One thing I tend to do is buy up new fabric prints and then hang on to them forever and never make anything with them. Then they aren’t really cool anymore. Or, the print might still be awesome, but everyone has already seen them and sewn with them and moved onto something else, so I feel like I missed the boat. I bought some Washi to make a Washi dress with and never did. I bought some and old lace to make myself shorts with and never did. I won a charm pack of Briar Rose and had a quilt planned out, but . . . well, you get the picture.
When one of my favorite artists, Leah Duncan, released her Tule fabric line, I carefully chose two fabrics to order with a few possible projects in mind, but nothing definite. This gorgeous Meadow Vale Dark is exactly the type of fabric that I’d hoard forever, constantly changing my mind about what I wanted to do with it and then never using it in the end. But what’s the point of having such beautiful fabric if all it’s going to do is sit on the shelf?
I was looking through Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings (affiliate link), the same book I used to make this nursing top, and was intrigued by the other nursing top included, the Four Corners Blouse. I wasn’t convinced that it was my style or that it would be flattering on me, but I wanted to give it a try anyways since I’m trying to find ways to give my nursing wardrobe some variety. I debated whether or not I should use my precious Meadow Vale fabric or not. What if I didn’t like the top and ended up wasting the fabric?
Well in the end I decided to just go for it because letting it sit on my shelf would be a waste as well.
The construction of the top is really quite interesting – all the pieces (and there are quite a few) are rectangles! So there are no pattern pieces to trace, only rectangle measurements. I made some obvious changes to the pattern, 1. I omitted all the buttons and button loops. They are purely decorative anyways and I like to keep it simple. 2. Instead of using a contrasting fabric for the placket (in between the boobs), I used the main fabric to avoid drawing more attention to the chest area.
I also made the straps narrower and lengthened the top and made a few other changes here and there. This top is made with a panel in the front that acts as a nursing cover that opens up when you untie the ties. Pretty creative and sneaky!
The downside though, is because the front panel isn’t connected to anything at the sides, I noticed that when I was picking up things, say, children for example, it would flip up easily and expose my tummy. Not good.
I can’t say that I love this top, but I am glad that I gave it a try and I will definitely wear it. Mostly layered up like this to give me a bit more coverage. I think this fabric might have been better as something simple like a Wiksten Tank or an Everyday Skirt, but knowing that I probably would have just let it sit in my stash indefinitely makes me feel like using it was the right decision. And I do love opening up my closet and seeing this lovely fabric begging me to put it on 🙂
Do you have any favorite nursing top patterns? I’m trying to sew more for me, but need to keep it breastfeeding friendly so I feel like my choices are pretty limited. I have a few nursing hacks in mind, but I’d love to hear your suggestions as well! And if you have some fabric in your stash that you are saving away for a special occasion, I dare you to just use it in your next project! You might be really glad you did!!
Have a great weekend!
Your top turned out really cute and the fabric is gorgeous!
I have to keep all my stuff nursing friendly too I just finished a Cake Tiramisu (still unblogged) which works great for nursing. Megan Nielsen has a couple of maternity tops/dresses. Personally I’m not a fan of the style of her Perfect Nursing Top but I made a couple Pina dresses while pregnant and I love them. Perfect for nursing and the pattern includes a top length. I might go ahead and make a top. But to be honest I’m kind of over nursing-specific styles and usually just wear a t-shirt that I pull up. Currently on my cutting table is the Plantain Tee and Renfrew top.
Thanks! Ooh, the Tiramisu does look good for nursing! Though I tend to stay away from knit dresses because they cling and show off my lumpy tummy bumps 😛 I’m planning on making a Plantain Tee soon too! Can’t wait to see yours!
The Tiramisu really isn’t too bad in the cling department. I have a lumpy, flabby 3-baby tummy so I certainly avoid the clingy knit dresses too!
I love the fabric, and love the top! It is really flattering, and I wouldn’t have guessed it was a nursing top.
Have you tried nursing tanks? (Target had them when I was nursing a few years ago). I wore them under everything, including regular t-shirts, and when it was time to nurse I could lift my shirt and easily nurse. My tummy was always covered by the tank top underneath.
Anyway, you could try a nursing tank under this top if you are concerned. 🙂
I was going to suggest the Target nursing tops as well! I prefer to keep my belly covered, and with these I didn’t have to buy any nursing-specific tops but still feel comfortable enough to nurse anywhere. Your top is cute and what a fun fabric!
Thanks!! Yes, I bought a bunch of nursing tanks from Target at the beginning and basically live in them. 🙂
I really love this!
Wondering if there’s a way to make it NOT a nursing top for the amateur home seamstress? And is it something that you can alter for later when you’re done nursing?
Lol I don’t need a nursing top for sure… But the pictures are really pretty on Flickr, too. 🙂 I love empire tops with gatheres or float bottoms on me. Very forgiving. And the fitted chest areas give me a little shape without hugging the curves I’m not as proud of. 🙂
Yes, it’s true that this style is really flattering/good at hiding the tummy area and I DO love that. I bet you could make a non-nursing version! I think it would work if you adjusted the width of the panels and sewed the sides shut instead of leaving the front panel open. There is an elastic casing in the back for fit and otherwise, it’s just a tube of fabric. The ties give it all the shape by bringing it in under the bust. You should give it a try!!
The fabric is beautiful, and the top came out great, if you ask me! It’s always a happy day when you use fabric from your stash!
Agreed!! And thanks 🙂
This top looks great on you, and I think it was a good call on making it more simple by getting rid of the buttons and the center front contrast panel! (I love the fabric print too!) I wonder if a stretchy camisole that could be pulled down off your bust would solve the tummy gaping problem? (I’m a layers girl since I am tall, I wear camisoles under everything so my back and stomach don’t hang out as I bend and move throughout the day)
Thanks! The straps on this top make it difficult to wear with a camisole, but if I’m going to wear it with a cardigan and cover up my shoulders I suppose it doesn’t matter. I do like to wear a nursing tank/camisole under pretty much everything these days.
what a lovely top, I am glad you used some fabric you loved – I just helped my mother sort out her fabric collection – with several pieces she had loved in the 70s and 80s, but never quite gotten round to using… now it is up to me to find a project for them 🙂
Wow! That’s awesome! I wonder if I’ll ever pass down some of my unused fabrics to my kids when they are older. Hard to think of my stash someday being “vintage!” 😛
Oh it looks soooo gorgeous on you, Cherie! The colors in that print go so perfectly with your coloring. As for nursing tops, I usually wear a tank top with another knit top over it – pull up the outer top and pull the tank down and you’ve got pretty great nursing coverage while not revealing a postpartum belly. Works best once you and baby are pretty confident nursers, though. So yeah, I’d say Deer & Doe Plantain, Grainline Hawthorne or a knit Scout, or maybe my scoop top? 😉
…oh and a Sewaholic Renfrew too, of course! I got that one for Christmas and can’t wait to try it.
Thanks Kristin! Yeah, I’m definitely all about layers. I have two standard styles right now – the nursing tank/camisole with a knit/loose shirt on top to pull up or button down shirts with a tank underneath. The Plantain is really high on my list right now and I actually bought the Renfrew too, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to that. Hurry up and sew yours up and that will probably motivate me to try it. What mods are you going to make for your bump? Or will you wait till after?
Way to use some of the scary beautiful fabric on the shelf! I get paralysis too. I’ve been trying to find a good nursing friendly option when it comes to sewing for me too. My uniform is usually a tee with a tank under or a flannel button down with tank under. Every day. Haha.
Duuuuude – I’m all about the button downs. I have about 4 that I just rotate through. So I have an idea to hack a pattern by adding a deep button placket. I’m also thinking I need to get the Grainline Archer pattern and just fill my closet with button downs!
Btw I made clover a dress out of this same fabric and she will. not. wear. it. Lol. I might rip it apart to make something else.
Ugh – that’s the worst. Definitely try to salvage it! Don’t let it go to waste!
What a beautiful top! You look fabulous too.
that print is just beautiful on you! and good for you, cutting into that stuff! i know just what you mean…by the time you’re finally ready to use something, there are 10 new ones you’d rather use. happens to me way too often. damn fabric industry!
Exactly!! You, in particular, make it super hard for me – every time you post a new project I totally want to buy whatever fabric you used! You always choose the best fabrics 🙂
I love the look of this top on you, Cherie. Very cool. It makes me wish I had something like this when I was nursing.
Thanks! My SIL was just saying the same thing! She said she didn’t even have a nursing cover at the time and it’s so hard to imagine not having something like that. I guess I’m lucky 🙂
I think it’s a lovely top. Your modifications look spot on (how could it not have had more length?)
I’m sitting on some fabrics, notably a border print from Spoonflower that I totally misjudged the scale of the print! It’ll have to be a maxi dress for me or maybe a beanbag. Can’t decide….. (I guess a failed maxi dress is easily filled with polystyrene balls and sat upon so I shouldn’t fear)
Haha – yeah, you’re good either way, so go for it! Curious to see this border print now . . .
aw yeah!!! love this! I think it looks super cute on you, and I totally hear you about sitting o old fabric until it’s not cool anymore…a chronic problem for me!!
Thanks Rae. I bet you have an incredible fabric stash . . .
Ooooooo, pretty! I love the fabric, the colors look great on you! I made this top last time I was nursing, but I think it only got worn a couple of times…I wasn’t crazy about the fabric I chose. You definitely need some Archers in your life!
Yeah, it’s not a top I reach for very often. But an Archer . . . that would be such a great investment since I could continue wearing it long after I’m done nursing, right!? So I can totally break my goal of sewing all the patterns I already have and buy this one right!? 😛
Yep, I get it, I’ve been hoarding Denyse Schmidt fabric for a while…
When I was nursing I bought this knit jersey dress from the Etsy shop Replicca: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/99906036/made-to-order-french-terry-bamboo-cowl?ref=shop_home_feat_2
I made a couple tops, but always went back to the dress. And I am still wearing it today…
Very comfy and great quality.
Ooh, that dress looks cool! Wonder if I can figure out how to make it myself . . . 😉
Yeah… That was my goal when I bought it. -Buy one, encourage the artist, then, make a couple for me 😉
It’s a very clever construction. I guess you could start with a t-shirt pattern, make it longer at the bottom with a large band. For the collar, it’s about 12″ large and wraps around the neck like a shawl collar would. It is so wide, it makes it easy to breastfeed. But I have to say, the quality of the original one is amazing.
Yeah, I do like to support independent makers as well. Thanks so much for the info! I probably won’t actually get around to making it myself, but it is a brilliant idea!
It looks perfect on you. When you get tired of it, make a little pair of shorts for your tiny supermodel baby!
Thanks! And yes, that’s a great idea! Definitely enough fabric to make something for the baby!
Have you seen the lovely tops and dresses from Peaks of London? No patterns, I’m afraid but great for inspiration. I have the Tokyo top, which I like (but don’t love, it has similar flaws to your blouse) and I’ve got my eye on the waterfall top. Most of them involve an under layer with an access…erm…slit shall we call it with another floaty layer on top. I’m sure you’d be able to use the same principle to hack a top or dress that you love. The only thing I’d say is that with the slit you don’t get a lot of room to manoeuvre so the top can sometimes can get a bit messy, if you know what I mean.
No, I’d never heard of them – thanks for the link!! I do like looking at different styles online for inspiration! Thank you!
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