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Pregnancy Pattern Round Up

Whilst I have been sewing these past 9 months, I haven't been posting much because in the past I was not massively keen on reading about people's pregnancy patterns. However, at some point I realized that I'm wrong and having some review out there would be useful, so decided to do a round up post about what I've learnt works and doesn't work in terms of this kind of sewing. This is a very long post :)

I had a fairly easy pregnancy, so I was perfectly positioned to have good results with sewing, which is great since maternity clothing is either decently priced and of bad quality, or expensive. Dime for dime, you get more out of non-maternity ready to wear.

Some lessons I learnt along the way:
  • Some non-pregnancy patterns will work for pregnancy. Sort of. As bump size increases, in the best case scenario you will get the mother of all pooling at the back, as if a gazillion-inch swayback is required (but isn't!). If that doesn't bother you, you're fine; otherwise, your best option is to stick with pregnancy patterns. 
  • Stretch materials are your friend. Knits are just more versatile overall, and they look better for longer as bump size increases. I like working with wovens (I prefer them to knits), and for work I maintain a wardrobe of shirts (normal shirts or the flowy silk variety).  Besides swayback-pooling issues, with wovens the bust size is a problem. You easily run the risk of muslining and making pattern alternations only to find out when the real garment is done that something changed yet again.
Vogue 1250

Early on in the second trimester (maybe week 17-18 or so)  I made a version of Vogue 1250 in wool double knit. I take a size 12 in Vogue patterns, but graded to 14 for waist/hip area. I wore it for about 8-10 weeks or so, until the pooling at the back got very annoying and I moved it to the "after pregnancy" closet.



Megan Nielsen Alissa Wrap Top

I made the Megan Nielsen Wrap top twice. This top looks amazing - I think it would look good on anyone. It grows with you as well. Really, I understand why the original version of this cost $300.  Wrapping tip: wrap the two sides one by one, not at the same time. For one, this is easier to do, and also if you aren't quite sure what you're doing you can prevent holes in the wrap.



The first version I made was in the same Wool Double Knit above to wear under the Vogue 1250, for which I made view 3 (the crop top, without the wraps). Can be repurposed as non-maternity wear.

The second version I made was the orange one above and is a bamboo knit from Mood. To wear this with jeans, I recommend maternity tank tops underneath (I have a few Blanqi tank tops which are excellent). This is because the because they are long and thus go on top of jeans, when you pull them up, you pull the top up, and pulling back down does not require a rewrap. Without them, I think this is one of the most impractical tops ever.

I wore this so much that the back neckline is now completely stretched out - luckily for the front neckline I had enough common sense and stitched some clear elastic in when hemming. I should have done the same for the back neckline - none of this is in the instructions, but I think it's necessary for an item which would be in heavy rotation. 

The crop top instructions have an error: on page 9, titled "Sleeves (V1, V2, V3)", the instructions tell you to set in the sleeves flat, then (bottom of the page) tell you to sew the side seams. The way the page is set up, you would try to sew the side seams for V1, V2 or V3, but for V3, this is wrong (both the text and the drawing). In fact, there is another set instructions for sewing the crop top side seams, at the end of page 11, which explains what to do correctly. I managed to fix it and it's not visible, but still, pretty annoying.


Now that I write this, I realize the instructions on this top are quite carelessly written: I'm not sure if the orange one is Version 1 or 2. According to the drawings, Version 1 has elbow-length sleeves, but according to the text that is Version 2. It's not a big deal, since the way to put it together is the same, but combined with the instruction error above, it's pretty careless for a $10+ pattern.


Bras


In hindsight, a genuinely bad idea. I made 3 and a half bras - all of them using Pin Up Girls patterns - 3 were using the classic bra, the "half" was using the Shelley. I'm treating this as a learning experience in bra making: I only ended up with one wearable bra, and that lasted for 5-6 weeks only. Actually I found maternity bras very good during pregnancy.


Burda Maternity Wrap Dress 06/2010 #132 (online)


I made this 3 times (cotton jersey, viscose jersey, bamboo knit)! It looks good, it feels good and is appropriate for loads of occasions, plus you don't need to "retire" it because it just always fits. I cut a size 38, my normal size in Burda, and only needed to do a slight forward shoulder adjustment. Instructions are good, with two recommendations: first, use 3/8" seam allowances instead of 5/8. This will help when sewing the neck band which is designed to be sewed with 3/8". Second, I used the size 36 neck band rather than size 38, just to be on the safe side with respect to stretching. I could have used clear elastic or knit stabilizer tape, but this worked for me.



The cotton jersey I used at first was OK but I didn't wear it a lot because the dress feels too short (I was a bit scissor happy when hemming!). I also don't like the material that much. I thought the paisley would be printed on, but it;s actually a separate layer, which is tied down with small stitches - needless to say they don't always stay on. The viscose jersey version (orange) is also ok, although the fabric is not of very good quality. Definitely a 9-month lifespan for this one. Finally, bamboo knit is awesome.


Burda 6958 (print pattern)


Terrible idea, looks super frumpy. Collar does not have a stand. Impossible to get nice sleek look from pattern envelope, and the pleat is quite big - I regret not trying to do the pleatless version. Also, the elastic is not necessary. I made it twice (many modifications second time around) I originally cut a size 14 as that matched my current bust measurements, but actually that ended up being too big everywhere else. Second version is a size 12, with size 14 only in the bust area. It also needed both a forward and a narrow shoulder adjustment. No picture for this one (meant to take one when I wore it to work this week but forgot). Maybe I should have done an FBA, but my measurements didn't indicate it was necessary: 2 to 2.5 inch difference between bust and high bust were maintained throughout pregnancy.

Other Burda

I bought a bunch of Burda patterns during their black Friday sale back in November - the wrap dress is the only one I made though. I do wish I had made the V-Neck Maternity Top 06/2010 #130A as well, but I never convinced myself to muslin in a woven after the shirt disaster.

I also made the X Cowl Shawl Top 04/2014 #105, which went together relatively easily enough despite the brevity of the instructions. However, I never wore it because I really disliked what it looked like on me. I made that quite early, maybe I should have given it a second chance in the third trimester.

Named Kielo Wrap

This is not a maternity pattern, but it has enough room in it and the dreaded back fabric pooling does not appear. I cut my pre-maternity size in it, and made it in a rayon jersey. I also compared the pattern with my TNT shift and removed 2" from the hip area - Named draft for 172cm, I'm 164cm...



I was very annoyed during construction thinking this would be a bad garment, but in the end I really love it, and I'm not a maxi-dress gal at all. I feel very put together when I wear it, it makes me feel good.

It certainly felt like I did loads of sewing but now that I ended up writing this maybe not? Either way, good to have this stuff written down here for the future, and hopefully someone else will benefit too!

Comments

  1. I think you look fantastic in all your items. I especially like the Burda dress - you look really great standing on those steps, and also in the more formal version, very pretty. And that Kielo dress - great color on you and how nice that it will be something you can wear after the baby arrives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Beth! I found the Burda dress very versatile, I'm actually very happy with their online patterns, I got quite a few successes already!

      Delete
  2. Thanks Laura, this is really useful stuff. You've got some great makes there but your Kielo is a real goddess dress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Catherine! I agree, the Kielo is amazing. It's really funny cause I got SO annoyed with the pattern and the sewing process during construction but it turned out so well!

      Delete

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