Bodycon Agnes Dress

I’ve usually been a bit more of a fit and flare girl, but I have been craving some clothes that I can just throw on, and it is already an outfit ready to go.  My maternity Agnes tops have been pretty successful over the last couple of months (especially the long sleeved layering one in all this cold weather) so I thought I would give the dress version of the pattern a go.

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This is another fabric which had been in my stash for around a year.  It is a Ponte Roma which I bought from The Textile Centre on EBay.  It was a very reasonable £3.99/m, but I think when I bought it I expected the scale of the abstract print to be a little smaller, and wasn’t sure how to use it when it arrived.  It has found a good home in this dress though, because there are so few pattern pieces to break up the print, and I have made zero attempt to pattern match at the side seams.

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It might not be immediately obvious from these pictures, but I went for short sleeves for this version, but I’m wearing another long sleeve underneath for warmth,  Is anyone else finding that the snow is wreaking havoc with photo taking opportunities?  These were taken in the recently opened café 360 in Bovey Tracey, who don’t mind you turning up in all your waterproofs and wellies after a stomp through the snow!

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While this might be a slight style departure for me, I am enjoying it while I’m pregnant.  I’m not sure that it is going to be a look that I stick with afterwards, but for now it’s quite nice to wear something comfortable but form fitting, so that it is obvious that I have a baby bump, and haven’t just put on lots of weight!  I did sew this with a smaller seam allowance than usual for the side seams because there is a bit less stretch in this Ponte than in some of the jerseys I have use before, and I didn’t want it to feel too restrictive, especially as I still have some more growing to do.

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The only other modification that I made was to remove 15cm from the hem to bring it for below the knee to mid thigh.  Its now a great length for wearing with tights or leggings and boots, which might be why I don’t want to take it off!

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Maternity Modifications 2!

While I have managed to sort out a few options for everyday maternity wear, it turns out maternity work wear is far more complicated to find!  I am an outdoor education instructor, and while I’m not planning on hanging around at the top of the climbing tower much anymore, I don’t want to totally give up on being busy outdoors.  Unfortunately, the only UK supplier I have found of maternity walking trousers is fairly limited (and I had to take the elastic of the waistband in about 3 inches even for the smallest size).

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Fortunately, I have a few things which I don’t wear often or don’t fit well to modify.  First up is a pair of walking trousers.  I could have just removed the waistband in the same way as my jeans, but these trousers had a nifty side adjustment already which gave me an idea about modifying them at the side seam instead.  I unpicked the side seam about 20cm on each side and then tried them back on to see how much extra room I needed to create.

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I had a bit of navy lycra in my stash, so cut out some triangles of about the right size, and hemmed the top edge.  Then I went about inserting them into the side seams where they had been unpicked.  I decided to make them a little bigger than I needed them right now to give me a bit of space to keep growing.

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Once they were in, I tidied up the waistband edge, and stitched it all down.  The next problem is that the original side adjusters were obviously going to be way too short.  I thought about taking them off and replacing them with a new longer set, but thought they might be more versatile if I added to them instead.  They currently close with Velcro, so I bought a couple of rectangular sliders which the current strap can slide through and fasten the Velcro behind.  Then I sewed these into the end of a strap extension.  It sounds complicated, but it is actually really simple to look at.

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I’ve also been a bit short of jumpers and layers which fit properly to do up, so I adapted an old softshell in a similar way.  This time the sides are opened from the bottom hem upwards about 25cm and I added similar triangular inserts.

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The insert is essentially a godet, so if you are thinking of doing something similar and want a bit of sewing advice Liz has a tutorial, as does By Hand London.

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This jacket had a drawstring at the bottom originally, and the side seam coincided with some eyelets which helped adjust the elastic.  I decided that it would be worth keeping the drawstring feature, so sewed the lycra into the side seams before hemming so that I could keep the channel clear.  I had to add some new eyelets and elastic, but it works really well, stopping the jacket from riding up and keeping the draughts out!

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I love that these things fit me now, but have enough adjustment (hopefully) to keep me comfortable for the next couple of months too.  Now I’m all ready for more adventures!

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P.S. Apologies for the low quality pictures.  My normal cameraperson/husband has been away a lot recently, so these got taken on my phone using the timer and the contrast/exposure/quality is just not so great!

 

Lovely Lily

This is make number 4 from my make 9 plans- I really am rocketing along! It is a Sew Over It Lily Top, from Lisa’s new-ish maternity patterns. Surprisingly, there don’t seem to be that many of them made, because this is a versatile pattern for maternity and nursing, but it does look pretty cute just as non maternity wear too.

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This fabric is from my stash and has been there a while! I have no idea where it came from, or what the composition is, though I think there is some viscose in there. Whatever it is, it drapes beautifully, and feels really soft. The cream and blue pattern doesn’t need any attempt at pattern matching, and it a lot less harsh than a white background too.  I don’t always show the insides of my makes, but I decided to French seam as much as I could, and it does look much neater.

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I decided to lengthen the sleeve about 15cm to full length, and add a little cuff following a similar method to my pussy bow blouse. I want to be able to wear this now, while it is still a bit chilly, and I’m also aware that British spring/summer is quite often cooler than I always wish it would be! Full length sleeves mean that I can wear this now with a cardigan, but will hopefully wear it all summer too with just a vest top underneath.

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I am really pleased with how the cuffs turned out. I did interface them because I knew I was planning on putting in a proper buttonhole, rather than the rouleau loops used in the pussy bow blouse pattern.  When I was sewing it up, I deliberately left the cuffs long so that I could decide near the end exactly what size I wanted them to be.  I think the little keyhole is a nice feature, and I wanted the cuff to be long enough to (just) go over my wrist without needing to undo the buttons every time.

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These buttons are also from stash, and look pretty cute.  It doesn’t really photograph very well, but they have a lovely blueish sheen.

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I was a bit surprised that the instructions didn’t quite live up to the usually very high standard of Sew Over It. It felt like they hadn’t had a last proof read and had been rushed out. There were a couple of places where the sleeve variation instructions told you to jump to another number, but the number hadn’t actually been included, it had been left as stars. The instructions for the 3/4 sleeves never actually tell you to hem them, or what the hem allowance should be. Usually Sew Over It patterns are very professionally checked and tested so this did seem like an odd blip.  It didn’t bother me too much because I was changing up the pattern anyway, but a new sewer might find it very confusing.

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This top does look great.  It is a bit of a departure from my usually more fitted style, but I like the practicality of it and can see it getting lots of wear in the next year.  It does feel slightly tent-like, but I’m glad that he slim fitting sleeves help to balance that out.

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Dazzling Toaster Two!

So many people have made things with this gorgeous Dazzle French Terry from Atelier Brunette. It’s the sort of fabric that until now, I haven’t dared to buy or sew with because along with being the most gloriously soft fabric, it is also the most expensive fabric I have ever cut into. I bought it with some Christmas money though, in the sale at Guthrie and Ghani, and it felt a bit more manageable.

IMG_2381Because the fabric is so special, I wanted to keep my pattern choice to something I knew I would love. My last Toaster Sweater was great. I used the #2 version which has a split hem and I love the extra length that I added, and the slightly swingy shape. This time though I decided to modify the neckline to more of a crew neck. I like wearing jumpers over shirts, and this neckline is a bit more comfortable and practical when wearing it like this.

IMG_2303The pattern modifications were super simple.  I based the shape on an existing ready to wear jumper, and traced the shape onto my pattern pieces.  I had to draft a new neckband, but that is just the same as doing it for any jersey t-shirt or dress.  Construction wise, these mods actually made it simpler, with just the mitred hem requiring a bit of extra care.

IMG_2324Everything else I keep as my last sweater. It is the fabric which makes this, not overcomplicating it with design.

IMG_2332.JPGThere is one detail that I’m pleased I spent a little extra time on. I went for gold coloured thread for my topstitching. It meant that my stitching needed to be extra beautiful and precise, but I think it does elevate this make and I’m glad I didn’t play it safe with navy thread.

IMG_2389This is the sort of fabric that you feel like saving every scrap.  I do have a small piece left over, though I think it is too small to make anything for me.  I might have to make a matching jumper for the baby instead!

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