Sunday, December 26, 2010

Turning an ordinary dress into a breastfeeding one

I got invited to two weddings just after my baby was born, on what was certain to be a really hot March day in Kangaroo Valley - both weddings were in the same area two weeks apart. I didn't have any spare cash to buy something nice, and I really wanted to wear a cool summer dress. So I turned this linen maternity dress that I'd made into a breastfeeding dress.

First I dyed the dress, as since it was white it wasn't suitable for a wedding at which I wasn't the bride ;)
I happened to lose the beautiful sapphire blue natural dye which I got from Winterwood, just as I was about to do the process (I later found it in a really obvious place). I rang a friend to see if she had any dye spare. She said no, but didn't I suggest in the book using turmeric? Of course, I'd forgotten :)
I used onion skins instead of turmeric, and the colour turned out beautifully. The uneven coverage and vintage-y hue really suited the dress, which looked kinda old fashioned anyway - sort of Greek, as though it should be worn with a crown of ivy or something.

Then it was a simple matter to undo the stitching at the top of the shoulders. I neatened up the edges, and sewed on a button (these were blue as I originally intended the dress to be blue, but if I'd had time I'd have tried to find something of a more golden colour to match the onion skin dye colour). I used buttons sourced from an old shirt, and ribbon for the button loops from a nightie (you know how they often have ribbons sewed on each shoulder meant for hanging the garment up?) so I didn't have to buy anything at all for this project. Actually I did the button loops before the dye job, which I don't recommend as in this case they went a greenish colour in the dyeing.

How the dress works is, you undo the button at the shoulder and just let it fall down while you breastfeed. Of course you could use Velcro or something more practical, or go completely unpractical and beautiful by using ribbons tied at the shoulder. I could undo mine by myself but needed my husband to do it up afterwards for me - although once I managed by myself by putting the baby down on my lap for a moment.

This was really easy and got so many compliments! Everyone said they could tell at once that I'd made it myself - though I choose to believe that is because nothing like it is on sale - as far as I know.