Nursing Nightgown (a Recklessly Hacked Hinterland)

Well, if I’ve ever made a hack job of a sewing project, this would be it. I threw caution (and level headedness) to the wind and just went for it to make this nursing nightgown. I am sharing this project because, in the end, it turned out. But for anyone wanting to replicate it, just know that results may be varied. Also, the outside of the garment turned out fairly well, but the guts of my garments have definitely seen better days. You have been warned.

So. When I was somewhere in my ninth month of pregnancy I decided it would be nice to have a nursing nightgown. I did a bit of internet browsing, but in my search I realized I could probably make what I wanted without having to spend money. So that’s exactly what I did.

My first Questionable Choice was to use the Hinterland Dress pattern as hacking point. The pattern is excellent (I highly recommend it-you can find one of my versions here as well as a more mindfully hacked one here) but the Questionable part was that I wanted to use knit fabric with it (it’s designed for wovens). I wanted to use knits specifically for comfort and for greater probability of the garment fitting me. Since I was making the nightgown before I actually had the baby, I wasn’t able to get a postnatal measurement to ensure fit. Not to mention, your body can do quite a bit of changing in the first few weeks/months. Knit would work best here.

I chose the Hinterland pattern because it’s a pattern I own that has a full button placket, which is what I wanted here. But I didn’t want the gathered waist. So I used the bodice piece of the pattern but extended it all the way down to my knees. I don’t have a French curve so I used a different pattern piece I have (the Union St. Tee ) to ensure that the pattern extended properly to allow room for my hips (instead of just dropping straight down from natural waist which is where the Hinterland bodice ends).

I had size 12 of the Hinterland dress cut out so that’s the size I used for this project. If you ever choose to make a garment using knit fabric with a pattern intended for wovens, you are supposed to size down. I feel like I can’t put this any succinct way so: I knew my measurements would be bigger than they had been when I made this dress as a size twelve so I figured using a size 12 would essentially be sizing down. And the knit fabric would make up for the rest. There was no measuring for the dress and no trying on as I went (well, I did try it on in my pregnant state to see the button stretching comically around my belly. It fits much better now, thankfully).

Another of my Questionable Choices/Actions was to not make a paper pattern. Usually when I hack a pattern, I’ll combine all the information and pieces and trace it onto some freezer paper. But as I was about to do that, I thought that the pieces weren’t terribly hard to mash up and figure out, so I just cut the fabric from what I had, extending lines as necessary. In fact, that bodice and back pieces were the only ones I had to alter (and that was just to lengthen and account for hips). The sleeves and plackets remained unaltered.

Here’s the only picture of me wearing the nightgown. Sorry. Very limited on the photos in this post.

I had a couple of more neutral knit fabrics I thought to use, but upon getting them out I knew I didn’t have enough. So I got out the pink arrow fabric-which is a light weight French terry- and decided to use it, which was kind of a throw away choice. I bought the fabric because it was a good deal and I thought I liked it. But when I got it I knew I would never actually wear it. It’s cute, but not really my style. Using it for a nightgown seemed like a good way to get some use out of it. I still didn’t have quite enough so for the sleeves I used some scrap French terry that’s a little heavier in weight but still matches up pretty well.

My most shameful Questionable Choice was to use woven interfacing on the placket because I didn’t have knit interfacing on hand. And if you haven’t picked up on it yet, this was very much a lazy, slap happy sort of make, so I just went with it. It worked okay…ish. The outside looks pretty well, but the wrong side of the placket looks quite wonky. Of course, no one but me sees the inside. And quite truthfully, aside from this blog, no one but my family will see the nightgown so this didn’t trouble me too extensively.

I really loved the idea of using snaps instead of buttons. BUT I don’t have snaps and I didn’t want to buy the whole snaps and snapping contraption combo. And since I hadn’t spent any money on the project yet, I didn’t see the need to start there when I was at the end. So I got out my button stash and found these itty buttons-I had plenty-and slapped them on there. I hemmed the hem of the nightgown, but opted to have the sleeves remain unhemmed (as seen in the top photo). The edges kind of curl up and I think keeping them unhemmed works here.

So maybe the moral of the story is don’t sew clothes for yourself when you’re 9 months pregnant. But really it all turned out in the end. The nursing nightgown has been handy-especially so in those first weeks and while there was some recklessness involved, I do think that the hack has potential, even as something to be worn outside of the house (of course if more care is taken…and perhaps if knit interfacing is employed).

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