Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Top Sew-Along: "Rie" Top.








Yahoo! Here it is! My first (and, at the rate I'm going, only) entry into the Made-by-Rae Spring Top Sew-Along!

Rie Dress.
24 weeks pregnant and squinting.



This is Megan Nielsen's "Rie Dress" shortened into a tunic/long top. Megan Nielsen offers a wonderful line of simple, wearable maternity patterns (she also makes lovely non-maternity patterns). Which is a good thing, because pregnancy transforms me into some kind of insane clothing freak.

I was wondering: Do any other women get super picky about clothes when pregnant? Anything too tight, too stiff, or, worst of all, synthetic, just makes my skin crawl and my expanding belly itch. I don't normally have these sensory issues - when I'm not pregnant, I run around in heels, tailored dresses, and scratchy wool separates - but the quick, um, expansion occasioned by pregnancy makes my skin extra sensitive and itchy.

This presents a bit of a problem, because a lot of ready-to-wear maternity clothes are made from stiff or synthetic fabrics. Even the stretchy panels on maternity pants drive me nuts (I have to fold them down under my belly, because I can't stand the sensation of snug polyester knit on my tummy, eeeeewww). I also have an aversion to anything too tight, stiff, or crisp on my upper half.  These days, my primary goal in getting dressed in the morning is to find clothing that looks work-appropriate but feels like sweatpants and a t-shirt. Every day, I thank my lucky stars that I live in the age of soft, stretchy cottons and rayons. As much as I love vintage styling, this appreciation does not extend to vintage maternity wear. All of those crisp fabrics and tailored shapes! Shudder.

I told you. I'm some kind of freak.

With that in mind, I chose this pattern because it's flowy and loose, and because I thought it would look lovely in a soft light-weight knit that would meet my ridiculous and insane rather stringent fabric requirements. While it is quite possible that a more fitted style would be more flattering to my pregnant shape (especially since I am one of those lucky women who gets pregnant all over, not just in my belly) ... meh, whatever. I am a vessel for new life. I think I deserve to wear comfortable clothing that does not make my skin crawl.

Rie Dress.
Extra points if you can spot Joe.


What you can't see from these photos is how insanely difficult this project was. The "Rie Dress" pattern, which is labeled as appropriate for beginners, was indeed easy-peasy, but my problems began when I chose this tissue-thin, diaphanous, blue ikat printed rayon jersey to sew it up in. This fabric was almost the death of me, people. My sewing machine hates it, and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual. Every other minute, my sewing machine would gobble up a chunk of fabric and and suck it into the throat plate. I actually had to unscrew my throat plate several times in order to fish wrecked fabric out of the workings of my machine. For most of this project, I was unsure whether my efforts would result in a wearable garment or a shredded and wadded up $25 reminder of my pain and failure (especially sad because you can get cute maternity tops at Old Navy for $15).

The relationship between machine and fabric remained strained to the end, but eventually, with the help of my walking foot and twin needles (two firsts for me on this project, and I am a convert!), I was able to reconcile my sewing machine to this fabric enough to finish this project. I'm not going to pretend I didn't have a few moments of whining and cussing. At one point I was heard saying: "What the? This is supposed to be my fun, relaxing, hobby!" But I must say I do feel a sense of accomplishment at having successfully completed what turned out to be a pretty tough assignment.

(If pain and suffering were taken into account in judging the Spring Top winners, I might even stand a chance of winning this competition!)

Inder - Spring Maternity Tunic/Top.


Yeah, okay, the end result is a bit muu muu, but it is soft, flowy, loose, and incredibly comfortable - like wearing butterfly wings.   It looks good with a cardigan, jeans and boots now (we're finally getting our "winter" here in Northern California), and it will be cool and breezy when the weather heats up. And while it's hard to say for sure now, it may even be wearable after I give birth.

Apparently, the extreme comfort of this top caused me to forget most of the pain of sewing this stuff, because I found myself back at Stonemountain & Daughter this morning and some more soft, luscious, rayon jersey just might have made it into my purchase. Oops.

So, please tell me I'm not the only woman who develops strange fabric and clothing aversions during pregnancy!

16 comments:

  1. Nope,not the only one!

    Feel sorry for me-my poor,many times blown up balloon tummy is now sensitive in a non-pregnant state.
    I have to wear thin cotton singlets under everything or the skin is irritated.

    You look radiant-pregnancy agrees with you!

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  2. It's a cute top! I love the print on it too. At least through all that pain you got to try out the walking foot and the twin needles! I've used the walking foot on quilting and..yes! it's awesome :) I totally think you can rock this after pregnancy as well, maybe with a cute belt?

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    1. This project made me think that maybe machine quilting could be fun too! The walking foot rocks. I haven't taken it off yet, I just decided to whip up some knit tees first.

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  3. You have that glow! Very nice outfit. I used to get really itchy legs when I was pregnant with my first...

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    1. I have itchy legs too! Less so now than in the first trimester, when it was almost unbearable. I mean, what is that about? Last I checked, I NOT pregnant in my calves. What gives?

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  4. It's cute and you wouldn't have learnt a whole heap about working with tricky knits by buying a $15 top from Old Navy. Looks like a nicely bound neckline? That's something I have yet to master in knits.
    I could never do the stretchy waistbands over the belly thing either. I spent a lot of my first pregnancy in overalls. Sexy!

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    1. Overalls are starting to sound pretty good from a comfort standpoint here, which is a little scary, heh heh.

      The neckline is actually just turned under and finished with the twin needles! I was impressed with how decent that looks.

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  5. It turned out really well! That fabric is so pretty but I can understand how hard it may have been to work with...you're brave. Aren't the walking foot and twin needle great :)

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    1. Thank you! The fabric is very pretty, but it is POSSESSED, ha. The twin needles really make a difference. I don't mind zig-zag everything on Joe's clothes, but for me, I want something that won't elicit too many "Inder, did you make that yourself??" comments.

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  6. As a fellow sewer, I feel your pain ~ knits can be so awkward, it's depressing. BUT it also means a greater sense of accomplishment when you succeed, so well done! I have a twin needle that's been sitting in my drawer unused for about 6 months as I keep forgetting to buy two spools of thread the same color, but I do want to try it out. I think the double stitching lines look very pro.

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    1. Haha! Finding two spools of the same color is definitely the hardest part! I didn't buy two matching ones for this project, but I was able to find something close enough by digging around my enormous thread stash. I was wondering if I could fill a bobbin and use that as my second spool in a pinch?

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    2. I never thought to put a bobbin up there as the second spool! GREAT idea!

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  7. That's a lovely top and was worth the effort. I am sure you'll find the next one you make a lot easier. Comfort is definitely the top priority for maternity clothes.

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    1. Thank you! That was my optimistic hope as I purchased another piece of of tricky rayon yesterday! I hope it's justified, since I still haven't figured out why this stuff wants to suicidally throw itself down into the workings of my machine so frequently. But the comfort!!

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  8. love the top! So cute, and it's fun to see another sewist from Nor Cal! I'm in Gilroy. :)

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    1. Ah, Gilroy! I grew up on what used to be the very southern edge of San Jose (it is no longer the edge) and we would often wake up to the smell of blooming garlic (a spicy scent, not at all like cooking the stuff) wafting over the hills.

      Thanks for stopping by! You are such a prolific sewist and I love your many creations!

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