Friday, 15 April 2016

Spring Sewing Plans Afoot

Well thanks so much for all the congratulations that were left in response to the news of my pregnancy! Each comment was thoroughly lovely to receive. It's made the fact that I'm going to be a mum again all the more 'real' now that I've shared the news with the sewing community!

So here's what I plan to make over the next couple of months. This list has ended up being a bit longer than I thought it'd be, but I'm pleased that most of the projects should be suitable for, or easily adapted to, post-pregnancy life as well. I want to keep specific maternity sewing to a minimum because, as I mentioned before, I still own all the garments I made for myself last time plus I don't plan to have another child after this one. I do want to make a few extra stretchy items and maybe one woven top for the final trimester, but I'll deal with those plans further down the line. Here's how I plan to get through the inbetweeny bit of pregnancy...



Maternity jeans refashion:

Just as I wear jeans 95% of the time (outside the house) when not pregnant, I have no doubt that I'll be relying on maternity jeans just as much throughout this pregnancy. So I'm going to need more than the one H&M pair I've been leant (that to be honest are rapidly becoming too small) so far. I bought the pair of thifted skinny jeans pictured above a couple of years ago when I was going through an a-typically tiny phase, and they've been too small for me pretty much since a week after their purchase. I'm going to have a whirl at refashioning them a bit like this, and if it doesn't work out, nothing has been lost. Plus, I've got a few peops out there hunting through their lofts for some size 12 maternity jeans, so I may just end up wearing borrowed maternity jeans for the next six-ish months.


Knit skirt:

Sadly, all my knit skirts (like this onethis one and these ones) are already way too tight round my tum. Something I learnt from my first pregnancy is that I prefer to have bottoms that sit under my belly, rather than over the top, so a skirt style like the Megan Nielsen Erin maternity skirt pattern, although lovely, isn't for me. I was thinking about either sacrificing one of my existing knit skirts by cutting down the waistline and adding a new, better positioned waistband, or altering Gertie's knit pencil skirt pattern to make one from scratch. Then I had an Aha! moment and decided to draft my own from scratch on the off-chance that it's a real success, and therefore something I could release as a sewing pattern of my own in the future.



Breton tunic:

The Fabric Godmother is (almost) literally my godmother! Josie the owner gave me some of this epic stripy Ponte de Roma type-stuff (on the left in the photo below) the last time I visited her studio because she could see how obsessed with it I'd become. I bought some other pieces of fabric that day and had gone way over what I had intended to spend (I'm blaming you, amazing wool blend check). I couldn't justify buying any of this as well but I was really struggling to walk away from it!

I seems to me that there is only one logical use for this stripy stuff: a tunic-length Breton garment based on this vintage pattern pictured above (again). I still maintain that my 1960's Breton top is the best garment I've ever sewn (I'm wearing it as I type, with a vest underneath and two cardigans on top because it's still too nippy for it really) so it is the logical step to make something very similar that will hopefully be loose enough to cover a second-trimester bump, and then worn heaps in the future. My only concern is that I won't be able to wear it again straight away post-pregnancy, as a tunic-length garment without some kind of inventive trap door is going to be useless for breast feeding. Oh well, I'll have to put it by for a year or so.


Turquoise Ponte de Roma cardigan:

Until about two minutes ago, I was going to use this post to request ideas on what to use this turquoise Ponte de Roma remnant (from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton) for. Annoyingly, it's one of those colours that I struggle to get an accurate photo of, it's actually a much clearer, vibrant shade than the image above would have you believe. As you may know, I rarely buy new fabric to sew with, but the early growth of my baby bump set me in a bit of a spin and bought this in a panic because most of my wardrobe was rapidly becoming too tight. I really like it, and don't regret the purchase, but figuring out what to do with it now that I have it has been a little tricky.

First of all, I thought maybe a MIY Collection Walkley dress was the way forward. I'm still head over heels in love with Handmade Jane's stripy top version, and it is a VERY popular project with the students who attend the the classes that I teach at the MIY Workshop. But then I realised that I have so many Dolores batwing dresses knocking about that my knit dress needs are pretty much covered. Then I thought about using it to make some yoga pants/comfy trousers (see above) but it only has a two-way rather than four-way stretch which would limit the comfort and practicality of trousers. I could use it to make the knit skirt I wrote about above, but that would only use about 70cm of the 1.5m I bought so it seemed a bit of a waste.


Then I had a brain-wave. What do I wear 9 days out of 10? A freaking cardigan. The boxy, round-necked, 50's style cardigans that I have a number of, both self made (like this and this) and secondhand, don't look particularly great with a growing bump. I button up the first few buttons, but then my belly just pokes out the bottom, and until I look 'more pregnant' I think it's making me look tubby and like I can't dress myself properly! A looser, low V-necked style of cardigan that looks good unbuttoned seems to be working better at the moment. I have a beloved secondhand mustard one in this style that I have worn to death over the last five years is starting to look really ratty, so some kind of recreation of that would makes all sorts of sense. Pattern-wise, I was checking out the new Grainline Studio's Driftless cardigan pattern which is close to what I was thinking of, but ultimately I feel would work better in a knit that has a more drape-y quality to it than my Ponte. 'Right', I thought to myself, 'time to bust out my pattern-drafting skills'. Perhaps I would make a pattern from the secondhand mustard one but develop it a bit so it was a little larger and with proportions more suited to the Ponte. Then a bit of serendipitous online window shopping brought the SBCC Cabernet cardigan pattern (pictured above) to my attention. It's basically perfect, exactly what I was aiming for. All these awesome independent sewing pattern companies are making me really lazy! Still, I'm growing a human whilst trying to care of another one so I'm not allowing myself to feel guilty for buying a pattern rather than drafting it! Plus, supporting independent pattern companies is no bad thing, of course.



Comfy trousers:

During my last pregnancy, I made two pairs of leggings/treggings type-thingys mainly to wear to pregnancy yoga and knocking about the house: one in a weird blue ribbed knit (which you can see in this post), the other in black double knit. After giving birth, I left the ribbed blue ones as they are for use in another pregnancy, but I took in the waist elastic on the black pair and have been wearing them around the house ever since. And my goodness it shows. The knees and bum area are shiny and baggy, and one knee is ripped to shreads. My criteria for comfy trousers is this: even though they are for wear around the house, I shouldn't be embarrassed if a mate pops by and sees me in them! My black leggings no longer comply with this criteria.

Both those pairs were made from a self-drafted pattern that I was never entirely happy with, so I think I'll either splash out and get the SBCC Pinot pants pattern (pictured above) or use a leggings pattern that I already own but have yet to use as a starting point, and once again adapt it for pregnancy by lowering the waistline at the front. I'll probably taper the lower leg a bit too. I've bought some navy Ponte de Roma with a great four-way stretch content from Ditto that should perform better than the black double knit, which was never very suitable for leggings in the first place.

(image source: MIY Collection/Wendy Ward)

I may also have a go at the wide leg trousers from Wendy Ward's 'The Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking' book (pictured above) as well if I can source some lovely drape-y knit. The waistband doesn't contain elastic, it's made from a wide band of knit that you can then fold over like on some yoga pants, so I reckon they'll be suitable for pregnancy and enormously comfortable.



Leggings refashion:

In much the same way I was considering reworking a knit skirt to accommodate a bigger belly, I'm going to hack up these thrifted leggings too. The waistband was always too tight and I rarely wore them anyway, so it's no loss if it doesn't work out. I'll make them into leggings for Dolores if that's the case. I'm seeing these as another comfy-trousers-round-the-house option, as well as for wearing to preggers yoga, as and when I get my arse to a class.



Rework the denim Tova top:

I still don't know how the upper sleeves of my denim Tova top are too tight, but my grey dress/tunic version is fine when I used exactly the same pattern pieces (and have yet to wash the denim one), but hey! I'm pretty sure I can just about squeeze another pair of sleeves out of the remaining scrap of denim, so I need to push myself to alter the sleeve pattern piece and bust out the seam ripper. I'm hoping I can layer the stripy Agnes top underneath this until it gets warmer. And as long as my boobs don't inflate too much more, it should be suitable for breast feeding wear too.

7 comments:

wendyward said...

I love the sound of your maternity wardrobe Zoe!sounds super comfy and I really like how you're taking the time to plan it out so thoughtfully. Fingers crossed you find the right fabric for those trousers.

Susanne K. said...

Nice plans. I have just (well 4 months ago) given birth to my second child. And like you plan I only sewed garments that easily transitioned to nursing friendly wear as well. By the way I have been able to wear two mabel skirts right to the end of my pregnancy. Since they don't have any elastic in the waist they worked great throughout the months from a very early stage on. I usually wore them mid belly over my pregnancy compression tights (that covered the whole belly) but they also work when worn lower. I know you tried this pattern when it came out but where not so satisfied. I was the same but it worked well with the growing belly (I made the long version with the back split).
Anyway looking forward to seeing your plans come to life :-)
Hope you have a nice and easy pregnancy!
Susanne

Susanne K. said...

Nice plans. I have just (well 4 months ago) given birth to my second child. And like you plan I only sewed garments that easily transitioned to nursing friendly wear as well. By the way I have been able to wear two mabel skirts right to the end of my pregnancy. Since they don't have any elastic in the waist they worked great throughout the months from a very early stage on. I usually wore them mid belly over my pregnancy compression tights (that covered the whole belly) but they also work when worn lower. I know you tried this pattern when it came out but where not so satisfied. I was the same but it worked well with the growing belly (I made the long version with the back split).
Anyway looking forward to seeing your plans come to life :-)
Hope you have a nice and easy pregnancy!
Susanne

Gillian said...

I found these plans so satisfying to read through - I hope you manage to sew most of it! (And I meant to come back and comment on your pregnancy post, but forgot - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!)

Fabric Tragic said...

Great plans. I've just made a Schnittchen Lola cardi and it's a total winner. Keep an eye out for it soon on the blog....

Kimberly said...

So, that vintage simplicity pattern--I seriously have that, and the jumpsuit that my grandmother made in the late 60's from it! And yes, I wore it during my first pregnancy (Halloween 2011 @ ~30 weeks) and it was super comfy. Considering breaking it out to make it out of a more classic black or navy vs. the hot pink paisley rayon Grams chose!

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