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JLH Size Range Update!

Saturday, September 19, 2020
Close up of a shoulder, lips and curly hair. Wearing a fitted grey top and denim button up pinafore.

At the end of this month, I'm going to be releasing my first new pattern that has the new extended JLH Curve size range included. WOOHOO!

The Dulcie Pinafore will have both the JLH Original sizing, 6-24 with A to D cups as well as the new JLH Curve sizing, 16-34 with C to F cups. That's a total of 15 sizes and 6 cups, up from the current 10 sizes and 4 cups.

The introduction of the new Curve range also gave me the chance to reassess the current size range of (what I am now calling) JLH Original patterns. Measurements are now more cohesive, grading rules have been slightly adjusted, and this should give a much better and more accurate fit across the board.

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about the new Curve block, the updated measurements and some ideas on how to choose which pattern to use if you happen to sit in the cross-over sizes.

The JLH Curve Block

In general, the new Curve block has a bit more built-in ease through the bust, waist and hip area, and more finessed grading rules, especially in the upper sizes.  Depending on the pattern, there will also be differences with back width, neckline height + width, overall garment length etc.

The bust tends to be a bit more shapely in the Curve block and the shoulders — depending on the style — will have a little more room in them. The block is based on a height of 170cm (5' 6''), just the same as the Original.

There may also be slight differences in the placement of things like buttons: there may be more or less, or they may be distributed differently depending on the pattern/garment.

The Cross Over Sizes

If you fit into the cross-over sizes, 16 -24 C+D cups, you can choose to use either pattern.

From the outset, there is no quick way I can think of to find out which block might suit you best if you fall into the cross-over sizes. Bodies can have the same circumference measurements, but be completely different in proportion and the way the body is held, which can make garments fit differently. 

My advice here is if you've made a JLH pattern before in these sizes and were happy with the fit, keep using the Original pattern. If you've had to make several alterations in the past, perhaps the new Curve block will give you a better 'out of the packet' fit. And if you've never made a JLH Pattern before, then making a toile of both would be your best bet.

The JLH Original and Curve Measurement Tables

You can find the new JLH measurement tables right here.

Make sure you measure yourself before you choose your size, especially if you have made JLH patterns before, as you may now fall into different sizes with the refreshed measurements. 

Follow the new guide on choosing your cup size and always choose your cup size first! Even if your full bust circumference puts you closer to (or smack bang on) another cup — always choose the cup size bodice you fall into then grade to get the right circumference. You will get a much better fit (the first time around) through the neckline and shoulders this way, which is a much harder area to perfect than the full bust.

All new release patterns will include Finished Garment Measurements, and depending on the style and intended over-all fit, sometimes these measurements can be quite different between the Original and Curve measurements. Take care over these measurements: don't rush into choosing a size before comparing them. If you have a similar fit garment hanging in your wardrobe, even better. You can compare these measurements to your garment to get a better idea of how the garment will sit and if you might want to make any initial changes, pre-toile. 

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As always, I recommend you make a toile before cutting into your pretty fabric. I know it's a whole additional step, but it really does save heartbreak (or gives you the green light to proceed with confidence) at the end of the day.

If you have any questions, feel free to flick me an email jen at jenniferlaurenhandmade dot com.

I'm so excited to bring you Dulcie at the end of the month... sign up to the newsletter here if you'd like to know when it's available.



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JLH Tester Call - An Updated Size Range!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

JLH Patterns is getting a makeover in the form of a refreshed and updated size range, and that means it's time to update my Tester Database.

If you'd like to be a JLH Pattern Tester, check out the new size tables below and sign up here.

With the release of the Dulcie Pinafore later in 2020, all new release patterns from there on out will include an additional 2 bust cups (up from 4 to a total of 6) as well as 5 new sizes (up from 10 to a total of 15) and in a few weeks time, the first of these new patterns will be ready to test.

The 'Original' range includes the current A to D cups, sizes 6 to 24 but with tweaked measurements for a more accurate fit. The 'Curve' range includes C to F cups (that's 2 new cup sizes) as well as 5 new sizes at the higher end, 16 to 34.

Below, you will find my two new size ranges - right click tables below and open them in a new tab or window to fully expand.

 Right click tables above and open them in a new tab or window to fully expand.

All JLH Patterns are based on a height of 170cm or 5'6"

The cross over between the Original and Curve sizes are the C&D cups in sizes 16 to 24. HOWEVER, you will receive BOTH size ranges when testing (and also when purchasing!!).

The main reason I'm splitting the 2 size ranges off is for ease of use at the other end. Nesting 15 different sizes and 6 different cup sizes, based on 2 different blocks with all of the notations and pattern markings required, does get a bit messy for the end user (and me, if I'm being honest!). It's easier for me to keep track of pattern alterations across sizes as well.

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As I mentioned above, some of the patterns coming up for testing are new styles for release in the future (hello sneaky peek of the Willa Wrap Coat above...), BUT some will be previous popular styles that will be getting a makeover and a new lease of life in a bigger size range.

If you have any questions about testing, you can head on over to my FAQ's page here.

Please feel free to share this far and wide! Getting a wide range of Tester sizes and sewing abilities is just what I need.

Thank you so much in advance!


Introducing The Bastion Culottes - New Pattern Release!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Bastion Culottes combine everything we love about 1940s sailor pants, 1930s beach pyjamas and the modern A-line skirt.

Hot off the back of Me Made May, let me introduce you to my newest pattern, The Bastion Culottes. Heading straight into your favourite summer (or winter!) wardrobe rotation, the Bastion Culottes are secret trousers masquerading as a skirt.

Bastion features a sailor-style front button opening with deep, roomy pockets cleverly integrated into the waistline.

Gently fitted at the natural waist, the legs drape effortlessly down over the hips in a breezy flared silhouette.

With two length options - falling to mid-calf or above the knee - wear Bastion with fitted knit tops or loose button-up blouses tucked in or tied at the waist. Throw a cropped cardigan over the top for cooler climes.

Choose lighter weight linens and chambray for summer, or go for snuggly wool suitings and flannel for the perfect winter garment.

Bastion has been styled here with the Gable Top, the Hunter Tank and the Aisling Blouse.

View 2 Bastion Culottes worn with a Hunter Tank

View 1 Bastion Culottes worn with a short sleeved Gable Top

Skill Level

Bastion is a fun sew, with interesting construction techniques. If you're a confident beginner seamstress and love the look of Bastion, you will enjoy the challenge. Buttonholes and keeping track of important notches are the key skills required.

Of course, advanced seamstresses will also enjoy the construction and will have a lovely pair of pants in a day or so.

Fabric Options

The Bastion Culottes work well in light to mid-weight fabrics with some drape for both summer and winter options.

Linen, chambray, poplin and voile are perfect for summer. Look for mid-weight denims, pinwale (baby) cord, wool blends and flannel for winter.

View 1 Bastion Culottes worn with a cut-on-the-fold Aisling Blouse

Sizing and Fit

Bastion sits at the natural waist, so choose your size based on this measurement - the smallest part of your torso, usually above your belly button.

Bastion ten falls gently out over the hips in a fit'n'flare style silhouette, meaning the hips are free in the finished garment.

The crotch height is designed to sit at approximately the height of regular, loosely fitting wide legged pants, but an additional lengthen/shorten line has been added to make adjusting this height easy and stress-free.

Bastion is drafted for an average height of 170cm or 5'6".

Your Bastion Culotte Files

Bastion is currently only available in digital format for the time being. Files include my easy-to-lay A4/Letter pattern file and an A0 Print Shop file. Links will be emailed directly to you.

Make sure to use the hashtag #JLHBastionCulottes on instagram so I can see and share your makes!

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No more silence...

Sunday, June 14, 2020

I see you. I stand with you. I will speak up.

I shared last week that I was lost for words, because there were no words, but as we all know, silence is no longer an option.

As I slowly start to think about sewing again, I am aware of the fact that things can't go back to where they were. I connect with this community through craft, so finding ways to show I am marrying this and anti-racism work is important — they are not mutually exclusive.

I wanted to take the opportunity here to lay out some of the things I will be doing moving forward to fight systemic racism, especially here in my own country, Aotearoa, New Zealand.

  • I will continue educating myself on the ingrained racism we've all grown up with and will be doing more work around understanding the racism that is rampant in Aotearoa and how I can effect change locally and nationally.
  • I will continue having hard conversations with my Pākehā friends about what it means to be privileged in this way and how staying silent is no longer an option.
  • I will continue supporting charities working towards equality.
  • I will be using more te reo Māori in my everyday conversations — it's a beautiful language and deserves to be spoken by everyone in Aotearoa.
  • In terms of my business, it's still just me, so I will be making sure I ramp up efforts to work and engage with a more diverse range of people from testing groups to collaborations, to the handful of freelancers that help me run this show.

    I also know many indie designers are talking about having more diverse models showcasing their patterns. I currently still model all of my regular patterns myself, and while hiring this out has been a thought I've had frequently, it's not quite an option for me yet. When it does become an option in the future though, I will be seeking out a diverse range of models.

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I also thought here was a good place to round up some of the things I shared on social media over the past few weeks.

Justice in June — Education Resource

White friends — if you are floundering, and don't know where to start, how about you start with yourself.

I've been telling people about Justice in June as much as I could ever since I found out about it. Written and compiled by Autumn Gupta and Bryanna Wallace, Justice in June is an incredible resource and a brilliant place to start learning how to be a better Ally to the BIPOC community.

It's broken down into digestible information and you only need to spend 10 minutes a day on it if that's all you have (but there are schedules that you can also spend 25 minutes or 45 minutes a day if you have more time). Download the resources, follow the timetable and do the work. It will get you into the headspace you need to be in to be helpful.

They're running a fundraiser to build a website, so if you use this resource, perhaps consider supporting them for that work here.

Black Women's Mental Health Campaign

Mental health — we all know we need to take care of it. The events of the past week, combined with a pandemic ravaging the world, has probably left many teetering on the edge of complete overwhelm, anxiety and depression. It's a scary and unknown place out there right now and unfortunately, BIPOC have to shoulder all of this AND their everyday reality of being oppressed, ignored, attacked.

I shared a campaign being run by Jennifer at Workroom Social on social media to help Black women and girls get the help they need during this tumultuous time.  While this particular campaign has been fully funded (yay!!), you can donate to other campaigns through the same Loveland Foundation site here.

Having said that, I also know that this is a hard time for many financially, so please don't worry. You can still help by sharing campaigns, speaking out if you see something, educating yourself (hello Justice in June), signing petitions (more on that below), highlighting the work of BIPOC in your community (also more below) and making sure you're enrolled to vote (yes, that's below too!).

Support BIPOC Makers

Are you following Black Makers Matter on Instagram yet? Make sure you follow them on Instagram here. They have a great list of BIPOC and Ally craft vendors which is being added to all of the time. Take the time to browse this list and if you have suggestions to add, especially BIPOC owned and led, make sure you get in touch.

Also, now's the time to let your dollars do the talking! If you're not happy with the response (or lack thereof) from your favourite crafty makers/designers/proprietors, I'd encourage you to get in touch with them first. If they don't give you the answer you're looking for, shop elsewhere.

Arms Down NZ

I was planning on posting about supporting the #ArmsDownNZ campaign, but if you're a Kiwi, you already know that this has been scrapped! Yay!  So, I'll leave this here as a reminder that your voice does matter and that signing petitions, writing letters to local and national Government agencies and speaking up in general, DOES WORK!

And last but not least for today...


New Zealand (along with America and many other countries) has a general election coming up this year. The very most important thing you can do is make sure you're enrolled! Your vote counts! Your vote could be the vote that changes everything, but it can't if you're not enrolled and then don't vote on the day.

If you're in NZ, click here to either enrol or check your details are up to date. EASY!

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I know there is a lot of noise out there at the moment, and it can feel deafening, but I guess that's what the world needs right now. I've only highlighted a very small handful of ways you can start to fight systemic racism and oppression — hopefully they help clarify your thoughts and give you a way forward over the coming weeks, months and years.

Kia kaha my friends,


Coming Soon... The Bastion Culottes sewing pattern!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

It's nearly new pattern release time! And this time, I'm adding a pair of 'pants' into my sewing pattern offerings.

I say 'pants' because they're secret pants, disguised in skirt form... If you like 1940s sailor pants, 1930s beach pyjamas and A-line skirts, you'll love the Bastion Culottes.

Sign up to my newsletter before 8pm Monday 1st June NZDT to be the first to see them AND gain access to the Subscriber-only discount.

See you next week!!

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It's sale time! Take 20% off All Patterns...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

It's nearly the end of Me Made May!! WHAT?!

That means it's time for a little sale. So, from now until 8pm Sunday 31st May NZDT, you can take 20% off ALL PATTERNS (paper, digital and bundles) from my shop.

Enter the code MMMAY20 at the checkout to apply your 20% discount.

Happy sewing my friends,

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Me Made May 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020
And just like that, May has rolled around again, along with Me Made May 2020.

It's a very different looking May to this time last year - I had a little 3 month old baby and life was relatively slow (as far as babies are concerned). Fast forward to today and my 3 month old is a walking 14month old with her own opinions, Baby number One turns 5 (and should be starting school, but won't be due to COVID-19) and the world is grappling with something we couldn't fathom a year ago, let alone any time really...

I wear me mades everyday of the year anyway and so I'm not going to promise daily outfit photos this month, especially when I know full well that they just won't happen with time restraints (maybe next year...?).  I've also had various test garments for future pattern releases in high rotation, meaning I can't really take daily photos anyway, because that would be giving them all away! But I definitely hope to share the odd outfit.

My big goal for Me Made May this year is to finish one of my knitting projects. I'm stuck on sleeve island for 3 projects, and if I can finish at least one this month, I'll be very happy. We're heading into winter down here, so more cosy cardigans will be a welcome addition to my winter Me-made wardrobe.

'I, Jen, pledge to finish my Populux Cardigan (and possibly my Sandy Cardigan) and take the odd outfit photo throughout May 2020'

If you're not sure what Me Made May is, head on over to Zoe's blog to find out more about it.

Happy May everyone!

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New Pattern Release! The Asteria Dress and the Aisling Blouse

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Aisling Blouse and Asteria Dress are sister patterns, combining the classic 60s square neckline into a modern silhouette.

Hello Sewing World!

Thank you all so much for the support over the years. It does feel strange to be releasing patterns now, while we're in lockdown, and I did consider holding off, but wondered what that would achieve. The general consensus on Instagram was that it would be welcome. So, my hope is that by releasing Asteria and Aisling today brings you a little light relief, a little normalcy, a little distraction, even if it's only for a minute.

So, the patterns! Not just one, but TWO! The Aisling Blouse and Asteria Dress are separate patterns that complement each other perfectly.

Both feature square necklines with an optional collar. The bodices are shaped with bust darts and you can choose whether you'd like a full button-down bodice or have it cut on the fold.

Both patterns include A to D cup sizes.

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Pattern Details

The Aisling Blouse gently flares out from the bust in a flattering A-line shape - perfect for wearing loose with skinny jeans or tucked into a high-waist skirt.

The long blouson-style sleeves end at the wrist with a comfortable elastic hem for a little touch of drama, while still making them the perfect everyday sleeve. Cottons, rayon, silks and linen are all perfect fabrics for Aisling.

Skill Level

Aisling is aimed at confident beginner to advanced seamstresses; the pattern includes techniques such as set-in sleeves, buttonholes (V1), elasticated sleeve hems and an optional collar.

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Pattern Details

The Asteria Dress is a short sleeved, semi-fitted dress from the bust down, shaped with ties at the natural waist.

Pockets are neatly integrated into the box-pleated skirt. Asteria can be made with a number of different fabrics from summer-ready linens, rayons and lawns to heavier fabrics (for the perfect winter dress layered over long sleeves) such as pinwhale cord, denim and barkcloth.

Skill Level

Asteria is aimed at intermediate to advanced seamstresses; the pattern includes techniques such as set-in sleeves, buttonholes (V1), a box pleated skirt and an optional collar.

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Multiple Bust Cups

Asteria and Aisling include pattern piece for A to D cups so that you'll no longer need to make additional bust adjustments for the perfect fit.

Included in the instructions are a full set of Finished Garment Measurements, as well as detailed instructions on choosing the right size for your unique shape.

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Digital Release Only

I've had to make the hard decision to release Aisling and Asteria in digital-only format for the time being. I hope to release these in paper in the future, but since things are so uncertain, rising patterns going missing, or not being able to fill orders due to sickness etc isn't worth the risk in the meantime.

But don't worry, both patterns are laid out in my easy-to-assemble format. Both include layers (meaning you can turn on and off as many sizes in as many combinations as you'd like) and both come with an A0 Print Shop copy.

The Aisling and Asteria Bundle!

If you love the look of both Asteria and Aisling, why not purchase them together in a pattern bundle?

For only $24, you'll get both patterns (rather than purchasing individually), you'll save more, and you can focus on making something beautiful while being stuck inside.

Links will be emailed directly to you and I'd love yo hear how you're getting a long with making your Asteria Dress or Aisling Blouse. Tag me on Instagram or use the hashtag #JLHAsteriaDress or #JLHAislingBlouse so I can see and share your makes.

Please know that I appreciate every single one of you - all of the makes you share, the emails you send, all of the comments and likes. We will get through this -  we may look and feel a little different afterwards, but we will.

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Coming Soon... The Aisling Blouse and the Asteria Dress Patterns

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

It feels strange to carry on as normal in such uncertain circumstances. New Zealand is going into full lockdown mode tomorrow for 4 weeks (at the moment) to try to contain the outbreak of COVID-19.

So, I was unsure at first whether to continue with the planned release of the Aisling Blouse and Asteria Dress patterns next week. But it's also in times like these that it feels nice to try to bring a little normalcy, a little bit of joy to your day.

And so, if you'd like to be the first to see these 2 new releases — sister patterns that complement each other perfectly, but also hang in your wardrobe as their own versatile, comfy pieces in their own right — and get access to the Subscriber-only discount, then why not sign up to my newsletter here?

I hope they bring a little delight and happy whimsy to your inbox early next week...

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A Nursing/Breast feeding Top Sewing Tutorial

Friday, February 21, 2020

It's hard to believe that this was me a year ago!! A whole year has slipped on by and Rowan is now one and her own little person. Did you know these were actually taken the day before she was born? Seems like a lifetime ago.

But, let's talk about nursing clothing (and maternity clothes in general actually), they can be expensive! It seems to have the same effect as adding the word 'wedding' onto an item, as soon as it becomes a 'wedding' cake/outfit/hairstyle, it becomes ten times the price.

Well, I'm here to tell you that if you can sew and have a basic knit top pattern in your stash, you can easily and successfully sew your own nursing clothes and it won't cost you very much at all.

I've used the Ostara Top here (a fitted knit top made with stretch knits) but you can use any fitted knit top pattern you like - may I suggest Gable? (You could even make a Gable nursing dress!) Bronte or Vielle?

After making several of these tops just before Rowan was born last year, and seeing the wear and tear on them (the constant pulling up and down to feed and the little hands always tugging at the neckline) my best advice here is to choose a good quality knit that has really good recovery. Drapey knits in a fitted top won't ever work well, but they will especially bad in a nursing top.

However, if you have a drapey/loose knit top pattern, the principles of this tutorial are essentially the same, you'll just want to adjust the amount of elastic you put into your 'opening' hems (this will make more sense once you see the process below).

You'll need:

  • A fitted knit t-shirt pattern (I've used Ostara for this tutorial)
  • 2 traced out front bodice patterns
  • A length of 1cm width elastic (I like lingerie elastic) - more on the specifics of this below
  • Pen/paper/ruler/tape measure/pins

A bit about elastic length:

Measure your under bust and over bust at the front from one side to the other. Add on another 5cm or so and you should have a good amount of elastic (without too much wastage) to make one top.

You can also use any width elastic you like - you'll just need to adjust your seam allowance widths to accomodate this.

A bit about elastic type:

I like to use flat lingerie elastic for this tutorial, because you're sewing directly into the length of the elastic for this top. Lingerie elastic is flat and the 'elastic' within it is thinner and more spread out VS standard elastic where the 'lines' of elastic are encased in thread. 

Sewing over standard elastic leaves more room for your needle to pierce the encased elastic, therefore weakening it and causing it to break and fray over time - which is not ideal when a top for this purpose will be constantly being tugged on!

Seam allowances should be removed before making paper pattern adjustments

1. If you've made a top with the pattern you've chosen, put it on and mark where your under bust is. If you've never made your pattern before, put on a top that is similar in fit and mark that instead.

Measure the length from the underarm down to your marking and transfer the mark to your first traced pattern piece. Mine was 14cm.

2. Draw a line straight across from your under bust marking.

3. Add on a seam allowance the width of your elastic (mine was 1cm) and cut along this line (the dotted line below). Discard the bottom pattern piece keeping the top half only. 

You now have the upper bodice for your nursing top.

4. Take your second front bodice tracing and draw a straight line from the under arm to the centre (blue line below).  To get a nice curve that sits across your over bust, draw a marking 4.5cm (or more or less depending on your cup size) higher at the centre, then curve it back down to nothing at the under arm (red line below).

5. Add all seam allowances that were removed back on and add on an additional 1cm seam allowance (or the width of your elastic) above the curved line you drew in step 4 (dotted line below). 

6. Cut along the dotted line and discard the top portion of the traced pattern. You now have the lower bodice for your nursing top.

7. Place the upper bodice on top of the lower bodice and mark a notch on the side of the lower bodice, where the finished upper bodice will end (circled below in blue).

8. Now is the time to lengthen the front and back bodice pieces in the bodice if you wish to do this.

Now for the sewing part!!

Note: you'll see that I didn't finish the raw edges (I've called them 'Hems' below) of my upper and lower bodice openings. Because they are knits, you don't have too - and to be honest, I wasn't sure how well breastfeeding Rowan was going to go after my previous experience. So I didn't want to put too much extra effort into making tops that may not get worn. As it turns out, we're still breastfeeding, and while I wish I had made more of these tops (I made one short sleeve and two long sleeves) the 'raw' edges still look like they did the first time I cut them after a year of being in very high rotation. So, it's not a 'must do' if you don't want too.

1. Finish off raw edges of bodice opening hems if you'd like, removing as little fabric as possible. 

2. Cut a length of elastic approximately 2.5cm to 5cm (1-2") shorter than the raw edge of the upper bodice hem. You can do more or less depending on your elastic and fabric stretch percentage.

3. With the wrong side facing, place the elastic along the hem edge of your top. Pin it in place at the sides and the centre.

4. Using a large zigzag stitch, gently ease your elastic into place, stretching the bodice hem rather than the elastic.

5. Press your hem up by your elastic width (1cm for me), press gently, then zigzag in place again.

6. Repeat the above steps for the lower bodice opening hem.

7. Right sides facing up, place the upper bodice on top of the lower bodice, matching up the finished hem of the upper bodice to the side notches you marked in step 8 above.

8. Pin in place along the side seam then baste in place within the seam allowance. Finish your top as per the instructions included with your pattern.

And that's it! Once you've done the paper pattern adjustments, you can bulk cut these and have as many nursing tops (or dresses) as your heart desires.

As I mentioned above, my 3 have been in very heavy rotation for a year now and are still going strong (although they are looking a little tired), so if you give this a go, I'd love to see them and hear how they're working out for you.

And if you're interested in making a maternity knit top, I have a tutorial for that here.

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