Sewing for a Belly: The Mariposa Dress

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Do you ever start sewing, and then you just can’t make yourself quit?? I do that frequently. I get on a roll, and I just keep on setting mental ending-points like “I’ll just put this sleeve in and then quit.” But then you finish that sleeve, and it bugs you to have one done and one not, so you’ll just hurry and do the other sleeve and go to bed for heaven’s sake. But wow! Now it actually looks like something, and it’s even kinda cute so you’ll just get everything ready to put the skirt on tomorrow. But that didn’t take that long, I might as well just attach it real quick. Well, shoot! Now, I’m practically done! I could wear this tomorrow for church! And next thing you know it’s 4:00 am. And IMMEDIATELY after that it’s time to get up, and you’re CURSING your nighttime-self, and mentally banning yourself from sewing ever again.

I started this dress at 9:00 pm on Saturday (not even really intending on seriously sewing anything, just kinda doing something with my hands while chatting with my little brother and husband) and yes indeed, one little end-point lead to another, and BAM.  4:00 am. At least I have a night-owl husband who also has trouble throwing in the towel (he’s into building websites), and he accompanies me in the craziness most of the time. Although what a wimp, he went to bad at 2:30…

Ok, so about the dress. I used the Mariposa pattern from Anna Maria Horner’s new book Handmade Beginnings. I like this book. I own her first book as well, and similar to the first, it has a lot of really lovely projects full of color, aesthetic and function.  Her fabric takes center stage in all the projects, which makes all the photos really vibrant and appealing. I’ve always thought that she is one of the (if not the) most talented and creative fabric designers out there.  She’s got major sauce.  Their are a few maternity/post maternity projects for Mama in the book, and this dress/tunic is one of them. The pattern layout is clever and efficient (unlike my last experience!), and the directions are easy to follow. That’s actually a big reason why I couldn’t stop sewing–everything just kept on coming together so nicely!

mad mim Handmade Beginnings book review

My version of the Mariposa dress looks a lot different than hers because I chose to go with a solid knit rather than a cotton print. I have to admit that although I love that print her dress is made from, I didn’t love the dress. It actually took me a while to even decide to give it a go, because I just kept thinking how awful my arms would look in those sleeves (you can’t see them in the pic, but they’re pretty boxy and an awkward length). I chose knit because I thought it would add some drape and softness, and of course lots of comfort. When I’m prego, comfort wins EVERY time. I decided to make it full-lenth because I have almost NOTHING to wear to church these days, and to be honest ladies,  long dresses are the way to go when you don’t want to have to worry about your growing dough-knees and shankles being unfortunately exposed.

I also added length to the sleeves, and added a band. The front is lined, and then I additionally doubled up my fabric on the back and skirt because my knit was pretty thin.  The result worked surprisingly well, and was actually pretty cozy (although it might be hot for the Summer).   After much deliberation, I decided not to embellish it, although I may not be able to resist later on.

I felt pretty ethereal when I wore it–kinda like I was dressed up like a greek statue, but I really like how it turned out, and I think it will get lots of showtime before June. And even afterwards! Although she doesn’t mention or highlight it, this dress would be ideal for nursing moms.  The “modesty panel” in the middle allows easy access to the milkers, and heaven knows their lots of room for the extra pounds we tend to accumulate.

Overall it’s a good pattern, and flattering design, although I did have the following hang-ups:

-The “modesty panel” wasn’t actually that modest, and actually completely hidden when you wear the straps tied around you. I had wanted to raise the neckline, but forget to when cutting it out, and darnit I ran out of fabric. I don’t think it would difficult to do though.  And I’m pretty used to wearing a cami underneath everything anyway…

-The dress comes in two sizes: small/medium, and medium/large. I made medium/large, and it turned out pretty huge. When I wear it tied around me it doesn’t really matter too much, but when I tie the straps in front it’s pretty much a bag.  Yikes! (It is possible that both of those problems are a result of, or at least compounded by the fabric I chose).

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Pattern: The Mariposa Dress/Tunic from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings

Fabric: Cotton knit. $5 dollar bolt from Walmart

Size: medium/large–I would say it’s more large, than medium.

Alterations: lengthened the skirt, lengthened the sleeves and added a band, doubled the fabric for the back and skirt (only necessary for my fabric).



  1. Belyn
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    everything looks so great and congrats! it’s so great to see success!!

  2. Posted January 18, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Holy moly, it’s just gorgeous! I’m so impressed. Sigh. Someday I’ll be able to make a full dress! Someday!

  3. marseille
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    i love it!!!! I love the sleeves you did, I love that it is easy to nurse in (darn it that you for got to make it a higher neck line! I would want it as high as your cami). oh if only I could sew…hmmm…where’s my mother-in-law when I need her….

  4. Yam B. Fan
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    p.s. You’re beautiful, also! And the pictures in the dresses’ many phases is a great idea.

  5. Posted January 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    You’re amazing, Mim! Seriously–making cute, fashionable, comfortable maternity clothes–is there anything you can’t sew?!. If I had the money I would commission you to make our whole family’s wardrobe. By the way, congratulations on baby #3! You look beautiful!

  6. Katie Mitchell
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    BEAUTIFUL!…and so is the dress! :)

  7. Posted January 22, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    AND you can nurse in it. Wow!

    • Posted January 24, 2011 at 12:09 am | Permalink

      Like I said last Sunday… I love it. I love the length (that’s what I find is missing most times in store-bought maternity). two thumbs up project.

  8. Posted April 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    wow, i just found your blog and i had to comment. i LOVE your version of this dress. i believe i have just been inspired to buy this book. i love a.m.h.’s fabric and books, but i just can’t imagine myself wearing some of her prints–i would love to dress my kids in them from head to toe though!–i would have never thought of doing this in a solid knit, but i love how it turned out. thanks for the inspiration. also, thanks for the tutorials you made for maternity dresses, i have some serious sewing to do over the next month or so! :)

  9. Nicole
    Posted April 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    just found your blog and, like Carey, have been inspired to purchase this book! I am curious, how much of the knit fabric did you need? you look amazing, I can’t believe you made this!

    • Posted April 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      I doubled up my knit because it was thin, and used every inch of 5 yards. I think normally you would need between 2 1/2 – 3. Probably 3. It has been my FAVORITE dress.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  • sidebar divider
    • sidebar divider
    • sponsors

    • sidebar divider
    • minted

      Shop now: Minted wall art.

    • minted

      Shop now: Minted art prints.

    • vote for me Minted

      Vote for my
      design on minted.
      A Cheerful Morning
      see more from Miriam Tribe
      vote for me!
      Check out my competition in Christmas cards and Save the Date cards at Minted.
    • Recent pins

    • copyright stuff

      all the stuff (photos & tutorials etc) that you see around here is copyrighted by me (miriam tribe) for when using any of my stuff (photos & tutorials etc) for your stuff (blog, website or forum) please cite my website & work by linking back. thanks!