The generosity of others

Why call these cute garments ‘bodies’? This terminology means the photo below is of twelve baby’s bodies on my bed. Not nice. I’m going to think of them as vests.

baby's bodies (clothing)No-one at all was harmed in the making of this post – but
a dozing cat was woken to take the photo.

Dey cute, no? And non-gender specific colour too. Our lovely friends, M&F, gave us much of their kiddies’ stuff when they moved house, and we squirrelled these goodies away in the hope that one day we’d get good use out of them. That day in mid-June is approaching fast and it’s dawning on me that I’d better get a wiggle on. Although M&F were enormously generous and have kitted us out with much, marvellous stuff – car seat, bath, moses basket and so forth -this child will be a chilly one cos the bodies* onesies is all we got in the way of apparel so far.

*Update: Gaidig kindly left a comment with the American term for these garments – ‘onesie’ – trickier to spell but MUCH nicer. Thanks Gaidig!

On the list to sew is

  • baby onesies – got (see above).
  • groovy bedding for moses basket.
  • daiper bag.
  • new/refreshed cover for baby rocker.
  • some refashioned tees – into well, heavens, what do you call these things? Baby clothes. Um. Small things with short sleeves and handily-placed press studs for quick-poo-access. That kind of thing.
  • scratch mitts and hats. Surely these can’t be terribly hard? Just make egg cosies, chicken and ostrich size, I reckon.
  • at least SOMETHING from the maternity patterns I bought on ebay.
  • something nice to wear in hospital, for me.

Better go find some patterns then… any clues/tried and tested, anyone? I’m taking recommendations along the lines of

  • must have
  • don’t bother because… [give reason – I am a complete novice at this]
  • only looks good in photos
  • only needed if you find yourself in situations x, y and z

Oh and THANKS M&F. You v cool friends. We ♥ you & your lovely children. And we *really* ♥ your instant starter kit for baby.


Look at me, look at me, look at me!

crow pose
A few months back, before stout-with-child set in, I had a moment during a yoga class that was vv yogic and deeply UNyogic.

Instructed to get into crow pose (Bakasana), I followed instructions, got into crow and much to my surprise, actually held the pose for about eight  l o o o o o o o o n g   seconds

Totally unable to stop myself, I cried out “Look at me, look at me, look at me!”, reducing everybody in the class to giggling heaps on the floor. Held the pose for a further two heroic and blissful seconds then joined my colleagues chortling on the floor.  Not quite the crowing that Nicki, our teacher, was after, but fitting, nonetheless – why not crow about your crow?
I’m going to follow up with a little more crowing, if you don’t mind: found out my wee tutorial on a maternity skirt refashion is featured on luvinthemommyhood. Needless to say, I’m quite tickled by this. I’d not been to the site before and am really looking forward to pottering about getting familiar. Not only does it offer me inspiration & tutorials by the bucketload, but in a lovely aesthetic too. I feel quite proud to be in such company – and grateful too. Thanks!  

And it’s not the only site this tutorial found its way to – Anne featured it on craft gossip and kindly mailed me to let me know, think liz picked it up and featured it in a list of free sewing patterns, and it appears again on What a gift! Not only does each of these sites offer a whole new bunch of blogs and sites to browse through, it’s given me a real confidence/ego boost. Go and have a look – there’s good stuff out there! 

This unexpected bit of acknowledgement has given me a timely kick up the arse:  feedback and response is one of the great benefits of the interwebs that I enjoy receiving and engaging in. But I’ve been a little lax and ungracious in giving much response to you peeps who’ve taken the time to pass on comments or compliments on my blogging and I’d like to make amends.   

So without further ado, and following the lead of Kristy ‘loweryourpresserfoot’, who is VERY good at acknowledging her commenters and got me into blogging in the first place,  big thanks and acknowledgements go out to…   

  • Pam – Cool. I hope your skirt for your daughter works out – I’d  love to see a picture!
  • misscraftyfingers – go for it. I carry my knitting bag around In The Outside Like A Real Bag and it works a treat. The only thing I’d suggest is if you live in a city/commute, pop some feet or a reinforced bottom on it, or it gets a mucky bottom. See, my maternal instinct is already being put to good use.
  • Trisha, anna.drops, Lindsey, Isra – thanks for the compliment. The top, although a thrifted (heehee – £5, not £69) Isabella Oliver top, is very similar to Meghan Nielsen’s maternity wrap top. Utterly comfortable and totally pregnancy-friendly. Highly recommended – both simple to make and bloody brilliant to wear.

There’s more, much more – but soon. Tonight’s Madmen and I’ve got a sofa space to go and claim. Feel thanked, you guys.

Modest maternity mini skirt

Maternity mini-skirt

After a week of unsatisfying and slow sewing, my quick wins weekend (now a few weeks ago) took shape nicely and I finished a modest maternity mini that mashes up an unworn Reiss skirt with a primark tshirt.

I’m still trying not to purchase maternity clothes, but the challenge of refashioning my existing wardrobe is getting keener. Some garments are off the list for refashioning/cutting up because they’re just too nice and I’ll hang on to them until I get to The Other Side of Pregnancy. Other garments just can’t accommodate a jersey expanda-panel. But when tempted to just go shopping, much of the maternity stuff on the High Street I’ve found so far is ghastly! I may well elaborate in another post.

reiss skirt fabric close up

Where was I? Oh yes – this skirt was on its way to the charity shop. Although I like the colour and the sewn-in swirly pattern of the fabric, the shape just didn’t flatter – too tight. Hoiking it up over the knees, however, turns it into a modest-mini – perfect with tights, boots and a jumper. You can do it too, by adding a jersey panel at the front with an elastic waistband.  

Maternity mini front panel 2

maternity mini front panel

All you need to do is…

skirt with marked up bump

1. try on skirt and hoike up to hem level required. Mark lowest known point of baby bump, and desired waistline at back.

Reiss skirt cut for bump and waistband

2. mark out and cut waistline, following curve of original waistband at back, then general bump shape at front. I cut mine extra-low because I get terrible tummy ache if anything cuts in to my bump.

3. reaffix waistband to back. I put in a couple of small darts at the back to keep the shape for my remaining waist. Tiny bit left!

4. cut a thick piece of elastic – at a length that sits comfortably from your side seams over your tummy. Mine worked out about the same width as the tshirt I was using, and to be worn right up over the top of the bump.

5. tshirt – use whole body of tshirt. You will be using the fabric doubled up, and the body hem as your new ‘waistline’. Fold the tshirt hem (double thickness) over your elastic so it overlaps by 2-3mm. Stay stitch at each end, then catch hem edge and elastic in wavy zigzag stitch.

Jersey panel for Reiss skirt, cut and marked up

6. Fold the tshirt in half to give you the centre front, lay your cut skirt over the top of it matching up waistlines and mark out the curve given by your cut skirt. Then add 1cm seam allowance and cut. This is your jersey panel. 

Panel pinned to skirt

7. pin the lower edge of jersey panel to the cut out bump of the skirt (still double thickness),  right sides facing, matching centre fronts and stretching where needed. Stitch a single seam 1cm from cut edge, then finish raw edge with a zigzag.

8. sew the back to the jersey panel at the side seams, right sides together.

Reiss skirt with jersey panel, finished

9. It should look a little like this.

10. Now pull on your new maternity skirt. Get your boots on.

Which suddenly reminds me of King’s Love and Pride, and feeling a-flutter watching Paul King on TOTP in 1985 …

Cross posted on wardrobe refashion.

Sailor trews – updated

maternity sailor trousers

Another essential update – I need a pair of trousers that I can wear to work, without letting it all hang out. These two-year old Boden sailor trousers already got a new lease of life courtesy of some Dylon Navy Blue (well khaki green wouldn’t have really gone with all that nautical styling, would it?) machine dye and some jauntier vintage buttons.

But how to make them fit for longer/bigger? The wide pocket facing can easily accommodate a bunch more belly by just moving the buttons over. Buddy Cat shows us how in case you missed the pink  arrows :)

buddy shows where buttons move

I do this and wear trousers proudly for an afternoon. But they keep falling down. Nothing like hitching up your trousers every three steps to draw attention to the fact they don’t fit. Or wearing them in the rain, for a miserable, damp-ankled experience.

So, this morning, I… 

  • put a couple of buttonholes into the back of the waistband
  • sew in a button next to each button hole and
  • run a strip of elastic through the waistband.
  • Three buttonholes at each end of the elastic attach to the buttons, and can be let in/out as expansion/contraction takes place.

waistband with elastic


It’s great practise for making buttonholes. And a quick look in my Bernina instruction booklet buttonhole bobbin-threadingreminds me that you should thread your bobbin thread through the hole in the finger of the bobbin case. Apparently it increases the tension.

maternity sailor side viewmaternity sailor trousers belly viewmaternity sailor trousers backside view

The positioning of the buttonholes def needs adjustment so they fit smoother, but as my future shape is not entirely certain, I’ll just stick with this for the time being. Who knows? They might fit perfectly in a week’s time!

Mind the gap

jeans maternity gusset final

I’ve been having a bit of trouble doing up my jeans (see here). So, rather than break my newly-made Wardrobe Refashion 4-month pledge, I’ve attempted an upgrade to make them fit with my expansion plans.

After checking out how maternity clothes accommodate said expansion, I’ve plumped for giving these jeans a gusset, with elastic along the waistband. Worth a try, anyway, and if I screw it up, the jeans are not irreparably damaged. Detailed post – a tutorial, even – follows…

First things first. I need to work out how big this gusset thingy needs to be, so I…

jeans ripped side seam

… cut through the waistband and rip down the side seam, until, when hoiked up at the back, they fit on the bum like they used to;

jeans gusset length

…mark this point (18cm from the top of the waistband) in the side seam, and rip a inch further or so down the side seam;

jeans gusset waist measurement

… measure the approximate width of the gusset along the waistband (apologies for knicker exposure – I’m trying to keep this decent!)

jeans gusset first guess

… cut a rough guess shape from an old t-shirt of hubby’s

jeans gusset back seam

… then stitch this down the side seam, to the back  of the jeans.

jeans amended gusset size

I then try the jeans on again and mark in the more realistic dimensions of the gusset. Unstitch the gusset from the back of the jeans. NB this all takes me ages and is fiddly.  Don’t be fooled by these short sentences.

Break for a cuppa – this is important! I actually didn’t, but if you’re following this, you should :-)

Next I…

jeans new gusset

… recut the practise piece of jersey to a more accurate size, fold the jersey over the waistband and insert the elastic

jeans gusset staystitching

… stay stitch the elastic at each side

jeans gusset back seam final

… pin the gusset in place and stitch to the back of the jeans, and then stitch the other side of the gusset to the front of the jeans. This bit is hard. Because I cut the bottom of the gusset at too wide an angle, it takes three tries and a recut of the gusset to a finer point at the bottom to stop this bit getting all bunched up. I get quite dispirited, so do not photograph. Sorry.

Finally, I stitch back up the extra inch of the side seams.

jeans gusset length

The ugly truth on the inside is like this (above). I’ll probably overlock the raw edgess at some point to give a neater finish, but don’t have the puff to do this right now.

jeans gusset final

The gentler truth on the outside is like this. I finished! This is good. The fit is ok, but a bit poofy. Fairly good. When I sit down my bum is a bit exposed, and they do fall down a bit when I walk around, but wearing a belt will probably fix that.  Not so good. And I’m knackered. Really not good. Time for supper.

About me

I started this blog to help me Get Things Done: sewing and knitting mostly.
But now I have a daughter! So I continue to daydream in enormous detail about what I'd like to make, but squeeze the 'doing' into precious naptimes and evenings.

Can I keep it up? Time will tell!

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