Ooo la la. Bra pics. Belly pics. You’re warned.
Ooo la la. Bra pics. Belly pics. You’re warned.
A couple of months back, maybe not too much after I announced the impending twinpocalypse, one of the sweetest people on the internet, Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow, offered to make me (and/or impending babies) a present. Being an irredeemable mooch, I naturally eagerly agreed, and then didn’t think much about it. Me Made May came and went, June whizzed by, and my wardrobe shrank slowly, while my energy and motivation to sew replacement pieces ebbed lower.
Well, last week Gillian let me know a package was on its way. How exciting!!
In the meantime, the latest Sewcialists Mini-Challenge dropped: spin the wheel, get a colour from the Sewcialists logo, and make something in that colour. By Sunday. Anyway, I conveniently (or boringly) spun black. Blue would’ve been more fun, but I have plenty of black fabric, and my machine and serger are both threaded with black from the Myosotis, so there was a lot to be said for it. I was toying with the idea of a black knit dress, not too flashy, maybe in a rayon knit if I could find the energy to dig through the bins, with either a circle or handkerchief skirt. I’m really liking how my knit Vogue 1312 is holding up to the rigors of pregnancy, and something along those lines (but sleeveless, and a simpler skirt) seemed appealing.
So imagine my excitement when I opened the wee little package (which arrived Friday afternoon) and found a black rayon knit dress with a handkerchief skirt!!!!
It also came with strict instructions to modify and hack as needed, for fit or boredom.
The theory was perfect, the practice a little less so—in the super-stretchy black rayon the bodice was loose, and the weight of the skirt pulled it WAY down, to around where my waist used to be–when it was meant to be more empire-lined. But this also made it perfect for the mini-challenge. I carefully cut off the skirt, took in the side seams, and trimmed an inch off the bodice. While I was at it, I narrowed the binding a wee bit, for a more delicate look and also cleavage (I did not do a good job, I will note. Oh, well.) So in the end I wound up re-sewing every seam but the shoulders, including the awesome tag:
And I did take a goofy before picture (as per Gilliam’s request), but apparently not in a form that I can find later.
In any case! Behold the dress! In final (?) form. It is, of course, perfectly comfy and breezy and stretchy while also being suave and possibly even svelte (to the extent that anyone pregnant is svelte).
I may still have to trim a bit of length off the skirt, as it’s long even in these heels and likely to keep growing. But that’s easily done, and either way I have a fabulous and practical new dress!
So Me-Made May is finished! I guess I will be glad to get back those 30 seconds of photo-taking most mornings (I only missed one day), but it was kinda fun to document my gradual shift into maternity wear.
Some outfits were fond farewells.
Others were old standbys that will probably see me all the way through.
There was even one new maternity/nursing specific piece sundress.
Partway through the month I did a major wardrobe edit, resigning a sizable chunk of my (sizable) wardrobe to storage. This freed up closet-space and cut down on the frustration of digging around dozens of items that just don’t fit right now (frankly, some of them may never fit again but I’ll make that call in a year or two). But it was very weird to have only a few options left to get me through the rest of the month. I mean, I still did it and there are three or four pieces I didn’t even wear during the month, but it was weird.
Now that the month of peacocking is over, I’m excited to feel a little more relaxed about outfit repeats. There are dresses that I love that I won’t likely get more than a couple more wearing a in—I want to squeeze those out as soon as possible, without worrying about how long since I last wore them. I never meant to be a subscriber to the “no wardrobe repeats” mentality, but when I have as many clothes as I do now, ordinarily at least, I like to rotate and give everything a turn. But right now I just want to wear my favourites to death before they don’t fit.
That being said, I am definitely planning lots of dorky bump documentation. Selfies weren’t a thing last time I was pregnant, and I have only a very few photos of my first pregnancies.
Much as I might wish it, this does not document my everyday wear in my first pregnancy. (Though it does illustrate the chronic too-short-sleeve issue that led to me sewing my wardrobe in the first place.)
Nor does it give me a record of bump growth. Not that my previous bumps were truly massive… I’m pretty sure the present twin bump will dwarf them both. Probably by the end of next month. Anyway, I’m thinking a weekly record, for my own curiosity if nothing else.
Anyway, I’m so glad I did it! What a fun way to grapple with my current wardrobe situation.
In my first two pregnancies I had very little money for specialized maternity clothes, and got by largely on sundresses and gigantic overalls (having summer babies helped). So I never got to try out several popular maternity features—the tall jersey top for jeans and other pants, for one, and this gathered-front style shirt, for another. It seemed like a pretty simple hack, but never having an original garment to examine, I wasn’t sure. But when I read the hack instructions on the Maternity Sewing website’s blog, they were even simpler than I had imagined, and I really wanted to give it a try.
The fabric is a leftover from an old Fabricland project (a Gertie/Butterick B6031 slip) and is allegedly an organic cotton (I say allegedly because the fabric originally arrived labeled as “organic bamboo”, which it obviously was not. We got the correction a few days later but I remain dubious of the supplier’s competence). It’s not very thick, but supremely stretchy and comfy.
Well, I managed to stuff up the hack: can you see the chalked line where I was supposed to be removing the waist shaping, but just cut along the original pattern instead? The good news is thanks to the wonderful properties of spandex the resultant tank top works just fine anyway; I also didn’t go up a size or two as per the recommendations. My base was the Tuesday Stitches Tropo Camisole (it just occurred to me that Erin of Tuesday Stitches is one of the founders of Maternity Sewing). I just picked it because this has been my go-to tank top/cami pattern since its release last year. So basically all I did was extend the bottom of the front by five or six inches, and gather that to match the back.
I did include a simple shelf bra made out of self-fabric. It’s not super supportive (did I mention this is really stretchy fabric?) but in a world where none of my bras currently fit (and I’m not likely to take up jogging or trampoline in the near future) it does the trick. It took a bit of futzing to get the length right, but I’m pretty happy with it now.
I should confess that it’s not entirely done, and I’ve been wearing it all day anyway. I need to shorten the straps a bit and decide how I want to hem it.
All in all I’m really happy, though. This was a simple project, a simple modification, and its produced a very comfy, easy-to-wear garment. I don’t know that I need a million of them, but one or two to get me through the summer probably wouldn’t be amiss. I don’t want to create a massive maternity-specific wardrobe that won’t adapt after, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m wearing the same two or three sacks again and again. (See above about my first two maternity wardrobes)
I guess at some point I should try making baby clothes. I’m really not feeling it though.
I gotta tell ya, there’s a level at which I REALLY enjoy the few moments of life when that isn’t a relevant question. Because quite a few of my favourite styles of clothing, um, make me look pregnant. Even when I’m not. I love empire-waisted dresses, including ones with gathered skirts. So, while pregnant seemed like the perfect chance to indulge that love.
This pattern was a recent donation(among many, many others) from a friend of my mother’s. Thank you, Bernie! We all know I’m a sucker for 70s dresses, and I have a bad case of sundress-on-the-brain, so this was an easy thing to gravitate towards. I have had NO energy for the last several months, but finally just in the last week or so I’ve had a tiny bit of extra jam in the evenings, enough to very, very slowly piece this dress together over the course of the last couple of weeks.
The pattern is in a size 12, which WAS my size, but is now a good three or four inches small. At its core it’s a simple princess seam empire bodice with a lightly gathered tiered skirt; there are some cute ties across the bust, though I almost skipped them. I made quite a few mods on this first version to be more maternity friendly—I prepped a shirred panel to cut the back piece from, and after some measuring made a small FBA on the front.
For this particular dress I just used a simple gathered rectangle for the skirt, to take advantage of the border embroidery of my fabric. And it’s probably more full than it needs to be, or would need to be if it weren’t going to be going over twins.
The front hem will certainly go on lifting as the belly expands, but I’m cool with that. It’s a bit long as it is.
I thought that the front tie provided an opportunity to try out some kind of a nursing access point for the sundress. I never had any nursing-specific clothing with my first two pregnancies, and I did plenty of nursing, so I’m a bit sceptical about the value of such mods, but I thought I’d give it a try, at least.
I basically just sewed the CF panel separately from the side front panels + ties, and then lapped the pieces and tacked them at top and bottom. If the ties are tied everything stays securely in place, and if you untie, you can fold it back and access the slit. In theory the other side will stay closed, though if it becomes an issue I can see adding some kind of a belt-loop in the middle to keep the non-nursing side in place. As I said, we’ll see. That particular feature isn’t likely to be tested until next summer, anyway.
So between the FBA and the little bit I added at the side seam and then the stretchy back, I actually had to take in the side seams, an inch at the under-arm tapering to more like 1 cm at the bottom of the bodice (tricky to do because I made the whole thing very clean-finished inside, pretty to look at but not exactly easy to alter, especially when one of your layers is on the bias. It’s not super pretty up close. I’m very curious to make this without the stretchy back at some point just to see how it would compare. The (2 cm) FBA gave a LOT of projection in the boob area, rather more than I currently need, but it’s somewhat adjustable by tightening the ties, so it seems to work. I’m not sure if I’d do it again, though. And my boobs are likely to get bigger before they get smaller again.
I used my favourite gathering-with-dental-floss method, using a cording foot from a set I bought last summer to keep the dental floss snug in the middle while I zig-zagged over it. This definitely makes it a more foolproof method. I finished the bottom of the bodice and the top of the skirt separately so I can take the skirt off and re-adjust if I want fewer gathers later, though attaching the gathered skirt to the shirred back was kinda hell so I’m not sure I’ll wanna try that again.
All in all I think it’s a pretty cute experiment. I feel like the proportions might be better if the bodice was slightly longer, but on the other hand since my belly starts right below my boobs, I don’t think that would really work very well right now. So it is what it is; i may try styling with an elastic belt below the bust to see how that looks. But for maternity wear, I think I’m pretty happy with it.
Now if only it would get warm enough to wear it!