ready for that too! That dress is going to fit you perfectly then! What a clever adjustable dress – never seen the like!

    • Haha, the boob fairy already has paid me a visit! About double my usual size, which translates to….. about a B cup, if I’m very lucky. I’m curious to see if they’ll get much bigger, but either way, I think this dress will be a winner for the next several months.

  4. Oh I love it, everything about it, style, colour, pattern. Really suits you!

  5. Very adorable fabric!You can make a matching dress for you baby if she’s a girl :)

  6. First of all, congratulations! You look wonderful and I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes swimmingly. Second, I LOVE THAT FABRIC!!! Partners just don’t know these things, so don’t worry. Third and not least, that pattern is wonderful and let me sneak in a fourth: I love the way you styled it! Adorable.

  7. It is a very cute fabric. And such a great idea to make it further extend with the bump!

  8. Adorable! I love the fabric and that pattern is just brilliant!

  9. Oh my gosh what a clever pattern! Not a tent in sight! Great job!

  10. Love the fabric, love the pattern, love the hooks to adjust the waist size (can’t believe that hasn’t caught on in ready-to-wear), and the pink just brings out all the lovely “glow” you have from your pregnancy.

  11. Steve is very very wrong…..that fabric is gorgeous. I love signs, and who’d have thought they’d come in pinks. And how clever is that adjustable ‘tent’ waist?! Don’t worry about the bodice not fitting perfectly now….it will fit better soon and for the same reason that you do well to have tops with button fronts after the event, having tops where there isn’t pressure or tightness is also a blessing….you’ll understand when you get there, trust me.

  12. I love everything about this. I particularly like the waist detail. Check out your bump! 20 weeks already, so fab. And you have a gorgeous dress to wear too x

  13. What a clever pattern! The dress looks cheery and comfortable. I’m going to chime in and say, don’t rush to do any SBAs at this point. You will be amazed. Enjoy trimester 2!

  14. That’s a very nice dress and I love the pattern on the fabric. And you look very cute in the dress!

  15. Gee that’s a clever pattern. Never seen anything like that in modern maternity wear. (which almost always knitwear – lazy designers!) I may use that idea in the future. Good call on the button front – if you’re like me – a year of wearing button fronts will have you praying for the day you can wear something, anything else. I couldn’t look at a buttons for a year afterwards. hehe. Oh… and I second Lee – it’s still early days.. you’re gonna need that roomy bodice.
    and..I must say…You’re looking fabulous!

    • Why thank you! :-)

      I must admit, I’m rather glad I can sew at the moment. Modern maternity wear just isn’t my style at all, so yay for being able to make things that are instead! *huge sigh of relief*

  16. All absolutely gorgeous! I wish I had been sewing when I was pregnant, this is way cooler than any of the maternity stuff you can buy.