There are pros and cons to attempting to create a post natal capsule wardrobe while still ante natal. The biggest advantage is that you actually have time to do it, what with not having a teeny weeny newborn to concern yourself with. The downside is, of course, not being able to try anything on.
I made this shirt (It's Simplicity 2365, if you're interested) over the weekend, and I love the look of it. Although I have no idea whether it fits or not. Daphne (the dummy) is pretty much set to my pre-pregnancy measurements, so given that this is a bit big on her, I'm figuring it will probably work, one way or another. I probably should have adjusted the princess seams a bit to account for my huge post natal bust, but I figured that with the open neckline and a vest top underneath, it would be fine. I'm kind of viewing this version as a bit of a wearable muslin (albeit a very nice one), and I'll probably make another one or two (perhaps one in Liberty print for summer, with little gathered sleeves, or a white linen floaty one) if I decide I like it.
Incidentally, I'm completely in love with the almost periwinkle blue of the organic cotton fabric (the colour is truest in the second image above). Hopefully it will make me feel fresh and summery and lovely despite the haze of sleep deprivation. I also think it matches rather nicely with the bright pink buttons that are waiting to be sewn onto the sleeve tabs.
I'm glad that I took the extra time to serge the edges of the fabric pieces before sewing it together. Indeed, I'm generally learning to appreciate the value of taking time over construction (of sewing projects particularly), as I've realised that the overall look of the finished item is directly proportional to the amount of effort put in during the boring bits. I appreciate that pretty much anyone else who has ever been near a sewing machine has probably already worked this out, but I've had to work hard to quell my naturally impatient nature, which has me wanting to skip seam finishing/accurate pattern marking/hem measuring in the interests of finishing something right now. I actually made a conscious decision to walk away for a few minutes every time I found myself being tempted to cut corners on this shirt, and I really think it's paid off.
I also had a bit of a sleeve breakthrough while making this. I am appalling at setting in sleeves. I've made a couple of pairs of pyjamas for Teddy with shirt tops, and I've always been very grateful that they're night clothes and not intended to be seen by anyone but Adam and me. However, after sewing the first sleeve into the body of this shirt for the third time, I for some reason turned the whole thing over so that I was looking at the inside of the sleeve, rather than the inside of the body (i.e. the body was facing down onto the feed dogs, and the sleeve up to the presser foot). I don't know if there's a correct way up to do this, but I definitely found it easier being able to see the sleeve (which, if it is set in, has been gathered to fit into the hole in the body) - there were no accidental tucks or gathers in the sleeve when I sewed it this way. If you've never sewn a sleeve, that explanation probably made no sense whatsoever, but hopefully you understand what I mean if you've had similar trouble.
Not that I can vouch for the fit of this garment, but here are some notes anyway:
Project notes - Post natal tunic
- The pattern is Simplicity 2365. I made View A on the pattern envelope, in a UK size 14.
- I lengthened the front opening almost down to the bottom of the pintucks (which I love, and were way easier to make than I was expecting) in order to have room for ginormo-bust and to (hopefully) avoid semi-undressing to breastfeed
- I serged the edges of all of the pieces before I began sewing. I contemplated a french seam, but essentially couldn't be bothered, especially for something that might get adjusted, since I can't check the fit. A zigzag stitch would have served the same purpose
- The pattern instructions weren't entirely clear on a couple of bits (I often find this with Simplicity patterns). If I hadn't set in a sleeve and made a collar before, I might have struggled a bit more. There are plenty of tutorials for both of these online though, if you get stuck.
- The fabric is Han Blue organic handloom cotton from Ray Stitch.
- I sewed the whole thing in white cotton thread because that's what I had in the machine (I am so lazy about changing thread - I can't remember the last time I sewed a project not in white cotton). It would have been sensible to change to either matching or more interesting contrast (maybe pink to match the buttons would have been nice) for areas such as the pintucks, hem and collar finishing.
- I'm about 5'6", and this tunic looks plenty long enough to wear with leggings (for which I require more coverage than for wearing over jeans, in the interests of not alarming the general public). I'll get back to you on that though.
Speaking of post natal, we are fast approaching the time when I will have a baby rather than a bump. Eek!