Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sew maternity: a retrospective

Hello, it’s Scruffybadger here, guest posting for Minnado’s House. I’m sure there’s a lot of warm fuzzy feelings thinking about family Minnado and their new addition. I hope they are all getting on just fine & are enjoying getting to know each other.

So when Minnado asked me to do a guest post, I kind of knew what I wanted to post about, having been so impressed by Minnado’s clever positioning and creations for the Fall Essentials Sewalong to make her capsule maternity wardrobe.

Minnado's Lingering Layers Skirt

Dressing for pregnancy is the perfect time to think about how to maximise your clothing, because unless you’re dripping in cash, or you plan some serial baby brewing, you don’t want to invest too heavily in clothing that has a very limited life. Most people when they are pregnant end up with less clothing than normal & wear it into the ground. Maternity clothes therefore are best acquired to maximise the options you have in wearing them. But I’m not going to post about today’s maternity wear. No, I was always encouraging Minnado to sew some vintage maternity clothes, suffering with the illusion that they would be super cute. And then I did some research – not too much mind you, but enough to gather some thoughts & memories (some made me choke with laughter!)

Hands up if you can remember pre-lycra maternity clothes? Hands up if you wore pre-lycra maternity clothes? Now I fell into this category, just about graduating into jersey during my second pregnancy possessing a single pair of leggings, but always wearing them with a floral bum & bump obscuring smock top. During my first pregnancy (late 80s) tents & pinafores (jumpers) were in. That’s what we wore. Clothing that emphasized how huge we were. Clothing that perpetuated the feeling that we were carrying a huge load, but in a vague tent-like way (no credit given for the small & perfectly formed pregnancy). The idea of showing our form & the beauty of our bumps was just not conceivable. (But please don't think I'm writing this with any kind of bitterness!)

I therefore looked up the history of maternity clothing & found some interesting articles. There is this one at the Huffington Post by Lindsay Mannering. “ A brief history of maternity clothing”, which explains how medieval women who were preggers wore aprons, to cover up where clothing didn’t quite meet around their belly anymore. Clothes were loose and not particularly figure hugging so this was not an issue. It was from the 14th century that western clothing became more form fitting, & this would require seams being let out as well as the advent of tailor made dresses for those who could afford it. The first maternity gown was created during the Baroque period, 1600-1750, and from then on clothing developed over the centuries to even accommodate breastfeeding with dresses with bibs.

The author identifies pinafore dresses as the maternity uniform throughout most of the 20th century, with little profit in this market for designers, until that is the rise of the paparazzi. Lindsay credits the increase in the designer market for maternity wear during the late 90s to the media interest in celebrity & their need to remain glamourous with bump. Look at Widepedia and it claims that designers such as Givenchy designed for Lucille Ball’s pregnancy in the 1950s. It made me chuckle that non pregnant models were used to showcase the design! Now I'd also suggest that the rise of technology and different fabrics, lycra and elastic helped progress maternity fashion, surely providing far more comfort, but in later years, also allowing allowing celebration of the bump. Which leads me to focus on my quest in this post. What kind of patterns were available for the home sewster ? How did fashions/ practicalities change over the decades?

I have to credit some fantastic sources of vintage patterns here - most of the pictures I have snaffled from - but it is a treasure trove! Here are some other fab places to look as well:

Are you ready now for some pictures?

From Moms Patterns

This one’s a WW2 blouse and jumper dress from Moms Patterns. These drawings look most definitely unpregnant though! Details provided indicate an adjustable waist & it is not clear what happens to the blouse as you balloon. Perhaps it is more floaty than it looks.

Moms Patterns

Another one from Momspatterns, this 50s pattern looks like normal wear (you know for women with waists!) But it all seems to be in the waistline which is adjustable- the skirt laps over at each sides to softly pleat, held with snaps & a French tacked tie belt. But what about room for busting bazonkas? Let’s face it, bust size changes & even the smallest chest takes on the guise of large tropical fruit. And one can also acquire extra arm fat– I’d imagine the bolero would not be comfortable in the later stages.

Moms Patterns again

Now look at these trousers/ shorts from Moms Patterns – described as “something new in maternity pants and shorts”. It has an expandable and adjustable covered front.

Betsy Vintage

This above from and the one below (Hey Chica on Etsy) show slim skirts with adjustable waists with A line smocks over the top, but don’t they look very chic? Is it possible when you feel like a whale?

(Simplicity 2476) Hey Chica

I had great fun scooping up 60s patterns – it seems to be a design era I am drawn to. Anyone watching Mad Men will remember showing pregnancy on both Betty and Trudy (& Betty’s friend) through their latter stages & looking huge! Yay! Beautiful, glamorous and obscured in volumes of fabric. (Sorry no pics, here's a link to Trudy in a babydoll)

For the home sewster I found these patterns. From 60s, there seemed to be many “Easy to sew", lots of pull ons, I guess with the widespread availability of elastic (I’m sorry I haven’t done any research to date elastic, so this is pure supposition).

Moms patterns

The trouble with maternity patterns is that they are shown on non pregnant drawings & actually look really cute! I love the tabbed empire line for this pattern. And I REALLY like the shorts + smock look (& actually wore shorts & smock 90s version myself during mine ....)

Ready for something more ridiculous?

Moms patterns

NO! And no again! The dress is OK, but the triple triangle styling in caramel just reminds me of the pyramids ....but go to Moms Patterns if you fancy it....

Onto just one from the 70s, found at Etsy at Tenderlane.

Tenderlane at Etsy

Strangely enough, being a child in the 70s this clothing is similar to what I was dressed in by my Mum! I had a pinafore like view 3 in bottle green needlecord (with a beige peter pan collared bishop sleeved blouse. Hmmm. It was even a birthday present. Thanks Mum!).

I don’t know about you, but I want a trip down my maternity memory lane & I want me some laughs. I am just going to now bombard you with some images from the 80s. And I will point out any items that I had in my maternity “capsule wardrobe”. Mompatterns again comes up trumps .... from the McCalls “Today’s Mother “ range ...

Gathered dungarees anyone? I had some khaki ones (bought mind you) for my 80s pregnancy. I just KNOW they were awful - big bump at the front, pulling all that fabric from my behind...could be worse - I could have dressed like my baby to come - ref pink shorts romper!

Moms Patterns

Ha ha ha! No, none of these featured, but I had you guessing. I did not have any occasion to need such finery. Interestingly enough there are quite a few “career” maternity patterns out there, showing the rise of the working girl. Luckily that wasn’t me, didn't quite start my career before children!

Moms Patterns

Think Lady Di anyone? I had a bright pollen coloured yellow jumbo cord pinafore. But not quite like this one above. It was more of a tulip shape. There are stacks of Lady Di maternity patterns out there. Thankfully I did not have the urge to follow that trend....(bonus of being pregnant young I suppose)

Moms Patterns

See the shorts & smock look? For my second pregnancy I sewed more & although it wasn’t this pattern I made, I had something similar. Still looked the size of a house.

And at last.... a maternity pattern showing someone looking pretty pregnant!

Stumbleupon at Etsy

Honest modelling! I made something similar to the sleeveless short smock for shorts, but found short sleeves were better than sleeveless (arm fat struck). This has that "dress up, dress down" adaptability that many of the 80s patterns seem to have- a capsule wardrobe in one pattern.

I hope you have enjoyed this trip down maternity lane. It’s been long, if you managed to get to the end, well done. I’m not a Blogger user, so if I am slow replying to comments, that will be why (& sorry!)

Monday, 23 January 2012

FO: a girly girl

This post is brought to you with one fingered typing.

Ta-dah, here's one I made earlier! I have to say I am besotted.

After the super speedy (1 and half hour labour) and early (by 10 days) arrival of the now-dubbed Rocket Girl, I am taking it slow here. No time for painkillers unless you count biting the seatbelt in the car, I now feel hard as nails (not really).

Thank you for all the good wishes.

Right I am off now to eat something before she wakes up. xx

PS: BIG Thanks to Winnie and Mimi for guest posting.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Scraps to pretties

Hello!  Magpie Mimi here guesting for Debbie whilst she's otherwise engaged, I suppose a baby is quite a distraction...hehe!  Congratulations Debbie and family on your new little girl!

In the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle I thought I'd show you this scrap busting tutorial for two different types of fabric flowers as it uses up those long thin pieces you sometimes end up with.  The first is a twisted style flower and the other is a ruffle style flower.  So without further ado, here we go!

First things first, gather together your supplies:
  • strips of fabric, I'd say anything from 40cm upwards, anything smaller and it's going to be tricky and small
  • scissors 
  • needle and thread

Two strips of leftover fabric, scissors and needle and thread

Pick whichever piece of fabric you want to be the twisted flower and attach the cotton to the end of the fabric making sure you stitch it securely as you don't want it coming loose.

End of fabric with thread stitched on

Now, start to twist the fabric and put in slip stitches as you go to secure the twist.

twisted fabric with needle and thread coming through

Keep doing this until you get to the end of the fabric and secure the thread again as you don't want it unravelling.  Don't worry about it being evenly twisted or stitched, it's nicer when it's not so uniform in my opinion, which is why I leave all the edges raw too, but obviously it's personal opinion so go with what finished look you feel happier with.

Fabric all twisted and stitched

Then you need to start rolling the fabric.  Roll it tightly at first to get the centre of the flower and then more loosely after a few rolls to create the look of petals.  Secure each roll of the fabric to the previous layer by stitching it together just one or two stitches per roll will suffice.  You could glue it, but it may take time to dry and it may mark the fabric so I stitch it.

Roll the fabric tightly at first and secure it by stitching it together at the bottom

Mid rolling and stitching process

Then when you get to the end, fold the raw edge in on itself and stitch to the layer next to it to finish it off and voilà a finished flower!

Flower in the palm of my hand

The length of your fabric determines the size so think about how big you want it as it takes up more fabric than you think.  All you have to do then is decide what you're going to use it on, be it a hair clip, hair band, bag or top!  The decision is yours!

Here's the ruffled version:

As before secure the thread to the end of the fabric

Twist and slip stitch as you go along

Here's the difference though, don't secure the thread start pulling on it whilst pushing down the fabric towards the secured end so that the fabric ruffles

Once you've spaced your ruffles to your fancy start rolling and stitching as with the other flower

Ta Da!  Finished ruffle flower in the palm of my hand

Both flowers in the palm of my hand

Hope you have fun making them! 

I'll leave you in the capable hands of Scruffybadger tomorrow.

Do you want to know the news?

Hello everyone! It's Scruffybadger here, standing in for Minnado (any idea what's keeping her?)

Well, I'm sure you're dying to know ........

Debbie and her family have been joined by a bonny baby girl!

And while I can almost hear you all making "cooing" and "ahhhing" noises (to join my own) here are some details:

She was born on January 14th at 12.16 am, coming in as a 6lb 15oz bundle of loveliness.

To quote Debbie,

"She was a superfast delivery, almost born in the car park. I even still had leggings, boots and coat on!"

Well done Mum! You've clearly got a dynamic one there. Wishing you and your family huge congratulations on your new addition & welcome to the littlest one. Hope you're settling in easily & enjoying getting to know each other.

This message was brought to you via the Sewing Blogger grapevine...

Whilst Debbie is otherwise engaged, you'll hear again from me & also from Magpie Mimi with a couple of guest posts to keep Minnado's House warm for her!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

FO: Here we go bag

Kids back to school, feet up. In the name of displacement actitivities (I am so bad at just waiting) and in between granny napping, I finished my changing bag. I used the "Here We Go Bag" pattern from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book and stash fabric.

I used to have an old rucksack as a changing bag so it feels fun to have such a smart new one. The size of the bag attracted me to the pattern plus it has side and internal pockets and an inside divider. I hate just having one huge bag in which everything gets jumbled up and which I have to tip up to find my phone or keys. I started making the bag before Christmas and just had a small bit of finishing off to do over the past two weeks. With all the parts the pattern seemed confusing at first but once I worked through it, it became much clearer and the bag went together faster than I had expected. I would recommend this pattern, it is nice and straightforward and gives you lots of options for different ways to put it together. There are lots of opportunities to use up fairly small fabric remnants in this pattern which was fun.

For the main part I used some dark denim from the Rag Market as I wanted something hardwearing and not likely to show too much dirt. I lined it with some left over Amy Butler fabric, which also was used for the handles and also with some tea cup fabric. I used more dark denim for the central divider to try and have a fairly rigid divider. Then I used my final scraps of apple fabric to make the top edging and the side pockets. I made three internal pockets of varying sizes. The bag also has a matching (yes, co-ordinated, I know get me!) changing mat from the Amy Butler fabric which rolls up inside.

The only addition to the bag is that I am going to put a magnetic popper inside it to keep it closed.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Not New Year Resolutions

There have been lots of sewing resolutions and planning posts across the blogosphere the past few days. I have enjoyed reading these but am holding back on making a grand plan.

I have some projects I would like to do, some skills I would like to work on, but everything I think of then has the proviso added to it (in a high semi hysterical squeaky voice) ..."but I'm due to have a baby, soon". Eeek.
I probably won't have time or energy for sewing for a good while. My body is going to be changing shape so I am not really going to be able to work on garment fitting. I will be super sleep deprived so no complicated projects. So, I am going to step away from big sewing plans for now, maybe in a few months I can work some out.

HOWEVER, and there always is a however isn't there? Like lots of other blogging sewers, I did receive the Colette sewing book for Christmas and my little brain is ticking away at how to amend the liquorice dress to give it a front fastening so it is easier to feed a baby while wearing it. I also thought about sewing up the taffy blouse as it looks relatively quick. I still want to try sewing more knits but haven't found it very easy to buy knit fabrics.

I also bought myself a present "Simple Modern Sewing", subtitle: "8 basic patterns to create 25 favourite garments" Such phrases are music to my ears. The clothes in here do look quite simple to make and also look sympathetic to a post pregnancy body.

Lots of layering and floppy shapes. Also the unspoken message, make these clothes and you too will be a serene, happy woman in a peaceful clutter free house.

Loose baggy trousers are a weakness of mine

I am going to carry on with not buying new RTW clothing. This will be my third year so it no longer feels like a resolution, it is now just how I live and has become the norm.

I do want to work on the blog and improve its appearance and my photography but once again the little voice creeps in (the one about that baby).

As the recent months have been tough, this is my main resolution: I am resolved to be kind to myself, give myself a break and as I muddle through 2012 not to compare myself to other sewing/crafty bloggers out there in a negative way. I have so enjoyed making connections with other bloggers this past year, a continual source of inspiration and fun. Long may it last. xx