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 Spotty Cowl Top

Daydream Patterns Sophia nursing top

This is one of those “whoops, I thought I’d already posted this” posts! Yep, finally sharing February’s Minerva Blogger Network post over here. You can find it at: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-spotty-cowl-top

I have to admit, this is not one of my most successful makes and it’s currently in my wadder pile, hopefully to be harvested for fabric to make something more “me”. It’s not the fault of the pattern, which was really well written and fun to make. It’s not the fault of the fabric, which although a polyester (boo!) jersey is really comfortable and pleasant to wear.

It’s just… not me. I’m starting to realise this is one of the pitfalls of trying out new styles when making your own clothing. With RTW you can try it on in the shop and have a good peer at yourself in the mirror, before deciding it doesn’t suit you. With sewing you generally have to wait until you’ve basted the side seams before you realise that it makes you look like an out of style pregnant hippo. Not that this top does that. But I don’t think it’s terribly flattering on me.

In the final analysis, I think a plain fabric would have worked better, and the neckline is too high for my liking. Also, the whole top is a bit shapeless at the front. Ideal for disguising post-childbirth tummies (this has a cunning–and optional–hidden breastfeeding access design), but not so good now I’m mostly slimmed down again.

So, going forward I’m going to do my best to avoid future wadders by sticking to patterns I know work for me (hello, Cleo dresses!), or styles that I’m pretty sure will work. It might not result in the most adventurous sewing for me, but I figure I can get my fix of adventure by sewing more for the kids. I’ll have more about my personal Ottobre Sewing Magazine kids pattern challenge soon. When I get a moment to write a blog post…

Right, this afternoon I’m going to try to finish a top (black and silver stripy fabric, but taking a bit of a risk with a boat neck), and then maybe embroider or crochet a cactus. Yes, I’ve decided to take part in #The100DayProject in an attempt to get me going on some purely fun crafts again. I’m going to stick to cacti and succulents for motifs as I love them, but will have a go at making them in various different media. I reckon I’ll dust off my crochet, feltmaking and embroidery skills, as well as having a go at machine embroidery and applique. And when I’ve had enough of the textiles I might do some watercolours and drawings. Maybe even a lino cut. Who knows?

I’m hoping that by the end of the 100 days I’ll have a collection of little decorative items and pictures for making gifts and cards. And perhaps a few things for myself too. I’ve fancied a cactus pincushion for years now! Check out my Pinterest boards if you’re interested in seeing some of the things I’ve been contemplating.

See you in a couple of days with one more catch-up post for my Minerva makes.

xx

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 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

 

 

 

The Baggy Bump Maternity Trousers – live on the Minerva Blogger Network

Burda 7239 maternity trousers 9

Hey everyone–I know it’s been quiet on the blog here lately, but I’ve been suffering from anaemia so didn’t have much energy to post or sew. However, my latest maternity sewing project is now up on the Minerva Blogger Network here: https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-baggy-bump-trousers

I’ve got to say a big thank you to my daughter, Daisy, for taking the pictures! Finding the opportunity to get enough light to photograph a project properly at this time of year is tricky, to say the least, and these might not be up to my usual picture standard, but hey, at least they got taken 🙂

I have a few projects nearly finished and another couple of project posts that just need writing, so I hope to be back to a regular weekly post in March. I’m not going to do any more maternity sewing after the next couple of weeks, though, as unless it’s something that would work for breastfeeding and that awkward period before my midsection gets back to its pre-pregnancy state (it will happen–I’ve managed it twice before!), it really won’t be worth the effort for just two month’s of wear.

Anyway, these trousers are so useful right now with this freezing cold weather. My legs are actually warm enough today, wearing these with boots and leggings underneath! The fabric is perfect for bottomweight sewing, and would also be great for a jacket. It’s a clearance one, though, so you if want some for yourself don’t wait!

Materials used:

Burda 7239 – Maternity Tops, Bolero and Pants  (affiliate link)

Textured Stretch Jersey Knit Dress Fabric (affiliate link)

Gutermann Sew All thread (affiliate link)

I’ll be back in a few days with my maternity sewing plans for March, and a bumper round-up of January and February’s sewing. What little there was of it, at any rate 🙂

Anna x

 

 

The Cowl Necked Maternity Dress live on the Minerva Blogger Network

Tilly and the Buttons Maternity Agnes hacked with Seamwork Neenah Cowl neck

Hi peeps! I’m back after a nasty virus, sharing my latest make over on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. It’s a mash up of the Tilly and the Buttons Maternity Agnes (which I last made here in leopard print) with Seamwork’s Neenah cowl neckline variation (which I made here).

You can find out more over on Minerva’s site, but I’ll give you a spoiler: I love it! Just what my wardrobe needed right now, as I didn’t have much in the way of winter-appropriate maternity gear. What with Gabriel being born in December, winter hadn’t had much of a chance to get going then and as I don’t generally go for oversized things, I’m rapidly running out of wearable clothing. I’ll be making a few more maternity items over the next month or so, keeping in mind to make things that will hopefully either be able to be worn while I’m losing the baby weight, or that can be remade to suit my body once it’s got back to its normal size and shape.

Right, here’s the materials used, should you be interested in nabbing some of this for yourself. The fabric is a real winner for winter wear, with excellent stretch, drape, warmth and recovery. Just check the blog post for how I dealt with sewing it as it didn’t behave exactly how I expected:

Tilly and the Buttons Maternity Agnes Pattern

Seamwork’s Neenah Pattern (cowl neck add-on available free to Seamwork subscribers)

Stripey Textured Stretch Jersey (affiliate link) – 2m used

Gutermann Sew All thread (affiliate link)

Disclaimer: fabric and thread kindly provided by Minerva in return for an honest review. I bought the patterns myself.

The Party Animal Dress – a maternity Agnes dress pattern review

Party Animal maternity bodycon Agnes Dress Tilly and the Buttons

Hi everyone! I’m here to provide a little distraction from post-Christmas mayhem (or whatever it is you choose to celebrate at this time of year) with my first proper bit of maternity sewing on the blog: a party dress made with the new maternity version of the very popular Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top/dress.

Believe it or not, this is my very first maternity dress make. I was into dressmaking when I fell pregnant with Gabriel, but because of my inexperience with and general fear of sewing knit fabrics, I thought most maternity sewing patterns looked too much like hard work. Since having Gabriel, however (3 years ago this week–doesn’t time fly?!) I’ve truly embraced sewing with knits and now prefer sewing them to wovens. Continue reading “The Party Animal Dress – a maternity Agnes dress pattern review”