MMM 2014 Wrap-Up and Thoughts

Wow!  I'm still trying to catch my breath after a whirlwind month.  May 2014 totally kicked my butt!  I'm still reeling from giving birth, and the steep learning curve that is early motherhood.  I don't know if I'll ever have a real sleep routine again, but I'm at least getting some shut-eye and getting out and about a bit more.

As a result of all the new routines in my life, MMM 2014 took a bit of a back seat.  I definitely wore mostly second-hand and me-made items, but I had trouble keeping up with photographing and posting regularly.  I think I may have to use my mobile phone a bit more to photograph.  Surprisingly enough, with the help of my parents being in town, I was able to make new items!  I made a white sleeveless nursing top with some success and I even finished a Baby Surprise Jacket for the little dude.

Project: White sleeveless nursing top
Pattern: Simplicity 2317 - with a LOT of modifications to Top "A"
Things to change for next time - choose a smaller size!  I added darts to the bust, overlapped the top to make a nursing tank, drafted a higher back.

This year's MMM definitely made me realize that I inherited lots of maternity clothes, but very few nursing tops so my goal is to make some nice, fashionable nursing tops to get me through the summer and fall.  My jelly belly is also quickly shrinking and all my favorite maternity trousers are getting too loose.  Believe it or not, I'll miss a lot of those clothes - they're so comfy!  Perhaps it's time to bring back my old clothes?  We shall see.  Even though I'm shrinking, my body has changed a lot and I will likely have to make some new items or adjust old ones.  And, I also realized I need a hands-free way to hold the little dude.  I use a wrap when I'm going out, but I think I need to make a sling or something that's a bit faster to get him in and out of... perhaps learn new wrap ties, too.  So many goals!

Wide Leg to Slimmer Leg Trousers

My friends were so generous during my pregnancy.  They gave me so much of their maternity clothes, that I really only had to buy new underwear (when my attempts at making my own fell flat, or to my ankles in this case)...

Either way, one of the most useful items I was given was this pair of trousers that I wore constantly since the middle of my pregnancy.  And, post-partum, I'm still wearing them, but they're getting loose!

Here's what I did to make them my style:

They started out as these wide-leg Gap trousers which make me look even shorter than I already am.  Too much fabric at the ankles really made me look bottom heavy, and they were really not my style.

So, I turned the trousers inside out and placed my modified slim-leg Jalie jeans pattern over the trousers. I wrote about that here. The results looked like this if you recall...
I placed the hand drafted pattern piece over the trousers so the crotch gussets would roughly match, and drew a curve that would ease the new leg design into the already existing style.  I left a lot of ease so the change wouldn't be too dramatic. Here's what they looked like after serging and turning up the hem.

Finished the legs using a blindhem stitch and that was that!

Week 2 Round-up, MMM14

This week was craaaaazy!  I had the baby!  So, my me-mades are a mix of handmade items made by me to be worn by me, and also those that I made for baby.

Also, I couldn't have been luckier with how the delivery went, and baby and I are doing well!

If you'd like to make any of the above items that have a pattern, here are the links:
May 8- Colette Pattern's Sorbetto can be found here and my modifications can be found here.
May 12 - Ottobre Spring 1/2014 patterns can be found here.
May 13 - Blank Canvas Tee can be found here and my modifications are here.
May 11- Christine's Stay-On baby bootie pattern can be found here on Ravelry.
May 14 - Simplicity 2317 Lounge wear pajama pants can be found here.

3 Hours Past's Blank Canvas Tee: Maternity Hack

During Me-Made-May 2014 I'd like to share some of the me-mades I've made in more detail.  In order to see if I could replicate a maternity/breastfeeding top that I love, I tried my hand at drafting and here are the results!

If you're just starting out sewing with knits, a great place to start is a simple dolman sleeved t-shirt like the Blank Canvas Tee from 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World's Blog.  If you're past that, are ready to try some drafting, and would like to make yourself a breastfeeding or maternity top, then this is the mod for you!

Start with the Blank Canvas Tee from 3 Hours Past...

Added Materials

  • additional fabric because the length of the T-shirt is extended.
  • 1 piece of elastic - soft baby elastic or elastic about 1/4" wide that suits your fancy in the width of your t-shirt + 2" or so.

Extra Skills

  • sewing with elastic

Special Tools

  • twin needle
  • stretch needle 75/11  (a whaah?  Here's a needle guide from Schmetz)
  • pencil and ruler
  • maybe tracing paper if you don't want to write on your pattern
Inspiration: From boob design, this short sleeve maternity/nursing top is one of my faves.  It fits really well and the split top allows for belly room.

Okay.  Ready to make your own?
First print and assemble your pattern pieces from 3 Hours Past... Then, here's our goal: we want to create two pieces for the front that overlap by around 5" / 13cm for the smaller sizes.  You'll likely need a bit more overlap for the larger sizes or if you usually find yourself doing large bust adjustments.

The goals.
Measure from just below the armpit curve to your goal overlap length, then add 1" / 2.5 cm so you have enough to turn up a hem.  Trace what you have onto your fabric, or onto tracing paper to make pattern pieces.  I've highlighted what I did to the pattern in the photo below.

See the red highlight?  That's the top front piece.  The blue highlight shows where the the bottom front piece would be.  For the bottom, I took the design line straight up and did not taper in like the pattern - it's housing a big belly at the moment, and I thought it would be advantageous to have a little leeway.

The other change I made here was adding length.  Add what you will.  My goal was to have a t-shirt around 28" so I added a few inches to the bottom of both the back and front bottom pieces to achieve that.  I just followed the design lines to my goal length. To calculate length, I measured from the peak of the shoulder, parallel to the fold line.

Alright, you've traced and cut your 3 pattern pieces.  Do you have your edging pieces (no change from pattern) cut, too?  And those two strips of interfacing for the shoulders?  What interfacing? I used Vlieseline G785 since it's stretchy, lightweight, and works with knits. Everything cut? Great! Let's get these pieces ready to put together.


  1. Step 2 from pattern: Iron on interfacing to WS of back piece shoulder edges
  2. Front top piece - finish bottom edge with zig zag stitch or serge, turn up and twin needle the hem from the right side
  3. Front bottom piece - add elastic to top RS edge using a triple zig-zag stitch.  How?  I simultaneously slightly stretch the elastic while guiding the main fabric under the presser foot.  I do not stretch the main fabric.  Right hand for elastic, left hand for guiding fabric.  I do this 2" at a time so I don't lose my nerve.  Then, I fold over the elastic so I only see the final fabric, and straight stitch the bottom edge of the elastic.
  4. Overlap the two front pieces- With RS facing you, make sure the front top is on top, and the front bottom is behind it.  Make sure the overlap is what you desire and pin.  Stay stitch within the seam allowances (so ~1/8" from the edge) to secure the overlap.
  5. Step 3 to 9 are the same as the original pattern.
And there you have it!  You've made a maternity/breastfeeding t-shirt!  Feel free to change the neckline and make it a scoop neck like in the inspiration photo.  I like crew necks so I kept the pattern as is.  But, I think I'm going to try and make a tank or sleeveless v-neck.  We shall see!

Colette Sorbetto: Maternity Hack

During Me-Made-May 2014 I'd like to share some of the me-mades I've made recently.  For week #1 of MMM14, I've been wearing this particular garment almost daily ((or rather, nightly))!  It's a maternity pajama based on Colette's free pattern, Sorbetto...

During this pregnancy, I've inherited so many things from friends.  One of my favorite items was a Sorbetto top I helped a friend make for her first pregnancy.  I took her measurements and devised a way to use the pattern to make her a top.  We learned that by leaving the bottom part of the pleat open, you get a lot of room for a belly.  We also added 5" of length at the waist for extra coverage.

One of the drawbacks of the first prototype, though, was that it was made out of plain cotton and so it did not allow for freedom of movement or stretch should you want to sleep in it.

So, when it was my turn, I thought about improvements that could be made to last year's prototype.  Firstly, I made the decision to try a single knit jersey.  I had a big chunk of single jersey fabric from my attempt at this "wrap dress pattern" from Burda... There was no way that dress was going to work for me, and so I was happy to chop it up for this Sorbetto Maternity PJ top.

Yes, that's my dressform with a bag of fabric scraps stuffed into a belly band
to simulate my enormous pregnant belly.  It's a little lumpy, but you get where I'm going.
I had to patch 2 pieces together for the front piece since I didn't have any pieces wide enough to trace the pleat at the front.  I once again added the 5" at the waist, and I only sewed the top 5" of the pleat down the front.

Secondly, all the edges were finished with self-fabric so they're stretchy.  This was done by cutting 1.5" strips and folding them in half, then using the serger to attach them to the edges before the shoulder and side seams were sewn.

So, if you're attempting this at home... 

Colette Patterns Sorbetto is your base pattern.
Drafting: Add 5" length to the waist of front and back piece (or more if desired).
Cut 4 strips of 1.25" self fabric or knit rib with max stretch going with the long edge: 1x strip @ 2" longer than the front neck circumference,  1x strip @ 2" longer than back neck, 2x @ 2" longer than the total armhole circumference.
  1. Make bust darts as written
  2. Sew only top 5" of pleat, stay stitch pleat at neck edge
  3. Attach edging to front and back neck edges (fold edging strip in half, 3 raw edges together, serge)
  4. Sew shoulders
  5. Attach edging to armholes
  6. Sew side seams
  7. Turn up hem, press
  8. Twin needle finish for neck edge and hem, single needle top stitch for armholes 

And that's pretty much it!  You can stabilize the shoulders if you want, but mine is a pajama so I don't really care, and it hasn't rippled even after washing.  The front neck edge could be tighter if I had used ribbed knit fabric.  And, that's it for now!