Dollars and Sense

How to Make a DIY Nursing Gown

 

Why make your own? 

  • Cheap maternity clothes/items are usually made from itchy, thin material, while the quality ones are expensive ($39, $48, even $60 each online). Any time I have bought something made from a super thin fabric, it inevitably ends up getting holes in it.
  • By making your own, you can save some $ by repurposing a nightgown or nightshirt that you already have. (I also wanted the challenge of solving my quest for a good nursing gown by making one myself).
  • Most regular nightclothes at stores like Target and Walmart don’t have a deep enough V in the front to work as nursing gowns.

What you will need:

  • A nightgown or nightshirt
  • Velcro circles
  • Ribbon (with a width as wide as the diameter of your Velcro circles)
  • Needle/thread that matches the ribbon color
  • Sewing machine with matching thread
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Straight sewing pins
  • Iron and ironing board

Step 1:  You will be making a V in the center of the nightgown, so try it on and use a straight pin to mark where the bottom of the V should be:

gown 2

Step 2: Measure from shoulder seam to shoulder seam to find the midpoint of the collar, and mark it with a pin:

gown 3

Step 3: Make a cut in the collar about 1/4in. to the left of the pin, and cut straight down to your first pin.

Step 4: Cut two pieces of ribbon about 1 in. longer than the V that you just made. Turn the end of one ribbon piece under twice, then sew across the end to keep it from fraying. Fold in half and place this ribbon against the right half of the V, sewn end at the bottom.

Step 5: Measure how much the ribbon extends past the V at the top. Trim ribbon, leaving enough room to roll the ribbon end under twice and sew across the end of it. After doing this, fold the ribbon in half, “wrong” sides together, and iron it so that it stays flat.

Step 6: Take folded ribbon and line it up with the right edge of the V and pin it so that it encloses the raw edge. Sew straight down the right edge of the ribbon:

gown 4

Step 7: It should now look like this when you remove the pins:

gown 5

Step 8: Roll the end of the other ribbon piece under twice, and sew across the end to keep it from fraying. Pin it to the left side of the V, sewn end at the bottom, and measure how much the ribbon extends past the V at the top. Trim ribbon at the top, leaving enough room to roll the ribbon end under twice and sew across the end of it. Once you’ve done this, pin the ribbon (without folding it in half like the other side) to the left edge of the V, “right” sides together.

Step 9: Sew along the raw edge, about 1/8 in. in from the right edge. Open and press flat with the iron.

Step 10: Velcro. In hindsight, this would be much easier to do with fabric glue rather than sewing it on (I thought I would break my sewing machine needle trying to get through all the layers). But, I measured as best I could and cut/sewed the half circles with the “loops”to the ribbon on the right, and full circles (the fuzzy sides) to the “WRONG/BACK” side of the left ribbon. I used a machine for the right side (since the back side with the stitching wouldn’t be visible), and hand sewed the left side (since the “back side” is technically the front and the stitches would be visible):

gown 8

Step 11: When you are finished, the wide left ribbon should overlap the ribbon on the right side. I sewed the bottom edge of the left ribbon over the bottom edge of the right ribbon to close the small gap that had formed at the bottom of the V. My left side ended up being slightly longer at the top than my right, so I tucked that under and sewed it flat. I added a little red decorative button as well:

gown 9

Helpful tips: 

  • Cotton jersey fabric is soft and comfortable but very hard to sew with since it stretches so much. Use many pins and sew slowly, checking to see if the fabric has bunched or stretched every inch or so.
  • Use a sturdy but thin cloth-type ribbon, not the gauzy, satiny, or wire type.
  • Don’t let the gown or shirt fall in your lap as you sew, the weight will stretch and pull the fabric out of shape; your seams won’t match up. Push your sewing machine towards the center of the table a bit and bunch the fabric on the table to take the weight off of it.
  • Hang the gown/shirt on a hanger and place on a hook before doing any cutting or measuring so that it hangs correctly.
  • Choose a fabric, ribbon, and thread all in the same color so that mistakes don’t show as easily.

I’m not a sewing expert, so any suggestions you have for improving this design, please comment below!

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