What are your measurements/body shape?
Bust: 43″, waist: 37″, hips: 43″, bra size: 40DD (but that’s debatable), height: 5’3.5″, inseam: 30″
Typical pattern size: 16/18/20.
Typical size in RTW: 14 top, 14 bottom but that’s ever-changing depending on the time of day.
Body shape: Currently a rectangle.
I was always what I considered an hourglass, measuring 43″-34″-43″ until last year when I got pregnant with my second baby. I’m three months post partum now, and my waist hasn’t really gone back to what it was. I see a pronounced bulge in my abdomen, what is affectionately called “mommy’s apron” though I feel little affection for it. That bit is what is pushing me into completely unfamiliar territory of a rectangle body shape. Combined with my nursing boobs, I’m honestly a little lost about what would look good on me in the future.
What adjustments do you typically make when sewing?
I have a short waist and a pronounced swayback, both of which have gotten worse since baby. I’ve had to shorten the bodice of most of my tried and true patterns by 1″. My waist, the slimmest part of my torso, is just below my ribs now. It’s amazing what pregnancy does to our bodies!
I’ve also had to rethink my crotch curve. Jeans that used to look great now give me wedgies – and it’s almost impossible to find RTW pants that fit. My butt inevitably plays Pacman with my jeans. I’m postulating that my larger abdomen is stealing fabric from the back, so the pants pull into the crotch. I’ll be exploring that theory on my blog in the near future, and finding remedies for this all-too-common issue.
What are your favorite/go-to styles and sewing patterns?
Since I’m nursing, my favorite tops are easy, swingy styles that have lots of room for pull up/pull down access. U and V necklines and the trendy trapeze silhouette work well for me.
I really adore the free Laundry Day Tee (LDT) by Love Notions Patterns. I recently guest blogged about a very different style of nursing access that can be added to the LDT on the Love Notions blog. You can also see my original version here.
Summer in Texas is all about cool fabrics, my favorite of which is rayon spandex. It’s light, cool, and if you hang dry your finished tops, there’s no ironing required. The Hey June Santa Fe looks great in rayon spandex, as does the Mama Mya tee from Made for Mermaids. Both are the loose, airy style I prefer right now, and they have really great size ranges that I am lucky enough to fit into without any grading or adjustments.
The Hey June Santa Fe is a dolman with cuffs, with an edgy cropped length that I was very hesitant about in the beginning, but looks really proportionate and flattering when it hits the high hip. The alternate views are very stylish and rather unique, with great potential for lace and other embellishments, something that’s high on my to-sew list for this year.
The Mama Mya tee is another in-style pattern with great potential for lace accents. I think one pattern that really fits you well, flatters your curves and is already printed when the urge to sew strikes – that’s worth ten patterns in the bush. For me, the Mama Mya is one of those.
The Itch to Stitch Anza Dress is a favorite dress for me. It’s great for lightweight wovens, has a jumpsuit option I hope to try someday, and has a faced button front – the ideal style for nursing moms! An elastic waist lets me eat as much as I want, and the best part is the bodice is drafted for multiple cup sizes – just print your size, no FBA required. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate these little features in a pattern!
As far as pants go, I have to give the Wardrobe by Me Haute Skinnies the gold. It’s an amazing pattern, drafted beautifully and one that has traditionally fit me without any changes. I do need to make the next size up and see if that still holds true. Designed for stretch wovens, the pants feature an invisible size zipper and a nice, high waist that holds my abdomen in. I have yet to encounter a pair of dressy pants that makes me feel the way these do!
The other pair of pants I would love to mention are the Love Notions Sabrina Slims, a cigarette pant reminiscent of the 1950s. Slim from the waist to knee, then straight down, ankle length with a medium rise, these even have a maternity option in the main pattern! I have been wearing my Sabrina Slims for years now, even through my pregnancy. The elastic waistband is a girl’s best friend.
What are your future sewing plans?
While the last three years I have been a voracious pattern tester, often testing three to four garments a week, I’m slowly transitioning to testing only for a couple of designers. I’m outgrowing the trendy patterns which seem to engulf the market for a few months, where every designer seems to release their own variation of the theme. I’m looking at my closet, and while there’s no way I could restrict myself to a Capsule Wardrobe (you have a limited number of items you mix and match to make enough outfits for the season), I definitely need to relearn what meshes with my personality and new body. That means a lot of muslining, and wearing blinders when I see a testing call.
I intend to sew more solids. I often get swept up in gorgeous floral prints, and I’m not shy of color and bold patterns. I think solid basics will complement these flamboyant makes really nicely, and I don’t need to rely on the whims of RTW trends to find what fits well. Sewing solids is something I am going to have to force myself to do, but it’s going to be well worth it!
In summation – sew what you are most comfortable wearing. Sew what calls to you instead of what you are bombarded by on social media. Sewing is meditation for me, where I retreat from the world and focus just on the next step and the next stitch. Sewing completes me, and I hope you find peace in sewing too, one pattern at a time.