Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sewing at a Moving Target, Pt. 1: Stretchy Skirts

BurdaStyle "Melissa" High-Waisted Knit Skirt--Red Maternity Version Side View

BurdaStyle "Melissa" knit skirt at 25 weeks pregnant...

Jalie 2005 Maternity Modification, Take 2 (Detail)

...30 weeks pregnant...

BurdaStyle "Melissa" High-Waisted Knit SkirtBurdaStyle "Melissa" High-Waisted Knit Skirt

... and 6 weeks post-partum. (No, I so do NOT have time to be ironing these days!)

So what's a sewist to do when her measurements change from day to day? And I don't mean by a smidge. Over the course of my pregnancy I gained 42 pounds, added 2 inches in the high bust, 4 inches in the full bust and 3 in the hips, and totally lost sight of my waist under an ever-growing baby belly.

So as much as I love fitted, lined skirts (mmm, wool tweed!) with lovely details (pleats! vents! trim!), they just weren't practical during my pregnancy. It was all about the stretchy skirts, whether they be knit, rib-waisted, or shirred.

And they don't make a lot of sense now (alas, my vintage Du Barry dress dreams will have to wait!). My measurements have continued to change, just in other directions. My high bust is approaching 34" again, my full bust is going to be even more of an adjustment nightmare (I wore a 32E bra pre-pregnancy, and now I'm in an H/I cup), my waist is back in some form, and my hips are shrinking as well. All apparently thanks to the clever strategy known as "sitting on my butt nursing my sweet baby girl all day."

All of my maternity tops (including the ones I made, alas!) are way too big and baggy now, but most of my pre-pregnancy clothes--tops and bottoms--are WAY too small. So I've been living in the few knit tops I have that are not skin-tight, some nursing nightgowns and tanks I bought--and all of the skirts I made while pregnant!

Here's the spiral skirt at 27 weeks pregnant:

Spiral Skirt Front View

And at one week post-partum, when I still looked sorta pregnant:

The Baby Z Adventures, Episode 2!

Once again, I have no pants--not even the one pair of jeans I made it through my last two trimesters with.

It's not like I've had any time to sew for myself anyway these past weeks--but I'm afraid to even buy clothes (except maybe thrift clothes) until I figure out where my body is going to settle. I'll try to put it off until September when I go back to work and need to look presentable, and I'll probably try to buy as little as possible even then just in case.

Of course, however fast my measurements have changed, that's nothing compared to how my little Baby Z is growing! Here she is at 6 weeks-ish!

Baby Z!


  1. I can definitely identify with what you are going through, as I went through it...twice!! You have the right attitude to try and get by with what you have until you have to buy something else. Your body will continue to change, but it will eventually settle into a recognizable place. Mine did, and that was about nine months after baby. I wish you the best!

  2. I can't even tell you how much I love that last photo. SO ADORABLE!!!

    On the changing shape - everyone is different, but anecdotally, most people I know did not really settle into their (semi) final post-partum body until at least a few months after they stopped nursing. And I don't just mean the bust, I mean everything shifted again after that. I felt like it was fluid retention and a bit of lactation weight, but no idea, really. So yeah, not too much fitting until that's all over. The stretchy stuff is sure working for you though -- what good thinking that was!

  3. Keep nursing as long as you can. First of all it shrinks your womb back to its proper proportions and then it shrinks your hips! And thighs, and anywhere else you store fat. Apart from the fact it gets easier and more enjoyable as your baby gets bigger and makes more and more eye contact with you as it goes on. Try not to give up because you start work. You can still nurse in the morning and at night and it's good for BOTH of you.

  4. I LOVE the red skirt/stripe top combo!! Adorable both pregnant and not.
    I have to echo the above encouragements. Even between my two (now 3) pregnancies the way that my body has changed has been different and on different timelines. I made the mistake of making a duct tape dress form when my second child was 6 months old, and it only "fit" me for a few weeks.

  5. I've heard that, Sarah (that my shape will change AGAIN when I stop nursing)! But I plan to nurse her for at least a year (I have a Pump in Style to use while I'm at work), so I may make a few somewhat more fitted woven items to wear during that year, once this more rapid weight loss has slowed down.

  6. It is crazy, isn't it? For me, I was mostly back to normal after four months of nursing (except for bust size... I do miss the adjustable bust enhancement ;) )... then I kept losing!

    Also, I don't know how Americans manage to go back to work after just a few weeks or months! ;)

  7. You both look beautiful! What I would give to squeeze those little legs!

  8. So cute! (Both of you). I can believe how much she's grown! And I *love* your color combinations. Anyway I'm glad you posted this. I was hoping to make some fitted wool skirts for fall but I guess they will have to wait.

  9. You know, maybe you can look for things that'll be easy (ish) to alter in a year or two when you finally stabilize? Dresses that are beltable, skirts that'll be easy to open up and re-dart (can that be a word)?

    I don't blame you for wanting to not be stuck in all knits! I had no sewing machine back then and didn't want to spend money so I was in knits for...2 years? I got so sick of it.

  10. You and your baby look great! Such a beautiful family :) (dad too, of course)
    I haven't had kids but fluctuate size a little and it is so frustrating, especially with hand sewn items.

  11. The same thing happened to me- I had to replace my entire wardrobe because my body wasn't even remotely similar to what it was pre-baby. But I'm happy about it, so that helps.

  12. What a beautiful baby and family! My youngest just celebrated her 18th bday but one thing I do remember from long-ago days: all mom's clothes should be from washable fabrics, nothing dry-cleanable. Babies and toddlers are messy and dry cleaning is expensive.

    My .02.

  13. I had my first child almost ten years ago and my last three years ago (and two in between). I spent exactly ten years and one month either pregnant or nursing. Six months past my last nursing, I'm still waiting for the rest of the mommy-body evolution, and you know what? It ain't happening! Each kid left me with about 5 extra lbs, but they each also seemed to alter my shape slightly. The last was my only c-section, but that left some interesting belly sag.

    I can look around and see people who haven't spent the last decade breeding and feeding and not see many that haven't had figure changes. I just do my best to dress the body I have. At least when you sew, you don't have to look at a size label every time you put something on. Those seem so arbitrary anyway.

    Give yourself another 2-3 months and you'll be more of a "new" normal. Keep up the nursing - best time I spent with my babies. Little Gracie at age 3 still fondly remembers her "nummies."

  14. very cute couple and lovely baby! youre a fashionable pregnant women, look at your pics =)

  15. What a lovely little family you have! I'm curious what the Z stands for, I'm pregnant with number 3. Turns out it's a 3rd boy, (after believing for 6 weeks we were having a girl we named Zoe).

    You look great 8 weeks post pardum! I also have a June baby (he just tuned 2 on June 17th), and my older guy will be 4 in December.

    I stumbled upon your blog via Ravelry.


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