70's Style Gingham

Posted Thursday, 5 July, 2018

Hellos sewists!

It’s definitely been a while. Since my last post my belly has grown (seemingly overnight!) and I’ve just been trying to keep up.

I’ve also been busy with attempting to get the house organised, for us, and for when baby makes an appearance. I’m not too sure how successful I’ve been on that front because despite taking early maternity leave life is still so busy! I stopped work and immediately got a vicious cold which hampered my attempts at crossing things off my To-Do List.

Even more distracting and exciting than all of that though, has been our last pre-baby holiday! (Or babymoon I guess, but I feel weird calling it that for some reason). Luke took some time off work and we spent a couple of weeks interstate relaxing, visiting family, and catching up with friends. This all culminated in celebrating our Baby Shower with our nearest and dearest, but I’ll share more photos and speak more to that in an upcoming post. 

Suffice it to say, it’s been an absolutely wonderful, whirlwind few weeks but Luke is back at work now and that has left me at home to face the debris that is Jobs Left Undone. Everywhere I look there is something that needs doing or that I want to do, so picking a place to start has been daunting! (And I will do it. I just want to tick “blog post” off my To-Do List as well before the makes pile up). The plan was to get this post done sooner, but I just couldn't manage the computer time. I'm currently trying to do the very un-virgo-like thing and trying to be kind to myself....which in my case has meant letting go of my craving for perfection in everything. It's intense guys, and every time I feel like I'm letting go a little, I also feel like I'm failing. But it should get better and rest for the baby is most important at the moment. Maybe some of you can relate? That's just where I'm at.

Photos were taken of me at 30 weeks

No matter though. We are here to discuss my latest pattern test, the Abi Jumpsuit by SMYLY patterns. Yayy!!!

The muse behind this pattern design is, of course, the inimitable Abi of The Crafty Pinup. I’m sure that Abi and her work needs no further explanation or introduction. Surely everyone has heard of her by now? As a diehard retro-girl myself, in seeing the design it was perfectly easy to imagine Abi wearing this.

SMYLY Abi Jumpsuit Pattern Cover - featuring Abi!

The Abi Jumpsuit release has been independent of the SMYLY digital magazine publication and I absolutely loved this make! I also loved the purchase options – for those of us who have already sewn a SMYLY Samantha Dress (and were satisfied with the bodice fit) all we need to do is purchase and download the add-on pack to make a complete Abi Jumpsuit. If you’ve not sewn Samantha or would like to try the redrafted faux-wrap top, you can purchase and download the complete pattern. Or you can get them both as a bundle.

I really do recommend these patterns – and not just because I’ve been fortunate enough to test them. I wouldn’t gush so much if I didn’t truly think they’re worth it.

Obviously, my pattern-test is a little different to that of a non-pregnant lady, but that being said I am happy to report that for me, the nature of the ease in the jumpsuit pattern, combined with the fact that it’s a knit (every pregnant lady’s friend) meant that there was very little that I did to accommodate my bump. In fact, I sized down from my actual measurements in order to get a snugger fit and to hopefully have something that I can wear post-partum too. I didn’t want to sew anything too big as then it will just sag around me and make me sad. I feel as though that will be the last thing future Brooke needs!

Also, if there are any other pregnant ladies out there. Please don’t be alarmed by your measurements when looking at sizing charts and deciding which size is best for you. I started out sewing exclusively the “larger” sizes and found that it just wasn’t working. I wasn’t growing into the larger sizes the way that I thought I would. My body is still “me.” Granted that there have been developments in the bust, hip, bum and tum areas but I still need clothes to fit. I now take a cursory glance at the size charts and then closely scrutinise the actual pattern pieces, taking into account wearing ease and seam allowance, as well as finished garment measurements, in order to determine the fit that I want.

As an aside, I’m very grateful to both Hattie and Athina for allowing me to continue pattern-testing for them at this stage. I’m glad that despite my current variations in body type and size I can still be included and I hope that my feedback is useful to not only them for product development, but for other ladies seeking to do some maternity sewing. <3

Sewing Notes for Abi:

  • The sizing chart and information on the SMYLY patterns is good as you’re able to start with your body measurements and then compare that with the  finished garment measurements. If, like me, you’d like a snugger fit, this is a great way to check the ease (bearing in mind fabric type and characteristics, such as the elasticity of your chosen knit). This is how I knew I’d be able to vary my sizing.
  • Abi is a lovely straightforward knit, I sewed view 1 as I felt the flared leg would balance out the curve of my bump and whatever else I have going on right now! Also, the flared silhouette is in aid of the “70’s modern” look I was going for, so I couldn’t go past it!
  • Take into account that knit quality can vary greatly. For that reason, other than pre-washing your fabric (as I know we all do anyway), I would suggest being prepared to adjust the sizing or positioning of your darts. This may be particularly useful if you’re a bit heavy-handed with your fabrics as you sew. (No judgement here! I’m painfully aware of how awkwardly rough I can be when attaching collars. It’s the pressure! They stretch so easily!)
  • Abi is an easy pattern to try on as you go. The main points to look for in fit, aside from the wrap bodice, is the crotch depth. Make sure that your pant leg will comfortably track down from your waist and around the crotch area as a normal pair of pants would. Too long and you may get a saggy bottom or extra room for your tum (not a bad thing in my case!). Too short and, well…..you get my drift. SMYLY have a helpful video tutorial for this and other techniques which are definitely worth taking a look at.
  • Fabric used was a nice structured knit from the Remnant Warehouse (which they still have in stock here).

Trouser fitting and crotch adjustment was the area that I was most worried about as I wasn’t sure how my bump would factor into the whole affair, and the quantity and quality of maternity tailoring and dressmaking information available online or in print is abysmal. (This is something I’d like to address down the track). Luckily, I’d recently bought a pair of culotte-style trousers and so had an idea where I wanted the waistline to sit to flatter me. Because of this, I was confident that stretchy pants would be ok on pregnant me. To get the waistline to sit where I wanted, I simply shortened the bodice, as per my Samantha dress, to create an empire waist. (As previously mentioned, I had already checked for belly room). From there I sewed on, as per the pattern instructions. The empire waist/high waisted look is something that I think would be flattering on other body shapes too. Although I’d only previously associated it with pregnant brides and Grecian-style formal wear, I may try it in future on “normal me.”

All in all, I found the SMYLY Abi Jumpsuit to be a very satisfying and straight-forward sew. If you’re looking for something to whet your whistle before diving headlong into jumpsuit territory, I’d suggest that with the number of style variations available, as well as being jersey and therefore easier to fit, Abi is definitely an ideal starting point.

Isn't Tango cute at sunset?

Please comment below if you've tried Abi or have any HG jumpsuit patterns that you can recommend, or if you have any questions regarding fit or maternity sewing that I haven't covered here. Also, feel free to just say hello! I'd love for the discussion to continue.

With love from the Outback,