AKA, the Megan Nielsen nursing/maternity top. Though I’m linking to the Simplicity version, since that’s what was available to me, and therefore what I used. Not quite so stealth maternity from the front as my last two makes for myself, is it? I’d originally planned to draft a pattern for this fabric from this thrifted/refashioned tunic, since I’ve had that for years and it’s been working very well as a maternity top. I think it would work well for nursing, too. And I was hoping that if it worked out, I’d be able to wear this fabric anytime, pregnant or not. Well, I did draft the pattern, but ended up not having enough fabric to try it out–I wouldn’t have been able to do any length sleeve on this. So this was plan B.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a good old-fashioned pattern review, and this is the first thing I’ve made for myself in awhile that didn’t involve some kind of DIY maternity hacking. So here goes! For the record, this is me modeling at 29 weeks, according to my phone app. (Just shy of 11 weeks left–whaaaaaat? Also, I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around the whole week-to-month conversion. But hey, I’m in the third trimester now! Which is why I look tired in every single picture, I guess. I tried.)
Description: From the website: “Stay comfortable and stylish during your pregnancy in this flattering maternity top and dress. These items are just what you need for discreet nursing once your baby arrives, just pull down v neck to reveal opening.”
Pattern sizing: XS-XL. I made a medium, since that was my pre-pregnancy size.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Pretty much, yeah. Maybe a little looser in the sleeve area than it looked on the model.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought so. Though I somehow completely missed that I was supposed to cut the midriff pieces twice, and didn’t realize that until I was halfway through constructing the back. More on that later.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Like: The styling. Since it involves pleats instead of gathers, it’s a sleeker look than a lot of maternity tops tend to be. And hanging on Donna, it actually looks like it could pass for a drapier non-maternity top. Never mind that I fill up the bodice way better than she does right now.
Dislike: Since this originated as an independent pattern, though it’s now officially licensed to Simplicity, I was surprised at how big the sizing ended up. Especially up top! I think that it may just be a case of being too big in the back for me, because I tried pinching it in a few inches and it seemed to reduce the front gapping quite a bit. Though I’m not going to do anything to take it in just yet, since this means there should be plenty of room to accommodate whatever happens to my general torso region over the next 2 1/2 months! (I may go back and add a back seam later to reduce the amount of fabric, if it really bugs me.)
I will also admit that I’m concerned about the functionality as a nursing top. They weren’t kidding when they said “discreet”. Obviously I’m not going to model this part on myself, and Donna’s sizing is nowhere close to mine currently. So the openings don’t sit as low on me as they do on here, but look how small they are! I don’t want to deconstruct the entire front, since serging the 5/8″ seam allowance means I undoubtedly lost the little snips I made to mark the pleats. But I am seriously considering going back and cutting those side openings a little bigger, even if I have to hand-stitch the edges. I’ll have to see how it works once I’m actually attempting to use it for that.
Fabric used: An ITY jersey that my mom gave me for Christmas. For stashbusting tracking purposes, this used all but an approximately 11″ long cut of 2 yards. I should probably just throw out those 11″, but it’s so hard to let go of prints I like!
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Back to that midriff bit–since I failed to notice how many times I was supposed to cut those pieces out and was just skimming ahead on the directions when I started this, I decided to construct the fronts and backs flat to facilitate seam matching. I’m honestly not sorry that I did that, because another layer of jersey plus serged seams would have just made it bulky around the empire waist, and I really don’t need purposely added bulk in my clothes right now! Plus, I really do think that made it easier to get the seamlines to line up. Even though it involved multiple rounds of basting and unpicking to do so.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Let’s put it this way: I don’t think I’d sew it in this particular type of knit again. I’m not happy with the underlay neckline gaping–the polyester wasn’t pressing that great, and I had to resort to wonder tape to stick it down long enough to stitch it. So I think that contributed a lot. Of course, my iron is currently either possessed or in the throes of death, and my sewing machine and serger both also weren’t very happy to work with this fabric–I was fighting skipped stitches and serger tension issues the entire time, despite jersey needles and walking feet and such. All of this combined resulted in the edge finishings and hems looking a little more homemade-in-the-bad-way than I would prefer. Sigh.
All of this to say, I would like to attempt this pattern again, but in a more natural fiber that might have better stretch and recovery/get along better with my machines. I actually do have some of the patterned knit and a lot more of the solid teal left over from my Plantain top, and I think it would work great as a sleeveless version. But if I do make this again, I think I’m going to make the nursing openings much bigger! And maybe add some elastic in the crossover V-section to help it bounce back better. And probably take some of that width out of the back pieces.
We’ll see if I get to it, since the window of opportunity on maternity sewing still having a point is coming to a close. Also, I have plans to make another nursing-friendly maxi-dress that will be taking priority over this pattern. I need something fun to wear to my baby shower, after all! And aside from that, my sewing plans for April are mainly centering around the Small Human Beings Sewalong that Cindy and two other new-to-me bloggers are hosting. Not that everything I’ve been sewing for months wouldn’t qualify anyway, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect for me, since it’s early enough in this last trimester that I’m not dead exhausted (even if I look it), and I don’t actually have to compete with said small human being for sewing time yet. More on those plans to come.