The dress that saved me, sartorially speaking.... New Look 6411 V2.0
Hello lovely people, it has been a few weeks between posts, hasn't it? We are now in the depths of winter, but we had the coldest May in a very long time, causing quite the shock to my reptilian system. Did you take part in Me Made May? I did, by default, only because 90% of my wardrobe is now self made, but did little to document. Mostly because I spent the month either in work clothes consisting of old Style Arc Elle trousers and old Mandy Boat tees, or in a variety of Hudson Pants or leggings. It was an extremely unphotogenic month for me, made all the more unpleasant by the almost constant nausea lasting all of April, May and the start of June, interrupted only by an overwhelming need to eat Cheezels or bacon every 2 hours. And the cause? Chez Tragic is expecting a mini tragic in early December.
So happy news and happy days, but my word it's been a long couple of months. That is behind me now and we are here to talk about sewing! and clothes! But, for the next little while they will be clothes made to accomodate a rapidly changing body, so my blogging may not be that interesting for all of you.....
I'm not sure if it was the nausea or the explosion in my appetite combined with a crippling inability to exercise but very early on (as in 5 weeks) I stopped feeling comfortable wearing my jeans. They're snug high waisted RTW skinnies and with that sartorial limitation plus the freezing weather my wardrobe options were very quickly limited to couple of knit dresses with tights and Hudson pants. Action needed to be taken but it was here that my scientific, sensible and rational brain got swept aside by a new, unwelcome and superstitious occupant, and thus arrived the fear of the jinx. I got it into my head that I was risking jinxing the whole damn thing by purchasing ANY maternity patterns or clothing before the all important 12 week green-light. Idiotic I know, but it's been a very long and difficult path to get here and I just couldn't talk myself out of it. What I could talk myself into was making clothes using regular patterns, without any specific adjustments that just happened to be stretchy or more forgiving in fit, to tide me over and expand my wardrobe but were not, technically, maternity.
And so I present another version of New Look 6411 - this time a winter version, and made in the most delicious navy heathered rayon ponte from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe (the neckline facing is from a scrap of denim, for stabilisation). A stable knit is on the list of recommended fabrics for this pattern, and after stuffing a small cushion up the front of my summery non-stretch denim version I decided there'd be enough room at least for a few months of wear.
I made the same adjustments as my first version by cutting a couple of sizes up in the waist and hips, adding a cross body seam and pockets that I love so much, a forward shoulder adjustment and some darts in the back for shaping. I had to add little cuffs to the sleeves for length as I just didn't quite have enough fabric for full length sleeves.
It's roomy enough for some layers underneath. It actually works very well for my growing tum - the seam sits just below the bump and the cocoon shape provides some extra mid-abdominal room. Despite the rather alarming increase in the size of both my bust and bottom the ponte is comfortable and I feel quite chic. I've worn it an absolute heap already. It's a winner.
I do wish I'd thought to narrow the neckline a little, as it is a little breezy and wide in the cold but I pretty much always wear a scarf with it so it's not that much of a problem. I knitted this particular scarf based on the Purl Bee No-Purl Rib Scarf pattern - it uses the Cartridge Belt Rib stitch, an ingenious combination of slipped stitches and knit stitches that creates a gorgeous easy rib without the need for purling. It's a combination of a Rowan mohair/silk yarn and a Debbie Bliss Donegal tweed, and is the perfect warm and squishy accessory in winter.
I'm nearly 17 weeks now, and these were taken about a week ago. As you can see there's really only a hint of a bump there (I assure you I have no intentions of striking the cheesy pregnancy pose, pulling my clothing tight around me; you know I keep it real here at Chez Tragic and I've never seen a pregnant woman stand like that in real life). It's quite a significant size now though, so that gives you an idea on how roomy this pattern is. Fingers crossed it gets me through winter. I've got a sort of maternity capsule wardrobe planned. I'm trying to find that balance between still feeling myself in clothes I love without overcapitalising on garments I can only wear for a few months. I've already been loaned/gifted some maternity patterns from lovely sewing friends and have some maternity hacks planned with patterns I've already made, plus I'll be planning ahead for a nice summery nursing-friendly wardrobe. Aren't we lucky we sew?