Monday, 27 June 2016

4 Piece Maternity Wardrobe

My maternity wardrobe needed to be quick to make, comfortable and easy to care for.
I created one basic pattern from which I was able to make 4 - 5 different pieces.

The basic dress was a complete garment on its own, but also formed the foundation for a t-shirt, a tank dress (would also work for a tank top), and an over the bump skirt.

So this is the basic dress - worn here in March when the bump was just becoming more difficult to fit, and paired with the waterfall cardigan.

 Ohh so discreet at this point. Not that I thought so at the time!

I also made a bright version of this dress which paired with a black bolero was my 'concerts and evenings out' outfit.

This is the tank dress, taken in June when the bump is almost bigger than me. It is exactly the same foundation pattern, but with a lower neckline and the arm cut to form a strap.
We took these photos on a fairly sunny day, and I've had to play with filters a bit because my distinctive hair colour comes paired with a skin tone that's almost pale enough to glow in the dark, and the glare off my arms and legs was quite extreeme!

Black is not my best colour, but this was handy. I made two tank dresses, one in black and one in a mustard colour, and mostly wore them underneath shirts so they acted like a skirt, but without any kind of fastening around my middle. Much more comfortable option!

The basic t-shirt.. Which is just a dress, cut short. I used shorter sleeves too for warmer weather. Worn here over the tank dress from the photo above.
There was a kick here.

 And the basic skirt.

Which sits right up high, over the bump. Don't mind the hair, it was a bit windy! 

So from the one master pattern, I was able to make a whole bunch of simple, comfy stuff to wear. And of course the tops and dresses can be made with different neckline options /  sleeves etc, one of which I will show you in a later post (I've got the photo ready to go and all!)

In the meantime, the next post will be looking at how I created this master pattern from a non-maternity knit block.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Bump Friendly Top and Dress Construction

I procrastinated on this post, because when I was making stuff, I didn't take photos. I was in a hurry and needed stuff to wear. But ultimately I have come to the conclusion that the fastest way to write decent instructions for construction was just to make it again and take photos. So here is a non-maternity version of the top.

Because the end is in sight!

If you've just arrived, the photos for the other garments from this pattern are here, and the drafting instruction post is here. Fancy applique info for the jade top is here.

Fabric Choice
For each top I used a jersey. The grey top was a cotton, the dress and jade top were viscose. This is a synthetic (I assume polyester) with a matte finish which I managed to pick up at my local sewing shop. They never have much dressmaking wise, so I was pretty chuffed to come home with a piece of this!

Cut 2 sleeves, 2 front yoke pieces on the fold, 1 front on the fold, 1 back on the fold and 1 back yoke on the fold. I have folded in half of the extra at the centre front, and folded up the curve at the bottom of the front because I am not making it for a bump this time.

Sew together the two front yokes at the top edge.
 I used a stretch stitch and a zigzag stitch, which stabilised the edge sufficiently.

Fold over, press and understitch the yoke at the top edge. 

 Gather between the gather points on the front.
And match up the yoke to the front piece.

I sewed through all layers and finished with a zigzag again. You could sew to the front yoke only and then enclose the raw edges, but I'm satisfied with this. Although I do wish I had an overlocker! 
 Sew the back facing to the top edge of the back piece.

 Turn up 1cm (or whatever you allow as your seam/hem allowance) and hand baste.
 Put the back and front shoulders together. The print makes it a bit tricky to see here, but the back is underneath, and you are looking at the front yoke.
 Fold the back facing over the front yoke, so that when you sew you are enclosing the front shoulder in the back and back facing pieces.

 So pinned, it will look like this.
 Once sewn, the edges are enclosed like this.

 Clip the extra bulk out of the corner and top stitch the back edge and the lower edge of the facing.

 Remove the basting.
 I clipped the little extra bit of the seam allowance at the front.

 And then I used the flat method to insert the sleeves.

 Stitch up the sides.
 And then hem the sleeves and bottom edge.

And there you have it!
For the record, this does actually fit me! But I'd rather show it off post bump. So for now, it hangs on the hanger in anticipation. :)

Friday, 24 June 2016

Make This Look #4 - Layne Ruched Dress

It's rather hot and humid here at the moment, and I do rather fancy a mocktail. Something with a little paper umbrella in it. And if I didn't look quite so puffy and marshmallow-ish, I would dress for the occasion too. Right now though, far too uncomfortable, and I still have some construction notes on the last make to write up.

Side gathers are always flattering, don't you think?

Original dress from
Fabric from
Pattern available from
Heels from
Necklace from
Clutch from

Saturday, 18 June 2016

I See Your Adult Colouring, and I Raise You One Freehand Embroidery...

Adult colouring is a current trend. I don't really understand this trend. I want a little more of a challenge. But then it occurred to me that I could 'level up' to something a bit more fiddly, and embroider the colouring pictures instead.

This design is from the colouring book 'Creative Coloring Inspirations' by Valentina Harper.
You can download it as a sample page here.

Essentially, to make this design I printed out the design.

Today is going to be awesome : Creative Coloring Inspirations Printable colouring page

I then used a fine muslin and traced it directly on to the cloth. Really, I should have used a disappearing fabric pen, but I was being spontaneous and didn't have one. So I used a regular graphite pencil.

Because the design is quite detailed, I left some of the intricate parts out, just capturing the main shapes. But I then referred back to the picture to try and mimic the texture of the original design.

I used 3 strands of embroidery floss for most of the work, from a multipack of embroidery thread purchased from a supermarket. It took me several evenings in front of the telly.
The outlines are mostly chain stitch. 

I've also used button hole stitch, herringbone (I think it's called that, my embroidery vocabulary is not as solid as my dressmaking vocabulary) backstitch, satin stitch and some French knots.

It was good fun. Just as meditative as regular colouring I imagine. I have framed this one, but now I can't look at a colouring book without imagining the designs on a garment. I wish there were more hours in a day!