The dress that saved me, sartorially speaking.... New Look 6411 V2.0

Hello lovely people, it has been a few weeks between posts, hasn't it? We are now in the depths of winter, but we had the coldest May in a very long time, causing quite the shock to my reptilian system. Did you take part in Me Made May? I did, by default, only because 90% of my wardrobe is now self made, but did little to document. Mostly because I spent the month either in work clothes consisting of old Style Arc Elle trousers and old Mandy Boat tees, or in a variety of Hudson Pants or leggings. It was an extremely unphotogenic month for me, made all the more unpleasant by the almost constant nausea lasting all of April, May and the start of June, interrupted only by an overwhelming need to eat Cheezels or bacon every 2 hours. And the cause? Chez Tragic is expecting a mini tragic in early December.

So happy news and happy days, but my word it's been a long couple of months. That is behind me now and we are here to talk about sewing! and clothes! But, for the next little while they will be clothes made to accomodate a rapidly changing body, so my blogging may not be that interesting for all of you.....

I'm not sure if it was the nausea or the explosion in my appetite combined with a crippling inability to exercise but very early on (as in 5 weeks) I stopped feeling comfortable wearing my jeans. They're snug high waisted RTW skinnies and with that sartorial limitation plus the freezing weather my wardrobe options were very quickly limited to couple of knit dresses with tights and Hudson pants. Action needed to be taken but it was here that my scientific, sensible and rational brain got swept aside by a new, unwelcome and superstitious occupant, and thus arrived the fear of the jinx.  I got it into my head that I was risking jinxing the whole damn thing by purchasing ANY maternity patterns or clothing before the all important 12 week green-light. Idiotic I know, but it's been a very long and difficult path to get here and I just couldn't talk myself out of it. What I could talk myself into was making clothes using regular patterns, without any specific adjustments that just happened to be stretchy or more forgiving in fit, to tide me over and expand my wardrobe but were not, technically, maternity.


And so I present another version of New Look 6411 - this time a winter version, and made in the most delicious navy heathered rayon ponte from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe (the neckline facing is from a scrap of denim, for stabilisation). A stable knit is on the list of recommended fabrics for this pattern, and after stuffing a small cushion up the front of my summery non-stretch denim version I decided there'd be enough room at least for a few months of wear.



 

I made the same adjustments as my first version by cutting a couple of sizes up in the waist and hips, adding a cross body seam and pockets that I love so much, a forward shoulder adjustment and some darts in the back for shaping. I had to add little cuffs to the sleeves for length as I just didn't quite have enough fabric for full length sleeves. 


It's roomy enough for some layers underneath. It actually works very well for my growing tum - the seam sits just below the bump and the cocoon shape provides some extra mid-abdominal room. Despite the rather alarming increase in the size of both my bust and bottom the ponte is comfortable and I feel quite chic. I've worn it an absolute heap already. It's a winner. 


I do wish I'd thought to narrow the neckline a little, as it is a little breezy and wide in the cold but I pretty much always wear a scarf with it so it's not that much of a problem.  I knitted this particular scarf based on the Purl Bee No-Purl Rib Scarf pattern - it uses the Cartridge Belt Rib stitch, an ingenious combination of slipped stitches and knit stitches that creates a gorgeous easy rib without the need for purling. It's a combination of a Rowan mohair/silk yarn and a Debbie Bliss Donegal tweed, and is the perfect warm and squishy accessory in winter. 



I'm nearly 17 weeks now, and these were taken about a week ago. As you can see there's really only a hint of a bump there (I assure you I have no intentions of striking the cheesy pregnancy pose, pulling my clothing tight around me; you know I keep it real here at Chez Tragic and I've never seen a pregnant woman stand like that in real life). It's quite a significant size now though, so that gives you an idea on how roomy this pattern is. Fingers crossed it gets me through winter. I've got a sort of maternity capsule wardrobe planned. I'm trying to find that balance between still feeling myself in clothes I love without overcapitalising on garments I can only wear for a few months. I've already been loaned/gifted some maternity patterns from lovely sewing friends and have some maternity hacks planned with patterns I've already made, plus I'll be planning ahead for a nice summery nursing-friendly wardrobe. Aren't we lucky we sew? 





Comments

  1. Congratulations, lovely news! I was only a beginner sewer when I was pregnant, so didn't make any clothes back then, but I did a lot of unpicking & modifying- I would buy maternity pants from savers, but they would sit " wrong" or be too tight/ too loose, so I would change the waistband and add or shorten the elastic in it!

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    1. Thanks Dianne! The pickings are slim at Savers these days (I thought there'd be heaps of maternity pants to be honest!) but I've been able to alter some of my stretchier pants already!

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  2. Congratulations, lovely Sarah! and you're looking gorgeous of course. That dress is super cute and looks perfectly comfy too. Gosh, it's been a long time since I made and wore a maternity wardrobe, but I can still remember each and every piece! you don't really need a lot. I was particularly fond of a denim pinafore and I made a few tent dresses/tops and pedal pushers ... it was the fashion, ok?! I also had one pair of maternity jeans that were great.
    I hope all continues to go well for you! xxx

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    1. Thankyou Carolyn! Yes I've thought long and hard about what I'm going to make, I think it's just the idea of wearing the same 8 things over and over that I have to get used to! I'm very glad I live in the Age of Lycra!

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  3. Yahooo! Congrats on the growing bump and good luck for sewing adventures for a changing body ahead. Your dress looks fab btw!

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  4. Congratulations! Your dress is gorgeous, it looks wonderfully comfortable.

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  5. Congratulations! The dress looks great and I'm sure you'll wear out of it beyond pregnancy. When I was pregnant I made a lot of use out of the dresses that I had made from Japanese patterns as they have plenty of room for a large bump! They all had to go into hibernation afterwards though due to the breastfeeding situation, which is something to think about! Good luck :)

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    1. Thanks Kate! Yes there's so much to think about! But you know me - Queen Planner!

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  6. Congratulations! I was exactly the same with my pregnancies, and was too superstitious to buy maternity things before twelve weeks. The dress is lovely though, and will hopefully fit for a while.
    As Kate said above, I found tops from Japanese pattern books good for pregnancy and then breastfeeding afterwards.

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    1. Hi Suzy, thanks for your kind words! I've not tried many Japanese patterns, mostly because I'm so much bigger and taller than the average Japanese lady! But I'll definitely do some research and see what I can come up with!

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  7. Following your sewing plans with keen interest....I'm just a week ahead of you (18weeks) and need to figure out some feeding friendly summer clothes.

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    1. It's a bit hard to know the best things to plan when it's a big unknown, isn't it? One thing I do know is that I'm just not up for the whole below-the-bust feeding flap design option. At this point I've got a couple of crossover knit dresses planned, a vintage dress (simplicity 9489) that has a partial button placket and lots of gathering over the bust that I'll make as a maternity frock and belt over my bump, then maybe add an elastic waist post Bebe, and I'm also looking at hacking the Bento top into a dress with really deep sleeves to pull to the side. Check out the Big Tee over at the blog Things For Boys... plus just some elastic waisted skirts to wear with some RTW bonds feeding tanks. My grandest plan is to try a Kielo wrap dress and see if I can engineer some access in the side seams - I'm looking at a friends version on the weekend to see if I'm dreaming!

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  8. If the truth be told I'd like to steal this entire outfit... boots, tights, scarf & dress! You look fab & I look forward to seeing your maternity sewing adventure unfold.

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    1. Thankyou lovely lady, and as always thankyou for my photos! Xxx

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  9. Congratulations! I've just had my first bub (7 weeks) and I'm pleased that I avoided the need for too many 'maternity' clothes over this last summer/autumn. I wore one pair of RTW black pants and a pair of skinny jeans that I cut the front waist bands out of and replaced with a doubled over piece of 4-way stretch jersey. So comfy and these lasted me the whole time! The only two me-mades (too hot, tired and uncomfortable to concentrate on sewing...) that I found really useful were a Tessuti Frankie dress, made with a lovely soft drapey knit; and several Mandy Boat Tees that I had made over the last year or so. Without much motivation for further sewing, I resorted to buying two maternity singlets from Target (with much needed ruching to add length at the front!) and a pair of maternity leggings with a wide waist band to go up over the bump. I found it hard to justify getting anything more just for a few months wear.
    Best of luck with your pregnancy and maternity sewing! Looking great so far!
    P.S. I'd recommend looking into making things for postpartum (pads + nursing pads) - I found that while easy to sew, they were boring/time consuming to put together and not great to leave to the last minute when you're really tired and over it!

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    1. Thanks Jeanie, and congratulations to you too, hope everything is going well. I'm hoping I can convert a couple of my older work pants to get me through the next 4 months, plus just a couple of tops and some leggings. I've got high hopes of an Ooh La Leggings hack and some hudsons that if I'm clever I might be able to convert back to regular sizing in the future... time will tell if I'm being too optimistic! ;)

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  10. Congrats to you and I love the dress!

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  11. Congrats! I had a small maternity wardrobe too - it was quite tough as I felt very drab a lot of the time but it just didn't make sense to me to buy lots of clothing - also the styles available for pregnant women are, for some reason, really weird. I'm breastfeeding at the moment and mainly wear rtw nursing singlets around the house with something over top that can be pulled up. I made a number of shirts/shirtdresses but to be honest just prefer the comfiest option. It's weird how much the other parts of your body change not just your tummy, very hard to plan for!

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    1. Thanks Naomi! It does make sense to keep it contained - I'm trying to make sure I make pieces out of fabrics I love, that are still very me to make it a little less monotonous!

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  12. Congratulations Sarah! You look super chic, not at all like you've been battling nausea for the last few months. I love that dress, every time I see your versions I think I should buy the pattern! Love the coloured tights too :)

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  13. Congratulations! I remember being surprised how much my boobs and bum expanded during pregnancy too. I liked things that could be adjusted easily as I went along, rather than needing a full alteration or new clothes. Some things had a line of stitching (or two) that could be removed to expand the size as necessary around the middle, and buttonhole elastic was my friend for pants. For later, I breastfed during Melbourne summer for my November babies & when they're small it's far easier if you can see them to get good attachment. Breastfeeding tanks really sound awesome. Once you've both got how to feed sorted out, then you can better deal with having fabric in the way. I found that the clothes that worked in second trimester also suited after the birth while the stretched belly was still working out what size and shape it would end up. Not all of them were great for feeding purposes, but the size was about right.

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    1. Thanks so much Mel, and thankyou for the tips!

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  14. Dear Sarah,
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am so very happy for you! I love your dress, the fabric is luscious and the cocoon shape is tres chic! I think your maternity wardrobe is going to be very, very stylish as all of your makes are very, very stylish =) xB

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  15. Very very happy for you! And glad that you are feeling better now! You look great in these pictures, and very comfy in your lovely new dress! I think dresses are the way to go for maternity sewing-- I had issues with swelling and ended up unable to wear any of the maternity pants I had sewn! Blousy, breezy dresses ended up being way more comfy by the time my third trimester rolled around in mid-summer. Best wishes and happy sewing!

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    1. Thanks so much! Ugh - swelling! Fingers crossed I miss out on that one!

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  16. looks like lovely fabric, nice and cosy (lols at shoving the cushion up your dress!)

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    1. I'm very scientific aren't I? Thanks Colette xx

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  17. Congratulations, Sarah! That's wonderful news and I'm sorry your journey here has been hard and I do hope the rest of the pregnancy goes well.

    My hot tip for maternity trousers? Add a yoga waistband and Ta Dah!

    I personally found summer breastfeeding friendly clothes really difficult. Breastfeeding makes you hot and sticky - Babe was super warm and glued to me! I also found that I am the sort who just lifts my shirt, so in the end all the wraps and buttons etc I was going for were not necessary, and even t-shirts or rather lots of Scout Tees worked well for me, and I just shoved a muslin between my skin and Babe to stop her sticking to me, which was also useful for catching upchuck post feed!

    YAY and congratulations again and all the very best!

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    1. Thanks so much Oanh! I just did that with some work trousers today - fingers crossed it buys me some time! And thanks for the bf tips - it's just so hard to imagine what it's going to be like! Xx

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  18. OK, I'm late - but congratulations! It's such an exciting time, revel in it. Glad to hear the nauseous part is over - I used to eat a packet of Super Wines by morning tea time, so my staff 'knew' before I told them haha! Off to read about the sewing part of your post now ;)

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    1. Thanks Sheryll! Goodness I was hungry too in the first few months, I can't believe MY staff didn't pick it from that either!

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