Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maternity Wrap Top: Megan Neilson Simplicity 1468

I've been eying this Megan Neilson maternity wrap top since I first saw it on her website. When I found out I was pregnant again, one of the first things I did was buy the pattern! It turns out that Simplicity bought the design and published it, so I picked it up at the next Simplicity patterns sale at Joanne's.

I do admit I had reservations, even before starting to sew it up. It promised to be both super cute, and super fussy to wear... and it has lived up to expectations!

I made it up in a micro-stripe stretchy rayon knit from my local fabric shop, Homespun. I loooove the knit, I bought it in two colors and might go back for more! The pattern sewed up really quickly. There are a couple of things that always irk me in Simplicity patterns, especially knit patterns-- the ridiculous amount of ease in the patterns, and sleeves with tons of sleeve header that you are supposed to ease in. I just can't understand why that is necessary on a knit pattern. However, this Megan Neilson/Simplicity pattern had none of that nonsense! I cut my prepregnancy size and it fits beautifully without removing inches from the side seams, and the sleeves sewed into the bodice beautifully without cutting off tons of sleeve header. Which is all good, considering I didn't make any sort of a muslin.

The called for seam finish is super simple, just turn the edges and sew. I used a twin needle to allow for some stretch.

So, as expected, the top looks sort of cute! And the clever design will certainly expand with a growing belly.

Also as expected... it is super fussy. The ties that wrap around the belly are ridiculously long... the sort of have to be I guess. But it is really awkward to put on, and the thought of having to fight with yards and yards of criss-crossing ties is enough to turn me off from wanting to put it on in the morning. That is sort of a personal preference though, I like my wardrobe to be pretty easy without much fussing, there is enough fussing in the morning with trying to get my 2 year old out the door!

Looking at the picture below, I'm reminded that I also dislike how the seams end up prominently displayed on my belly! I suppose more careful wrapping would fix this, but I just don't have the patience!


I probably should have expected the other fault... there is a high likelihood of wardrobe malfunction in this top. In fact, it is totally visible in the pictures. So, this top absolutely must be layered over a tank top, which sort of isn't my preference-- I dislike the lack of definition in a tank top, a bra gives a better profile. And even when layering over a tank, the tank sometimes peeps through... you can see it in the pictures. I really, really dislike having to constantly adjust my clothing throughout the day, not to mention the discomforting thought that students and colleagues might notice.

Do the flaws outweigh the benefits of this top? I'm undecided. I might just leave this top as is... its expandability might outweigh its flaws as I grow so massive that I don't fit into anything else! Or I might just take it apart and make it into a more practical top... I could very easily convert the bust into a faux wrap and add a ruched bodice. What do you think?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Suno mirrored paisley silk blouse: Simplicity 1661

Hello all! Sorry to have disappeared, but it was a confluence of factors that kept me away from my blog. A major one was the start of the school year, which just swept away my spare time like a stiff unrelenting wind. If I had any time at all, I put it into sewing! But things are easing off, at least for now, and I have a small pile of new makes to blog.

For example, take a look at this beauty!

It is a flowy silk blouse made in a gorgeous silk charmeuse from Emmaonesock. Do you realize I don't own a silk blouse that is less than 10 years old? And those old silk blouses that persist in my closet mostly don't get worn due to poor fit, in one way or another. I can't imagine why it has taken me this long to make a silk blouse because they are just heaven to wear, so light and silky.

The pattern is Simplicity 1661, which is just a joy to sew. It as a few quirks, such as a slit that goes halfway up the back. Who in their right mind thought that was a good idea, for anyone except a teenager going to a disco? But that is easy enough to fix, I just ignored the instruction to stop sewing the center back seam halfway down the back. It fits just fine without the slit.

Before I continue, do I look different to you?

Well... I'm pregnant! 17 weeks today, if I'm counting correctly! We are sooooo excited.

In all honesty, this was another thing that kept me away from my blog. You see, in my status as "advanced maternal age" (that would be anyone over 35, FYI) I was reluctant to announce my pregnancy before I was well into my 2nd trimester. I've miscarried in the past, and I had at least one chemical pregnancy this while trying to get pregnant, which renewed my fears about miscarrying. I'm also ridiculously paranoid about having a bad result on the genetic testing.

But as it turns out, this little fetus has passed all tests so far with flying colors, and she sure seems to be here to stay. She's taking over my body, as you can see! I feel HUGE. These pictures were sort of shocking to me when I first saw them.

They say that every pregnancy is different, and for my first trimester I was EXHAUSTED, which I expected. But this time I also have nausea, which I escaped from during my first pregnancy. On the one hand I welcome it, since your chances of miscarrying are much lower if you have nausea as a symptom. But on the other hand, it sucks. It is the weirdest sensation, since one does not usually want to eat when nauseous, but in this case, if I don't eat, I get more nauseous. So on the advice of my midwife, I'm munching all day, every hour or two at least, trying to stick to small portions of healthy foods. It is strange having to eat when I am not hungry. I also feel huge, and having to eat all day doesn't help that feeling. But having a healthy baby is the ultimate goal, so I'm just trying to ignore my vanity. Hopefully I'll be able to retake my body for my own in couple years when this little fetus/baby doesn't need it quite so desperately anymore!

Anyhow, the exhaustion has made me a bit less productive in my sewing, since laying on the couch is just sooooo enticing. But I had to do some sewing-- what is a pregnant gal to wear otherwise? I found Simplicity 1661 when I was looking for a flowy, non-clingy blouse to "hide" my pregnancy before I was ready to announce it. Of course, at this point, I'm not hiding much of anything, and I think it would actually look cute with a little belt above my belly, but I didn't have one handy to try out today.

Mostly I sewed the pattern up right out of the envelope, in my usual pre-pregnancy size. In Simplicity patterns, there is usually so much ease that I have to take things in, but in this case the ease gave me plenty of room for my growing body. I did add a bit of length though, all around, to account for my growing belly, and just a touch of width in the side seams to give me a bit more wear out of it for the coming months.

I don't know how I managed it, but I sort of mixed up the neck band with the sleeve band on one side. I think it isn't too terribly noticeable, despite the fact that I ended up using the non-bias cut neck band to finish the armhole! Definitely not suggested, but I was too lazy to undo it all when I realized my mistake. And the effect of using the armhole binding on the neck band is that it is just a bit thinner than it was meant to be.

Speaking of armholes, I decided to turn the binding to the inside and hand slip stitch it in place for a nicer finish. (I think the pattern has you turn the binding to the inside and machine stitch it, but I didn't read to carefully so don't quote me on that).

The most time consuming part of making the blouse was cutting it out, since I really wanted to utilize the pattern to create a mirror-image effect. I've been admiring a lot of runway and RTW fashions that have mirroring and totem-like effects, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at it. It is a bit funny that I ended up with a heart over my heart. If I had thought about it I might have switched the front and back to avoid such blatant cuteness. But it didn't occur to me, so I am just going with it!

I guess the only other thing I have to say about this pattern is that as usual, Simplicity seriously overestimates the amount of fabric needed. For version C, you are supposed to need 1 3/4 yards of 60 inch, and I think I had 1.5 yards of 58 inch fabric and there was plenty of room to luxuriously pattern match. And wait until you see the next version, which I eeked out of just over a yard... but that is for another post!

So that's all for now. More to come, as I catch up on my blogging! Some indy patterns... a Megan Neilson maternity pattern, and another Papercut pattern which I can't wait to show you but it has been too warm to wear lately.