Friday, July 24, 2015

The Dandelion PJ's...

These wee pj pants, along with my Maternity Bronte top, were the last things I managed to stitch up before Oscar was born - and thank goodness for that since I've literally spent the majority of the last 9 weeks in pj's. 

I figure if I'm not leaving the house that day, since I'm spending most of the time either breast feeding or catching up on sleep, getting dressed in anything but pj pants is a waste of any precious spare time. Add to that the fact that one of my RTW pairs has officially bit the dust (think big ol' hole in your pj butt - does that mean I spend too long sitting down?) means that these cute jammies were a good investment in pre-Oscar sewing time and they've been getting a tonne of wear ever since.

They are technically a wearable muslin since I drafted them up really quickly and then cut straight into my fabric. Normally I'd do a bunch of testing before cutting into my actual fabric, but at the time, I just wanted a new pair of pj bottoms and since I was quite pregnant, any time spent fitting them to me would have been a bit of a waste considering my shape was vastly different to what it is without a baby. Plus, I was at that stage where I just had to sew when I had the energy, otherwise I'd end up doing nothing.

For a quick draft, I think they're pretty spot on. I really liked the fit around the back when I was pregnant and knew that if I hadn't had to wear them so low at the front due to my bump, they would probably fit nicely there as well since they looked similar to how my RTW pairs looked at that stage. Now that I am post bump, I'm happy to report that they look pretty good at the front now too :)

I did end up having to stitch an extra wedge onto the top of the waist band, mainly at the back because I hadn't made them quite big enough there, but the fabric is forgiving with it's print and since it's gathered with elastic, I don't really notice it much at all. 

They are made from a lovely soft flannel fabric, and while I did pre-wash it, it's not at that buttery soft stage flannel pj's tend to get after a little bit of wearing and washing in, but they will hopefully only get better as time goes on.

I have some more fun flannel with little bunnies on it that I'm going to make another pair from now that the bump has gone and I can see that there are no major fit issues to get around. I added piping to the bottoms using this tutorial I posted an age ago and will do the same with the next lot. I'm also thinking I might pop in a faux fly-front, just because I can and possibly pockets. Pockets on everything!

Right, off to snuggle my baby in my snuggly pj pants on this cold blustery winter day. Hope you're staying warm (or cool if you're basking in some summer time warmth!).


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Maternity Bronte - A Tutorial

Today we're going to learn how to turn your Bronte Top into a maternity top!

This tutorial could be used for any number of 'fitted' knit t-shirt patterns, so you don't necessarily need to have the Bronte Top pattern if you don't already own it. For example, if you have the Renfrew or Nettie patterns, you can easily translate this tutorial for them.

A quick note for choosing your maternity Bronte size - I recommend grading up a size at the bust, waist and hips but keeping your standard size for the shoulders and neckline. I did this for mine because it was much more comfortable to have a looser top as my pregnancy progressed rather than have it end up too tight when I needed maternity clothes the most.

Bronte Top pattern (or other fitted knit t-shirt pattern)
Spare paper

1. Lengthen your front and back bodice pieces by 7.5cm (3 inches) or however much you think you'd like or need for extra comfort - you can find details on how to do this to your Bronte Top here.

While you can skip this first step if you want to, what I noticed with my non-maternity Bronte Tops and RTW knit tops was that they were all too short when you included a bump and when I wore them (especially towards the end) I'd end up with a wedge of belly showing - not quite what I was after, especially in winter!

7.5cm (3 inches) is based off what was comfortable for me, but you may prefer more or less. It's really a trial and error situation and totally depends on how big your bump is, how much bigger you've gotten and where you're carrying your bump. Also note that frustratingly, these will all change over the course of your pregnancy, so if you're making your maternity Bronte early on, for a garment that will grow with you, go bigger/longer rather than the other way around. At least you can shorten and take it in if it's a little too big.

2. Next you'll want to mark on your pattern your where you under bust and under belly (?) are on your front pattern piece as this is where your gathering will go, providing the extra room for your bump to grow into your top. This is not an exact science since everyone has different body shapes, but I worked out mine by using the highly accurate method of holding the pattern piece up to me.

Since this is a knit pattern, it's all rather forgiving if you're a tiny bit off with where you think your under bust and belly are, and you're pregnant, so don't worry too much :)

Below is where on your body you want to roughly find... pretty much directly under your bust and around where a pair of hipster pants would normally sit.

Below is the pattern (after I've done the initial lengthening in step one) where I've added some notches to mark where my under bust and belly are...

I worked out that my under bust starts around where the size numbers for each pattern are and ends (at my newly lengthened) under belly at around 7.5cm (3 inches) from the bottom 'lengthen/shorten' line.

3. Next you want to add the extra length to the front pattern piece only for that all important gathering. I added an extra 10cm (4 inches) to mine, but you can add more or less depending on your preference and your fabric - to do this, use the exact same lengthen/shorten technique as in Step 1 but to the front pattern piece only.

Below is where I've added my 10cm (4 inches) - it's the extra brown paper above the extra length I added at the start and the arrows are indicating where my under bust and belly sit.

4. Now you can cut out your pattern pieces making sure to mark where your under bust and under belly are on your fashion fabric (I like to mark these by snipping into the seam allowance).

5. Between your marked under bust/belly notches and within the seam allowance, stitch a line of basting stitches down the side, leaving long tails at either end.

6. Stitch up your Bronte as per the instructions until you get to the step where you stitch the sides together.

Match up your sleeve and under arm seam exactly to the back piece until you hit your under bust notch, place a pin at a parallel angle to mark this spot. Then starting from the bottom hem, match your side seam up exactly to the back pattern piece until you hit your under belly notch, mark this again with a parallel pin.

You'll now have excess fabric in between your under bust and under belly notches.

7. Secure one end of your basting stitch thread with a knot and pull the other end, gathering the excess fabric between your under bust and under belly so that it fits evenly into the back pattern piece. Pin in place.

8. Stitch your side seams together and finish your Bronte Top as per the instructions.

Hey presto! A lovely little maternity Bronte top is all yours.

Are you going to try giving a Maternity Bronte a go? I'd love to see them if you do!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Me Made Maternity - Week 38: Lucky Last

Wearing - self-drafted PJ pants and a Maternity Bronte Top

Firstly, thank you all so much for your comments and well wishes on the early arrival of Oscar. We are slowly figuring out our new normal as a family of three, which changes every day, but we think he's pretty neat and wouldn't swap him for the world.

This was my final Me Made Maternity outfit. We took these photos at 38 weeks and 2 days, my waters had broken the night before and I'd been having mild but sporadic contractions ever since. Oscar was born in the evening the following day...

I had had the first Braxton Hicks I could really feel on Sunday morning. They weren't painful, but I completely understood why you'd need to concentrate on breathing through an actual contraction - your middle gets so tightly clenched, completely out of your control, that you naturally want to breath quite shallowly because anything else requires effort. If you want to get some idea of what they feel like, clench your stomach muscles as tightly as you can and try breathing deeply, it's a bit harder than your average breathing!

Even though I had been having Braxton Hicks, I still thought that I'd have plenty of time to photograph and blog my new pj pants and maternity Bronte top, but babies come when they feel like it and I had literally just finished making these pj pants when my waters broke that evening. All I could think about (after a mild freak out that I was going to have a baby really really soon) was that I hadn't taken photos of either of them and that my Bronte top just wouldn't look quite the same without the all important bump. 

So, erm, yes, I was in labour and I still took outfit photos - that's dedication right there, huh? *wink*.

Actually, it's not really since I wasn't in active labour (and wouldn't be until the next day) just the very early stages and I spent the majority of that day doing normal things anyway. I went out for lunch, did some grocery shopping, went for a long walk to try to get things moving (it's so strange being out in public in labour, breathing through the contractions and trying not to let on that you are having contractions, lest anyone freak out on you - that's the last thing you need!) and into the hospital twice for monitoring.

So, while we had to stop every now and then for a contraction to pass during the photo taking, we tried to go about our day as normally as possible, since little Oscar obviously wasn't planning on coming within the next couple of hours, and what else was there to do? No point sitting around twiddling our thumbs, right?

I'll be posting more details on my new PJ's as well as a tutorial on how to make your very own Maternity Bronte Top in the next few days...

Until then, I need to attend to my little Snuffalaffagus (nobody tells you how noisy new borns are when they sleep - I swear he sounds like a little old man 90% of the time!) and try to figure out where the past 3.5 weeks have disappeared too.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Introducing Our Newest Family Member...

Oscar, 6 days old...

Mr Oscar James Edward was born 11 days early on Tuesday 19th May at 5.13pm weighing 3.59kg.

We've spent the past week rugged up at home (today it snowed!) getting to know each other and settling in. Everybody is happy, healthy and well and I'll be back with my last Me Made Maternity outfit soon... In the mean time, you can find me over on Instagram.

Stay warm!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Me Made Maternity - Week 37: Winning

On Sunday when we took these, it was so windy that I spent half the time trying not to eat my hair and the other half of the time trying not to flash the camera!

I am now officially considered 'full term' albeit early full term, which means the little dude could come at any time now and should be fine navigating the big wide world on his own (well, in terms of being able to breathe with no help etc. I am well aware that we can't just leave him to fend for himself while we go out for a pizza or something, hehe).

We also finish our antenatal classes this week and I have to say, I'm relieved. They don't finish until really late and by the time we get home it's around 9.45pm and I'm always surprised that I've not turned into a grumpy pregnant pumpkin on the way back (though David might disagree, but he'd never say anything... wink).

As always, the heartburn continues, the kicks to my right ribs get stronger and when he moves, those little stabby pains in my bladder are a regular occurrence. When I told my midwife about those stabby pains, her response was an excited 'GREAT!!" to which I replied "NO!! They hurt!!".

Only in pregnancy are stabby-bladder-pains a good thing (unless you've got an infection, in which case, get it treated ladies!!) because it means the baby is moving on down. And as he moves on down, and the birth gets closer, I'm starting to think more about it and therefore, getting a touch more anxious. I think it's more fear of the unknown and not knowing when exactly that unknown thing will start or how long it'll last for, more than anything else. I know many people say you don't tend to remember the actual birth itself, but still...

My midwife has also let me know that there is officially no where else for him to grow now except outwards, so I'm watching and waiting to see how this all progresses, and how much shorter at the front my dresses will get. The high-lo hem is still on trend, no?

Speaking of dresses, I'm still wearing these Vogue ones. Sorry if it's at all boring, but comfort wins over anything else these days. If I'm not in pj's or occasionally in a RTW stretchy knit dress, I'm wearing one of these. I'm so happy that I can still wear things I made that make me feel slightly normal and like myself.

Speaking of Me Made, it's Me Made May (as if you didn't already know!!). I struggled with whether I'd participate this year and came to the conclusion that I didn't really have the time nor the energy nor the me-made wardrobe I've had access too in the past to take part. All you'd be seeing are these dresses, my Miette Cardigan and some me-made pj's and maternity Bronte Tops everyday (tutorial coming!).

But, I am currently sponsoring a prize for MMM'15 this week! Make sure you head over to Zoe's blog to enter to win your choice of one of my patterns and hopefully next year, I'll be back with a Me-Made-May bang!


Monday, May 4, 2015

Me Made Maternity: Week 36 - Tired and All That Jazz...

Wearing - Vogue 8728 & vintage cardigan

Wow, week 36 already huh?

I'm not going to lie, I'm not entirely sure I'll be looking like the Duchess just hours after I give birth. But then again, I'm not planning on inviting my hairdresser to the Maternity Ward afterwards either, so, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Speaking of hair dressers though, I'm in pretty desperate need of a wee chop this week me thinks...

Thank you so much to everyone who chimed in with maternity bra advice in my last post! It seems you all have pretty much the same advice, which is to buy some soft maternity sleeping bras and then just wait and see. So, I have my marching orders - soft sleeping bras, here I come.

In other news, I feel like all I do is complain lately, but I am so-tired all-of-the-time. And I know it's not going to get any better, but hey, just like grunting like an old man helps, so does complaining, hehe. And it's really not all bad, promise.

If you're Felicity Sewing Along, er, you may have noticed a slight lapse in posts (see above paragraph). Apologies for that, I'm in the process of getting everything photographed, written up and scheduled so that I then don't have to think or stress about it too much any more. I anticipate being back on schedule early next week. I'm slowly ticking things off my long 'To Do' list. Slowly but surely.

Anyway, I'm rambling - I have absolutely no written cohesiveness today, and I honestly don't really mind.

Talk soon,


Monday, April 27, 2015

Me Made Maternity: Week 35 - Hello? Is it Me You're Looking For?

Wow, it's been a while since I've done one of these, and as you can see, the bump has most definitely grown in the past five weeks. He's very active, wriggly and is not a huge fan of my ribs (I, personally, am rather attached to them. Ha ha, geddit? I haven't lost my (bad) sense of humour just yet...).

My slippers are knitted, but not by me AND I'm hanging out on our new deck to take these!!

I haven't meant to leave it this long between bump shots, but we've been so busy around here that we tend to forget about them until it's too dark to take any photos. 

To be fair, you haven't been missing any new 'Me Made' clothing action, considering I'm still wearing essentially the same things I have been for the past few weeks. These dresses have been on pretty much constant rotation - I'm way too tired and round now to care if I'm wearing the same thing day in and day out. If it fits and is comfortable, I'll wear it.

Other 'baby' related things over the past 5 weeks that I meant to talk about:

1) Maternity bra shopping - my head is about to explode on this one. How am I supposed to know what sizes to buy when I have no idea how big they're going to get? Any tips? Bras are expensive and I don't want to end up with a draw full that never see the light of day.

2) We've been attending regular antenatal classes, and no, you don't sit around in a circle and learn to breathe (they assume you know how to do that, considering you've been doing it quite successfully for a few years now). David and I were both kind of disappointed...

3) As I learnt on Saturday, don't scoff your cereal in the morning, because when your stomach has limited space and is squashed somewhere where your lungs should be, and there is a small foot using it as a kick boxing bag, your cereal will want to make a reappearance if it's gone down too quickly. Slow and steady wins the 'food staying in your stomach' race.

4) Heart burn, please-go-away, I'm trying to sleep.

There are still quite a few things David and I need to do before the Bebe arrives, mostly house related things (but also lots of loose ends for my business so that it keeps running at least semi-smoothly while I take some time out), but I'm trying to give myself a bit of a break from this (long) self-imposed list.

Do you remember me talking about the not-so-great March stuff bubbling on into April? Well, as it turns out, it's decided to stay for the whole month (well, pretty much, considering it's May this week!!). It's not the same annoying stuff, it's more of it in different forms, that seem to be compounding and growing and just being, well, poo-ey. I do tend to err on the half-full side of the glass, but, I am ready for a little break...

Luckily, David is home for most of the week, so we're going to tackle as much as possible and then, we'll just take it as it comes. And eat cookies. Mmmmmm...cookies. And admire the autumn leaves before it gets really cold. Though, we've already had a small amount of snow, so, I guess that doesn't bode well for a mild winter...

How are you lot?


*I can't believe I wrote 'poo-ey' on my blog. I suppose you might need to get used to it, considering I've heard babies have a lot of it!