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”

Big (or soon-to-be-big!) Announcement

Hi everyone,

I’ve been dying to share this information for the last couple of months, and now I’ve officially gone public, I can: I’m pregnant again! This is the little bean:

The last couple of months have been kind of hellish with the exhaustion and nausea, both of which seem worse with this pregnancy but maybe I’m just forgetting what it was like with Daisy and Gabriel. I was also worried having had both a ten-week miscarriage in the past, and of course having had a child with Down’s Syndrome and all its attendant health issues (open heart surgery at 4 months old in Daisy’s case). However, now I’m into week thirteen and have had the first scan and screening (low risk–yay!) I’m feeling much more confident and happy. Plus the nausea and exhaustion seem to have gone away, which is a huge help. Ugh, it was so hard to cook food and even eat sometimes. We lived off fish and chips for a couple of the worst weeks. I know, I’m not proud of it, but you do what you need to to get by sometimes.

So, I’m due on 9th May 2018, which will probably mean I don’t do much posting this next Me Made May, but who knows? Maybe I’ll relish the extra challenge!

Now, onto what this means for my sewing, which is, of course, the most important thing 😛

Agnes maternity sewing patternI was into dressmaking by the time I had Gabriel, but hadn’t yet worked much with knits so didn’t feel confident making maternity clothes. As a consequence, I have an almost entirely RTW maternity capsule wardrobe ready and waiting. The clothes might not all be 100% my current style, but they’re all pretty neutral basics and I don’t dislike any of them. So do I actually need to make anything, especially bearing in mind it will only get worn for a few months? Well, I’ve had a good look through all the clothes and can see a few gaps, mostly in the form of interestingly patterned tops and dresses, so I’ll definitely be making myself a few pieces. I expect they’ll all be hacks of the Tilly and the Buttons Mama-to-be Agnes top and dress, as it’s pretty much my ideal maternity pattern! Seriously, why are there so few options for maternity sewing patterns? And most of the ones out there are so frumpy? I’m looking at you, Big Four! I want bodycon patterns, not to look like I’m wearing a sack!

But other than a handful of Agnes tops and dresses, and perhaps a couple of self-drafted skirts, I’m going to want to concentrate my sewing on things that will be useful beyond my pregnancy. I suppose I could work on more nursing-friendly tops as I get nearer the birth (I have a couple of TNT patterns I can use for that already, as I was still breastfeeding when I started this blog). But I’m mostly thinking longer term clothing, along with other sorts of sewing projects. So here’s a few thoughts on things I could be sewing over the next six months:

  • Kimonos and cardigans–these should fit now and forever more if I pick my patterns and fabrics wisely!
  • Shirts for me. I know I wouldn’t be able to fit them properly, but I’m thinking I could make an oversized shirt I could then wear as a “shacket” while pregnant. Possibly in a black and red plaid flannel.
  • Unselfish sewing for the rest of the family. They all need clothes, let’s face it. Andy wants a shirt, Gabriel needs EVERYTHING because he keeps growing (curse him!), and Daisy could do with a winter dress or two for school.
  • Gift sewing for birthdays/Christmas. Not sure what, exactly, but I’m sure I can come up with some ideas. Would be nice to have a stash of handmade gifts I could choose from when Christmas comes around. Maybe tree ornaments?
  • Finishing off the two UFO quilts I started years ago.
  • Finishing off the coat I started years ago, then got scared to finish as I found out more about tailoring.
  • Things that will be useful around the home, like aprons, bunting, cushion covers, more quilts, etc.
  • Things to furnish my sewing room, when it’s eventually done its duty as a nursery, like sewing machine/overlocker dust covers, pincushion, knitting needle holders, overlocker thread catcher, more bunting, etc.
  • Things for the baby. Clothes, sling, bedding, soft toys, etc. In gender-neutral colours as I don’t get on with that whole blue/pink thing.
  • Hats. Pregnancy doesn’t affect your head size, after all! And I really want to make a newsboy cap for Gabriel too.
  • Bags. I’ve been interested in having a go at bagmaking for years now, so maybe this will finally be the right time to get started. I want a new shoulder bag (in leather!) and could do with an overnight duffel bag, and I reckon Daisy could too.

Some of those items are more interesting than others, but even the stuff I’m less enthusiastic about (finishing the coat and quilts, for instance), I’m keen to get done as I won’t then feel guilty about UFOs hanging about, and I know the finished items will get plenty of use.

So yeah, I reckon that’s more than enough to keep me insanely busy for the next six months. I’ll probably go for a bit of embroidery, knitting and crochet too as I feel the need to put my feet up more, but for now, I’m enjoying the sudden surge of energy and catching up on all my neglected cleaning/gardening like a mad thing.

Anyone else out there been faced with a pregnancy sewing dilemma? How did you get around it? And does anyone have any suggestions for things I could be sewing over the next six months? Or links to any cute maternity patterns?

Cheers me dears!

Anna x