Free Sewing Instructions: Make A Nursing Nightgown

Every new nursing mother needs a nursing nightgown to simplify night feedings. Here are easy instructions to make a summerweight gown from a cotton sheet.

Is any time of life more special or busy than those months of caring for a small baby?Breastfeeding mothers need all the help they can get to simplify the tasks before them.A nursing mom can sleep in a loose shirt and shorts, but a specially designed nightgown with openings for nursing is particularly comfortable and practical.The instructions here are for a lightweight cotton gown that can be made from a flat sheet if desired.It has a large inverted pleat down the front, which makes it full enough to accommodate a pregnant belly, so make it before baby comes.

The gown requires a flat full size sheet or the equivalent amount of cotton fabric, thread, narrow doublefold bias tape, and eyelet lace for trim.Cut two rectangles from the fabric.Both will be the desired length of the gown.Plan the rectangles so that the bottom of the gown falls at the hemmed edge of the sheet.One rectangle will be the front and the other the back.

The width of the front rectangle needs to be 40 inches wide for a small to medium size, or 46 inches for a large to X-large.The back rectangle will be 20 inches wide for the smaller gown or 26 inches wide for the larger size.

Find the vertical center of the front piece and mark it with pins down the front.Measure 5 inches from this line to each side.Fold one side of the gown back to the inside at this line, and then fold it back to the outside.Do the same with the other side.This forms a large inverted pleat that meets in the center.

Inside the pleat, make a slit in the inside fold.This slit needs to be at least 6 inches long and placed where the nursing opening will be needed.This may be as high as seven inches from the top (shoulder) for the smaller size and as much as 10 inches from the top for the larger size.Eight inches from the top edge of the gown piece is a safe measurement for most mothers if you are unable to get a personalized measurement.Make the slit a little longer for the larger size if in doubt.Slip doublefold bias tape over the raw edges of the slit and carefully stitch in place.Repeat on the other side for the other nursing slit.

Refold the pleat.Pin the layers of fabric together at the shoulders.Lay the fabric before you and design a front neckline centered at the pleat.Remember that the neckline needs to be roomy enough to slip over the head.Draw it with a pencil.Stitch along the line through all three layers of fabric.Stitch again 1/2 inch to the gown side of the neckline with a decorative embroidery stitch or zigzag stitch.Trim off the fabric above the neckline.

Lay the back rectangle over the front rectangle right sides together and pin at the shoulders.Sew the shoulder seams.Design a back neckline that is the same width as the front neckline.Slip doublefold bias tape over the raw edge of the neckline, pin it in place, and topstitch it all around the neckline.

Turn the gown so that the right sides of the front and back are together again.Stitch up the side seam to within 10 inches of the shoulder seam.Turn the raw edge of the arm opening to the inside and hem neatly.Add ruffled eyelet around the opening for trim.Repeat the process for the other side.

The gown will keep the mother modestly covered as is, but if more safety is desired, do this.At the level of the center of the bust, make a tiny buttonhole near the edge of the fold where it meets in the center.On the opposite fold, sew a tiny button close to the edge.This button can be buttoned when desired and unbuttoned for nursing.

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