Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick Fix for a Breastfeeding Mama

I have been sewing maternity and breastfeeding tops! I'm just about 2 weeks away from my due date and am so ready to meet our baby girl. In between chasing the 3 year old around, I've been working on creating a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe.

When I worked on my swim suit, I realized that swim wear construction can help make breastfeeding easier. I started with Vogue 8641. It has a loose silhouette and a drapey front.

I usually cut out my patterns with a rotary cutter. It saves me a bit of time if I don't have to use pins. I also find that it is more precise than using scissors. My pattern weights are gigantic washers from the hardware store.

This pattern is incredibly easy. Just three pieces: front, back and sleeve!

Here's a picture of the neckline assembly. I pinned the four seams and ran them through my serger.

Here's where I deviated from the directions. I used a length of 1/2" elastic on the neck instead of stitching a neck band out of fabric.

I experimented to find the best length elastic. It should be smaller than the opening you've got so it will gather up the extra fabric. I draped the elastic around my neck and took a leap of faith. Don't be scared, it's only fabric!

I quartered the elastic and the neckline and matched the pins so I could pin it to the wrong side of the fabric.

Use a nice big zig zag stitch to attach the elastic to the neck. Stretch the elastic in front and in back of your presser foot.

Here's what you get after you've sewn all the way around. At this point, you could try it on and see if you like the way the fabric is distributed. If not, it isn't too hard to rip out the stitching and try again.

Now you fold the elastic to the inside and stitch on the right side of the neckline. I used my coverstitch machine for this, but you can use a zig zag too.

Remember to pull on the elastic in front and behind the presser foot to keep the fabric flat.

Here's the elastic-ed neckline!!!

I stitched up the side and sleeve seams and hemmed the bottom and sleeves. Piece o' cake!

And, when you yank on it, you have access to all the right places! The elastic helps keep the neckline's shape so you don't look droopy when you release the neckline. That whole process is how you insert elastic into a swimsuit...whether it's the legs or straps. I prefer having a shirt that will either pull down or has a secret opening instead of pulling the shirt up. I'm looking forward to testing this shirt out!

I cut a size that is large enough to work as a maternity tunic. I figure I can either belt it or take it in when I am not shaped like a watermelon.

Here is the opening on a live model...so fancy is my lingerie!

Here are two more of the same type of shirt with the elastic neck. I'd say three is enough for now!

This is a nursing top based on Simplicity 4076.

I sewed a mini shirt to the outside of the actual shirt. The mini shirt has elastic at the bottom to hold it in place. I'm going to cut a 2-3" slit in the under-shirt, which will be hidden by the mini shirt. I've been wearing this as a maternity shirt too, so I didn't bother to put in the nursing holes yet.

Also from the same pattern, I made this sleeveless maternity/nursing shirt. I made no real changes other than adding more fabric to the belly area. This was easy to do since there is a seam down the front. Any shirts with plunging necklines work fairly well for me as nursing-wear.

And, that is that! Maybe before I deliver, I can finish a few more delinquent projects...quilts I started a while ago? Here's to hope!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool Brenna! I must admit that I am ready to say GOODBYE to the nursing tanks, though thankfully the summer heat makes them a pretty practical wardrobe staple.