New Ways of Sewing, Shopping & Dressing


Since having a baby I have been having a rethink about how I dress and shop, and what I sew. Some of this is budget related - now I'm on maternity pay I can't justify buying any fabric that I'm not going to use immediately. But it's also body related. I didn't put on a lot of extra weight while I was pregnant and being tall, I can carry a few more pounds anyway. However I have a few extra inches around the waist than I did before, meaning that I currently can't fit into most of my normal skirts and dresses, plus a bust size increase due to breastfeeding which means that my more fitted (and non-stretch) tops are tight or unsuitable to wear while feeding.

I'm hoping this will resolve itself eventually as I'll be sad not to be able to wear some of my favourite handmades again, but I have no desire to talk about or think about having to lose weight. Not only is this pretty boring, but I really have more important (and interesting) things to put my energy into. Plus I love biscuits.

Working with a reduced wardrobe during pregnancy helped me to realise that I don't need so many garments and that each item of clothing should earn its place in my wardrobe. That being the case, I should make sure that I really like everything I wear. That might sound obvious, but we all know that there are garments we rarely wear because we don't like them so much. I want to cut down on those and increase the garments that I love, that suit me and that work for my lifestyle.

So let's get onto the topic of what I'm going to be making in the near future....

Skirts! To fill the wardrobe gap as I'm bored of wearing jeans. My recently-made wrap skirt will be able to adjust to any waistline changes plus I will be using stash fabric to make a couple more skirts, probably classic A-Line styles that I can draft using my measurements rather than having to grade up a pattern.

Scout Tee, made last year
Tops! Using knits or wovens to make loose style patterns (such as the couple of Grainline Scout T-Shirts I made last year), these will be worn now and in the future. I have another Scout in mind plus a Wiksten Tova, like the Sailboat Tova I made earlier in the year - it might finally be time to break out the precious Liberty Tana Lawn I've been hoarding for a couple of years.

Wiksten Tova
Stash Projects! To try and use what I already have rather than buying more fabric (or patterns). I don't have an enormous stash but if I can't think of how to use a piece of fabric then I should get rid of it - what's the point of keeping it otherwise? As for patterns, it's SO tempting to buy more, especially when you see the buzz created by new patterns and see lovely versions popping up online. However I already have more than I will ever use. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what I can make with my existing resources.

Fab 70s fabric from my stash for which I've finally got a pattern in mind

Casual Dresses! I really enjoy wearing dresses but I need to find a few styles with non-fitted or easily adjustable waists and that also will be suitable to wear while still breastfeeding. I've just treated myself to this pattern, which I'm really hoping will work for me:

Vintage Sewing Pattern - 1976 Dress Pattern - Simplicity 7578 - Personal Fit Pattern - Belted A-line Dress Pattern  - Button Front Dress

Practical Clothes! Yes, I do need to make things that will bear up to getting baby sick on them and being chucked in the wash. That doesn't have to mean boring though.

So for the foreseeable future my watchwords will be thrift and practicality which might sound dull to some, but don't you find that giving yourself boundaries can inspire and challenge you to think more creatively?

K x

16 comments:

  1. I do love that fabric! It's so intense. And it's interesting that you mention that you are tall. When you read a blog, it's hard to get a sense of height. I assume everyone is my height - 5'3" :-) - with different proportions. How tall are you?

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    1. I'm 5'11", I agree you don't get a sense of someone's height so even though you may know someone's face well it can be a surprise to meet them in person. Plus it's interesting to hear voices for real too!

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    2. That's so true - the voice is often entirely different than you imagine it will be. And now I know why you were so compact in your pregnancy (very unlike me!) - you had a lot of length in which to house that baby :-)

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  2. I think it is a great idea to "shop the stash" at a time of big life-changes. It feels so refreshing, somehow :)
    I love your 70's fabric and that pull-over dress pattern - very practical!

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    1. Thanks Roo, it feels like a good time to re-evaluate

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  3. Can't wait to see what you make with that 70s fabric :) I really admire you keeping up with the sewing even with a new baby - I honestly don't know how you find the time!!

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    1. I can squeeze in little bits here and there plus I've got the evenings as she's a good sleeper (for now, touch wood etc...)

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  4. I like your new approach. It's so easy to get caught with purchasing more patterns & fabrics.

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    1. Thanks - let's hope I can resist temptation!

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  5. Good for you! I did the same thing after I had my daughter. I did put on over 60 lbs when I was pregnant and being short, it showed - LOL! I love your attitude about not being fussed about losing weight. You are absolutely right and your new body will adjust as it sees fit. My body took 18 months to lose weight and to adjust to my new shape - I had hips for the first time!

    I think a lot of your 70's patterns work brilliantly for you and I am looking forward to seeing your finished makes :) Your Tova is just gorgeous! I hope you make more.

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    1. Thanks Sarah! I do love the Tova pattern.

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  6. I bet you could recycle some of your fav handmades into sewing some lovley wee baby clothes? :)

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  7. Oh good on you, and seeing that 70's fabric too me right back there, it almost brought a lump to my throat. Those were the days! :)
    I did something similar, I cleared my stash right down to the absolute best of the best, and also my wardrobe. I can't bear having clothes in it that don't make me happy!! I've a list of things I long to wear however, which is where the next phase of my selfish sewing will come from, if I ever get time!
    I look forward to seeing your makes. Love the A line skirt plan - so nice to wear, so reliable t make! x

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  8. "Plus I love biscuits." LOL Good on you. And good luck with the sewing plans.

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  9. I enjoyed reading about your thoughts on how your wardrobe/sewing/shopping needs have changed after having a baby. You are very realistic, I like it! I have had three children along with all the changes in body shape that entails (and which are still happening!). It can be a bit challenging but it's fun to look nice at every stage and I too found by keeping my wardrobe well curated I could manage it - financially as well as it wasn't realistic for me to rush out and buy lots of new things every time my shape changed. All your picks look practical as well as pretty, I love the brightly coloured t-shirt especially - jersey knits are most definitely the new mum's friend!

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  10. I don't think your plans sound dull at all. Better to have a closet full of clothes you'll actually wear than high maintenance ones you're terrified the baby might get near. Plus assuming your stash isn't full of all beige practical doesn't have to mean boring. Just try and stay away from too many Mommy & Me matching outfits!

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Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say