Maternity Sewing

Figured it was about time for my annual blog post 😂😅 so I thought I would summarize the sewing I did during my pregnancy and garments/ patterns that worked well throughout.  I'm also planning to write up a post about patterns that have worked well so far for postpartum and breastfeeding, so you can expect that sometime in 2022 (ha!!).  Baby boy W arrived in early January and it's been an amazing 3+ months so far.  I'm currently typing this intro out with one hand while he’s snuggled up napping in my other arm.

Two things to keep in mind for this post: For anyone reading this in the future... note that I was pregnant during the Covid-19 pandemic (still ongoing at the time of writing this) and totally working from home, so my wardrobe definitely reflected that.  Also, I was pregnant from April to January so I was at my largest during the cooler winter months.  While this did somewhat affect what I wore and sewed, I don't think there would have been too much of a difference had I been expecting a summer or fall baby.  A lot of what I wore in the summer during my second trimester would have carried me all the way through to birth.

A lot of the patterns I made and wore were not originally intended for maternity wear.  Either they fit well enough for part or all of my pregnancy with no modification, or I made modifications for them to fit better around my growing belly.  I did buy a couple maternity-specific patterns, but 1) there really aren't a ton out there, and the ones that do exist are... just not my style, and 2) they were actually difficult to find in my size!  This is absolutely absurd.  Pre-pregnancy I was right on the cusp of straight and plus sizes... plus size people get pregnant too!!  I was sized out of all the Megan Nielsen maternity patterns and while I made the skirt, because it's made in a knit with room to grow and a simple enough shape to grade up from.  More on that at the end of the post.

First Trimester

When I got pregnant I was SO excited for all the things I was going to sew over the next few months... and then the first trimester nausea and exhaustion hit and I didnt sew anything for nearly three months.  During the first trimester comfort was key.  I found I was really bloated so I tucked my jeans away into the back of my closet pretty early.  However, pretty much all of my wardrobe still fit so there wasn't a huge change in what I was wearing, aside from ditching structured skirts because of working from home. 

Noteable Patterns:

Second Trimester

As my belly started to grow, the weather got warmer, and my energy and appetite returned, I pulled out the various loose dresses and skirts, and elastic waist pants!  Oh my goodness what a blessing sack dresses and elastic waist pants were for the second trimester.  I could look and feel cute, while also being super comfortable.  One bonus of working from home?  Caftans all day, (almost) every day.  I didn't really make any maternity tees or tops, choosing to instead buy some RTW.  I was really pleased with the quality of maternity clothing from H&M, so I've stashed away what I bought for any future pregnancies.  

Noteable Patterns:

Third Trimester

At this point in my pregnancy my belly was getting pretty darn big!  Most of the non-maternity things that fit through my second trimester were too small and it was getting too cold for caftans, so I stuck with mainly leggings and sweatpants paired with RTW maternity/nursing camis and tops.  Although "hard pants" had been banished thanks to a huge belly and the pandemic, one thing I really wanted to challenge myself with was making a pair of maternity jeans from my TNT pattern, the Ginger Jeans.  They fit pretty well right into the last month of my pregnancy - I'm pretty sure the last time I wore them was at 38 weeks!  I documented the process of making those jeans in my Instagram stories, but I might put together a blog post on that, since in my googling similar posts were few and far between!  The jeans turned out exactly like I had hoped, and it was nice to have something other than leggings to wear out of the house for appointments.

Noteable Patterns:

Overall Maternity TNT's:

If you couldn't tell from the lists above, the Avery Leggings are the clear winner here.  A bona fide maternity tried ‘n’ true pattern!!  I made a few pairs with maternity-friendly modifications.  I lowered the rise of the front to accommodate my belly, and increased the height of the waistband by about 4" so it could be pulled up and over.  I also had a pair I had made pre-pregnancy out of double-brushed poly and they fit right up until the end because of the amount of stretch!

The Elliot Sweater was also a great pattern throughout.  I moved the side slits up a smidge on the second one I made, and both were so comfortable and fit really well over my belly.  I’m pretty sure I actually wore one of them to the hospital when I went to for my induction, knowing it would be super comfortable to wear home, too.  They’ve also been one of my go-to tops postpartum as they’re really easy to pull up for breastfeeding!  Huge props to Helen’s Closet for making easy, comfortable patterns and a very inclusive size range.

The Ebony Tee also makes the TNT list because it fit for my entire pregnancy with zero modifications!  I had three that were in fairly regular rotation, and like the Elliot Sweater, they’ve been really great for breastfeeding.  I actually have three more cut out and ready to sew right now!

And last but not least, the Envelope Dress is another amazing non-maternity maternity pattern.  Zero or low-waste, and sizing is based on your hip/waist measurement.  Sew one up in linen and you’ll be the most comfortable pregnant person around on those hot summer days.  I added and invisible zip to the front of one for easy boob access, and I think I’m going to need about 10 more for this summer!

Honourable Mentions:

I have to hand it to the Givre Maternity Dress pattern.  For a super simple bodycon maternity dress, it’s perfect.  Well, mostly perfect.  The two tee versions I made were amazingly comfortable, and I made a long sleeve version in a sweatshirt knit for my maternity photos.   The tank version was a huuuuge miss for me.  The straps are too wide, and it didn’t look nearly as cute as I had hoped.  Another drawback is the size range.  I was right up at the top end... which again, is ridiculous.  Pregnant people come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone deserves cute and comfortable clothing!

Another honourable mention goes to the Pietra Pants.  I have three pairs of pants and one pair of shorts, and they were one of the most comfortable things to wear over the summer during my second trimester.  No modifications needed, the elastic waist stretched enough to accommodate my growing belly for a good few months.  While I would have loved to just wear caftans all spring and summer, I needed some pants for easy belly access at ultrasounds and midwife appointments.

Don’t Bother:

So, really only one pattern here... and that’s the Erin Maternity skirt from Megan Nielsen.  While I did make 2 and they worked out well for me, it’s a don’t bother for a couple reasons.  First being the total crap size range.  Like I said above, I was out of the size range with 45” hips (the pattern goes up to 44”).  Second, the pattern is essentially just a tube with some ruching on the side, so a beginner sewist could easily draft their own.  For $18?  I feel silly for buying it in the first place.  In finding the link for the Burnside Bibs, I've discovered Sew House Seven has a new free pattern that could VERY easily be hacked into a maternity-friendly skirt and the size range is much more inclusive!

In conclusion... I'm really quite pleased with the "maternity wardrobe" I put together over a few short months.  I know a lot of people say "I don't want to sew anything I'm only going to wear/buy for a few months!"... but I'm going to have to disagree with that for a couple reasons.  First off, when you're feeling uncomfortable and awkward in this new body, having something to wear that makes you feel cute is totally worth it.  Second, there are plenty of things you can sew that can still be worn postpartum!  And third, when you're done having babies you can always pass on your maternity-specific duds to a friend or donate them to a thrift shop so they can continue to be enjoyed.

I do hope I'll be able to get a post up soon about the various breastfeeding friendly garments I've made and worn over the past few months, but in the meantime I've posted a couple things on Instagram that you can check out.  


Elodie Wrap Dress - Maternity Edition: Closet Core Patterns Tester

Another blog post!  And another test for Closet Core Patterns - the Elodie Wrap Dress!!  This is the first pattern released since their name change from Closet Case Patterns to Closet Core Patterns, and I'm pretty excited to be a part of it.  (Note, I have gone back to edit my post for the Blanca Flight Suit with the new company name).  I'm also super excited that I was still able to test the pattern, despite being 16 weeks pregnant at the time!!  I'm now 20 weeks pregnant, and baby is due at the very end of December this year :)

When the Closet Core team emailed me to ask if I wanted to test their new pattern, I made sure to let them know I was pregnant with an expanding waistline and that while I would love to test the pattern, I might make some adjustments to keep the pattern maternity friendly so I can still wear it over the next few months.  Since part of testing a pattern is about making sure the fit is spot-on, I would have totally understood if that wasn't what they were looking for and I was happy to wait for the official pattern release.  I was SO stoked when Alexis emailed me back saying they would still love for me to test the pattern, maternity adjustments and all.  So here we are!  Presenting the Closet Core Elodie Wrap Dress - Maternity Edition!

I made "View A" with short sleeves, and the midi-length skirt.  The fabric I used was this gorgeous green mid-weight viscose-linen blend from Fabrications Ottawa.  The fabric has just enough weight and the perfect amount of drape for this pattern. [...]


Pink Blanca Flight Suit - Closet Core Patterns Test

Finally!  I've been meaning to get around to taking photos and doing this blog post for ages, and I've finally found the time and energy.

Back at the end of February/ beginning of March right before everything changed due to COVID-19, I was asked to be in the tester group for the Closet Core Blanca Flight Suit!!  I had signed up earlier in the year to be added to the group testing the 14-30 size range for Closet Core and I was SO excited to get this email.  It's been nearly a decade since I really wore a pair of coveralls (if you went to University for Engineering in Ontario/ Canada, you know what I'm talking about!) so I was stoked to make my own pair.  There have been a ton of coveralls/ jumpsuit/ boiler suit patterns out there recently... but none of them caught my eye the way Blanca did. [...]


Helen's Closet Elliot Sweater +"Hack"

Back in December when I was doing some Boxing-Day online shopping, I found a great sweater on Roots that caught my eye.  It looked perfect for pairing with leggings on the weekend, and I could even get away with wearing it to work on Fridays paired with jeans.  Sadly my size sold out and I was sweater-less.

BUT - I realized I had some grey Tencel & Organic Cotton French Terry (from Blackbird Fabrics) in my stash which would work well to replicate the sweater, and would be WAY more comfortable than the polyester-blend RTW version.  I also found some twill tape hanging around that could be used for the ties in the cowl, so I didn't have to go out and buy anything.  Yay for shopping my stash!!  

As for a pattern... I originally thought about altering the Grainline Hemlock Tee with a cowl neck... but then Helen's Closet released the extended sizes for the Elliot Sweater and the pattern was on sale!  I do fit within the "original" size range for Helen's patterns, but seeing the pattern show up in my IG feed (and the sale, duh) made me realize it would be the perfect pattern to use!



Fabric No-Buy 2020

After amassing a large (to me) fabric stash over the last year or so with little (or less than usual) sewing output, I’ve reached a point where I really need to evaluate all the fabric I have before buying more.  I’ve been hemming-and-hawing over this for the last little while, and I think I’m ready to totally commit. [...]


Yellow Waxed Cotton Kelly Anorak

Well hey there!  Gosh it's been a while, hasn't it?  Here I am back again, with a sewing project from the spring to share with you all!  Yes, from the spring.  Good thing is though, that the yellow waxed cotton canvas Kelly Anorak I sewed up last spring also works PERFECTLY for the fall!  It's a beautiful early fall day outside today and I was feeling inspired to finally share this make, so perfect timing to take some photos of this jacket I love so dearly.  



Me-Made-May 2019 Pledge

Ooops!  I realized I never posted my pledge for Me Made May 2019 on here!  It's up on my Instagram, but might as well get it posted up here for posterity's sake ;)

For the month of May 2019, I pledge to do the following:

  • Track what I wear and how I feel in an effort to find gaps in my me-made wardrobe and cull unworn items;
  • Implement a fabric buying ban: I have a stupid amount of fabric stashed away and there is no reason to buy more;
  • Sew for at least 15 minutes every day (when possible), as I find I loaf around on the couch after work on weekdays and then feel guilty for not doing anything productive/ not sewing.
I'll be keeping up with my progress by posting daily outfit photos on the 'gram, and posting about my 15-minutes of sewing in my stories.

So there it is!  Spoiler alert: I already cheated a bit on the fabric buying ban.... I did buy some fabric at the veeeery end of April, and then scooped up some swimwear fabric from Blackbird when it dropped the other day... OOOPS.  I mean, I'mma give a pass on the swimwear especially because I don't really have a stash of that, and don't have enough for some new swimmers this year.  Sure sure I made 3 suits last year... but I don't actually love all of them?  ANYWAYS!  We'll see how the rest of the month goes!


Me-Made-May Outfit Tracker Template 2019!

Last year, as a part of my Me Made May 2018 Pledge, I wanted to track what I wore every day, and how it made me feel... so I put together an "outfit-tracker"!  I've updated the Outfit Tracker for this year, and once again have made it available for download.

The tracker is laid out like a calendar, and with the drop-down menus, you can select what you wore that day from your own list of self-made items.  Last year I wrote a quick blurb about how I felt... but this year I'm just going to use a numbered system for consistency's sake.  Feel free to use it however you wish!

You can also change the names of the categories or take some out if they don't quite suit you... but I feel like I've covered almost everything that one could be wearing day-to-day!  I guess with the exception of undergarments, but you can always enter those in the "Other" category.

If you would like to download the template, I've made it available at this link: http://bit.ly/2HYLC9d

If you do use it and share it, all I ask is that you tag me @kalliesews, or give me appropriate credit as I built it from scratch 🤓.  Thanks!  If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment here and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  Happy #memademay2019!


Cone Mills Denim Morgan Jeans

Now that I know I can do it, I am OBSESSED with making jeans & pants.  OBSESSED, I tell you.  Last year I had maybe 3 pairs of pants, total, in my wardrobe.  Only one of them being me-made.  Now I'm up to at least 7 pairs, all me-made.

These are (I think) the third pair of wearable pants I made, second pair of denim jeans, and first made from non-stretch fabric.  When I bought the 100% cotton Cone Mills denim, it was really stiff and I was worried about how it would sew up.  Thankfully it softened up perfectly in the wash, and is just the right weight and slight drape for a pair of "boyfriend style" jeans.  Enter, the Morgan Jeans by Closet Case.  



Burgundy Cleo Pinafore

In the spirit of the #SewBibs challenge, I present my burgundy twill Cleo Pinafore!  Sew Bibs is a challenge for the month of March hosted by a handful of awesome women.  You can catch the details of the challenge on the blog Fa Sew La, and a pattern round-up on the blog Cookin' & Craftin'.

This is the second Cleo I've made, but the first one I've actually worn more regularly.  The first one was made in a similar fabric, but in green... and doesn't really fit anymore.  I was a bit hesitant to wear this to work... but paired with a black turtleneck or a black & white striped top, I looks put-together enough for my somewhat casual office.