Monday, 17 April 2017

More on making maternity clothes - using maternity patterns

I've recently written a number of posts about adapting non-maternity patterns to work for maternity clothing. These were all for tops. You can find the main link to them here.

I was more nervous about adapting trousers, so I did buy a couple of the very few patterns around. In fact, two of the patterns I bought are vintage ones.

So this post is more of a review of 'proper' maternity patterns, and what I've learned while making them up.

I really did find it very disappointing that the pattern manufacturers seem to have lost interest in making maternity patterns. In fact, they have far more patterns for fancy dress! And overall, they seem keener on making vast shapeless sacks than anything stylish. But if you really hunt around, you can find patterns that work. Below, I'll give you some ideas, and I'll also show you the results.

1. Free patterns

First, let's consider patterns or tutorials might not cost you anything. There are a number of generous people who have shared their ideas. Here are some of my favourites.

Sew like my Mom  - a vest top and home made shorts or trousers
Made every day / Dana Made it - an elasticated sided top
See Kate Sew - DIY maternity pants
Shwin and Shwin - DIY maternity jeans
Craftiness is not optional - maternity skirts
Make it love it skirt - Maternity skirt
Make it love it belly band - belly band
Delia Creates - pencil skirt
DIY Maternity - a wrap waterfall cardigan by Megan Neilsen

It's probably no coincidence that I am also big fans of their baby patterns too. Most of these do now also make paid for patterns, but these ideas for maternity wear have been offered free of charge.

Here's my version of the  last one above, the wrap cardigan:

I did modify it a little, as I thought the sleeves would be a bit tight on my daughter (a former competitive swimmer). I also thought she would be wearing this over other clothes. So I used the sleeve pattern from another top, and cut the armscye from that pattern too. But this cardigan-cum-coat has been a godsend - if there's time, I may make another one. It's easy because if you use decent quality jersey with a good selvedge, you don't need to make lots of hems or finished edges on it.

2. Inexpensive patterns

Moving on from free patterns, there are patterns that may not cost you too much. Obviously, the first thing to try is any non-maternity patterns that can be adapted - but you'll have already read my posts on that topic. 

Next, you may find some vintage patterns around. I found these at our local fabric and craft shop, being sold very cheaply in aid of charity. (People donate their unwanted patterns.) While the style may lack something - see the padded shoulders on the Burda one! - I've found the fitting can be better than on modern patterns, and the  Burda pattern made a perfectly acceptable pair of trousers for work. I made these up in a dark pinky purple thick jersey, and the pattern was very easy to follow. (Easier than the modern Burda pattern I bought, which had some sizing issues - see below.)

Here are the pinky purple trousers. The fit on these was better than on the more modern Burda pattern, which I mention below. And was helped by my modification to the elasticated waist, see below.

On this pair of trousers, the pattern suggested elastication of the waistband (which was not a requirement on the modern Burda pattern from which I made the black trousers). I was a little wary in case this meant a constriction around the midriff which would gradually become more and more uncomfortable. So the way I got around this (and which I would recommend for maternaity trousers) is described in this post.

This seems to have worked well. You can see that they are snug but not tight or constricting. These are modelled by someone who is is 28 weeks' pregnant.

I haven't yet made anything from the Butterick pattern below, but I quite like the shape of the  short top.

3. 'Full-price' patterns

Eventually, though, you may feel you have to bite the bullet and shell out for a 'full-price' pattern. I reached this point when I came to make the first (black) pair of trousers - I wasn't confident about the shaping needed. If you do buy a commercial pattern, see if you can find one with more than one garment. This, below, is the more modern Burda pattern, 7239, which provides for trousers, a vest top, a belly band and a bolero. 

Hence, it is better value at £6.85 than many of the single garment patterns. The only problem I had was some sizing issues. The trousers were too short, but much too wide. In fact, the first time my daughter put them on, they fell straight down. I had to take a lot out of the width to make them stay up. However, once I did this, added some cuffs to lengthen the legs, and put some elastic round the top, they have become a mainstay for work. (They are actually blacker than they appear in the left-hand picture - I lightened the first photo a bit with Photoshop so you can see a bit more detail. They look great with the top over them!) You can find more about the top below. (Which is not made from this pattern but a different one.)

I also made this sleeveless top using the vest top pattern from the same Burda pattern 7239 (shortening the straps, as it's a bit low-cut).

You can read a bit more about this top, and the matching toddler top I made, here.

I didn't use the bolero from this pattern, as it's no different really from a normal bolero pattern. Anyway, I already had one (below) I'd used successfully last time around, which I think was less complicated. It proved useful for nursing, too, over a top that could be pulled down or unbuttoned.

I mentioned the long-sleeved jumper which I've pictured above. I'd had a special request for a long-sleeved jumper, and this was another pattern I found at a reasonable price.

Having learned my lesson with the Burda sizing, I went down to the size 12 on this one. However, I made a cowl neckline for it, which my daughter likes. (If you'd like to know how to make a cowl neck, see this suggestion from Made with love by Betty or look at this explanatory video by Izzy MEIMsaab.)

 I also made the belt shown in the middle picture on the pattern. Here it is without the belt.....

 .... with the belt.......

 .....and being worn with the belt ........

Actually, that's be worn by me, with a cushion up the front. Here's the real thing, without the belt.

Here are some other patterns I found that were not too expensive. They were between £6 (the skinny pants at the bottom) and £8 (the tops and pants, right below). I haven't made these up yet, but will have a go if there's enough time. 

Last, but not least, I must mention Megan Neilsen patterns. I've already referred above to her free waterfall cardigan pattern on her web site, but she is also a pattern designer, and looks to have very nice maternity patterns available. I haven't bought any as yet, as the payment is in dollars. And we may not have very long to go! But it is definitely worth a look. You can find her maternity designs here.

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