Just call me Goldilocks

I’m going to do a little time traveling today. Not too far back, just to May. I was able to get back to sewing surprisingly fast after this baby, and managed to knock out three projects within the first six weeks of bringing him home. Unfortunately for me, the results have been less than stellar. But I do like to keep it real around here, and not every project is a success, so I’ll share them anyway. Hopefully the photos are OK, but the phone photos that I had to resort to are better than none, right?

20170703_141316My first project after Padawan was born was to knock out two pairs of shorts from Simplicity 1367. Shorts are legitimately the big hole in my wardrobe– I don’t particularly enjoy wearing them because I’ve never been all that confident about how I look in them, but skirts aren’t  always practical for life with young kids, and our summer is way too hot and humid for jeans. And I only had one pair of shorts to get me through the entire summer. I thought this pattern would be good for post-baby wear and (hopeful) weight loss because of the knit yoga-style waistband. Theoretically, I still think that. The problem is that I cut them out while I was still pregnant, and either I remembered my measurements from after the first pregnancy wrong, or I underestimated what size I might need, considering that I started this time with a few pounds more. They’re too small. I recently checked my measurements to cut a different project, and I probably should have gone two sizes bigger, though I made the largest size for the envelope that I had.

Matcha and shortsThey fit enough to be wearable, barely, but they fit me like maternity jeans after the halfway mark or so–the woven part rides too low in the back, and the knit panel is necessary to cover the rest. It feels awkward. It looks awkward too, if this backside shot is any indication. I’m hoping that as I lose some of this baby weight, that they might work better. (Assuming that I can, because I’ve been trying to up my exercise and drink more water and stuff steadily for two whole months, my best streak of consistency in my life, and guess how much weight I’ve lost? NONE. I’m so upset at this.) In the meantime, I bought a second pair at the thrift shop on a $2 sale day. (Along with jeans, because I needed those too.)

Some other details: the solid pair is made from nonstretch lightweight denim and an interlock knit, and the print is a rayon-blend twill that I got in an online fabric swap several years ago, plus a rayon jersey. The rayon jersey, which I bought second after deciding to also make the denim pair, works much better for the waistband. Or it would, if the print pair fit. The interlock is thicker, and I actually basted a fisheye dart in back to keep it from gaping away from me, but once I figured out that the shorts were going to be too small, I decreased the seam allowance on the denim pair, so it works a little better to squeeze them on. IMG_20170428_105621I did add patch pockets to the front of each pair with the intention of holding my phone when I’m dealing with the boys. It’s hard to squeeze it in since the shorts are tight right now, but it helps me tell the front from the back. It would definitely need a tag or something otherwise. I also added several inches to the length, I think around 6″, because the idea of my thighs in short shorts is uncomfortable. That’s exactly why I prefer wearing skirts in summer, I can cover more of my legs without looking frumpy. Anyway. Did I mention that the lining on the denim pockets are geeky fun? My mom let me raid her quilt cotton scraps, since I pretty much do all my cutting out at her place while she gets grandson time, and this piece was from Spoonflower.

Matcha and shortsNext up, I made the Matcha top from Sew Liberated. It popped up on my Instagram feed as a breastfeeding friendly shirt, so in a highly unusual move for me, I bought a brand new pattern and sewed it nearly right away. I should have made a test version. But stupid me, I decided to dive right into the Cotton & Steel challis that my mom gifted me with in lieu of hospital flowers. (Note to my husband, if you ever read this: I will never complain about you buying me fabric instead of flowers that will be dead in a week.) I rounded up on the size to go with my current bust measurement, but the pattern didn’t mention any finished garment measurements. (My one criticism of the pattern, since this company is new to me.) It was huge. What I probably should have done, once I realized this, was unpick what I’d sewn up to that point, retraced the pattern in a smaller size, and recut from what I had. But since I was in the middle of Doug watching the boys so I could sew and I have nowhere good to cut at home for now, I just started tweaking what I had. A lot. So I took in the side seam in the back, took a tuck under the back of the shoulder detail, turned the back into a large box pleat (okay, so that one was a  case of not reading ahead to see that it was supposed to be gathered), shifted the collar down about 2.5″ in the front, and so on.

Matcha and shorts The result is a pretty close approximation of the pattern, thankfully, and it’s very comfortable on our summer days with 3000% humidity. I couldn’t let this lovely fabric be a failure, because it feels so nice (and cool) to wear. Also, Alice in Wonderland print. This makes my literary geeky heart so happy. I actually do like the box pleat in this, too. And the neckline is really unique. There’s a hook and eye that helps hold it closed, and it has worked out very well for nursing so far. I keep thinking I’m going to add another hook and eye so that I don’t have to keep wearing a camisole underneath, but since my new necessary sewing setup means I have to go to the basement, haul a wire shelf out of the closet– most likely while wearing a baby and trying to keep a toddler from grabbing craft supplies and running– dig out the hooks and return everything else, it hasn’t happened yet.Matcha and shorts

Since this experiment gave me no real indication of the fit, I pulled a piece from my stash and cut out the sleeved version for the fall, about two sizes smaller. I haven’t gotten to sewing it yet, so stay tuned.

It’s admittedly frustrating that these three things had so many fit issues, since I have to fight for every scrap of sewing time that I get these days. That’s a large part of why I splurged on the fabric for the Rae skirt from the last post– I just needed something quick and simple that I knew would get good results. I did finish another project recently that seemed to work out, so I’m hoping that means that I’m back to a better streak of sewing. After this run, I could use a few more projects that are just right.

untimely sewing

Oh, hi again! I seem to be having trouble keeping up with actually taking photos for this thing, aside from bad phone selfies. So here’s another post of summarizing an entire month’s work in one fell swoop! Because, really, it’s just one project.

IMG_4388I thought I was soooo on top of things for fall sewing. I mean, I cut this shirt out in the beginning of August, and I actually did finish it in September. I just wasn’t expecting it to take 6 or so weeks to make a fairly simple shirt from a pattern that I’ve used before, you know? This was one of the shirts that got delayed because of things like tea dyeing trim not working, and running out of thread in close enough colors. But hey, I busted some stash. And it’s stash that’s been around for a decade or more. So yay for that.

Of course, after all that, I got to wear it all of once, and have no idea when I can wear it again. After all, though this fabric is a lightweight one, and the sleeves have plenty of ventilation, it’s also polyester. And it took until pretty much this week to stop being in the 80s or more all the time.

Also, this happened.
IMG_4382Yeah, that’s right… I found out pretty much right after I cut this thing out that, guess what, I’m pregnant again! And the bump is definitely more obvious earlier this time. I just hit the second trimester as of today, but I’ve already been digging into my maternity clothes for about 3 weeks now. I’ve still been able to wear some other things, like my Sewaholic Rae skirt and my Espresso leggings that I’ve paired with this shirt for my photos. The leggings are still super-comfy, but the elastic waistbands on the Rae skirts are getting annoying to wear because there’s just nowhere good to put the waistband anymore. So I guess those are also going to be shuffled aside until the late spring. (I’m due mid-April this time.)

IMG_4389

 

This was one of the best shots I could get of the sleeve, working on my own with the tripod, and you can see the back a little here too. So here’s the details:

The pattern is Simplicity 5595, which I’ve made a few times before. I made a few small tweaks to it. Mostly adding a bit of flare to the sides so I could add several inches of length, because while the ones I’ve made before still fit (or, well, fit about 2 months ago), the changes in my figure over the last couple of years mean that they’re just a little short for my comfort. They work with camisoles underneath, but I didn’t want to have to restrict myself to that with this one. I also made my usual change of adding length to the sleeves to accommodate my monkey arms, but it was barely enough. They do hit my wrists, but if I move my arms into anything other than just at my sides, they look a little short. Oh well.

One construction change that I made was the original pattern called for just letting the sleeves flop open underneath that middle row of lace. But I wanted mine to stay in place a little better, since I’ve been doing a lot of little toddler-friendly activities with Hobbit that sometimes involve messy materials, and the floppy sleeve bit would just be annoying for things like cooking dinner. So I used a third row of lace to keep the slit together at the wrists. And I think I’ll like it much better that way.

This isn’t my favorite iteration of this shirt, especially as the color palette is along the lines of “what was I thinking”. (Note to self: in the future, avoid prints with backgrounds that are essentially your skin tone.) But it pairs pretty well with this skirt, which seems to be one that I’ve oddly had trouble putting together outfits with, considering it’s neutral. And I’m guessing it’ll probably fit again at some point, so maybe it’ll get more than one use?

So my total for September was about 2 1/2 yards out. And about 1 1/2 yards in that I bought for a baby gift for one of my cousins. But that is already sewn up and will be out the door this weekend, so I’m not counting that for stash!

cuteness overload

I have a tolerance-hate relationship with shoes. I tolerate them, because my feet would be cold without them, and I’d step on a lot more sharp, pointy things. (Especially with this hobby.) But I really hate shopping for them, because it’s so hard to find shoes that fit and are still cute. I’ve wished SO many times that I could just make my own. And one of the things parents typically do with their kids is vicariously enjoy the things they could never do themselves, right? So all that to say, I made my kid shoes. And they’re adorable!

I had a cooperative model today. So prepare for a barrage of cuteness!
IMG_2729First of all, the shoes themselves. Both are from Simplicity 2491, with a few modifications. Everything is scraps–linen, heavyweight muslin, a thin faux suede, and microfleece for the insides. The pattern called for wool felt inside, but I didn’t want to risk finding out the hard way that his skin reacts to wool as badly as mine.

IMG_2727The pattern for this one looked kind of like a bear,  so I altered the shape of the ears so it would resemble our golden retrievers. I also machine stitched the mouth, since I already had black thread in the machine from my previous project, which still needs to be photographed and blogged.

IMG_2720I also changed the closure. This one was originally two ribbons to tie into a bow. Hobbit is a very active baby, though. And kicking is his main thing right now. So a one-ribbon strap with Velcro like some of the other views has was a much more practical option.

The monkey shoes originally had that velcro ribbon closure, but I got even lazier and used black elastic to make them fully slip-on. If I make another pair of these in a larger size sometime, I’m thinking I might go with a frog, because that monkey face shape is perfect for that, too!

I’m really glad I made these bigger than I thought I needed to. According to the measurements, he should have had room in an extra-small. I made the small, and while there’s room in the toes, it’s still a bit of a struggle to pull them on his feet. They were very quick to sew together, though. I got these done from start to finish in three naps. And if the weather ever gets cooler before he has a growth spurt, they’ll be good lightweight shoes for the fall.
IMG_2721I’ll end this with a gratuitous outtake, because THAT FACE.

dressed to the max(i)

Maternity/nursing maxi-dressThat’s right, I finished another maxi-dress! No camouflage baby bump for this one. It kind of looks like I just have no waist at all. (I guess I don’t right now, really.) Honestly, I don’t really feel like there’s a whole lot to say about construction, since this is the third time I’ve used the Tiramisu bodice and the exact same skirt modification that I made on my last dress. And I already detailed the nursing-friendly alteration in my last post. Really, the biggest issue I had with putting this one together was my iron–it had been acting up for awhile, and I finally hit the last straw with it while trying to press the skirt seams the other day. After all, an iron that keeps turning off while you’re actually pressing with it at the moment, and then taking forever to turn back on (and usually some unplugging and replugging–really annoying when the power strip is on the floor and you’re 7 months pregnant!) So I ordered a new iron. Hopefully this one will hold up better, since the one I’d been using lasted me less than 2 years. It’s supposed to arrive today, and none too soon, because it really shouldn’t take me half an hour to press a hem because I have to keep waiting for the iron to turn on!

side viewIsn’t this print fun? It’s one of the pieces I treated myself to when I visited Mood in NYC a little over a year ago. I’d gotten 3 yards with a maxi-dress vaguely in mind, though I certainly wasn’t expecting that it would have to be a baby bump-friendly one at the time! But I do expect that I’ll be wearing this one a lot over the coming summer. Even though the two patterns didn’t quite come together as smoothly as I’d hoped. The back seems pretty loose to me in comparison with the black dress, and it is so tempting to try to take it in around the empire waist a little. Or fake in a back seam with the serger. Or something. I have to keep reminding myself that I still have the rest of this pregnancy/the belly only getting bigger to go, I have no idea what’s going to be up with my bust size after that, and it would be better not to over-fit. I can always try to take it in a little later if needed, though it might be nice to have a looser dress when the Mid-Atlantic summer humidity kicks in. (I did tweak the sleeve/underarm area, though.)

front viewThis will probably be the last garment that I make for myself until after Hobbit arrives, to be honest. I’ve got less than 8 weeks to go before my due date now (yiiiikes), so despite the fact that I have nearly no pants that both fit and are weather-appropriate, it seems a little pointless to take the time to sew any more maternity-type clothes. I am starting to think ahead to just straight-up nursing-friendly, or things that will work with another period of my figure changing around on me, and I do have some patterns in mind for when I’m feeling up to trying to sneak in sewing time post-baby. Is it weird that after so much time sewing knit garments over the last several months, I’m really starting to get the itch to dig into my wovens stash? But since that has to wait until I have a better idea of what size to sew, any projects that show up here over the next several weeks will probably just be a big babypalooza. I know that’s not the most interesting thing for a lot of people, but honestly, this blog is pretty much just my personal craft journal anyway, and this is the stuff I need to be making right now. So, sorry not sorry, I guess?

On a slightly related note, I’ve decided that I’m going to be sitting out of Me-Made-May this year, though I will happily follow along with what others are doing! Honestly, pretty much everything I’ve made that fits right now and works for the season has already been shown on here in the last couple of months, I really only have enough of that to do about one outfit a week, and there’s other things I need to prioritize over stressing about outfits and taking pictures. Like continuing to stuff the freezer with as much pre-prepped food as possible, the mental list of baby sewing projects that I’d still like to finish in advance, and getting some music together for a couple of my flute students to work on while I’m out of commission for teaching. Not to mention that by the end of May, I’ll be in the range of “could potentially pop any time”. Hopefully I won’t go that early, especially since a couple of my students are participating in a recital two weeks before my due date, and I’d like to be there to support them. Plus, the only date that worked for everyone involved in planning my baby shower is the last Saturday of the month, and I’d really like to not miss that due to being in labor!

I also have to admit that I’m going to be a little sorry when the Small Human Being Sewalong wraps up at the end of this month. It’s been fun getting to know a couple of new-to-me bloggers, and helpful to follow along with the discussions of what ends up being useful vs. not/how to find sewing time after baby, and so on. But I’m super-close to finishing another project for that, and may be able to knock out at least one more. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy this dress and all the pretty, swirly blues.

Tutorial: Nursing dress adaptation with an invisible zipper

I was so pleased with how my last maternity/nursing maxi-dress turned out that I decided to make a second one. This time, I made a tutorial for how I did the zipper part, in case it helps any sewists who may be expecting in the future!

SuppliesYou’ll need:

  • A knit dress pattern with a seam under the bust. I’m also intending to wear this during the remainder of my third trimester, so I’m using the top of the Cake Tiramisu dress with the midriff band and skirt of the out-of-print Simplicity 3678, since I already adapted that skirt pattern both for extra belly room and a maxi length. But if you’re making this just to wear for nursing and have an idea of what size to do the waistband, the Tiramisu or Red Velvet dress would be a great option as is.
  • An invisible zipper that’s long enough to fit across your ribs from one side seam to the other. (A few extra inches probably won’t hurt. Mine was a 22″ length, and I ended up chopping off somewhere around 2″ at the end.)
  • Clear elastic
  • I used both an invisible zipper foot and a regular zipper foot to do this portion of the construction. 

Before beginning the zipper (these three steps were completed before I started taking pictures, and you can see the results in the first picture):

1. Sew the bodice pieces, including side seams. Depending on the pattern you choose, you may need to alter the order of construction. (Normally, the sleeve and side seams of the Tiramisu are sewn all at once after the front and back of the dress are constructed flat, but I went ahead and finished the sleeves/sewed the side seams together before taking this picture, since constructing the side seams around the zipper would be much more difficult than the other way around. It may take a little more effort to get the side seams to match up between pieces this way. For my current fitting needs, the big advantage to this was that I was able to put on the mostly-finished bodice and adjust the gathering and the overlap of the neckline to the larger bust size that I’m currently working with.Which meant that I was able to use my already-sized pattern from before I was pregnant as-is.)

2. Sew the midriff/waistband pieces together at the sides, or skirt pieces if your pattern does not have an extra band. Depending on the length of your dress, you might be able to do the waist and skirt pieces together. I’m only working with the midriff band for mine, since I’m doing a long skirt and don’t want the weight of it to distort things as I sew. (Plus it’s a lot easier to take pictures that way!)

3. Finish the lower edge of the bodice and the top edge of the waistband/skirt. I know knits don’t unravel, but it does add some stability to the edge. And since we’re working with stretchy fabric and a non-stretchy zipper, that is never a bad thing.

To add the zipper:

Front bodice w/ zipper1. Sew one long side of the zipper across the bottom of the bodice, as you normally would for the right side of a vertically-inserted invisible zipper. I started the teeth at the side seam on the left side, because I’m right-handed, but you could easily flip this around if you’re left-handed. I also brought some of the extra length past the right side seam and into the back, just to give myself a little more give for opening. I probably could have done this for the left seam as well to make the whole thing more centered, but I really don’t want to have to be reaching behind me with one hand while trying to wrangle a squirming baby with the other! Better to leave the zipper pull where I can more easily see it.

Front waistband w/ zipper2. Baste the other side of the zipper onto the waistband, being careful to align the top edge of the teeth with the correct side seam. Close the zipper, check to make sure both seams are lining up on either side of the zipper, and adjust if necessary. Once you’re satisfied with how the sides are lining up, stitch over the basting line. When opened, the two pieces will look kind of like this.

Back bodice/waistband3. Sew the back of the bodice and the back of the waistband together. I added clear elastic here, both to help support the weight of the maxi-skirt and to allow it to bounce back if I need to stretch the dress to get it on over my chest later. (I had to do two rows of stitching here–to get the seam closed as much as possible, I used my zipper foot on a longer stitch length. But my machine doesn’t have a stretch stitch, and I can’t zig-zag with my zipper foot, so I added a second row of a narrow zig-zag close by, just in case some of the straight stitches pop. I know it looks a little ripply when it’s flat on the table, but the other dress is like that too, and it’s not really noticeable when wearing.)

4. Shorten zipper if necessary, and press back seams up towards bodice.

5. Continue on with the dress from here– I still need to add the skirt pieces and hem it, but that’s it!

Zipper when closedWhen the zipper is closed, it looks like a normal seam, except for that pull tab…

Zipper when opened

…and then once you open it, easy breastfeeding access without having to stretch out your neckline!

Hopefully that was clear enough–let me know if I need to clarify anything! And for those of you who are moms that sew, I’d love to hear if you have any other nursing hacks you like to add into your clothes.

Pattern review: Simplicity 1469

Simplicity 1469AKA, 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.)

Simplicity 1469 side viewPattern: Simplicity 1469

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.

Simplicity 1469 on dummyWhat 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.)

Simplicity 1469 nursing detailI 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.

it’s the time of the season

Happy spring, right? Here in the good old Mid-Atlantic, ours started with winter trying to get in one last sucker punch! I think it’s time for a breakup with cold weather, because I am OVER winter clothes. I know I say that every single year, but with my currently limited wardrobe choices, it’s even worse. I’ve been wearing the same 2 pairs of pants (with the jeans mixed in as I can) and the same 3 cardigans almost every single day. And my one purchased winter maternity top is looking rather dingy and sad. I guess that’s what I get for buying a cream sweatery-looking top.

That being said, with the limited window I have remaining in which making clothes for myself to wear throughout the rest of this pregnancy still has a point, I’m trying to focus on things that will carry me through the spring and into the summer. And, hopefully, still be wearable afterwards.

Tie dye maternity skirt frontEnter my new maxi-skirt! The fabric is a luscious-feeling bamboo-rayon jersey blend, part of the mini-stash of knits that my parents gave me for Christmas. It took me a lot of thinking initially about whether this fabric wanted to be a skirt or a top, but once I realized that I only have 2 pairs of non-jeans maternity pants left that still fit (I’ve outgrown the third, which were a little small on me when I first chopped them into maternity pants), and they’re both reconstructed corduroy pants, a warmer-weather friendly piece of bottomwear won out.

This month’s Stashbusting Sewalong theme is sewing with patterns that you already have. So I based this skirt rather loosely on Simplicity 7229, which I’ve used a few times before for skirts and capri pants. (I’m having to link this to my Pinterest since it’s out of print, so hopefully it’ll work!) The original skirt is pretty basic– the two pieces for the front and back are the same, and it has a wide yoke with a drawstring top. I’d always made it in wovens before, but here’s the changes (aside from knit fabric) that I made to make it more maternity-friendly:

    skirt full panel

  • Added several inches to the length of the front/back pieces. Which I actually did the last time I made this pattern, because the original pattern was this awkward mid-calf length, and I ended up hating that and chopping off the previously made skirts to a shorter length.
  • I did also have to narrow that at the bottom a bit, because my fabric wasn’t quite wide enough to accommodate the extra width. But since it’s stretchy, that’s ok. Especially since I’m starting to get into the waddle phase and my steps aren’t quite as big as they used to be.
  • While I used the yoke/drawstring waistband pieces to get a general idea of how wide to cut it, I replaced that with a slightly skinnier but much longer rectangular piece. The idea is that I can use it to cover up the baby bump for now–the over-bump stuff sits on me way better than under-bump stuff, which just feels awkward and like it’s constantly on the verge of falling down. It’s a little loose at the very top of the band, around the rib area. But I’m not too worried about it.

skirt yoga waistband

    It folds down into a yoga-style waistband, so I’m hoping that it’ll be snug enough that I can wear this skirt once I’m a little smaller around the waist again, too! It’s obviously hard to tell how that will work right now, but a girl can dream, right? 

    Overall, I’m really pleased with how this adaptation worked out, and how fast it was to sew together! I did all of it, including cutting out, in 2 sewing sessions. Which is pretty speedy for me. Depending on how this works out to wear afterwards, this just may be how this skirt pattern ends up getting used from now on. It’s so tempting to find more of this type of knit and whip out a few more! But I have several pieces of knit that I still want to make other clothes out of to wear in the meantime, so I shall try to restrain myself.

    I used up pretty close to a full 2 yards on this. As an added bonus, I had just enough fabric left to make a little something for the Hobbit! We’re actually doing pretty well with collecting baby clothes so far, largely thanks to my mother-in-law, who’s brought over multiple bags of things that neighbors and acquaintances were getting rid of.  At least, we’re doing pretty well with onesies and pajamas. What seems to be largely lacking is pants. Given his nickname, all I can think of is that old Lord of the Rings movie meme where certain words get substituted with “pants”. The most famous being…

    Which never fails to crack me up, but Hobbit is going to need some pants eventually. So I made some.

    tie dye leggingsThe pattern was a freebie that I found on Craftsy, the Go To Baby Leggings. I wasn’t entirely sure about tie-dyed pants for a boy, but a few kind sewcialists on Instagram talked me into it, and I hope these actually end up fitting him because I think they turned out pretty cute! I made these in the 3-6 month size–partially because lightweight jersey pants going into the fall make sense, and partly because I literally did not have enough fabric left to make them any bigger. Doug was pretty impressed, I think–I cut and sewed these in their entirety on Thursday, along with finishing the skirt, and his instant reaction was that they were adorable and I should post them on Facebook. Always a good sign. I wish I knew how they were actually going to fit him, because I had these cut out and sewn together entirely in basically no time! But at least I have the pattern tested, so if it works out, I can always fall back on this as a quick project while he naps or something.