Breastfeeding Friendly Layering

In the autumn and winter, I usually layer up long sleeved t-shirts, shirts and cardigans, but this year my clothing needs to be feeding friendly.  Currently none of my long sleeved t-shirts really facilitate that, so I’ve needed to come up with a pattern hack solution.  This top is my first attempt at creating a slim fitting layering t-shirt which I can feed in.

IMG_20181018_142043483_HDR

I’ve hacked together the Megan Nielson Amber, with my usual layering top- the Tilly and the Buttons Agnes.  Both of these are tried and true patterns for me, with multiple iterations (For Amber see here and here, Agnes here and here).  I’m using the front bodice piece of the Amber, and the modesty panel, but I’ve raised the centre front on this panel about 5cm to keep me warmer.  Then I’ve attached it to part of the front bodice of the Agnes.

IMG_20181018_142053229

For the back, I’ve mostly used the Agnes bodice, but tweaked the armscye to fit the Amber sleeve.   The sleeve has been slimmed down a bit too to make it fit under layers more easily.  This is how I’m most likely to we wearing it on an everyday basis- worn with jeans and an Archer Shirt.

IMG_20181018_141956802_HDR

I’m pretty pleased with this as a first try.  I do have another hack in mind to try so hopefully I will be able to show you that one too soon.  Like Matt’s recent Metro tee, this is made with the Girl Charlee solid cotton spandex in Sage Green.

IMG_20181018_142113118_HDR

I’ll be wearing this all winter I’m sure.  I’m really glad to be able to keep warm and cosy in my layers again!

IMG_20181018_142007559_HDR

Advertisements

Bra Modification

This is another quick and practical project. I have made my own lingerie before (such as an unblogged Watson Bra and these Acacia Undies), but I didn’t really have the time or inclination this time around! Instead I bought this bra recently, though to be useful for everyday it needs to be nursing friendly so I decided to make the modifications myself.

IMG_20180826_151556103

You can buy kits like this one to convert your bra, but I decided to just buy the clips and elastic that I needed separately.  First job is to measure the width of the current strap elastic to buy the right clip size, and unpick the elastic from the top of the cup.

IMG_20180825_201825289

Once it’s been taken apart, the clips can be put into position and sewn up.

IMG_20180826_151806050

Next job is to attach elastic from the strap clip to the bottom of the cup.  This stops you from losing your strap back over your shoulder when it is unclipped.

IMG_20180826_181135757 (2)

In all, a pretty useful little modification.  It always feels good to do some sewing that will really get lots of use.  Now I really must get on with that graduation dress!

Double-duty Dressmaking

This post comes slightly out of sequence because it has just gone live today on the Minerva Crafts blog. When I was offered some of their John Kaldor jersey to test I thought that this floral pattern was just beautiful and the drape of the fabric is great. At the time of sewing, my sewing time was a little limited because I had assignments to finish so I decided to combine a couple of different plans to make maximum use of my limited time.

Photo 1

This pattern is the maternity hack of the Sew Over It ultimate wrap dress, a pattern which was one of the first to make it onto this blog. Sew Over It provide instructions to hack the standard pattern pieces into an empire line so that is can be fitted around a bump. I also sized up to a 12, rather than the 8 I made before, as I’m hoping to be able to use this dress for nursing, and I’ve changed size at the bust too. The flutter sleeves are another hack, so look back to my post from Sunday to see what I did, and the tutorials that I found helpful.

Photo 5

This dress is also my entry for this years #sewtogetherforsummer community challenge, which involves making any wrap dress. I participated last year with my Alex shirtdress, and I’ve enjoyed seeing all the different patterns, inspiration and lovely dresses that have been made.

Photo 3

Anyway, to see the full blog post with all the construction details and final photo’s head over to the Minerva Crafts blog. I’m hoping to keep getting plenty of use out of this dress once baby arrives- hopefully it will be practical for throwing on when I don’t have time or energy to work out what to wear!

Sneaky early preview!

This week’s post will be arriving slightly later than normal because it is another collaboration with Minerva Crafts and is only due to publish on their website on Wednesday.  I’ve been so exited to share this make though because I really am loving wearing it in this more summery weather, and I feel very sophisticated in it!  Full details on the blog later this week, but for  now I’ll show you the bit of pattern hacking that I did to create these lovely flutter sleeves.

Photo 5

This pattern started out as the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress, one of the first patterns that I blogged about.  The dress has full length fitted sleeves- not very summery so I decided to make a few changes! Firstly, I worked out approximately how long I waned the sleeve to end up by holding it up against me, and I just traced off that much of the pattern.  There are some great tutorials online, and I followed this one on craftsy, and also found this one on sewing pattern review helpful.  You can see how the finished pattern piece looks very different to the initial one, but because none of the sleeve allowances or seam lengths have changed inserting it works exactly the same as before.

Photo 4

I wanted to keep the sleeve looking light and airy so I didn’t want a heavy hem weighing it down.  It made it a great reason to use my overlocker’s rolled hem function which is much more dainty, and a very quick easy way of finishing a curve.  I think I will be using this sleeve hack again over the summer- the sleeves are just so lovely.  They aren’t restrictive or hot, but keep your shoulders covered when out in the sunshine!  Pop back on Wednesday to see the other changes that I made to this pattern.

IMG_3338

The joy of Tried and True

Sometimes sewing is about the flashy new patterns or beautiful fabric. Sometime thought it is just about basics that you feel comfortable and yourself in. That is what this post is- filling the gaps in my current wardrobe (which seems to stop fitting me every couple of weeks at the moment) with things that I need.

IMG_20180414_164015946

Both of these patterns have appeared on the blog before several times. I do love sewing up those tried and true patterns though, that you can cut in batches, knowing that the sizing will be right, and can sew with barely a glance at the instructions.

IMG_20180428_133238894

These particular TNT’s are the Tilly and the Buttons Maternity Agnes (which I made a couple of t-shirts of at around Christmas, and a dress version more recently), and the Megan Nielson Amber which has featured recently as both a top and a dress too (worn here with my Oslo cardigan).

IMG_20180414_163957152

Both of these are made in my favorite t-shirt wright jersey too- Girl Charlee’s solid cotton spandex. It has great recovery, sews up beautifully, washes well and comes in loads of colours. I don’t think I will go back to using anything else for my plain t-shirts.

IMG_20180428_133242901

So I think this really is the perfect recipe- patterns which I know the fit and the drafting, and fabric which behaves just as you expect. Perhaps not the most exciting or revelatory discovery, but I have found lately with my self imposed fabric and pattern buying ban that I am having to return to and rediscover things which before I might have overlooked in favour of the new and sparkly. Sometimes what you really need has been sat there in front of you all along!

IMG_20180414_164012762

Amber Dress

When I made my previous Amber Top for my holidays, I knew that I was going to want to make the dress version too at some point.  This dress was definitely also what I had I’m mind when I added this pattern to my make 9 list in January, so it feels good to have the plans coming together.

IMG_20180325_144523744

This fabric was always intended to be a dress, though it has sadly sat in my stash for about two years waiting for something to happen!  I bought it with a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Dress Hack in mind and I was also clearly inspired by Tilly in the fabric choice too.  Like hers, my fabric is from MyFabrics, and I have always liked how they send fabrics out labelled with a sticker which has all the fabric details on, including length, composition and washing instructions.  They don’t have this fabric any more, but they do have some other similar nautical designs which are really fun.

 

So back to the dress that I did actually make.  I found it much easier to put all the pleats and pieces together than when I made the t-shirt version, and I made sure to baste together some of the key seams with lots to line up so that nothing could get unintentionally caught in the overlocker this time!  The modesty panel is just plain navy cotton spandex from Girl Charlee because I thought it might be a bit much to have the print there as well, and now it just looks like a little vest top underneath.  I think it would be really cute sometime to make a dress or top with a little lace trim along the top edge of that panel too.

IMG_20180325_141525153 (2)

One of my only issues with this dress is that the front waistband does get stretched quite a bit at the moment, now that the bump is getting bigger, and sometimes that does cause the white backing of the printed fabric to show through.  Probably most people wouldn’t notice, but it does annoy me enough to have to rearrange it slightly when I notice it!

IMG_20180325_144514348

The only change I made from the pattern was to shorten the dress 10cm at the hem once it was finished.  I very rarely wear any dress length other than above the knee so I just knew I was going to be more comfortable with it a bit shorter.

IMG_20180325_141530149

This dress is going to get lots of wear in the next couple of months I’m sure.  It looks great now with leggings and boots, and I know I’ll be able to wear is as the weather (hopefully) warms up too.  It should be a practical and comfortable post-bump option too.  I’m not sure how the front of the dress will hang without the bump, and I guess I might have to re-hem if the length isn’t quite right any more, but that is easy enough to do.

IMG_20180325_144501715

It’s not often that Matt and I manage to get a picture of us together, so I thought I’d leave you with one just for fun.  A picture of our ‘growing’ family before it all changes in May!

IMG_20180325_141544054

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.

IMG_20180318_163531949

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.

IMG_20180318_163600310

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!

IMG_20180318_163423122

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.

IMG_20180318_163603476

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!

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).

IMG_20180316_153311482

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.

IMG_20180316_153622757_HDR

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.

IMG_20180316_153327600

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.

IMG_20180316_083139941

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.

IMG_20180313_141331651 (2)

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.

IMG_20180315_080133265

 

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!

IMG_20180315_080221950

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!

IMG_20180313_141400319 (2)

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.

IMG_20180310_141725610.jpg

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.

IMG_20180310_141413280

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.

IMG_20180225_112637319

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.

IMG_20180310_141317801.jpg

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

IMG_20180310_141324515

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.

IMG_20180225_112641191

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.

IMG_20180225_112704722

Amber Abroad!

This is my first more ‘spring-like’ make of 2018, finished partially in honour of a pre-baby holiday to Lanzarote. It was tricky deciding on my packing for holiday because I didn’t want to buy a whole summer maternity wardrobe, but knew it should be warmer over there than Devon in February! This t-shirt was one of the compromises that I decided upon- it is short sleeved, for warmer weather, but is going to be something I can wear again and again back at home.

IMG_20180211_111734902

The fabric is some of my favorite Girl Charlee cotton spandex in a grey marl colour. I’ve used the same one before in a t-shirt for Matt, and a bodysuit for me last summer. I just love the way that this fabric washes, wears and feels. The pattern is the Megan Nielson Amber– a top and dress pattern which is probably a bit under appreciated being as it is super versatile (one of the reasons that it made it onto my make 9 for the year). It is designed as a maternity and nursing pattern, but I can definitely see me making it with a few mods just for non-pregnancy wear. The shape is very similar to a much loved ready to wear dress that I’ve had for years!

IMG_20180211_111758163

Lanzarote was beautiful, though maybe not quite so warm as we had hoped- there was a strong wind most days, but this top was a great comfortable staple. It looks great just with my basic maternity leggings too. I’m definitely going to be making more in a few other colours, and have some fabric waiting in my stash to make at least one dress version too.

IMG_20180210_161331531

I like that unlike some maternity wear, this top still gives me some shape. I think it’s due to the empire line waistband before it flares out to make space for bump. There is a nifty little panel in the front which both stops the crossover feeling too low, and is designed for easy access when nursing. I haven’t tried that out yet, but I can see it being pretty practical.

IMG_20180211_111820491

I stabilised all the neckline sections before sewing them with fusible hemming tape because I didn’t want it to stretch out. It seems to have worked well, so I think I’ll do the same on the next one too. I didn’t really feel the need to switch to a twin needle for hemming and just used a zigzag stitch there instead. All the main seams were stitched on my overlocker.

IMG_20180211_111750728

This top does have just one tiny flaw- when I was stitching the waistband to the wrap over front, and the panel, I did manage to catch the modesty panel under the overlocker knife and took out a tiny piece. Just goes to show that I should have been less lazy and basted it in place on the sewing machine first, but I’ve patched it, and it’s not at all visible because it is under the wrap anyway so I’m not going to fret about it!

IMG_20180211_111726051