I have wanted to make myself a Whirl-away dress since I first saw it on Craftster, but I was pregnant then, and now I'm nursing (8 months, with many more still to go), so the bodice just wasn't at all practical for me. I'd have had to completely disrobe to nurse, which is generally frowned on in public. Still, I wanted a Whirl-away, so I decided to try reconstructing the bodice to include some nursing openings. And, well, here it is.
I decided that a wrap style top would be functional, and not tax my ingenuity too much. Here are the openings. Since there isn't any stretch to just pull aside the wrap, there are snaps hidden beneath the wraparound panel.Action shots (although I'll spare you the one of me nursing - suffice it to say, it works great!)As you can see, the fit isn't perfect, but I can fix that next time! I will definitely be making this again! It is comfy, cute and very functional!Last, a Donna Reed shot of me in the kitchen. Homemade mashed potatoes, anyone?
Now with tutorial - I will add some pics when I make my next one (after I finish the jumper I'm working on for dd)
How-to make your own Nurse-away!
Start out with Butterick 4790 in your size of choice. We mostly follow the pattern, so where there is no difference from printed instructions, I'll just say so.
First, make your new bodice pattern piece. You start with pattern piece 1. Since you are turning it into two separate pieces, you first “remove” the bottom half. Use the waist marking as your dividing line and don't forget to add a 5/8 inch seam allowance above the waist marking. Now for the top half, draw a line at 45 degree angle down from the shoulder seam along the neckline and across center front to connect with the waist line, again adding 5/8 inch seam allowance at the bottom. You should end up with two pieces, one a big rectangle and the other roughly shaped like this. Cut the rectangle (your front underskirt) on the fold as per the pattern. Be sure to mark the darts as they appear on the pattern piece for both top and bottom. We'll be needing those! Cut two of the upper piece. These are the front wrap pieces. Cut the other two pattern pieces (the back pieces) as per pattern instructions.
Start out by stitching in your darts, as per the printed instructions, but obviously you will stitch your two front pieces separately. Your upper front pieces should each have three darts, one a vertical bust dart and the other two horizontal bust and waist darts. You should not sew in darts in the tail section past the midline.
Next, sew upper front to upper back (pattern piece 2) at the shoulder seams.
Now, bind the neckline, starting at one point and going around the neck to the other. If you are going to put in nursing openings, make the points pretty by folding under a bit of the bias tape and slipstitching them closed, just as you will do for the ends of bias tape elsewhere.
If you are not going to be nursing, but just wanted the wrap top, this next bit is easy, just line up the upper front section with the lower front section, matching the darts and pinning the points of the wrap top wherever they fit best on you, then sew the top to the bottom.
For nursing openings, pin the same as above, but only sew from the outer edges in, leaving the points free from the inner set of darts in. Hem the free edges of the points and the upper edge of the skirt section in a narrow 5/8 inch hem. Attach your closure of choice (I used snaps, but buttons or a hook and eye would also work) to the points and dress with the top wrapped so that one snap is beneath the dress and the other is above.
Now just follow the pattern as written, skipping steps 7, 12, and 13. (You've already done them!)