Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finally getting around to reviewing my maternity wardrobe

I am very excited that we will be soon welcoming the little guy into our family. I have been spending a lot of time at the sewing machine making maternity clothes and a few things for the baby.

Making maternity clothes has been pretty frustrating, but no more frustrating than shopping for nice maternity clothes that don't cost a fortune.

These pants (Burda 7165) were one of the first things that I made. I'm only now starting to wear them because they were too big for so long. But now, at almost 32 weeks, I've got the belly to fill out the maternity band.

One thing that is better about ready made maternity pants is the belly bands. They are so stretchy and have great stretch recovery. They fit over the belly and hold everything up without being too constraining.  I have yet to find a good knit to duplicate them, but these pants are the closest thing to a good pant with a maternity band. Before I started wearing these I was wearing a pair of black pants that I made maternity friendly simply by substituting the waistband with a 3" elastic cased in black knit ribbing. They worked great until about 30 weeks when I started feeling like they were falling down all the time and just getting overall uncomfortable. I will probably be able to wear them again after the baby when I'm still trying to fit into my pre-baby clothes.

The fabric for the pants is a black denim with a little bit of stretch from Mood. I really like the fabric a lot. It's much better than any stretch pant weight fabric that I've tried from Joann's.

The top pattern I used is Burda 6956. This is a great pattern for a knit maternity top. I've also made a dress with this pattern that I really like. The fabric is a rayon knit from Joann's. I raised the v-neckline by about 1" for a little extra modesty and it is just high enough. I also didn't really like the way they finished the front neckline and ended up creating a full front facing rather than turning the edge under and just facing the point of the v.

I am hoping that I can get motivated to post some more photos of my maternity wardrobe, but just looking at the photo here is making me a little self-conscious. I am not one of the lucky women who feels beautiful pregnant.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Please excuse the absense

I haven't sewn a stitch since I got back from the Sewing and Stitchery Expo at the beginning of March.

I've been feeling a little under the weather.


I've got a maternity wardrobe in my near future.
Just not quite yet. My little belly has made wearing my normal work pants a little too tight, but the maternity pants don't seem quite right yet either. I guess I'll be wearing skirts and dresses to work 'til its time to rock the maternity pants.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

More Pants Problems

I made a few tweaks to Burda 7447 and decided to try again. I was feeling pretty good about everything. I even lined these suckers. Now I've got the waistband all but finished and I've made a very sad realization...I cannot sit comfortably in these pants. So I haven't quite learned all my fitting lessons yet.

I pulled out the tripod and the remote again to do my "fit-by-photo" and I've realized that the 1/4" I shaved off the back inseam was not really necessary. Can you see it pulling?

I'm going to have to see if I can rescue the pants, but everything is pretty finished at this point. In any case, this wool blend that I purchased at A Fashionable Stitch is lovely and a much better weight and drape for the pattern than the cotton twill I used on my previous pair.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Printed Patterns, my new trick

Have you started using downloaded sewing patterns that you print at home? Many new indie pattern designers are using this platform for distributing their patterns. When I have a choice I generally go the old-fashioned way and get the pattern already printed in a pretty little envelope. But there are times when I want the pattern now and there are times when a really great pattern only comes as a download.

I am working on the Grainline Archer. For $10.50 it's a steal. And I'm sure I'll love it once I tape together the pages and get a usable pattern together.

I came up with this little trick while I was cutting the pages.
Before I figured out this trick I decided the best way to put it together is to cut the edges off one long and one short edge of each page then overlap the pages. I tried using my paper cutter, but that wasn't working because the edges weren't always quite straight. I was getting tired of using the scissors on each edge, so I came up with this compromise.
In step 2 you can see that I've cut off three corners which surround the 2 edges I need to trim.
In step 3 you see that I've lined up the line on the edge of the pattern with the line on the paper cutter.
Step 4 shows what the edge looks like after it's trimmed.
Step 5 shows the trimmed page ready to be taped into the giant conglomerate of pattern pages.

Just repeat these steps about 64 times and you've got a pattern ready to be traced.

I'm not sure this is genius, but it's the best I've got.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I am still working on fitting my pants. The pattern is Burda 7447. I think the pattern itself is great. I just have a problem with the crotch being a little on the baggy size on basically every pant I make. I fiddled around with it for quite a while. I started by just scooping out some of the front crotch curve, but then I got to the point where I couldn't get the fit close enough with this method.

So I went back to the method I used on my jeans and pinched out a small dart (or "wedge adjustment"). I recut the pants front with this alteration and tried again.

I didn't really have my "aha" moment until I pulled out my camera and took these photos. Nothing is pulling tightly in these pants, but there is some pulling under the crotch. I wore them the evening I took these photos. They weren't uncomfortable at all, but they just didn't feel "right."

I feel like these pants are a failure, but the experience is not a complete failure. What I learned is that when I am having fitting issues I need to take some photos and step back and look at them before I start frantically trying different methods.

I keep forgetting that I am in fact a pear shape (thanks Tasia for sharing this with me). I may need to look further into this with regard to my pants fitting quest.

And also, this is the Hot Italian's favorite shirt but I don't think it looks so awesome in these shots. I'm wondering if he likes it because I usually wear it with skinny jeans. This fit-by-photo expedition may give me greater insight into my wardrobe as a whole. I'm looking forward to the experience and hope you'll offer your own insights along the way.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Public Service Announcement

Slips are not a thing of the past. If your skirt or dress is made of thin, shear or clingy fabric, put a slip on underneath. It makes a world of difference.

I have an assortment of slips. Some are me-made and some I have purchased. The one I use the most is similar to this one:
I personally believe it is essential to wear a slip under a jersey maxi skirt. The view might be fine from the front, but if you take a good look at the back view you might see a pretty noticeable crack. I've seen this a lot lately with jersey maxis being so popular, but a search for an image to illustrate this faux pas has yielded me nothing. Dare I try and recreate this look in my own home to post for your viewing pleasure? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Wardrobe Challenge...and rambling

Sewing things that actually get worn in my everyday life seems to be a goal on a lot of sewist's minds these days.

My resolution for sewing this year is to sew items that will be useful to my wardrobe.

I just finished making a dress. It's cute and fairly casual, but I will never wear it to work because I work in an office/job where I wear pants every day. I took the time to fit in impeccably and finish it with all the cute details, but I will wear it maybe once a month at best. What I really need is some great everyday tops that are dressier than a t-shirt and can be layered with other things.

So my first sewing goal for the year is to make 3 tops that fit this bill. In this post I started making some plans.

I won Liesl + Co's weekend getaway blouse on a Pattern Review Challenge.
I plan to make this with a piece of white silk that I've been procrastinating using because I've never sewn with silk before. 

Then I need to make my Alma blouse and a knit top as previously planned. I've made the Alma before, and I've ordered this Jalie pattern. I've got high hopes for this Jalie pattern. I've been actively searching for a knit top pattern that was more than a t-shirt for a while now. I tried Hot Patterns 1002 and it didn't work for me at all. I don't know why it took me so long to discover the Jalie pattern.

My resolution for blogging this year is to take and post photos of myself in the garments that I've made. I bought a wireless remote for my camera that I need to start playing with.