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McCall’s 3881 – Maternity Dress

August 14, 2012

McCall’s 3881

Minnado of Minnado’s House very kindly sent me this maternity pattern after finding out I was expecting another baby.  As she herself said, ‘it has an off-putting set of photos on the cover, but I think it could be a good set for basic pattern shells you could alter and make much more interesting’  – and she was right, the pictures aren’t particularly appealing.  But I wasn’t going to let that stop me try to make something wearable!  I already had some plain brown double knit set aside for basic maternity sewing, and I was thrilled when I opened Minnado’s parcel to find she had also unexpectedly included two generous lengths of lace trim which immediately made me think of So Zo’s ‘Faux Vintage Dress’.  The slightly darker, biscuit coloured trim (below right) looked great against the brown and so immediately became  destined for this dress.  In fact, it is only as I have been typing up this post that I have discovered that the trim Minnado sent is THE EXACT SAME as the one Zoe used on her dress!  So although I only intended to be inspired by Zoe’s dress, I have more or less replicated it in a maternity version, with the exception of a different colour and different sleeve length.  Full credit to Zoe, and my apologies!

Based on the measurements given on the back of the envelope, I was looking at cutting a size 16.  Now, I am not one to declare this impossible: I’m perfectly happy to admit I measure 38/31/40 – but… I knew that this would be way too big.  The first clue is in the pictures on the pattern envelope.  The second clue was that this is a maternity pattern, therefore it is bound to completely overcompensate size-wise and I would end up wearing a glorified sack.  The third clue was that having worked with jersey before on numerous occasions, it always tends to come out that bit looser than woven fabrics so I have found it better to cut a size smaller.  However, just to be sure on this occasion, I decided to cut two sizes smaller than indicated.  Once this decision had been made, I traced the pattern only to find that in fact the pattern was the smaller-sizes edition anyway, and only went up to a size 12!  Fate!

This would have been super-quick to sew if I had checked the length first.  Normally I don’t need to – patterns are usually based on average height and because I am quite tall I rarely end up with something which is too long.  But this came below the knee, and didn’t suit me, so having already sewn on Minnado’s trim, I had to unpick it all, chop 3.5″ off the length, then sew the trim back on.  This took FOREVER.  Zig zag stitch is a bitch to unpick!  I also shortened the sleeves by 6.5″ as I wanted them elbow length rather than 3/4 length.  However, sewing with jersey had its advantages: I omitted the centre back seam and zipper (I removed seam allowance and cut on the fold), and I didn’t finish the seams or hem the sleeves or the bottom of the dress.  Double knit doesn’t fray, and besides I had the trim to finish the raw edges instead.

Front view

And that’s pretty much all I can tell you about this dress.  It’s still a fairly loose fit, but I’m only halfway through the pregnancy so I’m going to need a bit of room to expand yet.  The dress is comfy and practical, and quite warm, so good for autumn and winter.

Bump view

Apologies for the bad photo quality – the photos to the left and right were taken at night, indoors, on my phone.

Below are some better ones taken in daylight with a real camera!
















Thank you Minnado for the pattern and the trim!


  1. August 15, 2012 12:08 pm

    I love it! Looks nothing like the one on the pattern envelope. The lace addition is quite pretty, too.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 15, 2012 6:33 pm

      I’m glad you think it looks better than on the pattern envelope! Success!

  2. August 15, 2012 3:39 pm

    This is lovely – looks like a great versatile basic pattern and the lace is a really nice touch

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 15, 2012 6:35 pm

      Thank you, though I must credit Zoe for the original idea!

  3. Carolyn permalink
    August 17, 2012 9:08 pm

    This looks adorable on you! The lace trim gives it that extra something special. : )

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 18, 2012 8:53 am

      Thanks Carolyn! 🙂

  4. punkmik permalink
    August 29, 2012 8:34 am

    the trim is gorgeous! and how nice for them to send you all this! how lovely! The dress fits you to a T!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 2, 2012 7:14 am

      It was very kind of Minnado to pass on the pattern and the trim! 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      October 15, 2012 9:06 am

      Thank you! It was very kind 🙂

  5. August 31, 2012 9:35 am

    Oh, I love it – looks fab on you and so not like the envelope photo at all! Much much better . I forgot to tell you that the Zoe-like trim did come from Zoe! She kindly sent me a long piece which your bit is from! Hope all is good with you. I am catching up on blog reading slowly. 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 2, 2012 7:20 am

      Ah-hah! That makes me feel slightly less guilty then! 🙂 Thanks again for being so kind and thoughtful x

  6. Leah Taylor permalink
    September 4, 2012 5:41 am

    Hi, and congratulations on your pregnancy!! This is the first time I have checked my blog reader since rocking up in Aus a few months ago and I was so happy to hear your news. And guess what, I am expecting #2 as well, in January! All very exciting. I really love your dress and the sewaholic crescent skirt maternity version is awesome too. We’re currenty in our second house move since being in Aus so haven’t had much time to sew, but I have taken up knitting as it is much more portable (and easier to get out / put down when chasing a toddler about the house!!) Anyway all the best for the pregnancy , and looking forward to seeing more news . Leah xx

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 8, 2012 9:00 pm

      Wow, congratulations to you too! How exciting for you! Can’t believe you’ve moved twice already, you must have been so busy! Hope you get chance to relax a bit before baba no 2 comes along, although it isn’t easy when looking after a toddler at the same time. My sewing output has reduced dramatically since moving house and getting pregnant – decorating has taken over lol! Thanks so much for your comment anyway, it’s lovely to hear from you. Keep in touch and good luck with your knitting! x

  7. September 7, 2012 2:56 am

    Love this Tabatha!! I’m not pregnant and I want to wear it!! xx Marisa

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 8, 2012 9:01 pm

      Haha, thank you! 🙂


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