I’ve been searching for a good nursing dress pattern since before I got pregnant. I realized that for the last 3 years I haven’t worn many dresses, and when I do there is always that realization that I can’t just start nursing my baby as easily as I can when wearing a shirt.
Yes I’ve been nursing for over three years, non stop. It’s been more than 1,100 days straight, with no end in sight 😛 !
I first started drafting my own dress starting from a t-shirt pattern, and hacking it into a crossover front with plans to add a empire waist maxi skirt. However my muslin of the crossover front was just not working for me for the same reasons I haven’t found a pattern that I’ve wanted to try. The necklines ends up being too low for my comfort and I don’t like to have to try and coordinate my camisole to the dress.
I recently came across the Amber Nursing and Maternity top by Megan Nielsen. At first it didn’t register that this was the dress I was looking for. The listing has it modeled as a top, and I struggled to find examples of other peoples’ creations with it – hence this post! The lack of reviews made me hesitant to try, but I have heard good things about the designer so I went for it and I’m sure glad I did! The modesty panel is the answer. I haven’t seen a pattern with one and this is a great design. The unique shape of the panel has finished cutouts above the waistband that provide sufficient access.
DSC_4951-001.JPGI love that it can be worn both as a maternity dress and not. The above picture confirms I will be wearing this after the baby comes!
DSC_4956-001Another detail I absolutely love about this dress (in addition to the modesty panel) is the pleated skirt. The pleats are really delicate and provide a more feminine touch than simply gathers in my opinion. I also feel that the pleats allow for more belly growing room to come from the sides and prevent the dress from riding up as the pregnancy progresses.

So this dress is a huge win for me and definitely one I will be making again!
I made the following mods to the pattern.

  • Took 2.5″ off the length (I’m 6′ tall, so I mentioned this one to the designer.)
  • Added 3/8″ to the bodice to account for some of my height.
  • Added a second waistband to the inside for more structure and fewer exposed seams on the inside.
  • Took 1.5″ off the shoulders of the modesty panel to remove gaping and have it come up high enough.
  • I also needed 2.5 yards of fabric as opposed to the required 2 yards.

I used Riley Blake’s Idle Wild Floral knit , now old out. Similar here, here and here. (affiliate links)


  1. Thank you so much for you blog post. You have made it a beautiful dress.
    I’m in the same boat, and couldn’t find enough pics to convince me.
    I see that I will be making a few of these for my nursing days ??

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. You did such a beautiful job!

  3. I think that dress is just adorable! I’d like to try something similar but have a question.. did your skirt pattern just have a straight edge that you pleated up to fit the bodice or was the skirt edge curved a bit and the pleats angled …? Not sure if that makes sense but in the pictures it almost seem like the pleats fan out instead of lay straight down. But maybe that’s just the cute belly causing it to look that way 🙂 thanks

    • The skirt pattern piece is straight at the top, with a very slight upward curve toward the hip. The pleats are marked in the pattern piece and maintain a straight edge before and after pleating it. They pleat toward the outer edges. I’m not sure if that answers your question? The pleats fan out as they are stretched by the belly.

  4. Wondering how the waste band is… Does it come loose for nursing? Or the panel?

    • Hi, I haven’t had any stretching out. I did reinforce my waistband with a facing like I mentioned in the post. The pattern only has a single layer. I also used a cotton lycra that has a 5% spandex content which really helps with the recovery.

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