I made my very own Birthday Dress & it’s Nursing Friendly!

Hey y’all!

I finally finished my 30th Birthday Dress… Yay! Let the heavens rejoice! And I’m FINALLY sharing about it on here.

It feels like it’s taken me FOREVER… and I’m so excited to share some of the process with you all.

If you follow me on my sewing/craft instagram, you probably saw a bit of the process already, but in case you don’t follow me on there (…yet? 🙂 ), I’ll share about some of it right here in this blog post.

It all started the weekend before my birthday. Truthfully, I thought I could finish this dress THAT weekend. What was I thinking?!?!?

I must’ve forgotten that I’m a giant KID magnet and my kids just love me. I can’t complain though because I absolutely LOOOOOOVE them too and I tend to give into their requests for snuggles and cuddles – even while I’m trying to sew.

And somewhere along the way, summer took over and I indulged in birthday celebrations, day-dates with friends, date nights with my handsome hubby, weekends at the beach, and my fair share of house & homeschooling- school-year-prep.

So it’s all led to here, this marvelous moment of me finally sharing my 100% self-drafted & designed, 30th birthday dress.

This little project was a long time coming. Ever since I gave birth to my 1st daughter in 2011 and ventured down the road of breastfeeding, I’ve been quite frustrated over how much my style has changed & how much of it I’ve had to sacrifice. If you’ve been or am currently a nursing mom, I’m sure you can relate. There are some cute “nursing friendly” clothes out there, but they’re all either in knit fabric or drafted for B-cups… and I’m NOT A B CUP. I’m somewhere between a D and DD while nursing so there was no way my regular size smalls could fit over my chest comfortably.

My process

So, for this dress, I draped it on my dress form… and altered it to fit my body. I made sure my horizontal measurements were correct first and then checked the vertical measurements. My shoulder to apex measurement indicated that I needed to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA)… and so I did… and I was mind-blown! 

If you’ve never done one, you may not understand the mind-blowing experience, but let me tell you…it was LIFE CHANGING! Literally!

From the moment I pinned my darts closed and held it up against my body, I was like “WHOA! NOW THAT’S A GOOD FIT!!!”

Once I saw that the bodice fit across my bust, I proceeded with a rush of confidence to finish all other aspects of altering the pattern that I draped before moving on.

I shifted darts to point towards, but not exactly up to the apex of my bust… and decided on a fuller skirt instead of the pencil skirt I initially thought I wanted.


Altering the fullness of my skirt in my Handmade 30th Birthday Dress

Altering the fullness of my skirt in my Handmade 30th Birthday Dress
To increase a skirt’s fullness, start off my by drawing a line from the bottom of the skirt to the point of the dart. Cut directly on this line with a scissor. Then, close your dart (I taped mine) and proceed to cut a few more evenly spaced lines up to the dart point and spread them apart evenly. This picture shows how I increased fullness from a straight skirt to make it into an A-Line.
Altering the fullness of my skirt in my Handmade 30th Birthday Dress
If you want to increase fullness even further, draw some more evenly spaced lines from the bottom of your skirt all the way to the top of the waist, but not through it. Then, spread the paper apart to mimic the fullness you desire. See picture below.

Altering the fullness of my skirt in my Handmade 30th Birthday Dress - LOVEMADE HANDMADE


I paid extra attention to making sure my dress wasn’t too tight anywhere & then made a muslin. Believe it or not, I made a total of 3 muslins before cutting into my fashion fabric! This was the very first dress I ever made for myself so I was pretty scared the whole way through… scared of messing up or making a huge mistake somewhere along the way. And even though I didn’t, it was pretty intense up until it was completed. My biggest fear, I think, was doing all this work and it didn’t fit…

The 1st muslin indicated that I was way too generous with excess fabric. I always am. I remember when I made my 1st pillowcase dress 5 years ago, my daughter was drowning in fabric. The second muslin indicated that I needed to shorten my Center Back and take in a little more at the side seams. And then I made a 3rd muslin… and that one indicated that the fit was pretty comfortable and I could move forward.

…So I did!

Marking the darts on my HANDMADE 30th Birthday Dress - LOVEMADE HANDMADE Cutting out the fabric for my HANDMADE 30th Birthday Dress - LOVEMADE HANDMADE HANDMADE bias tape for my HANDMADE 30TH BIRTHDAY DRESS


End result

My dress is a button down, semi-fitted bodice with a full skirt and 3/4 sleeves. I used binding at the neckline… and only the skirt is lined with the same fabric.

And it’s the most comfortable dress I currently own! I love knowing my buttons aren’t going to pop open and that I’m not wearing clothes that are too big everywhere else besides by my bust. I’m pretty short… 4’10” so size small fit me fine mostly everywhere except for my chest area. I refuse to buy mediums because they’re way too big at my shoulders, and I just look frumpy in them. Not cool!

Since I’ve kept you waiting long enough… here’s my dress! Super proud that I was able to make it fit MY body.

A self-drafted & handmade, nursing friendly, 30th Birthday Dress! LOVEMADE HANDMADE A self-drafted & handmade, nursing friendly, 30th Birthday Dress! LOVEMADE HANDMADE A self-drafted & handmade, nursing friendly, 30th Birthday Dress! LOVEMADE HANDMADE

This is my self-drafted HANDMADE, nursing friendly, 30th Birthday Dress! LOVEMADE HANDMADE
I wore this on a hot date with my hubby. We ate at Ivan Ramen in NYC and it was absolutely delicious. If you ever go, make sure to order the pork belly steamed buns… OMG soooo good!

Happy living, loving, and making,

Karina @

About The Author

Karina Moran

I’m a homeschooling mom of 4 & I love creating HANDMADE garments and things! Follow my adventures at www.lovemadehandmade.com.


  1. Maren Sealey | 7th Sep 17

    wow!! this is amazing!! very talented

  2. Rose | 7th Sep 17

    I love it! It’s cute and you look great in it. I hated sewing as a kid in school. I took a failing grade in school because I refused to sew. Now as an adult I’m slowly get interested in sewing. I would like to make a few things for my daughter. My mom and grandmother sewed all the time and it would be a nice honor to them.

    • Karina Moran | 18th Sep 17

      That would be lovely. Sewing was one of those things I didn’t get the opportunity to learn in school, but I would have loved it! Its definitely not for everyone, but its such a great skill to have. See if there are any classes where you’re located and take one to refresh anything you may have forgotten… I’m sure you’ll make some beautiful makes for your daughter… and I’d love to see them! 🙂

  3. Lorena | 7th Sep 17

    Fabulous dress ? great job.

  4. Sonja | 7th Sep 17

    What a great job. Drafting your own dress and making it. It looks beautiful and the colour suits you.

    • Karina Moran | 18th Sep 17

      Aww thank you! I’m in love with navy blues lately.

  5. Sheri | 7th Sep 17

    Wow you did an amazing job with that dress and it looks really great on you. I wish I could make my own dresses too .

    • Karina Moran | 18th Sep 17

      You totally can! With the amount of resources online nowadays, a lot of women are learning to make their own clothes to fit their unique bodies… you can absolutely do it you wanted, but it does require time which a lot of people don’t have much of nowadays.

  6. Amrita | 7th Sep 17

    I understand about needing a size S with a bigger bust fit .Loved the post .Don’t think I can do this.But definitely inspired.

  7. Needa | 10th Sep 17

    You are very artistic! I love the way you described everything! Thanks it is very helpful.

  8. Donah @ SJB | 15th Sep 17

    Whoah! How great of you to be able to that by yourself. I mean, I have tried doing a dress for myself, but it was really simple and easy to do. This is more complex! Good job!

    • Karina Moran | 18th Sep 17

      Aww thank you! That’s awesome you’ve made a dress for yourself! This was my first, but definitely won’t be my last! 🙂

  9. What you need when flying with a baby – ThinkBaby.org | 27th Jun 18

    […] One of my favorite blogs to visit, lovemadehandmade, because she actually shared a post about a beautiful dress that she made that is 100% nursing friendly that you can wear if you don’t feel like wearing […]

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