HANDMADE WARDROBE

Self-drafted Nursing Gown #1

knot nighty 01

Hello everyone!

I am very excited about this post because it is about the first piece of clothing that I’ve ever drafted from scratch. Ladies and gentlemen… my maternity nursing gown!

But, how did I get to drafting my own nursing gown? Well, if you’ve been pregnant, you’ll know that the range of maternity clothes out there is quite limited and far from nice unless it comes with a hefty price tag, but nursing items (including gowns) are even rarer and uglier. When I was looking for a decently designed and priced gown to take with me to hospital when the D-day arrived, I was unable to find one whose design, fabric, colour or dimensions did not make me cringe. I’m unsure why brands assume that nursing gowns are only for the hospital when the name is quite specific, “nursing” gowns, so you’ll probably wear them for quite a while whilst you are nursing your baby. So, why make them so ugly? Some of the faults I found in the ones I came across were:

  • Ugly colours (at least for the purpose of the garment): dark brown, dark blue, dark pretty much every colour. Why do they make them so dark? Someone may say “so they don’t show the dirt”. Well, I don’t remember getting any dirt whilst in hospital or back home, at least no more than usual (I do have a tendency to spill my morning coffee every now and again and this has not improved with motherhood, actually quite the opposite)
  • Poor quality fabrics: what happened to the soft-touch lounge and sleep wear? Apparently pregnant women don’t like it because I could not find anything that wasn’t polyester (and not of the nicer kind).
  • Lace everywhere: I’m not a fan of lace. I’m even less fan of polyester lace. I had no intention on buying anything with lace on.
  • Ill-fitting: ok, nursing gowns have to fit a 9 month pregnant belly, which is pretty big, but they shouldn’t be massive all around. I didn’t find any gown that was slightly flattering around the shoulders and neckline. They were all just big and didn’t fit me at all, they would actually slid off my shoulders, which is not very comfortable.
  • Useless for the purpose: Most of the nursing gowns I tried on, their buttons wouldn’t undo as low as needed to nurse… that was the moment when I decided to sew my own gowns.

During my search for the perfect gown, shop assistants didn’t seem to understand why I was being so fussy about them, at the end of the day, they were just a gown for a few days. I guess that was true to some extend. But there was something else there, something in between the lines, something that I didn’t realise I was trying to attain and that I only came to understand with time and a baby in my arms. After the D-Day I realised what motivated that thorough search: I was just trying to help myself through a tough but extremely special time. A time when your old self seems gone forever, a time when your pre-baby clothes are a ghost from the past, a time when there is no time for you or for anything else but your new born baby. I was trying to grasp and capture a bit of my old self into a garment that was going to be my best friend for weeks to come, I wanted to feel ok in myself, I just wanted to see that the old Pilar was still there, somewhere, and that she would come back at some point. All of these feelings went into the draft of this nursing gown, that I sewed in cotton seersucker, lined with cotton gauze, fitted to my shoulders and chest, knotted at the shoulders, and roomy for my decreasing belly. As all first drafts, this pattern was not perfect, but it made me happy because I could take care of my baby and still feel a bit like myself.

It may seem like a bit too much thought for a nursing gown, but I loved wearing it and was great for nursing my baby. I stopped wearing it when the winter came, but I’ll be definitely be making a non-pregnancy version for next summer. As far as I’m concern, best gown ever!

These are some more detailed pics:

Untitled design-6

Pink nighty

S22

I’d love to hear about your maternity gowns, what did you wear? Did you sew your own gowns?

Hope you enjoyed the post and thanks for reading!

Pilar

LIFE EDITING

Why I breastfeed and other advantages of breastfeeding

thumb_IMG_6627_1024

Hello everyone!

Today’s post is very special to me because breastfeeding has been my life since baby Mateo arrived to this world 6 months ago. So as I way of celebration I want to explain why I chose to breastfeed and how my experience has been so far.

There is one thing I never expected when I had my baby 6 months ago: somehow, my breasts became kind of a public affair on which everyone seemed to have an opinion. If I had got a pound for each person that asked me something related to my breasts we would be covered for nappies for life. Questions such as: why do you breastfeed? How long are you going to breastfeed for? Does he have enough with your milk? Does he put on enough weight by just breasfeeding? Why don’t you give him formula? When are you going to stop breastfeeding? Why don’t you give him “normal” milk? (meaning formula) Do you express your milk? Why don’t you express your milk? Don’t you get tired of breastfeeding?… I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture, right?

I don’t really mind these kind of questions, but I never go into the real reasons of my choice to breastfeed my baby and I usually just give a short pleasing answer because at the end of the day that’s all people are after. But to celebrate 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding Mateo, I want explain why I really do it.

I breastfeed because…

… I feel that not only I nourish you with my milk but I also nourish you with my love.

… I love the complicity I feel between us when you are in my arms eating from my breast.

… your food is always ready, at the perfect temperature and it never runs out.

… I can sooth you instantly.

… I love how you look at me with your beautiful eyes and make me feel like I’m the most important person in the world.

… I’ve got one free hand to caress your soft skin and hair (or to tickle you on your chubby legs!)

… I love hearing your impatient laugh when you are about to eat.

… I know I’m giving you the best I can.

… I don’t want to be away from you, I want to be there for when you need me.

… I feel more in tune with my own nature, knowing that women thousands of years ago did the same, and that women from every race do the same, no matter where they’re from.

… I don’t count lines on a bottle, I trust you and I know you’ll eat what you need.

… it just feels right.

These reasons are enough for me to carrying breastfeeding as long as he and me want, but there are plenty of more proven scientific reasons that show further benefits of breastfeeding. These are just some:

… because breastfed babies have less risk of suffering digestive and breathing illnesses in the long term apart from being less likely to catch flus and other viruses.

… because it reduces the risk of developing breast and/or uterus cancer as well as diminishes the effects of osteoporosis.

… because it helps you regain your pre-pregnancy figure.

… because it’s better for the environment because formula is made of de-fattened cow’s milk.

… because it is free and better quality than any other milk. The average expenditure on formula per year is about €2,500.

… because it’s empowering for the new mum, preventing post-natal depression.

… because the milk nutrients change depending on your baby’s needs, one milk definitely does not fit all.

… because breast milk is “vaccinating” your baby from everyday viruses and therefore he’ll be ill less often.

… because it helps you to know your baby better.

… because it helps to develop a stronger sense of confidence in your baby as well as a better development of their brain.

There are plenty more reasons that could go on this list but I think these are enough for now.

I could say that breastfeeding has given me a new vision of my self and has made me discovered love at another level. Having said that, the start was not easy and I’m just glad I had the courage and the patience to stick to it and overcome whatever difficulties I found. I am just so happy I didn’t give up because now it’s my favourite time of the day (it’s just lucky that happens so often!).

As I said above, this is MY experience and MY reasons, and I do acknowledge that every mummy and baby tandem is different and different choices may work for them. At the end of the day, happy mummy equals happy baby, and that’s what really matters. I’d just thought I owed it to me and my baby to be finally answer all those questions honestly. I don’t expect my breasts to stop being a public affair any time soon, but maybe next time I will go into more detail and hopefully I’ll be able to help other mums to enjoy their breastfeeding time.

Hope you enjoyed the post and I’d love to hear about your reasons for breastfeeding (or not!).

Happy Tuesday!

Pilar & Mateo

 

 

HANDMADE WARDROBE

Erin Maternity Skirt #2

Erin skirt nail varnish

Good morning everyone!

About 6 months late, but I am finally writing about my second Erin Maternity Skirt. It is quite unfair that it’s taken me so long to write about this skirt because it has been the best maternity outfit I’ve had, one of those rare (at least in my case) when pattern, fabric and function just come together like a dream.

There are several reasons why this skirt was my staple garment during my pregnancy. Since I don’t want to forget about any of its wonders, I am going to make a list:

  1. It is a super quick, super easy make. Thank you Megan Nielsen for such great pattern.
  2. I used silky jersey, which has an amazing stretch and recovery, adapting to my growing figure to the very end and keeping its shape at the same time.
  3. This jersey sews, washes and dries like a dream, qualities that are great when you don’t have many outfits.
  4. This material is super breathable, so not heat rushes apart from the 40 degrees outside..
  5. Cool, funky pattern. I just don’t do florals and takes me ages to find fabrics with other prints. It is actually kind of mad… it’s got nail varnish pots dripping!

    Fabric detail
    Maddest pattern I’ve ever worn!
  6. It is perfect for windy weather, it doesn’t fly away and stays where it should. This may seem like a weird reason, but where I live it’s very windy so it is definitely a plus for me.
  7. It made me feel like a cool, young mum. One of my maternity fears was to look like I didn’t take care of myself, wearing an outfit “just because I can still fit in this”. This skirt definitely made me feel great in it every single day I wore it, and therefore made me happy 🙂

I definitely recommend this skirt to anyone that is pregnant or that has a friend that is (what a wonderful present this makes!) and I will be making more should I be pregnant again. In fact, I’d like to make a non-maternity version of it for next summer.

Anyway, until here my Erin skirt love. I never thought I would say this but, I miss my maternity wardrobe!

Erin skirt front
The crazy print really slims the figure (just to the eye, I was mahoosive!)

Have a lovely day everybody!

Pilar

 

LIFE EDITING

10 things no one told me about motherhood

10 thingsno one told me about motherhood
Hello everyone!
Today my baby boy is 4 months old and to celebrate, I thought it’d be nice to share with you some of the learnings I’ve gathered as a new mum over this time. Here we go!
  1.  Trust your baby, he knows exactly what he needs. You’ll probably find that most people have an opinion or advice ready to give you, but no one knows better than your own baby what he needs in each moment. Just make sure you learn to read his signs, that’s all you need to listen to.
  2. You will be the best mum for your baby, so don’t worry if your experience does not match with other people’s. Listen to you heart and instinct and do what feels right for you and your little bundle of love. The mummy and baby tandem is a very special one, and probably unique to each of us.
  3. Lower your expectations about what you will and won’t be able to do once the baby is here, otherwise you’ll end up frustrated with yourself. If there is anything that you absolutely want to do, make sure you do it before the D-Day. Having said that, there is one thing that you’ll absolutely need to do for your self’s sake: find the time to have a nice longish shower every day, your baby needs a happy, healthy (good-smelling) mamma.
  4. You will be pretty much back into your pre-pregnancy body in about 4 weeks. I was gladly surprised to see how quickly my belly went down and I could wear “normal” clothes again.  Also, breastfeeding speeds up this process since each time your baby feeds you produce the hormone in charge of reducing your uterus to its pre-pregnancy size, so it is definitely a win-win situation for both you and your baby.
  5. Breastfeeding is the least straight forward human instinct. I used to think that it couldn’t be that difficult since humans have been doing it for thousands of years…. well, I was wrong. It is more of a learnt process rather than an instinct. In the past, an especially before formula came into the picture, breastfeeding was the norm and most women were familiar with it through observing others. But now we don’t get the chance to see other mums and learn from them, which leaves us, new mums, completely lacking a rather important skill when the baby finally arrives.
  6. Don’t asume that any mum that has breastfed knows everything about it. If you ask a 1000 mums about their breastfeeding experience, you’ll get a 1000 different stories, and unluckily many of them rather traumatic. I feel sad that so many mums did not enjoy this part of their lives (probably due to lack of information and advice) but it doesn’t have to be like that for you. I stuck with it and it was the best decision I could have ever made. For me, it is the ultimate mummy-and-baby bonding time.
  7. You are allowed not to have visitors at the hospital. Actually, I did know this before I had Mateo and I am extremely thankful to the person who told me about it. Don’t get me wrong, I was dying to show my friends and family our little beautiful baby, but we just felt we needed time on our own, me, my husband and the baby, getting used to each other, resting together, looking at him for hours, learning to take care of him. Some people may not understand it, but the people that really care for you definitely will.
  8. Weight is not the only indicator of your baby’s health. There seems to be a kind of unwritten fact: your baby is only as good and healthy as his weight. Well, that is not the case. There are so many other indicators that your baby is healthy and happy apart from the scales. Trust your instincts, if your baby looks healthy, he probably is, even if he is on the lower half of the average weight charts.
  9. When your baby cries it will be like if someone tore your heart apart. The only reason for that is just pure mummy love, and you just can’t help it.
  10. As hard as it can be at first, don’t wish the days away. I’ll be honest, I found the first few weeks of motherhood quite hard, probably because I had the wrong expectations and breastfeeding was way harder and demanding than I could have ever imagined, but I tried to tell myself: “This will pass and won’t come back, so enjoy every moment of it”. Of course, this is easier to see hindsight but I always try to remember it when I’m feeling a bit tired.

Bonus:

11. You will love your baby a 1000 times more than you could ever imagine!

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Thanks for reading!

Pilar

HANDMADE WARDROBE

Erin Maternity Dress #1

Erin dress 1

Hello everyone!

After the success of the Erin Maternity Skirt #1, I decided to try one of the modifications at the end of the pattern booklet and transform the Erin Skirt into a dress combining it with the Cara Maternity T-shirt.
I visited my local fabric shop and picked a dégradé silk jersey with a subtle leaf print in royal blue. I pretty much fell in love with the touch of the fabric straight away and I though it would be perfect for this project.

Since both patterns are by Megan Nielsen and have very similar styles, they were very easy to join up together to create the dress patter. I eagerly got pinning, cutting and sewing and I finished up just in a few hours. Unluckily, as soon as I slipped the dress over me I realised it wouldn’t join my list of top makes. Sooooo… what went wrong?

Firstly, my fabric choice didn’t turn out to be as ideal as I originally thought. This fabric has a great stretch/recovery percentage and it is a dream to wear, but what I did not notice in the shop is that it was a bit sheer even when not stretched (probably the intense colour prevented from realising that), so when I finally put my dress on… it was quite indecent to say the least!

Secondly, I found quite tricky to get the right settings on my overlocker which led to a snapped bottom seam in its first wear. Also, the fact that had to stretch over my massive pregnant belly did not help.

Finally, the resulting style of pattern+fabric combination wasn’t what I was after and turned out to be quite mumsy in my opinion. I still wore it around the house since it was so hot over the summer and the fabric is super fresh and light, but this dress did not see outside world.

I look forward to using this fabric for other projects though, maybe a more flawy dress for next summer.

And if you want to see a successful combination of these patterns, head over to DIY Maternity, I totally have dress envy!

Hope you enjoyed the post!

Pilar

HANDMADE WARDROBE

Maternity Moneta #2

Moneta 2

Good morning everyone!

After the success of Maternity Moneta #1, I decided to sew another version of this pattern.

This time I chose I fabric that I wouldn’t usually go for, but doing an exception I went for a polyester jersey since I loved the ruffles so much. Despite the, I found that this fabric has plenty of pros that quickly outweighed the cons.

  • Pros: it is super light for the summer and super easy to wash, it doesn’t crease, it dries in minutes, and it was totally my style (colour and pattern).
  • Cons: this fibre may not be as trasnpirable as a natural fibre, and I had to line the dress as otherwise it would be too revealing. For the lining, I chose a plain polyester jersey in white which feels very soft on the skin.

Since this is not a maternity pattern, I made the same alterations as in my Maternity Moneta #1:

  • Raise the bodice waistline about 2.5″
  • Cut the skirt 2 sizes bigger than your pre-pregnancy size. I cut the bodice in the same size I would wear pre-pregnancy, but if you’ve had a noticeable increase in your bust, you may want to cut it a size bigger.
  • Didn’t include the collar proposed for version 1.
Moneta Ruffles 04
Fully lined finished bodice

So as I said, the alterations I had to make to adapt this pattern were pretty simple. The tricky part was to actually match the ruffles and ensure that they stayed all in place whilst being sewn. For that, I checked and pinned every single ruffle before I overlocked my seams. If you are as impatient as me, you may find this challenging, but I can’t stress enough how important this step is as otherwise you will have loads of twisted bits in your seams and it won’t look nice and smooth.

Pretty proud of my ruffle matching skills!
Pretty proud of my ruffle matching skills!

For some reason, this version ended up having the waistline a bit higher than my stripy Moneta, but I still haven’t figured out why. I’m thinking that it could be because this fabric had less stretch than the other one, maybe? That’s something I definitely need to do some research about.

Overall, I am very proud of my dress and I love wearing it because it is super comfy. The only messy bit that I din’t quite foresee when I bought the fabric was how the ruffles would work with the skirt shirring, but I quickly sorted it out styling my dress up with a lovely belt that covers the waistline. Since the beginning I had my mind on using a belt anyway so it didn’t really bother me. I’ll just make a mental note for future projects.

Armhole detail
Armhole detail
Moneta 2 detail
Back detail

 

That's one proud lady!
That’s one proud lady!

Thanks for reading!

Have a lovely day 🙂

Pilar

HANDMADE WARDROBE

Erin Maternity Skirt #1

 

With my friends and my skirt. Happy times :)
With my friends and my skirt. Happy times 🙂

Hi there!

Today I am going to share my first version of the Erin Maternity Skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen.

When I first got this pattern, I wasn’t sure whether I would like wearing something so fitted during my pregnancy. I did quite a bit of research on Pinterest to see if I liked the results on other sewers and decided to give it a go. What I did find is that most people had used plain colour fabric for their skirts. I would usually go for that option but, I personally think that a patterned jersey works better for this skirt. Just make sure to check the grin of the fabric when you buy it, you don’t want it to go all withe and   distorted when you wear it!

After many fabric considerations, I decided to jump into the deeper end and use one of my precious Liberty fabrics that I had had for a while in my stash: a mid-weight cotton jersey with a big floral print in pastel colours.

Skirt in the making
Skirt in the making

The pattern itself is very easy to follow and I quickly put the skirt together without any problems. The bit that I found a bit trickier was shirring the side seams as my clear elastic kept folding under my walking foot. Do you guys have any tips to avoid this?

To my surprise, this skirt is super comfy to wear and I’ll be definitely making more of them. I think I may even give a go to the dress version at the end of the booklet. I find it specially flattering because it is such a figure-hugging garment. As I mentioned on a previous post, I am not too keen on tent-like maternity clothes so this pattern just fits the bill to perfection.

Just about 18 weeks pregnant
Just about 18 weeks pregnant
Maternity Skirt - Liberty 02
Here I’m just showing off 😉

Thanks for reading!

Pilar

HANDMADE WARDROBE

Maternity Moneta #1

 

Stripy Moneta ready to wear
Stripy Moneta ready to wear

I’m happy to present my first ever piece of maternity clothing, a stripy Moneta! Yay!!

But there is more to this dress than that. This dress has meant quite a few firsts for me and that’s why I’m extra proud of it:

  • 1st item of maternity wear I’ve ever made
  • 1st time I’ve sewn jersey
  • 1st time I’ve tried to pattern match
  • 1st time I’ve altered a pattern
  • 1st time I make something that I can actually wear

The last of these points is specially important to me because it has been a frustrating path of choosing wrong fabrics, wrong patterns, wrong prints or all of these combined. I would say that learning about what suits your style, your body shape and your complexion has been the hardest lesson to learn when it comes to sewing. With this I don’t mean I don’t make any fabric mistakes anymore, but they are less and less frequent.

Anyway, going back to the dress, I’ve chosen a lightweight rayon jersey that I got at World of Sewing in Tunbridge Wells last time I visited. It has a wonderful fresh texture and feels like a dream on the skin. I don’t know whether you can appreciate it on the picture, but it’s got a super thin silver stripe that makes it just that little bit more interesting.

Moneta Stripes 01

Since this is not a maternity pattern, I had to do some simple alterations:

  • Raise the bodice waistline about 2.5″
  • Cut the skirt 2 sizes bigger than your pre-pregnancy size. I cut the bodice in the same size I would wear pre-pregnancy, but if you’ve had a noticeable increase in your bust, you may want to cut it a size bigger.
  • Didn’t include the collar proposed for version 1.

Despite the modifications, you can follow the pattern instructions as given, which always makes things easier.

What I did find quite challenging was pattern matching the stripes. Probably this comes quite clear to an experienced sewer but as a first attempt it was a bit tricky at points, especially when joining the skirt to the bodice.

Conclusion: I am very happy about this dress and I love wearing it because it is super comfy. I think it will get me through the summer heat quite nicely.

Chilling in my dress with a sewing magazine, bliss!
Chilling in my dress with a sewing magazine, bliss!

If you feel like giving a go to this pattern, check out my Pinterest board with a selection of the best Monetas I’ve found online.

Hope you enjoyed my post!

Pilar