Monday, 15 July 2013

Maternity Wardrobe: Six Months!

Would you believe that I'm over six months preggers now?! Insane. Anyways, I'm super proud to say that, aside from some new bras, I have bought precisely NOTHING in terms of maternity wear and in no way intend to do so. I know that I've mentioned this before, but I get a real buzz from being able to use my hard-won sewing skillz to meet the challenges that life throws up. And dealing with a rapidly and dramatically changing body over the last six months has been one of the biggest challenges me and my sewing abilities have faced yet. 

Early on in my pregnancy I realised that there are heaps of amazing, inspiring women out there in blog-land (including Veronica Darling) and IRL (including Paula, my ex-TRAIDremade boss) making fabulous DIY maternity creations who showed me that it can be fun rather than panic-inducing, and that you needn't set aside your personal sense of style. I really hope that my self-stitched maternity clothes will go on to inspire other women who become pregnant in the future to create or supplement their maternity selections with self-stitched garments. 

Now of course there is no such thing as 'content list' for a maternity wardrobe. Having read a pile of pregnancy books and spoken to other women, I can tell you that no-one can agree on what garments you'll need at each stage of pregnancy, in just the same way that no-one can agree on what a 'capsule wardrobe' should consist of. What job you have, what climate you live in, what your leisure activities are, what you feel comfortable in, your personal style, stage of pregnancy, size and shape during pregnancy and a squillion other factors would/will make your selection of maternity clothes different to every other woman's. 

That said, I know that I would have found it super-useful to be able to see exactly what a DIY-inclined preggers chica has in her wardrobe, so today I'm going to share with y'all what my six-month pregnancy wardrobe consists of:

Jersey Tops:

If ever there was a time to wear comfy clothes, it's during pregnancy. Plus jersey stretches so any jersey garments you own/make will have a larger window of useful-ness than woven garments. At six months my modest selection consists of: Peter Pan collar batwing top, tiny bird print 3/4 length sleeve jersey top (not previously blogged about because there isn't much to say) and my mid-maternity striped top. One glaring omission to this section is the mustard version of the Peter Pan collar batwing top. That is because, at time of writing, I'm waiting to find out if my attempt to remove a greasy curry stain that I inflicted on it a few days ago was a success or not! Fingers crossed... 

Woven tops:

I am assuming that my pussy bow blouse still fits, it did a week ago. But if I've learnt anything about clothes during pregnancy, it's that just because something was ok last week, doesn't mean to say it'll fit now! I don't expect to get many more wears from this, antenatal, but it's been a really useful 'smarter' option up until now. And then there's my Modcloth-inspired maternity smock top, which I've just realised is my only sleeveless item. Says more about the climate I live in than anything else. 


My nautical jersey dress has been possibly the most useful and comfortable garment I've ever made. When it's hot (like when I went to Madrid and during the hot spell the UK is currently enjoying) it is fabulous as a dress. When it's a bit cooler, this dress is short enough to be layered over treggings or jeggings without looking weird. I have another version of this cut out and ready to sew because I panic about what to wear when it's in the wash! My Tova dress has now turned into a tunic to be worn with trousers underneath rather than as a dress as originally intended. This is because, as my bust and rib-cage have expended, it kind of sits a bit higher up on my chest making the length a bit indecent when worn as a dress! 


From left to right: a normal pair of jeggings that are a size or two larger than I'd go for pre-pregnancy. I wear these unbuttoned with en elastic extension that stops them falling down either with or without the belly band depending on the length of tunic/top I'm wearing them with. Then there's my faithful blue treggings (the black ones no longer fit). These are the only bottoms that I can wear to yoga so those ladies probably think these are all I own! I'm planning on making another pair of these with the front waist cut even lower for when my belly gets larger still. The last pair are Topshop Maternity jeggings and I am at least the third pregnant lady to wear them. My aforementioned ex-boss Paula leant them to me, but wants them back if she ever gets pregnant again! They have a wide jersey-covered elastic panel across the front. She did lend me two other pairs of Topshop Maternity jeans but neither of them would stay up!


Anyone that followed my MMM'13 progress will probably be sick to the back teeth of seeing my Captain jacket! It has been soooo useful since the Spring. It can't quite button up now, but still good as an extra layer when necessary. I picked up the orangey-red swing coat in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago for a fiver. It needed a bit of hand-stitching but now it's as good as new. Plus is buttons up over my bump! Amazing!

Other six-month pregnancy garments that I didn't bother to photograph:
  • Cardigans. I have a delightful array of secondhand cardigans that provide sufficient variety when combined with the above items. 
  • Sleep wear. Most of my nicer, more feminine sleep things no longer fit so I'm left with a couple of pairs of loose jammies and some over-sized mens T-shirts.
  • Lounge wear. That is a comically glamourous phrase for what consists of the two pairs of secondhand tracky bottoms and one secondhand over-sized hoodie for when extreme levels of at-home comfort are equipped.
  • Undies. Either my bum has grown a bit in this six months, or my tolerance of any discomfort has diminished, so I'm now finding my smallest smalls are no longer wearable. I haven't had to make any larger sized knickers yet, but I know I have the skills should that be required in the near future. I've had to make a couple of longer and wider vests that accommodate 'le bump'. As mentioned at the top of this post, I've had to buy a fair few new bras. 

Note-worthy points:
  • Umm, how comes nearly everything I now own is blue?! I really didn't notice that until I got all my garments out to photograph for this post! I haven't had much trouble mix-and-matching my selection of separates and now I'm coming to realise that is probably because of the limited palette. There's a lesson in there somewhere maybe... Thankfully my cardigans are red, mustard, emerald and black which provides some necessary variety. 
  • The other main thing I've noticed when looking at these pics is there just isn't very many garments there. Figuring out just how few garments I realistically need, whether pregnant or not, has been illuminating. Of course, it's not quite as much fun as 'shopping' in a wardrobe with heaps of choice, but it certainly has made getting dressed each morning much quicker and more content with the outfit I've selected. It's good to know that, if I keep on top of my laundry, I'll already have ample wearable items after the baby is here and my capacity to sew myself things is dramatically reduced. 


Philippa said...

Very interesting post! I think it is during pregnancy/just after, that many women realise they don't actually need a lot of variety as long as they keep on top of the laundry (can be a challenge in itself, especially when you have little ones!). I am also very impressed that you have retained a sense of your style in your maternity selection. I remember finding maternity dressing quite challenging and would have appreciated a list like this.

Hazel_Myope said...

It really is amazing how little we can get by on. Then again, that's just our consumerist culture telling us we need more.

Looking forward to seeing the last few months and your little reward. :)

Ginny said...

I think my main problem post-pregnancy was squeezing in a wash load of my clothes between the piles of babygrows and the nappies that got washed every other day. You fit lots of little things in a wash load, but they take up so much space when they're hung out in a line! Luckily I had DD in summer, so I could have one load on the line and one on the rack inside, but when the weather was bad I ended up with washing draped over every surface possible and still had nothing of my own clean! Less of a problem if you have a tumbledryer, of course. Which I don't.

Anonymous said...

You really don't need that many maternity clothes, especially if you keep on top of the washing. Made me think how little I actually needed when I emerged from the pregnancy/breastfeeding/pregnant again/breastfeeding again cycle I got into a few years ago! I've bought and made far few clothes since that stage, simply because it taught me that I really don't need lots of things.

ElleC said...

if the greasy curry stain didn't come out, try equal parts dish detergent (I use Dawn but in the UK try Fairy) and hydrogen peroxide. Mix the two together, rub into the stain, let sit for a few minutes, then toss in the wash. I have had really good luck with this.

Death to All Stains. 8-)

Kat said...

Thanks for sharing! I might be in the same boat in the next year so I have a question.

I know no one knows how their body will change or how big they will get. But I've heard a lot of women say the same thing you did that clothes sometimes do not fit the next week.

How do you handle that from a sewing perspective? Do you just have a "larger" garment on hand just in case? Or do you sew as you need new clothes?

I'm sorry if my question seems a little silly.

Jacq C said...

Very interesting post. MMM made me think about how few garments I actually have in general rotation too. I think it helps enormously to have a limited palette that mix and match, as you have proven with your base of blue. I've just made a Lisette Continental pattern dress for myself and my DD has asked me to make one for her friend who is in the early stages of pregnancy with twins. I think it's a good pattern for early maternity wer, epecially in this heat. And hopefully, it will still be wearable later when belted :)

eline said...

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing.
I remember being very happy during pregnancy and right after because I had so little choice in my wardrobe. It was a lot easier choosing what to wear from a small wardrobe then from a larger one! That was such an eyeo pener :-)

French Toast Tasha said...

I agree, being able to DIY something that you need is a fantastic feeling! Good for you and good luck with the next few months!
PS I also recently realized everything I own is blue. Or brown.

Zoe said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. Mwah to you all.

@Kat, thanks for your question regarding growing bigger during pregnancy and how to cope with it, I'd be happy to expand on that point.

Obviously I'm speaking from the perspective of being just over six months in to my first pregnancy. Plus, as with everything, other women may disagree or have had a different experience, that said:

Don't worry, it isn't like you literally wake up one day and NOTHING fits anymore. The reality is more like this: one week you have three pairs of trousers that fit ok. Then you have a 'growth spurt' (or whatever you're meant to call getting bigger during pregnancy!) and the following week only two pairs still fit you. That's the time to think about sourcing/making/thrifting/borrowing/buying a larger pair, otherwise the inevitable will happen and you'll get bigger again and only one pair will fit, etc.!

If you are planning on sewing your own maternity wardrobe, I wouldn't necessarily recommend making bigger sized things to have on stand-by. Just if you make something new, make it a bit larger around the chest and belly than you'd need at that precise moment so it'll have a longer lifespan.

Lots of women said the following to me and I really must pass it on: JERSEY WILL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND!! Whether you are sewing maternity stuff or buying it, jersey garments have a much bigger window of wearability than wovens, plus I've found you get a bit more warning that they are getting too small than the sudden 'wake up and it doesn't fit' scenario that seems to come more often with woven garments.

Also, I'd say, it's very difficult (probs impossible) to plan your wardrobe for various stages of your pregnancy. Clothes behave in mysterious ways, well their shape and fabric does anyway. Some garments might unexpectedly give you months of wear, whilst others you thought would last for yonks simply don't last you more than a month. It would probably be useful to have a look through your fabric stash so you know what's in there whilst you can still wear the majority of your pre-pregnancy clothes. Plus source a few mid-maternity-friendly patterns (obviously these might not be to your taste, but I really recommend the Tova dress/tunic and the Washi dress/tunic patterns) and have them ready to deploy when your pre-pregnancy wardrobe starts to phase itself out. I haven't found that I've need specific maternity sewing patterns before the third trimester, personally. And if you haven't figured out sewing with jersey, I'd recommend having a go. Any basic T-shirt/top patterns will be probably fine if widened round the belly a bit and lengthened to provide you with comfy tops for the majority of your pregnancy. Then in your third trimester I'd recommend using my tutorial ( to make the same pattern more accommodating for larger bumps.

Hope that has been of some use!

All the best
Zoe x

Kat said...

Thank you Zoe! That has been very useful! And an excuse to grow my stash....ha ha ha.

Thank you for the pattern recommendations (I think your clothes are so great) and reassurance I won't wake up and find nothing fits but my bathrobe!

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