Post-bump me-mades

Whenever I sewed maternity clothes, it was always with one eye on the long-term.  I wanted things that would fit my shape now, but also in the future.  I wanted to have the cake, and eat it.

So this maternity summer dress

Duvet daisy dress 5

…becomes this first-night-out-without-baby winter dress:

daisy dress2

Granted, I left out one big factor: breastfeeding, which is completely impossible with this bodice and neckline.  So this dress is very occasional wear post-bump, but holds on to a firm place in my wardrobe post-boob.  Onwards and upwards!

Serendipitous maxi skirt

Maternity maxi skirt

I’ve blogged previously and effusively about maxi skirts (having sewn them in polka dots, border prints, and semi-sheer) so to recap just briefly, I completely heart them because: 1. They suit all seasons.  2.  They work for tall girls.  3. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t shaved your legs.

This particular maxi skirt has added serendipity – the fabric is from a thrifted pair of curtains (£4.99 from the charity shop), thus already fully lined and hemmed – and the print combines all three of my ultimate summer colours, yellow, coral and blue:

Yellow coral blueThese are the luscious shades I paint my nails in, fill my wardrobe with, and generally gravitate to as soon as the sun comes out.  I usually have at least one or two in each summer outfit, but when all three of them come together… it’s like ice-cream for the eyes.  These colours just make me Seriously Happy.

The skirt is based on the Victory Hazel pattern, again!  I added a total of 8 inches to the front piece, to get 4x 1″ pleats across the centre for adequate bump space, and extended it to the floor.  I cut the outer fabric and lining at the same time (for maximum speed, accepting slightly reduced accuracy) and kept the original hems throughout (more measuring, but less sewing).

Maternity maxi skirt 4The back piece has no extra pleats, and is cut lower than the front.  This is one of the features I do like on Megan Nielsen’s Maternity Skirt – it feels comfortable and sits naturally in the small of the back – so I used that pattern as a guide for the curves. Then the top is just folded over and stitched to create a casing for the elastic.

Maternity maxi skirt back

And of course, there’s every skirt’s most important feature – pockets.

Maternity maxi skirt 3

In hindsight, it could’ve done with being more A-line, to have sufficient volume at ankle-level… but hey, I’m not exactly striding along at the moment, so there’s enough space for my waddling gait.

Which colours are you buzzing about this summer?

Tofino Pyjamas two ways

Hi fellow PJ-party-ers!

Tofino shorts 3

I’d expected to be taking these photos out on the patio in the June sunshine, but it’s been far too gloomy and drizzly here in the UK… in fact, perfect weather to stay in pyjamas all day!

Tofino shorts 1

This is my second bash at the Tofino pattern – I was fortunate enough to be a pattern tester before it was released.  Back then, I got so excited that I ended up with a touch of GBSBF (Great British Sewing Bee fever)… aka limited time and strong desire to impress, leading to over-ambitious sewing projects.  Aha, I’ll be different, thought I: I’ll use satin!  With a lace overlay!  Plus satin piping!

Tofino testing 2

Maybe it would’ve been better with firmer fabrics, rather than these slightly stretchy cheap ones… which slid and shifted all over the place, and I couldn’t get those puckers out of the seams.  And the green stuff frayed like crazy.  Still, I’d hope Patrick and May would say it was an interesting concept, even if my sewing techniques let it down…

Tofino testing 5

So for this second version, I went for a nice woven cotton – from a duvet cover that I picked up on eBay for a few pounds.  I skipped the piping for easiness, but even without it, those side panels are fun to play with!  I switched the direction of the stripes to make things interesting (and it avoided any pesky odd stripe mis-matching along the seams).

Tofino shorts 2

Sorry to bore you all with the maternity adaptations, but for any pregnant ladies out there, these work really well.  The front is cut lower than the back anyway, great for fitting under the bump – I just lowered everything a little bit extra (1″ around the back, increasing slightly to 1.5″ off along the front).

As people are fond of telling me, I’ll probably be spending large chunks of my maternity leave in my pyjamas – so at least they’ll be stylish ones.  Thanks for the pattern Tasia, and nice job on hosting the party, Karen!

Deckchair Vogue dress

Vogue Deckchair dress 3

This dress popped into my head fully formed as soon as I spotted the fabric in my favourite Goldhawk Road shop – don’t ask me what it’s called, but it’s got a really narrow long basement downstairs… do you know the one I mean?  I was wearing my first Vogue 8645 at the time, and knew this stuff would be perfect for version 2.

This is the second garment I finished just in time for my weekend to the Isle of Wight.  So these photos were snapped at Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s family home in East Cowes:

Osborne house 2

It was pretty fun checking out the dress in Victoria’s dressing room full-length mirror, but you’ll have to take my word for it (no pictures allowed inside the house).

Vogue Deckchair dress 2

This time round, I upped the neckline an inch or so at the front.  Sure, the whole thing looks a little higher at the front than the back, but that’s down to the bump, not the dress.  Oh, and this one has pockets!  Can’t believe I omitted pockets in the first one.  Dresses should always have pockets.  Always.  Any time I skip em, I miss em.

Vogue Deckchair dress 1

Pretty good stripe matching, huh?  I cut just one of each of the pieces using the paper pattern, then flipped the fabric version over, matched up the stripes, and used it as the pattern for the second piece.  It worked really well – here it is, all pinned in place:

Dress stripe matching

I’m totally into these stripy sorbet colours, though I did start to wonder if it’s all a bit too… deckchair camouflage attempt?  Ice-cream vendor?  Stick of seaside rock?  Still, all those things considered, it shouts SUMMER at me just as loudly as it did in the shop basement.

Vogue Deckchair dress 4

Welcome to summertime one and all, and happy Longest Day!

Nautical stashbusting tunic

Knit top 1

Mr B and I wanted to have a little holiday before hitting the third trimester, while I’m feeling reasonably well; gearing up for the roller-coaster-slide to the due date.  I fancied a few days at the seaside, so we pitched up at lovely Ventnor on the Isle of Wight:

Ventnor

Ventnor iow map

I finished this top just in time to chuck it in the suitcase. The pattern’s a vintage one from 1979, which came home for free from April’s epic V&A meetup – thankyou, anonymous swap contributor!

Simplicity 9196

Check out that classy velvet number, accessorised with side ponytail!  Normally I would have looked right past this one, but it’s a loose stretch knit with a belted waist, which makes big waves on my maternity sewing radar.  Plus, the yellow version actually looks super-cute (sort of 1970s does 40s homage?)

The stripy stuff came from this Dorothy Perkins vest top, £1.50 from the local Barnardos.  I had a go at wearing it as-is, but the fabric is really flimsy and those white sections are almost see-through: much too high-maintenance.  Instead, there was just enough room to cut the four collar pieces.

Collar restyle vest

The blue fabric has been sitting in my stash for a few years, so all I needed to buy was some knit interfacing.  Yep, knit interfacing – REVELATION.  I have something of a crush on interfacing generally – it just makes fabric pieces so beautiful and crisp and mmm.  And you can get it for knits as well?  How did I not know already?!

Knit top 2

For what’s essentially a baggy t-shirt, I think the collar and gathered sleeves really notch it up a level.  Wouldn’t it make a good work outfit in a nice jersey fabric?

The Daisy Duvet dress

Duvet daisy dress 1

This was a gem of a find in a charity shop – a cute and quirky duvet cover, in a nice crisp cotton blend, for £3:

Daisy duvet 2

I almost balked at cutting it into pieces… but it was much easier once I realised the whole print is truly deeply wonky! (Though that also made the actual cutting logistically harder…)

Daisy duvet

I wanted a pattern that would showcase the print without too many darts or seams, and plumped for the beautifully simple Victory Hazel dress which I’ve used twice before:

RWB Hazel dress

Red White and Blue Dress

Summerbirds dress 1

Victory Hazel bodice

So a few maternity adaptations: I added 1/2 inch to each of the bodice seams to give an extra 2 inches round the bust; and added eight pleats across the front skirt (all 1 inch deep and 1 inch apart) to make space for the bump.

Duvet daisy dress 5

…with a bit of contrast on the back

Duvet daisy dress 2

Which sort of blends back in along the sides:

Duvet daisy dress 3

I almost finished this for May, but my Me-Made-May pledge fell sadly by the wayside this year.  I should have pledged to wear all the things that still fit me and to sew as much maternity wear as possible – in retrospect, I was far too over-optimistic about how much sewing I’d get done (what’s new, eh).  These days, more and more time is taken up with antenatal appointments, and sometimes I’m too tired to clean my teeth in the evening, let alone thread a sewing machine and get stitching.

Duvet daisy dress 6But voila, this did get finished; it makes me feel pretty; it’s cool and comfortable; and it doesn’t need ironing.  Win, win, win.

Maternity transitions: Vogue 8645

Script top 2

The ultimate aim in maternity sewing: a garment that will fit the whole way through pregnancy – and beyond.  Once I’ve spent sewing time on something, I expect some potential for years of wearing, don’t you?  And I think I’ve hit on an ideal pattern here with Vogue 8645.

V8645[1]

See, it’s not a specific maternity pattern: the shape comes from wherever the belt sits.  Normally it would be round the waist, like in the pattern illustration.  Right now, I can belt it above the bump – and there’s still space in the skirt, and around the bust from the shoulder gathers.

Script top 1

The fabric is an Ikea print – I resisted on two consecutive trips, but the third was too much and I came home with 4 metres of it.  Just as well, as the cutting placement demanded serious yardage to line up the script on the front and back (as far as possible – the sections all fan out below the waist).

Script top back

I first wore this to the epic sewing meet-up last month, under my Megan Nielsen maternity skirt (it wasn’t hemmed!)

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But now that it’s properly finished, it’s a huge part of my current wardrobe.  The shoulder ties keep bra straps under wraps, and it’s roomy without gaping or slipping around.

Script top 4

So of course I’ve already got another V8645 on the sewing table, lining up some stripes this time…

stripy fabric

Very Easy Vogue – does what it says on the envelope.  Snap it up fellow sewists, and belt according to need.