Four Corners Nursing Blouse

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.

Tule Nursing Top1

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.

Tule Nursing Top3

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!

Tule Nursing Top4

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.

Tule Nursing Top2

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!

Mariposa Top for Me! (Confetti Sparkle for the Holidays – Part 3)

GoldSparkleMariposa1Ok, so am I a little obsessed with Dear Stella’s Confetti Sparkle line?  Yes, maybe I am.  This is the last of 3 projects I’ve made (so far) with their beautiful metallic gold dot fabric, and look at that, it’s for me!  (see Yuki and Kaya’s holiday dresses here)

The pattern is from Anna Maria Horner’s book, Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby (affiliate link).  The book has lots of sewing projects for little ones, but it’s also got its fair share of patterns for expecting and nursing moms.  This top is called the Mariposa Dress and Tunic and is perfect for breastfeeding.  It can be made as a maternity top/dress or not.  I’d been looking for some tops that worked well for nursing and was excited to try this one, especially after seeing this beautiful dress by Miriam of Mad Mim and this fun top by Meg of Sew Liberated.

GoldSparkleMariposa2I thought it would be fun to make something dressy enough for the holidays but casual enough to wear comfortably while caring for (and nursing) my baby.  The glamorous Confetti Sparkle in Cream as a Mariposa tunic turned out to be the perfect combination.

I generally stuck to the pattern in size medium/large, but made some adjustments for fit.  I ended up taking the bodice in a little and adding some tiny gathers to the front skirt piece.  The top crosses in front and wraps around and ties in the back.  A bit of elastic in the back also helps bring the top in under the bust.  You can also tie it in the front, but I prefer it in the back.

GoldSparkleMariposa3There is a modesty panel as well that makes nursing, well, more modest.  Somehow my modesty panel doesn’t fit perfectly – mostly because of the adjustments I made to the bodice – but it also seems a bit long, so if I make this top again, I’ll have to shorten the “straps” of the panel.

GoldSparkleMariposa4I haven’t actually tried nursing in this top, but I imagine it will work quite well.  I love that I can feel dressy and comfortable at the same time.

As Christmas quickly approaches I feel like my “to do” list is getting longer and longer.  I hate how this season sometimes ends up feeling a bit stressful, but it’s always worth it.  I’m looking forward to a lot of fun family time, which is really the best part of the holiday season for me.  Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you all peace and love as we close out another year.  I’m very much looking forward to a new year – new adventures with my family and more sewing and more blogging!  Very best wishes to each and every one of you!  What are you looking forward to in 2014?