Sewing Up Spring – Sewing All the Baby Things!…or not

Okay, well not as many of the baby things as I’d like. For my stop on the Sewing by Ti blog tour, Sewing Up Spring, I had such grand plans. An adorable, uterus grabbing capsule of baby goodies: sleep sacks, hats, onesies, booties, skirts, and leggings. Alas, pregnancy had other plans. The fact is, sometimes life throws us a curveball…or 70, and things don’t always go the way we hoped. I hate when that happens, but happens it does. Pregnancy has been no exception.

But oh, I had so many awesome things planned! I wanted to be one of those amazing women and sewists. You know, the ones who go into the hospital with a capsule of outfits sewn for newborn babe, and a mini breastfeeding friendly hospital capsule for themselves. These women also look gorgeous in birth photos. I, of course, look like a tired, pale hospital worker in mine (I had a c-section with my son, so I had a surgical cap on). Alas, I do not seem to be one of those amazing women. SPD (pelvis separation) and now abdominal separation are grounding me from sewing. I have TWO patterns cut that I was testing and physically could not finish. I cannot tell you how much that upsets me. (P.S. they’re awesome patterns: Love Notions Olympia Dress – which can totally be worn for maternity, by the way. I did actually get the bodice put together and tested out for that one. Just took a little bodice shortening to accommodate the giant belly. And Greenstyle Bomber Jacket, which is absolutely fantastic. Fit like a charm – also got the basic jacket sewn up of that one, but couldn’t get the bindings and zipper on. So versatile and fun! Mine is a FT version, like a structured sweatshirt. I can’t wait to be able to finish it!) But that’s how it goes, right? As long as we get a happy, healthy baby, we’ll just put another tally on the board for the miracle of life and keep on keeping on. For those keeping track, that would be Pregnancy: all points ever assigned, Caroline: -1,000. 🙂

So, I couldn’t do things exactly the way I’d hoped. Pregnancy complications, grad school grind, and starting a new business* took up all my time and at times flat out said, “NOPE. You can sit here and cry in pain and that’s it.” But I have still managed to squeeze out a couple of creations for baby girl. And I’m giddy about them. I mean, really, when is a tiny baby hat not adorable?! Make it a River Song hat and DOHMYGOODNESS. Dead.

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I’m bigger on the inside! This was around a 33-34 week belly. The current 36-37 week belly has somehow defied physics by tripling in size.

The great thing about this was that it was supremely simple to sew. It’s the Brindille & Twig hat. It was my first time sewing one of their patterns. I had a couple of complaints (no layers and the color key is not printed on the pattern), but overall, I found the pattern to be user friendly. And, as I said, this one was so quick. Even for sloth-sewing me. I would definitely recommend and happily sew again.

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The full outfit. B&T hat and P4P Sugar Pie. Doctor Who fabric from Moon Beam of Star Dust & Moon Beam. This baby is starting out right in life!

The dress was another quick sew: Patterns for Pirates Sugar Pie. Only alteration I made was to cut the 6 mo. neckband on the 3 mo. size. Big heads are a thing in my family. I just couldn’t imagine squeezing a baby’s head through an opening that small…clothing or otherwise. 😉

So, yeah, curveballs. But I still produced a cute little outfit and I can’t wait to see it on our little pumpkin. I’m honestly thrilled with it. One of my favorite things I’ve ever made. Even my husband loves it and he’s definitely not the Who fan that my son and I are. I will try to enjoy that feeling for now and try not to dwell on all the adorable creations I have in my head. They can always be sewn later. Now, if this pain would give me a brief reprieve, I could finish everything else and be the amazing sewing birthing mama I dream of being!

*My husband and I have just become a LuLaRoe Retailer! I am a sewist who likes both LLR and sewing my own clothes. I know not everyone does, and that’s okay. But for me, sometimes I sew, sometimes I roe. And this pregnancy, especially, I’ve been grateful for my LLR clothes because I could keep wearing them through pregnancy when I couldn’t sew for myself. If you also love LLR, feel free to join our group. We’d love to have you.

Be sure to follow along to be inspired!

April 1st: Sewing By Ti

Monday, April 3rd Sewing By Ti

April 4th Crafty Like a Rox

April 5th The Socially Awkward Seamstress

April 6th The Socially Awkward Seamstress

April 7th Robynne and the Bobbin

Sunday April 9th Sew Like a Sloth

April 10th That’s Sew Lily

April 11th Hazelnut Handmade

April 12th Doodle Number 5

April 13th Crafty Like a Rox

April 14th Sewing By Ti, Ma Moose

Monday April 17th Anne Mari Sews, Robynne and the Bobbin

April 18th Rebel and Malice

April 19th Very Blissful

April 20th The Fairy Dust Bin

April 21st Sewing By Ti

Sunday April 23rd On Wednesdays We Sew

April 24th Tenille’s Thread

April 25th Ma Moose

April 26th Margarita on the Ross

April 27th The Socially Awkward Seamstress

April 28th Sewing By Ti

Greenstyle Scarlet Swing Dress

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Some patterns you know you’ll love right out of the gate. Greenstyle’s new Scarlet Swing Dress (affil link) is one of those patterns. I loved it as soon as I saw the line drawing for the tester call.

Of course, me being me, I had to do something to throw a kink in the works! Haha! Can you tell what material this is? Yes, it’s sweater knit, internet. I did it again. The curse of the sweater knit in testing continues! Well, only halfway continues, because I think this came out great in the end! But fits were had. Curse words were said. In short, I do NOT recommend sweater knit for this pattern. This time of year you may be tempted to make a cozy, cute, fashionable sweater swing dress. Hear me, dear readers, deny the temptation. DENY IT. 🙂 I have no regrets about my sweater knit creation though. Yes, it grew like 3 sizes while sewing and I had to take it in 1.75″ on the sides to make it fit again and the neck hole morphed to the size of a sink hole. And, yes, it did not want to be sewn, so I just serged the hem. But the serged look is kind of cool with this fabric, am I right? (I may go back and do long cuffs on the sleeves – what do you think?) And I don’t mind a sassy scoop neck for a night out. I can just throw a scarf on for work! I believe this creation is what my old acting teacher would have called “a happy accident”. A whole lot went wrong, but it came together to make something really right! 🙂

Back to the pattern. It’s fantastic. Cute on every body type/size I saw in testing. Great for me because it’s maternity friendly without being maternity wear.  I will rock this post part, let me tell you. I wore it to class and the girls LOVED it. I’m the coolest elderly classmate they’ve ever had. Hahahaha! Here’s the run down.

Greenstyle Scarlet Swing Dress (affil link)

Pattern description & options:

  • Sleeve options (so many!): short, elbow, 3/4 length, long, bell sleeve, and a cold shoulder option. FYI: it’s an inset sleeve.
  • Length options: tunic, short, long, short high/low, and long high/low (also easily lengthened and shortened)
  • Layers!
  • No trim pages
  • Large format available
  • Ideal fabrics include knits with good drape (NOT sweater knit, even though mine did turn out super cute in the end) – brushed poly worked very well in testing. That’s what I have on the cutting board now!

The pros:

  • Um…it’s adorable
  • Flattering on a number of body types
  • On trend (or so the young people tell me – ha!)
  • Versatile – dress it up, dress it down; different looks with different fabrics and pattern options; easily hackable for different looks – one tester did a floor length version. It was awesome!
  • It’s a fast sew…and this is coming from the sloth sewist.
  • Tip! Go by your bust size when selecting which size to make. If in between sizes, you’ll probably want to size down, especially if your fabric is really stretchy.

The cons:

  • All the cons I can come up with relate to my body or my fabric: the tunic length was a bit long on me in the sweater knit – still cute, no regrets. Sleeves are a little long on me, but that’s pretty standard. I apparently have short arms. I’m all torso and tiny limbs. 😉

Bottom line: I will wear this pattern throughout pregnancy and beyond. I’m a sucker for a swing dress, I admit. And, yes, I’m generally a fan of Greenstyle patterns. But this pattern is just the bomb dot com. I love it. Even in sweater knit (which is super cozy and delightfully comfortable, by the way). Especially in this soft as a fluffy sheep butt sweater knit. Soooooooooooooo soft. Could this be the beginning of the end of the sweater knit testing curse? Only time will tell.

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A curtsy in conclusion

Love Notions Terra Tunic (Maternity Style)

It’s rare that I say this, but I’m pretty proud of my Terra tunic (affil link).

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Fit pic from testing. I haven’t been able to get a better one yet. Quality pics coming soon! 

I regularly test for Love Notions. It is a privilege that I feel very lucky to have. And I love it, truly. Because I test regularly, I knew this pattern test was coming up and I was so excited to try it. But I had a death in the family when the actual test occurred, so I didn’t think I’d be able to participate. All I wanted to do when I came home from the looooooooooonnnnnnnnngggggggg trek out of state for the funeral services, was to sew this tunic. I was longing for the dependability of the testing experience. Tami (designer for LN) was kind enough to let me jump in. I am so grateful. It was a positive way to work through my grief, and it kept my mind busy with creativity when I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hibernate. For that alone, I will always love this top.

I also love it because I’m proud I made the modifications successfully. No, they weren’t particularly hard, but they were a challenge for my pregnant, sad, grad school drained brain. I’m proud that I’ve learned enough in the last year to figure out how to make an alteration like this. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the modifications happen, and it was touch and go there a couple times…but, lo and behold, I did! The sewing gods were with me! And, dear readers, you know I had some sweater knit in my hand to try for this tunic. It’s true. I told you I never remember. But then I thought to myself, “NO. I have told the internet of my sweater knit testing curse. Do not use sweater knit again.” And for once, I listened to myself.  I used a deliciously soft and drapey french terry from So Sew English instead (with a faux microsuede accent). It’s SSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOO soft. I to wrap myself in it like a cocoon and never come out.

The mods:

I can’t say these are what will work best for everybody, but it worked for me and my body. (I’m going to add some pics shortly.)

On the front piece, I graded out from my normal XL to XXXL. I started the grade out just under the bust, reaching the max size at the waist, and then graded back to XXL at the hip (I have no hips). I curved the line slightly, so it was kind of belly shaped.

On the back piece, I graded from my usual XL to XXL. I started the grade out almost immediately at the bottom of the armscye. I often need a swayback adjustment and figured grading up a size would help accommodate for that and for the watermelon sized baggage in my front that will pull the fabric.

I’m thrilled with how it came out. I DID NOT lengthen the pattern (except for lengthening slightly at the bust line, according to my measurements). I really should have, but honestly, I was just tired and pregnant and didn’t feel like it.

Love Notions Terra Tunic (affil link)

Features/options:

  • multiple sleeve lengths (short, elbow, 3/4, long)
  • multiple neckline options (v-neck, boat neck, funnel neck, asymmetrical (which is what I did), scoop, and v-neck hood)
  • optional elbow patches
  • optional welt pockets (pockets!!!!!)
  • layers
  • trimless pages
  • AO included
  • This pattern is for knit fabric at least 25% stretch. French terry, brushed poly, cotton lycra, and sweater knit all worked well for testers.

Pros:

  • Construction is great.
  • This is a pretty simple, easy pattern to sew with a polished looking end result.
  • Love the length – great with leggings or skinny jeans and easily shortened or lengthened.
  • LOVE the fit.

Cons:

  • I don’t know…I can’t honestly think of any.

Overall, I give the Terra Tunic (affil link) two happy, enthusiastic thumbs up. I highly suggest it! I’m not going to make more right now because of aforementioned watermelon belly, but I will DEFINITELY make more in the future. It’s simple and elegant, but it’s a basic, everyday pattern that you can get so much use out of. I plan to take this one in a bit at the side seams and probably cut and band or re-hem at the bottom post-partum. Go get yours!

Watcha Wearin’? Striped Swallow Designs

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Good news: I am working on Striped Swallow Designs Boheme Sky and am loving it so far. The directions are clear. Love the photos in the tutorial. I think the pattern is going to come out fabulously. I mean, really, is this pattern not gorgeous??? And BONUS! Nursing mod!

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Photo taken from Striped Swallow Designs. Click on the picture to check out the pattern!

Bad news: I’m not done yet. 😦 You know, sometimes life happens. That’s how it goes when we sew, right? Things don’t always go according to plan. A couple weeks ago we had a very unexpected death in the family. It devastated everyone. And, unfortunately, all the travel (10+ hours each way by car) exacerbated an unpleasant side effect from this pregnancy. My pelvic bone has separated. Yeah, that’s as fun as it sounds. And that’s slowed me down significantly. I got back from traveling for the funeral services, and was burning the candle at both ends (I may have actually found an extra end to burn) to try and catch up with everything at school. But it delayed my intended post for this pattern. And now, here we are at the end of the month, I’m still trying to get caught up, and I’m just not finished. Sad face.

BUT I will be finished within the next few days and I will have a full review for you. In the meantime, IT IS THE LAST DAY FOR THE LINKY PARTY!

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Spoiler alert: Striped Swallows is part of the giveaway for the linky party! You don’t want to miss out on that. This is my first time working with one of their patterns, and so far…well, let’s just say I didn’t have any SSD patterns before and that is no longer true. Haha! 🙂 Need help with the linky party? Ti’s got your back! Check out her handy guide. Go link up your pics!

 

 

Have you worn the Boheme Sky while pregnant? How did it work? Check back here in a few days for my update, full review, and pictures. 🙂

Watcha Wearin’? Pregnant lady stuff

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Welcome to the closing of the Watcha Wearin’ January blog tour! Almost time for the rafflecopter giveaway (more on that below)! Today, I’m talking maternity makes. But first, a few words from Ti at Sewing by Ti about the tour:

So many people start the New Year with great big resolutions. If one of your resolutions for the year was to sew more this year, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve got an amazing group of bloggers that are going to share with you what they and their families are wearing this month. All day, everyday.

We’re going to talk about fabrics, patterns, and styles. We’re going to show you how to take Ready To Wear inspirations and turn them into reality. But most importantly, we’re going to show you how we REALLY use our handmades in our regular lives. Whether that’s lounging around the house, going to school, work, family photos even formal events, we’re going to show you how to make them work for how you live.

Alright, so sewing maternity gear. I have mixed feelings, I admit it. One the one hand, I want to wear the same custom fit me-made clothes I like to wear when I’m not sporting the semi-beached whale look (give me a month, then full beached whale will be achieved). On the other hand, I am exhausted and having some painful pregnancy side effects, and, as mentioned above, am getting quite large, and I don’t want to take all the time and effort to sew something that I can only wear while gestating. It’s a pickle. Here is my solution. I’m going to make a mini maternity capsule! (And then a baby capsule, but that’s another post.)

Requirements:

  • Maternity friendly, not strictly maternity wear – things I can wear while pregnant, but also postpartum. My goal is for these items either to work as is, or to require minimal mods to be belly friendly.
  • Semi-professional. Gotta be able to look reasonably put together for working with clients in my non-sewing life.
  • Not overly taxing on the noodle. Grad school + regular life + mommy hood + pregnancy brain = not a lot of brain power left for solving complex sewing problems.
  • Nursing friendly is a bonus, but not a requirement.

I’ll be working on these over the next month or two (see note about exhaustion and pain and being large and in charge above), depending on how fast I can go. Remember, I do sew like a sloth. 😉

My planned makes:

You’ll notice a lack of pants in this list. Refer to the first requirement. Pants for pregnancy are maternity pants. When you wear them after pregnancy, they are still maternity pants (but they are ridiculously comfortable, so why should they just be for maternity?!?!?!). I may make some leggings because I can kind of fudge those. IF I do make a pair of maternity pants, I’d probably do P4P palazzos or something like that.

So, what do you think of the list? Am I missing something? Feel free to share your ideas!

Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway! Look at these amazing sponsors!!! Some of my favorites are in here! 🙂

And, for anther chance to win a second prize pack with more awesome prizes, join the linky party! (Need help with the linky party? Ti’s got your back! Check out her handy guide.)

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