Monday, February 24, 2014

Da Aaaaanglerfish

Me: "It's hilarious ... all the cute stuffed animals people have given him over the years, and he's never really taken to any until he got this thing."
DH: "Yeah ... Makes me sort of proud."
Is this guy begging to be in a Strong Bad video, or what?
Boys will be boys, and when we started watching Blue Planet, my boy became obsessed with one of the grossest creatures of the seven seas (Here's a link; don't say I didn't warn you). So when I searched Ravelry on a whim, you can imagine my surprise when I actually found a pattern (not even an online pattern; it's in a real book!), that was actually at my library. So, here he is, in all his deep-sea glory. The things you do as a mother are really weird sometimes.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five Favorites: Maternity Sewing Projects

Off-the-rack maternity clothing just does not work for me. Maybe it's because I'm firmly in the petite size range, but I'm always swimming in anything I try on. Aside from one pair of capris that I love to death, I've bought zero actual maternity clothes. I always go for the misses section and some combination of stretchy, flowy, long, high-waisted, and/or a size up (Juniors' dresses worn as tunics are also not a bad option). I've been going with a similar strategy in sewing patterns, especially after the one maternity pattern I tried (for jeans) ended up being almost a total bust. So here's the benefit of my maternity sewing experience thus far:

1) McCall's 6464 Kate Middleton Knock-off
Kate's dressmaker probably didn't forget to put in a hook-and-eye ...
I loved how this bespoke Emilia Wickstead dress looked like a high-waisted '60s style rather than a maternity look. I made lots of modifications to the bodice (honestly, the waistline is about the only thing I kept), but the only change necessary to make this a maternity style was to lay the two front skirt pieces out on the fabric with the seamlines matched just at the top corners. Then I swung out the bottom corners as wide as the fabric would allow. I added a seamline to the center front, and changed the grainline to run down the center of each piece, instead of along the center front of the dress. The back got a similar treatment.

I made this in blue linen from JoAnn, and it fit me through month 7 or 8. A fabric with a bit more give (stretch cotton, or a crepe as in the original dress), and this could get you through the whole pregnancy.

2) McCall's 6084 Cardigan

Not a maternity pattern per se, but after reading this article on dressing your maternity body type, I decided that a long cardigan was in order. I'd never sewn a cardigan before, but this really was a one-hour project start to finish, even including making modifications to the sleeve and shoulder line that were recommended on Pattern Review. In fairness, though, that's only because I skipped hemming of any sort.

The fukuro knit fabric was $15 on clearance at JoAnn, and has proved to be machine washable (which is key, since it's also a great cardigan for nursing!) despite the instructions on the bolt.

3) Rub-off Linen Capri Pants
After Burda 7165 turned out to be a total bust (the front pockets hit me right at the widest point, and, even after careful measurements, fixing the fit took me probably 8-10 try-ons, I decided to go another route and do a rub off of a pair I already liked. Much better, though there was enough difference in stretch between the two fabrics that these end up looking a tad pajama-ish by the end of the day. I might have to take them in a tad. Next time, I'll get a regular pants pattern and add the stretch panel, or maybe just modify a thrift store pair.

4) Simplicity 1612 Upcycled Lace Dress
With guest appearance by The Flash, but you get the idea.
Definitely the favorite. The only modification I made to this pattern was to actually cut it at the recommended size for my pre-pregnancy size, rather than eliminating the excess ease that sewing patterns always allow, even in patterns written for knits. Holly passed along a stretch lace dress that had always looked better on the hanger than on an actual person, and I knew right away that I wanted to pair the lace with an aqua colored underlayer.

I liked this dress so well that I wore it (belted) for Peanut's baptism. The great thing about this pattern is that it also works for nursing wear, but I'd recommend using something other than the 17% spandex swimwear fabric I used for the lining. You'd think the stretch would be a good thing, but it kept trying to snap back into place, and Peanut was not amused.

5) Other patterns I'm digging
I only have four finished objects that I'd really call favorites, but I've got my eye on some others for next time around:
McCall's 6557
I have a couple of store-bought dresses with a similar double-v-neck silhouette in jersey that are very flattering. The reviews say that this is a circle skirt, and the bias could work very well in a drapey fabric.
Simplicity 2774
I bought this pattern due to its resemblance to this beauty, but never found a fabric that particularly inspired me. I'm keeping my eyes open, though, and I'm hoping to have it for next time around.
Vogue 8489
I actually own both pattern and fabric for this one, but got a little too busy to sew it up. Since I was planning to make this one nursing-friendly anyway, it may still make an appearance the next time I feel like a project.