The Sewing Bee Zebra Swimsuit: making Butterick B6358

Just popping by to share my latest Minerva Blogger Network post, which is a super-cute zebra print swimsuit, using the now out of print Butterick B6358. You can find out all the nerdy sewing details here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-sewing-bee-zebra-swimsuit

Butterick B6358 zebra print swimsuit

This post is also my penultimate Minerva Blogger Network post (for the time being at any rate), as I’ve decided to step down for a while. Continue reading “The Sewing Bee Zebra Swimsuit: making Butterick B6358”

The Black Linen Shirt Dress – Vogue 8903

Hey up! Now that summer seems to finally have arrived in the UK, what better time to share my version of Vogue 8903: a classic shirt dress in black linen. This is my June Minerva Blogger Network make and you can find the full post with lots of nerdy sewing deets here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-black-linen-shirt-dress

Vogue 8903 shirt dress in black linen

Continue reading “The Black Linen Shirt Dress – Vogue 8903”

The Margo Scuba Skirt: making the Seamwork Margo skirt with scuba crepe

Hello peeps! I’m back with a make I completed back in January, a lovely version of the Seamwork Margo skirt using John Kaldor scuba crepe gifted to me by Minerva in return for a 500+ review with pictures over on their blog, which you can find here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blog/projects/the-margo-scuba-skirt

Seamwork Margo skirt in navy John Kaldor scuba crepe

Yeah, I made this in January! However,  sometimes those Minerva Fabric Focus blogs can take a long time to make their way onto the blog. Even longer if you’ve been a bad blogger and taken ages to write the post up. In my defense, Daisy had heart surgery just after Christmas so my mind was somewhat preoccupied in the months after.

But what I really needed after the ordeal of Daisy’s surgery and post-operative hospital stay was an easy win. The Seamwork Margo skirt definitely fits the bill! Continue reading “The Margo Scuba Skirt: making the Seamwork Margo skirt with scuba crepe”

The Purple Not-a-Turtle Neck – Seamwork Neenah top hack

Hey peeps, I’ve found a few minutes for a drive-by blog post, so here goes! This is the Seamwork Neenah dress pattern which I hacked into a top. The real star is the John Kaldor Isabella Jersey which I received free from Minerva Crafts in return for writing the post on their blog, which you can find here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blog/projects/the-purple-not-a-turtle-neck

Seamwork Neenah cowl top in John Kaldor Isabella wool jersey 1

Now, I absolutely love this top and wore it loads before the weather warmed up. Partly it’s that gorgeous colour, partly the Seamwork Neenah pattern, which I know by now works just right for this kind of snuggly, slightly looser but still narrow fitting garment (for other versions and hacks of the Seamwork Neenah, see here and here). But I think the real star is the fabric itself (affiliate link). It’s pretty much the holy grail of garment fabrics for me, as it has that soft drape from the 72% viscose content, the four way stretch and recovery from the hefty 8% elastane, and the snuggly warmth and general resilience from the 20% wool. I still have some decent size scraps from this and over a metre of the gunmetal grey I bought years ago and haven’t dared use yet, so there will definitely be more of this fabric appearing on the blog in the future… once I’ve figured out the perfect patterns for it 🙂

Seamwork Neenah cowl top in John Kaldor Isabella wool jersey #1

Random Musings

I’ve been feeling a little guilty about the fact that I only seem to blog my Minerva makes just lately, and don’t want this blog to come over as some kind of extended advertisement for them. Not that I don’t really appreciate Minerva for all the freebies and buy some fabric from them still in addition to that I receive free, I hasten to add.

But I have been making things that aren’t Minerva makes and with three kids to look after I just don’t find much time for blogging them. I have to blog the Minerva ones and have deadlines, so they always jump to the top of the queue. I’m thinking I might just have to do really short blog posts to clear the backlog of projects. That would make me feel a whole lot better about the situation.

And the fact remains: if it weren’t for my Minerva Blogger Network allowance I wouldn’t be able to sew much. Spare money is hard to come by in this house at the moment, so I really appreciate the chance to splash out on fabrics and patterns I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. I’ve been choosy about my projects, though, and am planning them to be things I really feel a need for in my wardrobe, or that the kids could do with (there are a few kids clothes projects in the pipeline, so watch this space for cuteness!).

I have been thinking about my big stash of old clothes and decent size scraps in the loft, though, and am hoping to get them all sorted through in the next couple of weeks so that I can start using them to make new garments (possibly for the kids as they use smaller pattern pieces) or failing that, something like washable cloth wipes. I’ll let you know how I get on with that one.

Right, I’d better get off as I have to wake a sleeping baby then take the boy to his swimming lesson. Cheerio!

The Skinny Pedal Pushers – Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans

Hi everyone, hope you’re all enjoying Me Made May! This is my fourth year participating and I’m loving it. Tell you what, though, I’m kind of wishing I’d chosen a different challenge as all I want to wear every day is my latest make: these cute and comfy pedal pusher “jeans”. They’re the Jalie Éléonore Pull-On Jeans and I love them to bits! More details on sewing them up over on the Minerva Blogger Network. For rambling thoughts about jeggings, personal style and the like, read on here 🙂

Jalie Eleonore Pull-On Jeans #1

I always used to consider “jeggings” a bit of a dirty word. They were the comical pretend jeans that were a sure sign you were letting yourself go. Then along came child #2, and the delights of maternity jeans. No, seriously, I was a convert. With my first I’d only ever had those weird over-the-bump maternity jeans but second time around I bought a pair of Red Herring jeans that had a soft elasticated waistband, but looked just like regular jeans from there on down. I was smitten. Comfiest jeans EVAH.

And I didn’t want to take them off once Gabriel arrived. When I finally had to admit they were getting dangerously loose I looked around for some non-maternity equivalents. I wanted proper stretch denim, but with a flat, elasticated waistband. Tricky.

In the end I bought some Next jeggings which were comfy, but made of that weird faux denim jersey. They bagged out horribly at the knee and I ended up getting rid of them. I then found a fairly decent pair of more proper denim jeggings at White Stuff, but they were expensive, the denim was thin, and I didn’t like the way the waistband looked–too gathered. Still, they’ve lasted me for a few years and it’s only just recently that I’ve realised they’re getting too baggy what with the post-baby #3 weight loss.

I didn’t fancy forking out for another pair from White Stuff, given the issues mentioned above, but then I remembered the Jalie Éléonore jeans, and thought “surely I could make my own jeggings”.

Yes, yes I could. These are the result, and bloody comfortable they are too!

I’m counting these as one of my Make Nine projects, as well as one of my capsule wardrobe for the Sew Your Kibbe Challenge, which I still haven’t properly blogged about. Maybe I’ll find the time next week…

Regarding the Kibbe Challenge, I know the cropped look doesn’t really fit in the Dramatic Classic guidelines which really only specify one kind of trouser:

Pants: Simple tailored styles with pleats and man-tailored detail are best. The pants should be clean, sleek, and elegant.

AVOID: Fussy or ornate styles. Tapered or pegged style. Wide, baggy, or unconstructed styles.

Yeah, that’s quite limited. However, I reckon these pedal pushers are a fair fit for a more casual look. They certainly don’t feature any of the things to avoid, at any rate. I love wearing this length of jeans in the summer months and they have that vintage vibe I’m after without being remotely costumey.

I’m definitely going to use the Jalie Éléonore pattern to make more trousers in the future. Much as I love wearing skirts and dresses, jeans and casual trousers are definitely more practical when wrangling small children. I’ve always tended towards skirts and dresses as I have a really long rise and RTW trousers rarely fit comfortably. Now that I feel more confident in tackling trouser fitting issues, thanks to the pedal pushers I made a couple of years ago and now these, I’m definitely ready to refine the fit of these and get a real TNT pattern for me. I know I have a fair amount of work to do still with the legs which are doing something odd, but at least these fit really nicely at the top.

Right, that’s it for now. I’ve cut out a couple of projects to sew for Gabriel and Lauren next, who are currently winding each other up on the floor next to me. Gabriel has chickenpox and is going a bit stir crazy at home. I think I need to make a cake with him now or something.

Adios, amigos!

x

The Hoodless Hoodie – my latest Minerva Blogger Network make (Burda Style 6847)

My latest make, Burda Style 6847 (affiliate link) is now up on the Minerva Blogger Network. It’s a casual sweatshirt jacket, and it’s probably one of my favourite makes ever! You can find out all the details of sewing it up over on the Minerva Blog.

Burda 6847 knit jacket

I first saw this pattern on Dr T’s blog when she posted a huge list of patterns suitable for the Dramatic Classic Kibbe type. Without wanting to go into all the theory behind Kibbe and why I think I’m a Dramatic Classic (that’s for another post, at some point soon), the key things Kibbe says about jackets for this type is that they “should be crisp and tailored, with sharp shoulders and elongated line. If unconstructed, they should be very narrow and fall below the break of the hip.” Continue reading “The Hoodless Hoodie – my latest Minerva Blogger Network make (Burda Style 6847)”

The Knot Your Average Top

Okay, this is the last of my catch-up links to Minerva projects I’ve made over the last few months. Phew, now I can start writing posts about all the other things I’ve made and haven’t yet blogged!

Knot Your Average Shirt 5 out of 4 patterns

This is the Knot Your Average Shirt and Dress from 5 out of 4 Patterns and I first made it as a dress a couple of years ago as it’s one of those cunning concealed breastfeeding access patterns. You can find my full Minerva write-up of this top version here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blog/projects/knot-your-average-shirt

I really love wearing this top and I think that’s down to two main reasons. Firstly, the fabric is incredibly soft and drapey, and it feels wonderful against my skin. Secondly, it’s a simple enough style in a neutral colour that goes with most of my wardrobe. The twist at the front adds just enough detail to elevate it above a simple black tee, but it’s as versatile as one.

My only regret with this one is that I didn’t go ahead and put clear elastic all along the neckline, as the viscose does grow slightly with wear. It’s not enough to cause a wardrobe malfunction, but it can show a little bit of bra at the centre front if I’m not careful. Mind you, nursing bras do come up high at the centre front, so it probably wouldn’t be a problem if I wasn’t still wearing these beasts.

Anyway, that’s one more wardrobe success for me, which is great. I’m definitely getting better at this “making stuff I want to wear” lark. About bloody time, really. I’ve been sewing clothes for ten years now!

Coming up on the blog next week (hopefully) — I want to catch up on some of the new year type posts I meant to do in January, but was way too busy with Daisy’s operation and its aftermath. So there will be a belated Make Nine, along with some year end round ups and a couple of challenges I’ll be attempting this year. Yay!

See you again soon

xx

The In the Navy Bodysuit

Just popping in to share my latest Minerva Blogger Network make, the Megan Nielsen Patterns Rowan bodysuit in a lovely navy viscose jersey. You can find all the sewing details on the Blogger Network here:

https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-in-the-navy-bodysuit

Megan Nielsen Rowan bodysuit in navy viscose #1

I have to admit, I was so excited about sewing a bodysuit for the first time (I’ve been thinking about making one for a couple of years now) that it wasn’t until I was almost finished that I thought, “hang on a minute, this isn’t breastfeeding friendly!” Whoops!

Still, it’s not such a problem as Lauren only feeds a couple of times during the day now. That little girl loves her food, and would rather munch down on jacket potatoes, stew, chicken korma, and just about anything else she can get her hands on. No boring baby mush in this house!

I’m thinking I need more bodysuits in my wardrobe. I want to make more skirts/trousers with a slightly dropped waistline and I need to make sure that anything tucked in stays tucked. Generally I don’t tuck in tops and just wear them hanging over the top of the bottoms, but I’d like to try this different silhouette as I think it’s flattering. Admittedly, most of my current skirts and trousers are high waisted, but going forward I’ll be sewing some a couple of inches below my natural waist.

This Rowan top is really lightweight and probably best worn as a base layer as it shows every lump and bump. The fabric is also just transparent enough to give a hint of my bra, so I reckon I’ll be making a skin-toned bra at some point soon.

However, those slight issues aside, this Rowan bodysuit is super comfortable, I really enjoyed the challenge of making it, and I can see it making the base of lots of pattern hacks with other knit tops. Yay!

I still have a couple of recent Minerva blogs to link, so expect to see them popping up this next week. Until then, happy sewing everyone 😀

xx

The Not-So-Boring Black Dungaree Dress

Hello everyone!

I’m just swinging by because I realised I still haven’t linked last month’s Minerva make, and my next one will be up in the next few days! No, there really isn’t much time or headspace to sit at the computer and get on with this sort of thing these days. Children. They’re cute, but they’re smelly and steal all your time.

Anyway, last month’s make is this gorgeous (if plain) black twill Cleo dress, which I’ve been wearing loads as none of my old Cleos fit me at the moment. You can find out more details over on Minerva’s site: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-not-so-boring-black-dungaree-dress

I’ve been sewing when I get the chance (finished my first bra–so proud!) and doing plenty of wardrobe planning. I had myself the perfect little autumn/winter capsule planned using patterns from my stash and have bought most of the fabric I need. Then I discovered the Kibbe types and they made a lot of sense to me. I reckon I’m a classic face on a dramatic body, which explains why dramatic (and dramatic classic) clothes look great on me, but the necklines are sometimes too harsh. I think I can get away with classic and probably even some soft classic necklines (like sweethearts and cowl necks) so long as the rest of my outfit is pretty dramatic in style/colour. It’s got me thinking about my capsule plans anew, particularly in terms of necklines and knitwear. It’s also got me wondering if I should rejig my rockabilly librarian style board…

Hopefully I’ll find time to do a more detailed post on this soon (and blog some more of the things I’ve been sewing), but until then, anyone else gone down the Kibbe rabbit hole and come up for air?!

Ciao for now!

xx

The Tropical Scout Tee (and a return to blogging!)

Grainline Scout tee in tropical double gauze

Hi there; long time, no blog! I’m not apologising because that’s just the way of life with a newborn. However, Lauren is now four-and-a-half months old, Gabriel is back at nursery and Daisy at school, and finally I’m starting to find a wee bit of time here and there to get back on the computer.

I actually have a fair old backlog of projects to blog, including my first button up shirt for Andy, some cute baby clothes, and a few things for me, as having a tiny baby to look after didn’t actually stop me from sewing. It slowed me right down, admittedly, but for sanity’s sake I managed to find the odd few minutes here and there to sew a seam or do a bit of pressing. I’ve also done a fair bit of knitting too. Yay!

Anyway, first up for sharing is my first Grainline Scout Tee. Yes, I know I’m late to the party with this one, but that’s just the way I roll. Totally unfashionably late! It’s my Minerva Blogger Network post for last month and actually went live on their site weeks ago, but when I went to share it here I somehow managed to break my website. Yep, every single page gave a 500 error. Wah!

After going away and crying for a bit I eventually pulled up my big girl pants and went searching for solutions. I’m not all that techy really (not sure why I didn’t stick to WordPress.com rather than this self-hosting lark, but there we go) but once I figured out what had gone wrong (a bad pinterest plugin) it was remarkably easy to fix. Go me!

So, if you want to find out more about making the Scout tee then head on over to Minerva. The tee was pretty hot off the machine when I wrote it and I’ve since had more time to see how it fits into my wardrobe. At the moment I’m unsure. I’ve worn it a fair bit and love the comfort–I definitely want to sew with double gauze again next summer–but I’m not convinced this print suits me. I’d love to try this top again in a monochrome polka dot print–perhaps in a drapier fabric too to see if the silhouette is more flattering that way.

What do you all reckon? Is this top “me”?

I’ll be back in a few days with another Minerva make. Until then, what are you working on at the moment? And have you ever sewn with double gauze?

The Eastern Jewels Heirloom Crochet Blanket… and the baby I made it for!

Eastern Jewels crochet Persian Tiles Blanket Janie Crowfoot
Welcome to the world, Little Lauren!

Yes, I finally finished two projects: making the Eastern Jewels crochet blanket and gestating my third child! Lauren was born on the 6th May and is a gorgeous, sweet-tempered and healthy baby. Not gonna lie, it was my toughest labour yet as she’d swivelled into a back-to-back position at the last minute without anyone realising, and I had to be induced with only gas and air as a painkiller. In the end the consultant had to tug her out with a ventouse cup. But look, what a cutie!

Baby Lauren

Anyway, difficult labour aside, she’s here now and that’s what’s important. And so is her blanket! You can read the details of that make over on the Minerva Blogger Network here.

Eastern Jewels crochet Persian Tiles Blanket Janie Crowfoot

I used the Stylecraft Eastern Jewels Blanket Pack (affiliate link), and I can thoroughly recommend this pattern even for relative beginners to crochet. It looks incredibly complex, but is actually based on a very small number of simple stitches so if you’ve made a granny square, you can make this! It just takes a long time, but you’ll have mad crochet skills by the time you’ve finished! Hop on over to the Minerva post for all the deets.

I’m going to be back tomorrow with my write up of the 10×10 wardrobe challenge I did back in April, and then again in a few days with my monthly update post. And probably a Me Made May post too. I have so many ideas, and so little time to bring them to fruition!

Until then, happy stitching!

Anna-Jo x

The Dark Floral Maternity Agnes Top

Floral Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Maternity Top

This is now my third time making up the Maternity Agnes pattern from Tilly and the Buttons,  but it’s my first time making it as a top. You can find my previous dress versions here and here. The photos were taken back in early March, but this still fits perfectly over my huge “almost there” bump.

I feel like I’ve already said much of what I want to say about this pattern already in those two posts, but there was one thing I did a bit differently this time around. I’d noticed a drag line between the armscye and bust in my last two versions, but wasn’t sure what to do about it other than some kind of complex full bust adjustment, which I didn’t really feel like figuring out as I have never had to do an FBA before!

But after reading a post on the regular Agnes top by Sew Becky Jo, I realised that the problem might actually be with the large armscye, as a lot of people seem to have the same issue with the Agnes top (whether they’ve noticed or not).

I thought back to my TNT fitted knit top, the Knit Sweetheart Top from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, and looked at pictures to confirm I didn’t get that crease/fold with Gertie’s pattern. Then I compared the two paper patterns and sure enough, the armscye on Gertie’s pattern is significantly higher and smaller. It’s not the easiest thing to spot seams in this fabric, but you might be able to see how high the underarm seam is below.

So this time instead of just hacking on the neckline from the Knit Sweetheart Top, I went for the whole upper portion of that pattern including the sleeves. I think this has worked as I now have a much better fit both in the armpit and the bust. I didn’t actually bother with retracing a pattern as I figured this is the last time I’m likely to make the maternity version, so I simply cut the fabric for the Gertie bodice down to just below the bust, then laid the Agnes pattern over the top and carried on cutting with that version. There was probably a little blending/grading at the join, but it’s been such a time since I made this I can’t remember which pattern was the larger!

The only other thing that made this more of a challenging make for me was the fabric I used. Now don’t get me wrong–I adore this fabric and it’s incredibly soft and comfortable to wear… But (you sensed there was one coming, didn’t you?!) it’s not the easiest to sew. I picked it up from the Girl Charlee stall at the Great British Sewing Bee Live last year, as I’ve been wanting to work more bold florals into my wardrobe. The colours really appeal, although yellow isn’t something that suits my skin tone at all. However, this minimal amount of yellow mixed in with the black and turquoise really works, I reckon.

So, the fabric looks and feels gorgeous, but boy, it does not want to co-operate on the cutting table or under the machine. It’s a rayon/spandex/cotton blend with significant 4 way stretch. The drapey rayon combined with all that lycra made it shift about like crazy. I had to cut on the single layer with my rotary cutter (which I usually do with knits anyway), and put tissue underneath while sewing seams or the lightweight fabric got sucked down into the machine. I also had to use lightweight stretch interfacing strips on the neckline band and the hems to stabilise them.

I’m just glad I’ve had plenty of experience sewing viscose and stretch knits, but if you haven’t I wouldn’t recommend this fabric. Not unless you’re a bit of a sewing masochist and want to stretch your skills, that is! That said, it is beautiful to wear and I’m really glad I went for it. Often the fabrics I love wearing are the biggest bastards to sew.

I’m really happy with the finished top and have worn it loads. Originally I thought I might hack it down to shorter sleeves once the warm spring weather hit, but we’ve had such a cold spring I’ve needed that sleeve length! At first I thought I’d only be able to wear it with my plainer bottoms, like a denim skirt, jeans and a black pencil skirt. But then I remembered a fabric I love with a floral on a b&w polka dot background, and figured why not try it with my polka dot maternity skirt? I’m so glad I did as I love the combination, and it’s given me more confidence with print mixing, which can only be a good thing.

One of the things I really like about this top is the generous length. It fits nice and snug under the bump, which means there’s no risk of those awful top bands on my maternity jeans and denim skirt peeking out from underneath. It also covers up the maternity support belt I’ve been wearing while walking for this last month. I didn’t go for the optional ruching cords included in the Agnes instructions as I figured this fabric was probably too lightweight and tricky to make them work, but it turns out they haven’t been necessary in a fabric with excellent recovery like this one.

This is one of those maternity makes I love so much I’m planning on refashioning so it has life after pregnancy. It should be simple enough to let out the side seams, remove the ruching and the extra length on the front, and then redo the seams and hem. I didn’t do my usual neckline treatment with the pleats to turn it into a sweetheart neckline as I thought there was probably enough going on with this fabric as it was, but I might consider adding those for life after maternity. We will see…

 

The deets

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Maternity Agnes Top frankenpatterned with the upper portion of the Knit Sweetheart Top from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual (affiliate link)

Size: Complicated! Size 3 waist from the Tilly pattern, graded to a 4 hip, and a size 6 for the top portion.

Fabric: This gorgeous viscose cotton spandex blend floral fabric from Girl Charlee UK.

Modifications: The frankenpatterning, obviously.

Time to sew: 1 hour 37 mins  (this doesn’t include pattern tracing, cutting out, threading up machine, trying on for fit purposes, and general waffling!)

Costing: 

  • Pattern: £2.38 (originally £7.13 in Black Friday sale, but used three times)
  • Fabric: £12 for 1.5m (special GBSB Live discount price)
  • Notions: £0
  • Total: £14.38

What do you reckon: would you mix florals and polka dots like this?

Disclaimer: some of the products linked above use affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I will receive a small referral fee (at no added cost to you). Any extra income to help fund my sewing habit is greatly appreciated, but rest assured I only recommend products I love and think you might find useful too 🙂

The Lesser-Spotted Dressing Gown – Vogue V8888 pattern review

Vogue V8888 Dressing gown robe spotty viscose challis

Last week I had another make up on the Minerva Blogger Network: this gorgeous polka dot dressing gown from Vogue Patterns (V8888).  You can find out more about this make over on their blog–it was a complicated sew in some ways (blame the viscose challis!), but I had a lot of fun paying attention to giving it a fine finish with lots of French seams and couture touches.

I haven’t actually had any opportunity for wearing this just yet as the weather took an unwelcome turn for the cold again, but I’m sure it’s going to come in useful over the summer. Assuming we actually get a summer in England this year…

I’ll be posting again this week, I hope, with my final maternity make I keep promising: an Agnes top in a gorgeous dark floral jersey from Girl Charlee UK. Better get it done quick before I have this baby!

Ciao for now, peeps!

The Kinder Cardigan goes DISCO!

Kinder Sequinned Cardigan Wendy Ward Sewing with Knitted Fabrics

This week I’m finally able to share a make from January with you–the popular Kinder Cardigan–as my post for the new Wendy Ward book (A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics – affiliate link) has gone live over on the Minerva site. Go and check it out if you want to find out more about both the cardie and the book as a whole 🙂

https://www.minervacrafts.com/blog/product-reviews/the-kinder-sequinned-cardigan

I did try to wear my cardie today but the weather got too hot, too quickly. We seem to have gone straight from winter to summer–just last week everyone was wearing coats and scarves and today it was all shorts and flip flops! I’m sure the cardie will get some wear over the spring and summer, though, even if only in the evenings.

I’ll be blogging another Minerva make next week–a gorgeous summer dressing gown (Vogue V888) in polka dot viscose challis. Just got to finish off making it and work out how to insert inseam pockets in a French seam!

Here’s a sneak peek of it on my cutting table:

Adios, amigos x

The Erin Maternity Skirt – or the Barcode Skirt #2

Erin Maternity Skirt in stripes - Megan Nielsen Patterns

I made this Megan Nielsen Erin Maternity Skirt back in December, took the pics in January, but am only now blogging it as it’s hardly had any wear so far. That’s by no means a reflection on how much I like the skirt (spoiler: I love it!) but more on our exceptionally cold winter this year, and the weight of the fabric I used.

Megan Nielsen is one of the few pattern designers out there with a range of maternity sewing patterns to choose from, and so far I’ve made this and the Amber Dress, both of which I love. They are all classic, knit garments that make excellent basics, and each have a range of options to give different looks. The Erin skirt has two length options (knee and midi length) plus an optional hem ruffle if you like that kind of thing. Ruffles aren’t my thang, but hey, maybe I’ll change my mind at some point. Probably once they’ve gone out of fashion, knowing me…

While a knit pencil skirt is one of the easiest garments out there to make and I already have a TNT pattern for one which I could have adapted for maternity wear, I chose to buy this anyway as it looked like there was some interesting shaping going on at the top. I’m glad I did as the pattern drafting is really clever, with different shaped back and front pieces so you get plenty of extra fabric going over the bump. There’s also some side ruching with elastic, although unlike other ruched maternity wear where the front panel is the only one gathered, the Erin skirt gathers are made after sewing the side seams, so front and back both get gathered. I can’t say as it seems to make much difference in how the skirt looks, and it’s certainly easy to sew that way.

I’ve been missing my favourite striped knit pencil skirt, so I went searching for some medium weight striped stretchy jersey and found this navy and beige fabric on Minerva’s site. It was good value, a polyester/viscose/elastane blend, and seemed ideal. However, when it arrived it felt much thinner and more drapey than I was expecting. I don’t think the description is wrong–viscose does weigh more than cotton–but I now know to be more careful when choosing viscose fabrics for bottoms! This is absolutely perfect for a spring/summer skirt with bare legs underneath, but not right for wearing over tights or leggings in winter. The skirt rides up too easily when walking.

I think the fabric would be fabulous for tees and summer dresses, though, as it’s so soft and drapey. Maybe I’ll buy some more for something else, and I should have enough scraps to make a tee for Gabriel.

In terms of making up, this was a really simple sew. I deviated from the instructions only when sewing the elastic waistband, as I much prefer to overlock the elastic to the top edge, fold and stitch than go to all the faff of making waistband casings. I also hate the way waistbands can get twisted inside casings, and there’s no chance of twisting with this method. And check out how high this skirt goes up!

When I’d finished the skirt I tried it on before hemming, and realised it was too long to walk in comfortably. This could partly be down to the cheap elastic I used for ruching the side seams, which stretched out and didn’t fully recover so ended up 4cm longer than it should have been. In the end I lopped 8cm length off the bottom and it’s ended up just above the knee.

I do love my Erin Skirt and I’m looking forward to the weather being warm enough to get lots of wear out of it in my last weeks of pregnancy. However, I reckon it will still be useful over the summer months while I work on getting rid of the baby flab, and it could always be converted to a regular pencil skirt after that, so it should get a fair amount of wear eventually.

I probably should have made another Erin skirt in a thicker fabric for the winter, but I’m not going to bother now as I have so little time left. However, I’ll hold onto the pattern in case any friends fall pregnant and fancy a cute skirt making for them 🙂

These photos are now a couple of months old, but I’m currently having a go at the 10×10 wardrobe challenge over on Instagram, and this skirt is one of my ten picks. I’ll post a round-up and my thoughts on the challenge in a couple of weeks so you’ll be able to see the skirt over my current much larger bump then–or hop on over to Instagram if you can’t wait!

Erin Maternity Skirt

The Deets:

Pattern: The Erin Maternity Skirt from Megan Nielsen Patterns. I made the midi length version (version 2)

Size: M

Fabric: This Stripey Stretch Jersey (affiliate link) in navy and beige from Minerva.

Modifications: Reduced the length by about 8cm for ease of walking, so it’s ended up being knee length after all.

Overlocked elastic to top edge, folded and topstitched rather than making a casing.

Time to sew: 1 hour 11 mins (this doesn’t include pattern tracing, cutting out, threading up machine, trying on for fit purposes, and general waffling!)

Costing: 

  • Pattern: £7.55 (in Black Friday sale)
  • Pattern printing: £2.70
  • Fabric: £4.99 for 1m
  • Notions: £0.00 (elastics from stash)
  • Total: £15.24

Other inspirational versions: While plain, I love these classic black and white versions from Poppykettle and The Gingerthread Girl. And you can’t beat this patterned version by Holli, modelled over a 39 week bump no less!

What are your thoughts on striped skirts? Are they a wardrobe staple for you too?

Coming next on the blog: My April sewing plans!

Disclaimer: some of the products linked above use affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I will receive a small referral fee (at no added cost to you). Any extra income to help fund my sewing habit is greatly appreciated, but rest assured I only recommend products I love and think you might find useful too 🙂

The Snakeskin Amber Dress

Amber maternity nursing dress Megan Nielsen

Hey everyone! I’ve got another Minerva make to share today, and it’s another maternity dress. Not the Agnes this time, but the old Simplicity version of the Megan Nielsen Amber Dress. I’ve actually made it twice before (here and here) so this is truly a TNT pattern for me.

I do still have a couple of maternity makes to blog, and I’ve got pics taken so hopefully they’ll go up in the next couple of weeks. After that… I’m going to have to think hard about what will be worth making. Fitting a rapidly changing body is a challenge!

The full write up of making this dress is on the Minerva site, but something I forgot to add to the post was the time taken to sew, which was 2 hours. That’s not bad considering there were 13 pattern pieces to deal with, and the fabric was challenging at times (although seriously gorgeous to wear!)

Right, that’s it for now. I’ve been dealing with an ill toddler the last couple of days (conjunctivitis) so I’m tired and haven’t got much done. At least I’m making some headway on the crochet blanket, though 🙂

Back soon with  another Megan Nielsen pattern: the Erin skirt! Sneak peek:

Erin Maternity Skirt in stripes - Megan Nielsen Patterns