Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bump Friendly Dress and Top - Reverse Applique on the Yoke

So today I'm going to share my pictures for the embellishment of this yoke. 

I do feel like I should talk about drafting first, but then I figure you can use the same method on any pattern.

The style of the top means it's something I will be able to wear after I'm done being pregnant. Believe me, I am pretty done with it. I'm looking forward to:
  • Being able to bend at the middle. At the moment, when I drop something on the floor I just think 'Oh, that's unfortunate' and carry on. Because I am not getting down there. 
  • Being able to lay on my stomach. I am normally a side/tummy sleeper. 
  • Not having to wee every 10 minutes. I figure the extra weight sitting on my bladder is roughly akin to having drunk 6 - 7 pints. So I always feel like I gotta go. 
  • Actually having a clue about the space my body takes up. It grows so fast I'm struggling to gauge how much space I need. Turns out 'bump' is a verb as well as a noun. 

The point is, I wouldn't make something that takes quite this much time and energy to make, if I didn't expect to get a lot of wear out of it. I can straighten out the hem at the bottom later to make a non-maternity fit. The detailing took about a fortnight worth of evenings. 

The concept is from Alabama Chanin. I have some of the books (not all) and do thoroughly admire the style. I haven't followed the method strictly though.

For one thing, the garments in the books are made with organic cotton jersey. I had viscose jersey, so that's what I used. 

I used a different stencil, which I created by making the pattern piece in full (rather than a half piece to be cut on the fold) in brown paper which is reasonably strong. Card would probably have been better. I found an allover pattern on pinterest and printed it at a larger scale. This pixelated the design like crazy, but I was able to use it as a guide to create my own stencil. If I weren't in such a hurry to start, I would recommend shopping for premade stencils because that was a faff. 

This is my stencil/pattern piece taped onto the top layer of fabric.

The Alabama Chanin books use paint. I used a sharpie fabric marker, and experimented with colour a bit to find that I quite liked the mulberry-ish tone created with the hot pink.

I outlined each shape from the stencil, and drew parts around the outline of the pattern piece with the marker.
Which gave me something like this. The colours turned out quite strange in this photo.

Because I want to cut a little window within each shape, I went back and thickened the lines into the shape area.

Once the whole of that was done (I'm sure you can see why this is soooo time consuming already) I put the second layer of fabric behind the first, and mounted them in an embroidery hoop. I outlined each shape with a backstitch. 

Now here there are a couple of variations with the Alabama Chanin method.  For one, I made sure the stitches formed a solid line, whereas many of the designs in the book use a running stitch. That would have been a lot faster. The other thing I did was tie the knots on the reverse of the work. Frequently the Chanin styles have the knots featured on the top of the work, and I'm just not a big fan of the effect. So I left them at the back where they will be neatly enclosed in the yoke later.

I did follow the recommendation of using upholstery thread, which is stronger and heavier than usual poly cotton. It was a bit of a stinker to work with but seems quite robust.

Once I had spend many evenings stitching that, it was time for the truly nerve wracking cutting part.

I got my sharpest, tiniest scissors, and worked each part from the middle, being super careful not to nick the bottom layer.

...AAAnnnd breathe.

I gave it a good press, and cut out the yoke. From here, construction was as for the other two (shirt and dress), with the addition of a small strip of colour on the sleeve. The Alabama Chanin books champion hand stitching all the seams. I used a machine. Because frankly, I wanted to wear this top before my kid graduates.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Bump Friendly Shirt and Dress Photos

These three garments are all from the same self drafted pattern.

I have made a butterfly print dress (which I love!)  a grey top (which is just a short version of the dress), and a green top with Alabama Chanin inspired reverse applique on the yoke. I am pretty pleased with all three.

I've made them based on an existing non-maternity top which I have in my wardrobe, and while I've made them slightly more accommodating - in the sense that I've a bit more volume in the front that the original top, I expect that when I return to a closer to regular version of my shape, I can straighten the hems out and continue to wear them. To illustrate, here is the butterfly dress earlier in the piece where the bump was more of a gentle suggestion:

I've also kept a length of fabric to make a matching belt for it, should it need it.
This is considerably different to this week's shape. I can't look at these photos without humming 'I'm a little teapot'. But don't look at the teapot. Look at the reverse applique!
Up close:

Awesome yeah?