I am very excited about this post because it is about the first piece of clothing that I’ve ever drafted from scratch. Ladies and gentlemen… my maternity nursing gown!
But, how did I get to drafting my own nursing gown? Well, if you’ve been pregnant, you’ll know that the range of maternity clothes out there is quite limited and far from nice unless it comes with a hefty price tag, but nursing items (including gowns) are even rarer and uglier. When I was looking for a decently designed and priced gown to take with me to hospital when the D-day arrived, I was unable to find one whose design, fabric, colour or dimensions did not make me cringe. I’m unsure why brands assume that nursing gowns are only for the hospital when the name is quite specific, “nursing” gowns, so you’ll probably wear them for quite a while whilst you are nursing your baby. So, why make them so ugly? Some of the faults I found in the ones I came across were:
- Ugly colours (at least for the purpose of the garment): dark brown, dark blue, dark pretty much every colour. Why do they make them so dark? Someone may say “so they don’t show the dirt”. Well, I don’t remember getting any dirt whilst in hospital or back home, at least no more than usual (I do have a tendency to spill my morning coffee every now and again and this has not improved with motherhood, actually quite the opposite)
- Poor quality fabrics: what happened to the soft-touch lounge and sleep wear? Apparently pregnant women don’t like it because I could not find anything that wasn’t polyester (and not of the nicer kind).
- Lace everywhere: I’m not a fan of lace. I’m even less fan of polyester lace. I had no intention on buying anything with lace on.
- Ill-fitting: ok, nursing gowns have to fit a 9 month pregnant belly, which is pretty big, but they shouldn’t be massive all around. I didn’t find any gown that was slightly flattering around the shoulders and neckline. They were all just big and didn’t fit me at all, they would actually slid off my shoulders, which is not very comfortable.
- Useless for the purpose: Most of the nursing gowns I tried on, their buttons wouldn’t undo as low as needed to nurse… that was the moment when I decided to sew my own gowns.
During my search for the perfect gown, shop assistants didn’t seem to understand why I was being so fussy about them, at the end of the day, they were just a gown for a few days. I guess that was true to some extend. But there was something else there, something in between the lines, something that I didn’t realise I was trying to attain and that I only came to understand with time and a baby in my arms. After the D-Day I realised what motivated that thorough search: I was just trying to help myself through a tough but extremely special time. A time when your old self seems gone forever, a time when your pre-baby clothes are a ghost from the past, a time when there is no time for you or for anything else but your new born baby. I was trying to grasp and capture a bit of my old self into a garment that was going to be my best friend for weeks to come, I wanted to feel ok in myself, I just wanted to see that the old Pilar was still there, somewhere, and that she would come back at some point. All of these feelings went into the draft of this nursing gown, that I sewed in cotton seersucker, lined with cotton gauze, fitted to my shoulders and chest, knotted at the shoulders, and roomy for my decreasing belly. As all first drafts, this pattern was not perfect, but it made me happy because I could take care of my baby and still feel a bit like myself.
It may seem like a bit too much thought for a nursing gown, but I loved wearing it and was great for nursing my baby. I stopped wearing it when the winter came, but I’ll be definitely be making a non-pregnancy version for next summer. As far as I’m concern, best gown ever!
These are some more detailed pics:
I’d love to hear about your maternity gowns, what did you wear? Did you sew your own gowns?
Hope you enjoyed the post and thanks for reading!