A few years ago I wrote this tutorial/pattern hack for making a breastfeeding/nursing-friendly knit top. I based that tutorial on the Tilly and the Buttons Coco pattern, but in hindsight what the tutorial was really waiting for was Tilly's Agnes jersey top pattern, which was released after I wrote it. The closeness of the fit of the Agnes is much better suited for the type of 'access' the tutorial creates, and shortly after the birth of my second child in October 2016, I set about to prove it.
I prepared my Agnes top pattern pieces as per the tutorial: making two front pieces instead of one with an overlap. This time I had to make the overlapped section lower than my breastfeeding Coco top, because the effects of breastfeeding and three more years of gravity sadly made it necessary!
For my first version I used some of this cheetah print jersey, which was kindly sent to me by Girl Charlee. I love the neon green in it, which has pushed me slightly out of my stylistic comfort zone. The fabric itself is the perfect weight for an Agnes: fairly light-weight with excellent stretch and recovery. I also love that the print is performing a cheetah skin's original task of camouflaging, and you can barely see the edge of the overlap at all.
I've been wearing the cheetah print top almost constantly from the day it left the sewing machine, so another version was clearly on the cards. Not wanting to splash out on fabric for a top that I'll probably only wear for a year or so, I hunted through my stash for a suitably sized piece of knit. This super soft striped interlock is lovely to touch and feels great to wear, but not as ideal as the cheetah print in other ways.
Firstly, the overlap on the front is much more obvious, which might make it look a little weird to some, especially those who haven't figure out that it's there for boob-access. Secondly, I should have made the neckband shorter than the pattern piece because it doesn't lie flat. There's no elastane/lycra/spandex content to this interlock to help it spring into shape. It doesn't help that I tend to shove my hand down the neckline of these tops to unclip my nursing bra (TMI? Don't care).
Although both these tops have been worn way more regularly than any of my other tops over the last few months, it's probably no surprise that the cheetah print one sees much more action. Not only does the superior stretch and recovery work better for this adapted Agnes, but the print is more fun to look at. I was considering making more of these with the shorter sleeve options for when warmer weather blesses us, but by then the longevity of my need for breastfeeding/nursing tops will be even further reduced. I'm also sorely tempted to make a breastfeeding Bronte top, but having already made a squillion Bronte's, I think I'd rather try some new-to-me patterns like Jennifer Lauren's Gable knit top pattern. With so little sewing time currently at my disposal, I'd rather spend it making myself garments that will potentially have years of use in them. Ya dig?