White cotton and pretty blue polka dots: Emmeline maternity dress

The weather finally warmed up enough here in England for me to wear one of my latest makes, a white cotton broderie anglaise maternity dress. In fact in true British style it went from zero to sixty and warmed up a bit to much to the point where this dress and the lightweight viscose jersey slip I made to wear underneath it was actually too hot!  I am planning to quickly whip up another one of these in a printed cotton that doesn’t require a slip! This is the time of year where everyone else does a happy dance and I reach for my fan and parasol 😉

This summer I am more pleased than ever to be able to make my own clothes, my peculiar and extensive requirements when it comes to items of my wardrobe are now joined by the extra challenge of a baby bump and an expanding derriere. I’m not a huge fan of wearing jersey fabrics so wanted to make some woven cotton dresses to see me through the summer of this pregnancy.  This dress was a straightforward and speedy one as it is actually just an extended version of my maternity emmeline tee with some elastic channeled at empire level.


Sewing wise I constructed this dress completely the same as a regular emmeline version 3 and then I tried it on and tied a ribbon under my bust and marked where it sat with pins. Then I stitched a strip of bias binding to the inside at this level and channeled through some elastic. I tend to find that visible elastic makes garments look a little unfinished so I wanted a tie to sit over the top. To make sure the tie stayed in the correct position I added four hand-worked loops which I made by working buttonhole stitch over three loops of thread. I like this technique for making loops as they are durable and look pretty. I find that silk buttonhole twist produces the best result but top-stitching or very fine crochet thread (about size 20) are both good too.


Back when I made my embroidered maternity Emmeline tee, which I will be sharing a full tutorial on soon,  my bump was small enough not to require the additional length at the front that you need in later pregnancy. In order to achieve that extra length this time I simply extended the pattern evenly to dress length and then adjusted the hem to be maternity friendly once I had the dress on. I had to do this once the elastic was in place as maternity wear needs even more extra length for the bump if it is drawn in at empire level in this manner. The hem leveling process is very similar to that which you would do on a circular skirt only it requires less marking. My hubby helped by measuring the distance up from the floor at the centre front to the raw edge of the fabric and then he measured this same distance at both side seams and the centre back and marked this with pins. Once the dress was back on the workroom table I then smoothed off the curve and removed the excess length at the sides and back. It looks bizarre off the body as you end up with a very curved hemline on the front of the garment but it sits nice and straight once the big bump projects it out. I kept a 4cm hem on the dress incase the front needed lengthening more as the baby grows over this third trimester. Honestly I’m not sure there is quite enough expansion room in this one to last me to the very end but its a good staple one for the next couple of months!

The plain white of this dress works really well with the beautiful scarf I was kindly gifted by John Lewis as part of their Blogger Nursery event. Alongside some other lovely baby bits they sent me this Seraphine nursing scarf. Obviously I can’t comment on it in terms of nursing just yet but its a beautiful shade of periwinkle blue, incredibly soft and nice and big and I have worn it lots already!




Thanks for reading as always 🙂

16 responses to “White cotton and pretty blue polka dots: Emmeline maternity dress”

  1. Beautiful dress (as always). Love the fabric you chose but totally get the fact that with a slip you may have been a bit hot!! Look forward to seeing the next one you make.

    Ps you look really well. x

  2. Lovely maternity dress, much nicer than the form hugging ones that are so fashionable now (I’m just an old fashioned gal)

    You look really well and healthy!

  3. I like using knits but I’m not keen on the really clingy ones people sometimes wear for maternity dresses – a bit too much information 😉 This looks so pretty and it appears cool even though you say it isn’t. I wouldn’t worry too much though, speaking from experience, that was probably the English summer you’ve just had so I’m sure you’ll get more wear out of it.
    I hope you are sailing through your pregnancy as well as you look as if you are.

  4. Beautiful as always. I love all the neatness of your finishes, which I am too slap dash to achieve. Could you show me a close up of how you do the belt loops one day (no rush). I know the technique you mean, but would like to see exactly how its done. Thanks.

  5. You look great and have successfully avoided the frumpy pregnancy look that so many woman fall victim too!

    If that picture was taken in your garden then it looks fab.

    Look forward to your next post,


  6. Ami your dress looks great. Well done you for sewing in this hot weather. I do feel for you pregnant mums in the summer as your temperature is always a degree or 2 higher than the rest of us. Great advice for anyone wanting to make their own maternity wear. The fabic is lovely. Enjoy your growing bump. the bigger it gets the closer you’ll be to meeting your baby. Take care. Tracy C

  7. You are looking radiant Ami. Such a beautiful dress for the hot weather and the fabric is so pretty – when is your baby due? A very exciting time for you – I hope you feel as well as you look; pregnancy and hot weather are a tricky combination aren’t they. I made my first Emmeline a couple of weeks ago (V3) in a pale blue photo print jersey and I love it. It’s a brilliant pattern and so easy to follow – I thought I was going to have trouble with the neckline but it turned out really well thanks to your clear instructions. I’ve been tempted to make my next one as a simple summer beach dress – just straight down, no waistband, like the People Tree ‘Tabitha’.

  8. Ami, the dress looks lovely on you – bit different to the ones I made 26 years ago! Can’t wait to see what you make next and to see what you make for your new little one


  9. Oooh!! So cute! You look so pretty in this dress with your tiny little baby bump. I’m super excited to see your next dresses and hopefully the weather fines out for you to wear them without being too hot. I’m even more excited to see all the things you’re going to be creating with your little bub on the way. So happy for you!

  10. So pretty! Maternity dresses are great clothing styles which you should have in your closet, so that you will feel comfortable and look fabulous. Don’t worry about what season it is or what size you are, just feel relax and choose some cool colours which you love!

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