Evaluating the mini-wardrobe

Now that I’m getting close to the end of my pregnancy, and in lieu of my participating in Me-Made-May this year, I thought it might be useful to take a look back at how I did with sewing for  myself in this transitional period. After all, I’d decided to make this more fun/interesting for myself by treating it as a capsule wardrobe, a la Wardrobe Architect. And I did learn some things about what worked/didn’t work for me. Also, in case a second baby comes along down the road, it’ll help me to have a reference of what I might want to consider adding!

Things I think went well:

  • Overall, I’m quite pleased with how well various alterations I made to several non-maternity patterns worked. Especially since pattern hacking is not my strongest skill, and one I’d like to keep working to improve. I would further tweak my Renfrew hack, but the dresses and maxi-skirt went quite well. As did the actual maternity alteration to the Manila leggings, even if the rest of it was a fail. So maybe there’s hope for me yet!
  • I also think I did pretty well at sticking with a cohesive color palette. 
  • I was able to surprise myself with occasionally being able to pull out non-maternity clothes to fill in some gaps. Namely my Plantain top and a couple of buttondowns worn over tank tops.
  • Also, aside from the first trimester, I think I did a pretty good job of sucking it up and plowing through sewing to fulfill needs that I had, even though I’ve still been nauseous at some point(s) every single day of this pregnancy. So go me.

Things I wish I’d done differently:

  • More vivid colors! Even though I did stick with the palette pretty well, I felt like things ended up being a lot heavier on the neutrals–the black, navy and grey in particular, just due to what I was able to find in thrift stores or what I had on hand that was working. By the time winter was wrapping up, I was sooooooo bored and wishing for cheerier, brighter things. (Ok, so I do that every year. But it was definitely worse with the much more limited choices I had.)
  • More prints! Especially tops. Because even with the things I found/made that were in brighter colors, I just haven’t felt quite like myself while wearing so many outfits that were just solids. I’ve tried livening it up with accessories, but a necklace can only take you so far on that, and I was honestly afraid to wear scarves for the first half of the pregnancy because of all the sickness. (Plus, having things close around my neck during the worst of that was really, really uncomfortable for me.) The couple of print things that I’ve made near the end are helping. A lot of this was really just me trying to work mostly with the stash that I had, but I think that, once I make some space on the shelves/if I need maternity wear again, I may specifically treat myself to some new fabric to expand this wardrobe.

Things I’ll need if this ever happens again:

  • More bottomwear. Especially of the pants variety. I refashioned 3 pairs of pants, outgrew one of them by about mid-March (which had been a little small around the waist/hips to begin with anyway, so I could only make it expand so much), and had to pretty much give up wearing the other two by mid-April because they were corduroy and therefore getting uncomfortably hot when spring weather actually arrived. Which has left me with only 2 pairs of jeans to get through the last 2 months, and I will admit that I do feel a little unprofessional when doing music lessons in jeans. I wouldn’t mind another knit maxi-skirt or two either, because the tie-dye one is sooooo comfortable. (I’ve tried wearing some of my older elastic-waist ones over the bump here and there, and they kind of dig into my ribs and gather weirdly under my tops. So it hasn’t been helpful.)
  • Pajamas. I got through the latter part of the winter with an older pair of PJ pants and an oversized thrifted top–but those got worn so much that the top has several holes in it now. Once things started warming up is when things got really tough–I had to resort to buying a shorts and tank set from Target, because I didn’t have anything that fit. (Note to self: Tofino pants do not make good maternity pants. Though I love them as a non-maternity PJs pattern.) 
  • Another pair of leggings or two wouldn’t hurt, if I have another cold-weather pregnancy. Or at least some more stylish knit pants (and casual tops) to wear around the house that aren’t fleece sweatpants that I used to wear under other clothes to keep warm on backpacking trips. That’s what I ended up resorting to on Saturdays/weekdays when I didn’t have to go out to save my jeans for nicer wear, and I felt so frumpy. Which is not the feeling you want when you’re already feeling like a nauseated whale.

Biggest hits: 
Honestly, aside from the refashioned corduroys (so useful) I feel like the best things I made were the ones that I’m hoping to continue wearing after this is over– particularly the black maxi-dress and the tie-dyed skirt. I may need to do a follow-up post later this summer on how well they actually work for post-pregnancy/nursing.
Maternity maxi-dress
skirt full panel

Biggest misses: 
Not my best project ever.1. The Manila leggings. Though I’m still hopeful that I can successfully revisit this pattern, now that I know that I really need to check the stretch before diving in. And probably add at least 4″ to the legs. But I really just didn’t feel comfortable wearing them very often–the color meant it didn’t work as a tights layer under the two shorter skirts I had (one black and one denim), and I really only wore them twice. One of those was to keep warm under the black dress for a cooler-day music performance at church, and the other was just around the house. And I have to confess that I threw the denim skirt on over it anyway, because even when alone in the house, I just didn’t feel fully clothed when wearing leggings as pants! I’ll probably keep these as a layering piece, but definitely not as a stand-alone.

(I still have to try out my Cake Espresso pattern sometime, too. If that one works out better, I might just transfer the belly alterations to that pattern if I ever need to sew maternity leggings again.)

Ariel-inspired outfit

2. The Ariel skirt. I actually only wore this one once, aside from the photos–I didn’t want to wear it over the winter because of the cold, and when I finally pulled it out in the spring, it just didn’t work well. I had to tie the drawstrings under the bust, which made the length kind of strange, and left a lot of weird wrinkles under the belly of the maternity top that I paired it with. Fortunately, it didn’t take me that long to cut and sew. And since it’s essentially two big rectangles and I still have almost 3 yards of the fabric left, I think this will be a good candidate for a refashion. Or at least a wearable muslin of some other pattern.

On the other hand, I did wear the top quite a bit. Though, as I stated before, I think the pattern hacks would need some tweaking for this to work well in later pregnancy. It fit fine for well over the first half, though.

Other things I won’t be keeping/need to rework: 
1. This isn’t one I made, but I bought this cream-colored maternity sweater at Target. I’m blaming this on poor fabric choice on their part–the structure itself is fine, but before the winter even ended, the color of the sweater just looked dingy and sad. I may just try to overdye it to extend the life.

2.This top. Though it wasn’t a maternity top, it actually worked well to get me through the winter, since it was roomier in the waist than a lot of my usual tops. And it’s not a complaint about the pattern, since I used the same one to make my sparkly knit top from earlier this year. It’s just that since this one was already several years old, the fabric was starting to pill to begin with. And with all the extra wears and washes it got this winter, given that I was pulling it out at least once a week (if not more), it’s just unsalvageable now. I do hate to just throw clothes away, even the worn-out ones, so I’m thinking I might just cut this one up and use it to stuff a toy or something. Stuffing is expensive, anyway.

So, that’s my little wrap up of how my me-mades have been working for me during a period of major physical changes. I already have a mental list of patterns I want to tackle once this baby comes! Now if only I could figure out a way to predict my bust size so I could start tracing or cutting…

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7 thoughts on “Evaluating the mini-wardrobe

  1. You need to give Espresso a go! I remember that it took less than 10 min for me to take my measurements and plot out my size, so don't worry that that part will be time consuming… and then it's just a matter of finding 4-way stretch fabrics with enough stretch. Easier said than done, sometimes!
    You've done a fabulous job on your maternity wardrobe… when exactly is the baby due?

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  2. Nice work! I don't think I knew about your blog when you made that black maxi – I went back to look and I love it! Good luck in the home stretch.

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  3. I do have a piece or two of knit that I've had tagged for Espressos for awhile. I'll have to double-check the stretch, so maybe as it gets closer to fall, I can give them a go? Not that I haven't been saying that since the pattern came out…

    And the baby is due around June 14. Though I've also been told the 16th. Either way, it's only about 6 weeks away. Which is both great and terrifying.

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