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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big Pink Shirt

Okay, now I'm starting to see why so many sewers (seriously, folks, is it safe to say "seamstresses" even if we aren't tailor-level skilled? I can't help seeing that word and thinking of a damp understreet lair...) give up on the idea of maternity patterns and just start altering off-the-rack items or drafting their own. Part of the problem, true, is both the dearth of maternity patterns, period (Vogue? I'm talking to you!) and the relative lack of attractiveness of the styles that are offered.

Although, in the defense of the pattern industry, the current line of empire-waist blouses is far more flattering than the balloon-stylings of the 1980s. Good Lord, back then if you didn't have a giant lace collar and about 7 yards of fabric, you just weren't maternal. But I digress.

Okay. There aren't many patterns, and most of them are for not-so-stylish clothes. I get that. But there are some simple classics you shouldn't be able to really mess up, right? And some simple rules that should ensure at least a *close to accurate* fit.

Or not.

Once upon a time (8 years ago, during my first pregnancy) I made a sleeveless summer top from McCall's 3940 and loved it.

Flashback! T at 24 weeks gestation.
Then I got a little older, wiser, more experienced at sewing, and (ahem) bigger. I realized that many of the clothes I sewed during that pregnancy failed to fit for the entire time because I'd made them according to size number instead of measurement. It turns out that the "off the rack" size and most pattern sizes are off by a range of at least 2. Silly me! So a 12 in a pattern is an 8 off the rack. See where I'm going with this?

Armed with this knowledge AND a careful set of measurements of my now-larger form AND a mistrust for pattern ease (I've been burned before on the bust thing...see previous post), I identified my size as between two and erred in the favor of the larger. I recreated the pattern *two full sizes up* from the original.

Witness my new shirt, which other than some damn fine construction (which I failed to accurately document as my camera no longer zooms or focuses correctly)...has really nothing to recommend it.

Mom? I left my feet, clad only in clashing socks, so you could comment on them. Come on, you know you're dying to.
So what's wrong with this? It's a big pink maternity shirt. Big deal.

Okay, I will grant that I am going to need something roomy. Each successive pregnancy culminates in a final belly that is freakishly, painfully huge. I could *use* a tent to accomodate what I'll eventually be carrying out front.

But look at the bust ease on this thing.

You have GOT to be kidding me.
Yes, I need some room to move (it's called EASE, and it's *usually* your friend). Yes, I will likely go up a cup size or two. Yes, I may wear this for a few weeks postpartum when I'm freakishly engorged. But look at how MUCH ease!

My X-ray vision powers are legendary.
Holy good gravy...the body of the shirt almost reaches to my elbows! It's a Big. Frickin'. Shirt.

Granted, the shoulders are also too wide, so in retrospect I should have opted for the smaller of my two potential sizes. But even so, if *I* were a pattern designer, I'd consider embracing the A-line. Fit it better at the shoulders/chest, then flare the hem for the belly. Crazy idea?

Yeah crazy like a fox. A pregnant fox who is not shaped like a box. Sigh. Back to the drawing board. Maybe it's time to take that leap and start drafting. Somehow I doubt I could do appreciably worse...

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