Finished Project: Mum’s maternity top

I think I may be nearing the end of being able to make clothes at home for a while :-(. I have to cut the fabric out on the floor and it’s getting a little tricky to bend down without squashing the baby!

I will hopefully be able to enlist some (Dave) help to make at least one more thing I’d been planning, but for now I have just finished the 1980s maternity top using my mum’s pattern from when she was pregnant with me.

I made the middle top, with elements of each of the other dresses.

I was really pleased with everything I’d learnt and how well I’d been able to do it – from rouleau loops (see the tutorial I did here), to my first collar, to making the front buttony bit (not sure what that’s called!) neat on the outside and inside – you can’t see any seams or anything from inside!

Then I went to shorten the sleeves and realised I’d been a bit over zealous with the overlocker and got a bit of the left (right in the top photo) sleeve itself trapped in the seam, hence the horrible crease you can see in the photo! Thankfully it’s not as noticeable when on I don’t think, especially if I turn that arm away from the camera…!

The style is obviously not meant to be figure hugging, but even so I took quite a bit of fabric out at the back seam to make it slightly more flattering – it is part baby and part fabric making it stick out that far!

While it’s not a top I would necessarily choose if I wasn’t pregnant, I learnt lots in its construction, and it’s nice to have used one of my mum’s patterns!


How to make rouleau loops (and what they are)

By the end of my Clothes Making class on Monday, I was feeling pree-tty pleased with myself. Why? Because I not only learnt what a rouleau loop is, but I also learnt how to make one.

So what is a rouleau loop?

It does not, as I spent much of my lesson hoping, have anything to do with a roulade except for the fact both words are to do with rolling in French.

Num, num, num...

Sadly, a rouleau loop is in no way edible.

Rouleau on it’s own is a decorative technique that involves creating patterns with piping, cording or bias tape.

A rouleau loop uses the same cord or piping, but as a way of fastening buttons. I guess we’re most familiar with them being used down the back of bridal gowns. No prizes for guessing whose dress came up most when I did a quick search!

As you may have seen from a previous post, I am currently making a top using a maternity pattern my mum had when she was pregnant with me.

I am making the middle top, but with short sleeves and two buttons down the front. It is these two buttons that require the rouleau loops, so here goes on how I did it!

(Apologies for poor photos, I forgot my camera so had to use my phone)

By drawing round a set square, cut a piece of paper with a right angle and 45 degree angle.

Next, draw a line 2.5cm (or as required) in from the 45 degree angle.

Pin this triangle on to your fabric, using the straight sides to line up with the selvedge. The 45 degree line gives you your bias.

Cut along the inside line drawn at 2.5cm parallel to the 45 degree line, this will create a strip of fabric cut on the bias.

Fold the strip in half lengthways and pin together.

Sew a straight line a few millimeters from the folded edge.

Taking a strong needle and thread, attach the thread to one end of the fabric, next to the opening of the channel you have created. Now for the tricky bit!

Start threading the needle through the channel, but with the blunt end first to make it easier. Keep going until the needle and thread come out the other end.

The fabric now needs to be turned inside out, with all the excess fabric being captured within the roll. This took me a lot of wriggling and trial and error, but essentially you should be able to pull the thread, which will in turn pull the fabric through from the other end where you have already attached it firmly.

Keep going!

Eventually it will all come through, and it then needs a quick steam from the iron by pinning each end to the ironing board.

I then used this cord to create the rouleau loops for my buttons, checking the size of the loops against the buttons themselves.

The final rouleau loops on the front of my top!

If none of this makes sense, I found this guide here which may be useful!

Image sources 

Some early 80s Style

After completing my polka dot top in my clothes making class earlier this week, I needed another top to make for the remainder of the term. I must’ve spent a good hour on the internet wondering what to buy, before I remembered that my mum had given me some maternity patterns she had used when she was pregnant with me. Although possibly a little bit weird, I thought it would be nice to give one a try – enter Style 2381, and some amazing haircuts.

As the stamp on the front of the envelope shows, my mum bought this in Edinburgh which is where I was born. It is quite in keeping with the period – Diana was the trend setter for maternity wear when my mum was pregnant with me.

Oh Lordy. I’m hoping I won’t end up looking quite so tent-like by only making the top rather than the dress, and giving it short sleeves rather than the long ones! Having never done a collar before hopefully I will learn something new along the way as well.

This is the first ‘old’ pattern that I’ve worked with, and I think the markings are much clearer than current ones.

You even get a handy sewing machine foot to show you where to sew!

I’m going to make this top out of a black and white gingham, but to avoid it looking too much like a school dress the check is only a few millimeters big (it is small enough to make you feel like you’re going to fall over if you look at it for too long). It’s from Saheed’s Fabrics on Walthamstow High Street and was £2 a metre.

I think I may be gradually turning in to my mum 🙂

Image sources

Finished Project: BurdaStyle maternity skirt

Things have been getting a bit dire in my wardrobe – the rapid growth of my tummy has meant that in the last couple of weeks I have I managed to pop a button off a cardigan, rip a hole in one dress, cause a bow to come unstitched on another, and also rip a pair of pants (underwear / underpants – what do you call them in the US?!).

A nasty trip to Oxford Street to try and remedy the problem actually just made things worse. Either none of the maternity clothes were to my taste, or were far too expensive (Topshop, I’m talking to you) to be able to justify only wearing them for a few more months.

So, I need to get a wriggle on in making a few more things before I bust out of anything else! I found the BurdaStyle maternity range a week or so ago and was mulling over whether to make the skirt or trousers. The skirt won for it’s ease of construction, and here is the finished article.

I used the left over black jersey from my New Look 6000 dress, so including the pattern and fabric I reckon this skirt cost about £5!

The actual construction of the skirt was super easy, put in some gathers and stitch together basically.

A weird angle view of the gathers that will help the skirt grow with me

It was the sizing that caused me the biggest issue. After I had finally located the size chart on the BurdaStyle website, I used my hip measurements and the nearest size was a 42 so this is what I cut and sewed. I mean, how can it go wrong?

Well. After removing a total of at least 10cm from the sides of the skirt, redoing the gathers, and getting a little bit cross at how bad the size chart is (this isn’t just me it turns out, there are quite a few complaints about it!), I had a nearly finished skirt. Admittedly I didn’t actually measure the pattern and check it like I’ve been taught, but I couldn’t really see how this was going to go wrong! Now for the waistband.

As far as I know Burda started in Germany. And it is a possibility that pregnant German women grow upwards as well as outwards. That is the only explanation I can possibly think of when it comes to the waistband you are supposed to put on this skirt, as it came up OVER MY BUST. Not just a little bit, it completely enclosed my 32 triple N (it’s not really this big, but I’m sure it’s getting pretty close :-)) bust! Even folding the waistband over kept some of it well covered!

Using my powers of deduction that this was not where the WAISTband was meant to be I halved it, and then took off a bit more. The waistband you see before you now is still folded in half. Have I got across yet how big this thing was?

I have to say though, considering the black skirt below from the NCT shop is a whopping £45, I’m pretty happy with mine, big waistband and all 🙂

Burda Bump Wear

Some of you may have seen, but BurdaStyle have just issued a maternity range and I am debating whether to try a couple of the patterns. The first is a pair of trousers.


After the stress of my first pair of Clovers (back in the olden days of 2011 I simply didn’t know what I was getting myself in to by attempting trousers!), I’m not sure I want to tackle another pair, but they are definitely something that would come in useful. I may even have enough fabric left from the Clovers so they could be relatively cheap to make as well.

The second thing I might try is this skirt:


I definitely have enough black jersey left from my New Look 6000 dress, so it would be another relatively inexpensive make.

I am hoping that by making these items, they will also transform me in to looking like the glamorous model with her unrealistically small chest. I am currently sitting here covered in an unsightly rash from an allergic reaction to something, so I would be happy even with a little bit of her glamour right now :-)…

Although on closer inspection her bump is a bit of a weird shape isn’t it? It definitely has a more cushion-stuffed-up-the-tshirt outline. Maybe I should be careful what I wish for!

Has anyone else tried Burda Patterns? If so are they any good?

Finished project: New Look 6000

It turns out that not only does sewing cheer me up and take my mind off things when I’m down, but for once taking photos for the blog actually made me feel better too!

The other day I was feeling a bit blue about the fact that I’m slowly growing to the size of a whale, or small house (yes, I know I have a lot more growing to do yet – let’s just blame the hormones on this occasion!). The last thing I wanted to be doing was taking photos of me. So in order to try and get myself out of this mindset, I sat myself down and explained to me that I have a new dress to show everyone – a dress that I’m actually quite proud of. I also pointed out to me that if I am going to be turning in to a small house there is really no better reason than because you have a little person inside you. It is far better to be growing in to a small house for this reason than because you ate too many chips. So I then put myself in the shower, had another quick talk with myself (in my head you realise, I wasn’t just walking round the house mumbling away), did my hair and make-up, and got the camera set up.

Lo and behold, when I was ready and in my new New Look 6000 dress I felt much better about things. And here is the finished article!

I think I like this dress more than anything I have made so far. Not just because of the style, which is quite simple but sophisticated with a bit of a retro feel, but because I was able to put quite a lot of what I have learnt over the last few months in to practice. I was also able to see where I went wrong, and how to do it differently next time.

As I mentioned in my last post on the dress, after a little chat with Handmade Jane we decided that making this fitted dress out of a double knit (which is stretchy), should work even though I’m pregnant. I ended up getting really heavy jersey from Saeed’s Fabric’s as it was only £2 a metre as opposed to £8.99 a metre for double knit from the internet. I decided if I loved the dress enough to make another one then maybe I could splash out on the more expensive fabric later! Buying the cheaper fabric did mean I was restricted to black, but you can’t really go wrong with a black dress can you.

So, fabric bought and washed I decided again to cut out the dress in the biggest size to accommodate my bust and bump. Rather than make a toile I made the alterations either to the pattern before cutting, or directly on the final dress itself. And quite a few alterations I had to make! I think my mistake was that I forgot to account for the ease that had been added to the pattern for woven fabrics, and I didn’t need as much because I was using a stretchy fabric. I could have made the dress a couple of sizes smaller and it would still have had room for growth really.

I only worked that out after it was all cut and made though, so on I went with the many adjustments that were needed. Firstly the bust darts were down round my ankles! So they had to be moved up, and A LOT of excess fabric had to be removed either at the back seam or by making the darts bigger. This isn’t a problem at the moment as I can let them out as my tummy grows.

I also had to take the shoulders in a lot, which I did both on the pattern before cutting out the fabric, and then on the dress itself. It’s the same problem I keep coming up against due to my funny proportions, so next time I think I may have to bite the bullet, make a garment to my shoulder and normal body size, and then do a dreaded full bust adjustment!

By the time I got to the lovely collar everything was a bit mismatched so I adapted the collar to fit in a slightly different way at the back. I didn’t need to put in a zip because I can get the dress on and off fine as the fabric is stretchy. I also didn’t have to line it or do any of the facings due to the fabric (thanks Jane for pointing all of this out to me before I started!).

The beautiful brooch was a 30th birthday present from a friend! The pattern calls for a button, so I’m just waiting until the right button finds me before adding it.

And one final picture of me, the dress and the bump. And yes, I do realise looking at these photos that the bump isn’t as big as it is in my imagination 🙂

Jumping on the New Look 6000 bandwagon

After seeing the New Look 6000‘s popping up all over the place I decided for my next project I was going to come late to the New Look 6000 Frock Fest set up by Scruffy Badger, and make my own.

My first problem was my growing tummy, and the fact that this is a fitted dress. I need not have feared though as Handmade Jane came to the rescue! Jane made her NL 6000 from a bright red double knit, which I thought might just work for me as its a stretchy fabric. Jane also agreed and gave me a few pointers on how to make it – I could skip loads of steps basically – yay!!

So having got the fabric sorted, I was ready to start. Here was where I faced one of the most annoying problems in making your own clothes from commercial patterns. How the blinkin’ ‘eck are you meant to get them back in their teeny tiny little weeny envelopes once you’ve unfolded and used them??!.

Believe it or not, all that came out of the envelope on the top of the pile. There are quite a few different versions of this dress, which means there are lots of pattern pieces. Short of ironing each piece when it is folded to make it as flat as possible (which I certainly can’t be bothered to do!), this was the best I could manage.

Imagine my despair when I realised I’d cut the wrong bit out and had to take everything out again to find the right one…!

I have actually finished the dress now, but am waiting for a good hair day to take a photo to show you properly :-).

And if you scroll down a bit on the right of my homepage, I have added a new widgety thing for the  New Look 6000 Frock Fest, but am not sure it’s working quite right yet?

Image source