Saturday, August 22, 2015

DIY Maternity Pillow

I like to sleep on my back, but I'm already started having issues with my growing mid-section. I woke up a few times with pins-and-needles in my arms and legs (yes, arms too! - I don't know why). So, I decided to make a maternity pillow.

There are some huge monster pillows you can make. And while they look comfortable for the user, I don't see how anyone else can fit in the bed! So, I decided to try out the simple Instructables tutorial that just uses a pillow.

I used a standard pillow that I bought for $6. The tutorial calls for a king size, but I wanted to see if I could keep things more compact. I filled the pillow sides with most of the stuffing that came for the entire pillow so that it would be extra firm.

I've used it for the past few nights and I'm here to report that it works. The first night, I had it a little high and my lower back hurt because it wasn't being supported. The last few nights, I've been making sure that it's at least as low as my mid-butt area (near the tail bone) and it has worked great. No more pins-and-needles. My shoulders and upper back feel better too, since I can keep my shoulder in a better spot when I'm lying on my side.

All I need now is a small pillow for between my knees. Right now, I've just been stuffing the comforter between my knees, but that won't work once the weather gets colder.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Alteration for Maternity/Nursing Top

I used one of my existing patterns to sew a maternity and nursing top with just a couple of alterations.

The pattern that I used is Butterick 5356. It's a very simple kimono top pattern that could be drafted on your own if you want (just search for "how to draft kimono tee" in google). The top of the shirt is split into contrasting colours and the front bottom piece has gathers to make room for the bust. It was this bottom front piece that I altered to make nursing friendly.

If you look at the picture above, you will see that there is a pocket by my underarm. What I did was create two bottom front pieces: the regular front with a side opening and a panel underneath.

To make the new front piece with side opening, I simple folded down the corner a few inches (as big as I wanted my opening less seam allowances). To make the panel piece, I traced the bottom front piece on a piece a parchment paper. I then cut half a U-shape in the center front (the bottom of the U is about an inch above the waist mark) and ended piece about 3" below the waist mark.

While cutting, I decided to make my U a little narrower and added back on about 2". I wanted to make sure I would have good coverage (since I plan on wearing it as a maternity work shirt) and the fabric I used is super stretchy. The center front of the U is cut on the fold.

I serged the edge of the U and the bottom of the panel. I also serged the opening edges of the openings and folded them down 1/2" and top-stitched with a zig-zag stitch. Then, I basted the two pieces together and continued sewing the pattern as normal.

Above is the wrong side of the front of the shirt, with my nice U-shape opening in place. And it works!

The back of the shirt is nice and simple.

I finished the collar by making a neck bindings in a similar way to making a t-shirt (see the Sewaholic Renfrew tutorials for what I mean). But, to make it less t-shirt looking, I only made the final collar about 1/4" wide.

Fabric choice was important for the lower part of the shirt. I went with a cotton-rayon-spandex blend that has about 70% stretch in one direction and 50% in the other. This means that the nursing pockets are easy to use, the top is super-duper comfortable, and I have plenty of room to grow.

The top fabric is a simple cotton jersey (like you find with most t-shirts).

I'm 16 weeks pregnant and feeling pretty stylish in my new top.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Burdastyle Maternity Dress

I haven't had much time for sewing lately. But, I did manage to get a jersey maternity dress sewed up. I'm at 14 weeks and starting to show. Many of my pants and other dresses are starting to get a little too tight, so this dress is perfect.


Burdastyle V-Neck Empire Waisted Maternity Dress 01/2015 #121
(What a long name for a pattern!)


I used a really stretchy jersey knit that I found at a local fabric store. It has about 70% stretch in one direction and 50% stretch in the other. It's really soft and has a fluid drape.


The pattern is meant for a woven non-stretch fabrics (eg. crepe satin). So, I had to make a number of alterations.

Usually, I am a size 42 in Burda patterns. So, I traced a size 44 with no seam allowances. I was being a little risky here, but figured there was a great chance that I would have more than enough fabric in my pieces because it was so stretchy.

I found that I had plenty of fabric in the bodice. I ended up sewing 1" seam allowances on the shoulder seam. This made the bodice land at the right spot (somewhere below the bust and a bit above wear my disappearing waist).

I also sewed a 1" seam allowance under the arms and graded it to a 1/2" seam allowance at the elastic waist. I continued with a 1/2" seam allowance for the skirt to keep all the fullness I could. I mainly sewed a 1" seam allowance under the arm because I didn't like how much the armhole would have gaped.

Another alteration was to sew strips for edging at the neckline and armholes. It just seemed like what would keep such a stretchy jersey stable in those places. It works and I really like the look.

I also cut the back piece on the fold instead of cutting out two separate back pieces.

Alterations that I made for more for style, rather than the stretchy fabric are:

- Widening and lengthening the ties - I can tie it in the front, instead of having a knot of fabric in my back when I'm sitting in a chair;

- Making the skirt more of an A-line instead of a straight skirt - I did this by grading out from the waist to about an extra 6" at the bottom sides of both the front and back pattern pieces.;

- Overlapping the front faux wrap pieces by an extra inch - this made the neckline sit a little higher, which provides better coverage and looks more current to me.

I didn't have  to draft my own pockets for once. The pattern already had them - yay!

I love how flowy and comfortable this dress is. I think it's the best dress that I've sewn yet. It's great in the hot weather and I plan to pair it with leggings in the fall. I will also be able to wear it next year as will be great for nursing.