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.

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