Dressing the Bump: My PERFECT Maternity Top

At 26 weeks pregnant now, and after multiple tries at knit maternity tops I’ve FINALLY conquered it – and I LOVE this top!  It’s the perfect blend of feminine shape but not skin-tight, and gives enough coverage with room to grow.  And I still have quite a bit of growing to do with the last trimester ahead of me.

I invested in the Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-shirt pattern a couple months ago, and after a couple tries at getting my size right I was very happy with the silhouette of it but not so much with the lower necklines and fitted factor.

I’m just personally not a fan of super-clingy tops, but I do want to show off the bump to a degree.  So I made a mental note to regrade that pattern to add more ease and higher necklines both front and back.  And then a Quiet Book (in process) and KCW happened and I never got back to it.

Then, late the other night I had an epiphany… I’ve been seeing some awesome reviews of the free Scoop Top pattern released last week by Kristin at Skirt as Top, and I noticed that the back of the top hangs lower than the front.  It occurred to me that if I flip the pattern pieces around (back becomes front, front becomes back), add some overall width, some extra length to the “new” front it could make a pretty comfy maternity top.

My first try turned out pretty well, but needed some curve added to bring in the bottom hem to reduce how flared it was hanging off my belly, and I immediately thought that the ruching detail from my first try should take care of this “problem”.  So I modified the length and bottom curves of the front and back to match the Megan Nielsen pattern.

And voila!  Major success!  I’m beyond pleased with this top and will be making several more, at least!  Maybe extended into maxi dress version too?  Hmmm…

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KCW Spring 2013 – Day 7

My last project for this round of Kids Clothes Week – Bubble Pocket Shorts, pattern by Elegance & Elephants!

After seeing a pair pop up on Craftiness is Not Optional earlier last week and then Homemade by Jill singing the praises of this pattern as well, I knew I had to pick it up and get on it fast!  Here in SoCal we’ve already had a few shorts-worthy weather days and after digging out last summer’s shorts to find them ALL too small, well let’s just say we are now is desperation mode for comfy shorts.  I had just enough of the super-soft dark lightweight denim left over from the Sailboat Pants and I used a couple scraps of a Robert Kaufman print (Caleb Gray’s “Groove” prints) for the waistband facing.  I adore that print… I’ve sewn bucket hats for the chickadees and PJ pants for some friends’ Christmas gifts from those prints, but I’m totally hoarding the rest of it!

Official verdict: these shorts are so flippin’ cute!  They sewed up like a dream and very quickly also.  I will be honest though, in that I had to finish them up on Monday.  Sunday afternoon hit us, gorgeous weather, and the Hubs put work aside so we all got out of the house pronto!

I will most certainly be making more of these fun shorts very soon!

KCW Spring 2013 – Days 4-6

It took a few days this week to knock out complete outfits for M and C, but success!  Pretty floral Puppet Show Shorts, another Oliver + S pattern, with coordinating Geranium Tops.  This time I went with the sleeveless Geraniums with fuller gathered skirts, and pretty little flower buttons.  I also went up a size to 4T for both the girls, since I want these to last through the summer.  The floral fabric is left over from my previous Geranium tops with Kona cotton solids for the bodice, shorts trim and waistbands.

KCW Spring 2013 – Day 3

By late yesterday afternoon I had dubbed my KCW Day 3 “the day of spinning my wheels”.  On my list to accomplish this week were some easy-breezy peasant tops for my girlies, in gingham.  I’m a total sucker for a gingham, and I have a solid stack of gingham prints in various check-sizes and colors just waiting to be cut up and stitched into cute duds for my kiddos.

Since I didn’t have a peasant top pattern in my stash, I started with the Pierrot Tunic pattern from Made by Rae for the basic shape and made modifications to remove some volume from front, back and sleeves too.  I also upped the size to a 4T since my girls’ 3T Pierrots are now fitting rather small, and I cropped the sleeve pattern to be a cap sleeve.  I followed Rae’s neck facing/elastic casing instructions (which I adore) but I increased the length of elastic a bit for a wider finished neckline.

I was so happy with the result… and then I tried it on M, the slightly-thinner of my twins.  And she was swimming in it, tugging at sleeves and side seams, with an overall “get this off of me” response.  Crud!  Thank goodness for my fabric hoarding tendencies, because I still had quite a bit of the gingham to give it another whirl.

For the second try I did some quick online research to understand what the bodice block for a true peasant top should look like, and thanks to these super-helpful tutorials here and here, and this tutorial & free pattern guide I quickly drafted a pattern and knocked out another top.  Meet top #1’s little sister:

Much better fit width-wise but this time it was way too short!  Double-crud!  Mind you for as petite as my munchkins are, they are both long-waisted – C in particular – just like their mama, but this top still wouldn’t cover the waistband of a pair of pants worn with it.  At this point in my day it was creeping toward the dinner hour and the natives were restless so I had to call it a day and toss the too-big top in the “will grow into” bin and the  girls’ younger cousin will be getting the too-small version.

I will say though that as frustrating and without a final product as this day was I ended it knowing exactly how I need to modify my pattern for the perfect peasant top that I should be able to crank out quickly when the mood hits next.  A step in the right direction for my pattern-drafting skills!

You win some, you lose some.

KCW Spring 2013 – Days 1 & 2

KCW Days 1 and 2 ran together for me, as it often happens when I’m cranking out two identical items.  Ah yes, batch processing for twins!  I’m looking forward to a change of pace in sewing for The Boy this summer, one itty bitty thing at a time.

Anyhoo, yesterday morning started with a quiet house (girls were at preschool) and some quality prep time with pattern pieces and cutting.  Two pair of Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts were cut out to be sewn up later this week, and I finally prepped and started on the cropped Oliver + S Sailboat Pants in a super-soft dark lightweight denim.  I found inspiration for these pants in denim via Pinterest about a month ago and knew they’d be on my list for KCW.

I’m extremely happy with the final result!  I made these in a size 4, so the girls will have room to grow and wear them for awhile, and I had to take the bottom hem up an extra 3/4″, but should be easy to let down later if need be.  I adore the detailing of these pants, and all Oliver + S patterns actually, which keeps me coming back to this pattern line to sew again and again.  Now M and C just need some tops to go with these!

KCW Spring 2013 – A head start…

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Contrary to what my (embarrassingly pitiful) lack of posting on this blog may imply, I’m actually up to my 24-week baby bump in sewing projects.  So much so that I decided to get a couple-days head start for Spring KCW this week, and began over the weekend, to free up some time next weekend for an April 30th birthday gift deadline for a certain niece.

First up – Geranium tops, courtesy of yet another fabulous pattern from Made by Rae!  I opted for the cap sleeve bodice/pleated version to kick off what I now know will be a long and loving relationship with this pattern.  After all, I have two 3 1/2 year old girls who happen to love dresses and swingy tops.  I made these in a size 3T with added length equivalent to a 4T.  I will probably make a 4T bodice for C next time… hers seems to be a bit snug under the arms.  This fun floral print is Spring Street by Carolyn Gavin, and has been in my stash for at least a couple of years.  I even have quite a bit left for some Oliver + S shorts planned for later this week!

Don’t let these little photo-bomb faces fool you… they love their new tops… oh and a little drama here and there too.

A pair of Pierrots

The latest additions to M and C’s wardrobe – a pair of Pierrot tunics, courtesy of Made by Rae’s speedy little gem of a pattern.  No joke, I churned these out in record time, and the girls (and their mama) just love them.

The pattern can be cut on the bias or on grain, and I chose on grain because this fabric is a bit on the heavier side and I wasn’t sure how a fuller, more swingy bias cut would work with the fabric weight.  I excluded the neckline ruffle (ruffles aren’t really our thing) and added a casing with 1/4″ elastic at the bottom of the sleeves.  I adore these two quilting cottons that I found at Joann – coordinating for the girls, but not too matchy-matchy.

Very easy and well-designed pattern, that I will most definitely go to again for M and C.  And the fact that they’ve requested to wear these at least once a week, well that makes this mama super-proud.