This is part two in a three-part series on Post-Partum Sewing. Last week, I wrote about all the reasons you NEED to sew your own clothes after having a baby. Next week, I’ll be writing about your ideal post-partum capsule and what patterns I found worked best for my after-baby bod.
Last week, I wrote all about why you need to plan to sew your own clothes after having a baby. Now that I have convinced you, here are some tips on planning your post-partum wardrobe.
- Start sewing before baby is born. I didn’t try this, because in my mind, I had no idea what size I would be. This is wrong. Right after you have the baby, you will still look like you’re six months pregnant. Over the next six weeks your belly will shrink, but probably won’t look like it did before. You can easily sew based on your bust and hip measurements from late pregnancy. Odds are, you’re not making anything with a waist, so don’t worry about that measurement. One thing to keep in mind is that, if you’re planning on breast-feeding, your breasts will possibly get a bit bigger when engorged with milk. Size up if you’re worried!
- Use really nice fabric. If you’ve been wearing RTW maternity clothes, you’ve probably been stuck with awful quality fabric in colours/prints you don’t like simply because that’s all that is available. If your partner is going to get you a push present, suggest some really nice jersey or a plush French terry because that’s pretty much what you will live in for the next six months. Even if you think you will only wear these clothes for the next few months, you will likely feel super yucky for myriad reasons and soft fabric can help to fix that. Only get things that you can wash and dry, however, because you will probably be changing your shirt regularly as bebe spits up on your shoulder. Or vomits into your bra (true story).
- Stock up on fabric in advance. Depending on your situation, you might find yourself living on less than you did when you were working. Take advantage of your full salary before you need to worry about childcare costs and baby items and buy fabric and notions before you need them.
- Make clothes you will realistically wear. I made a bunch of Archers that were great, but only really wore the one because the other two were more office-appropriate than running-to-the-grocery-store-for-diapers chic. What I found I needed fell into three categories, based on who would actually see me: 1) loungewear (I’d suggest 3 outfits-worth); 2) errand outfits (you probably need two of these) ; and 3) meeting friends for lunch downtown (realistically, you really only need one top/dress for “nicer occasions.” People aren’t going to notice if you wear the same thing whenever they see you. They will, however, notice how confident you look in it, so pick something you know you like and make it fit!). Don’t forget that you will be doing laundry pretty much constantly, so you really don’t need much.
- Make really great loungewear. You will be home most of the time and will want to be cosy. You will also have many visitors (especially in the beginning), so you will want to make sure that you feel like you look nice (even though nobody expects you to, or is even paying attention because they only have eyes for your little bundle of joy). Even when you don’t expect visitors, it feels nice to look put together for the UPS person delivering your Amazon Prime order.
- Think about nursing friendly tops. If you plan on breastfeeding, think about the logistics of doing that in public with the clothes you are wearing. While you can totally make actual nursing clothes, I didn’t find them necessary. What I usually ended up doing is layering two tops, so that I pulled the under top down (usually a cami or v-neck) t-shirt and pulled up the top layer. No one had to see any skin! Also remember that bulky sweaters are hard to nurse in because they have so much volume for you to hold up while junior is eating. I found cardigans an easy layer to circumvent this problem. Dresses and tunics are particularly problematic as you’re not going to pull up (and hold up) the whole dang thing to feed your kid. If you opt for a dress or tunic, look for a wrap-around pattern or button down front that gives you easy access to nurse.
- Consider babywearing. I live in a cold climate and don’t have a car, so I did a lot of babywearing in the winter to make sure that my daughter stayed warm enough. Babywearing inserts can be really expensive, but are also super easy to make on your own. If you make a jacket, use extra fabric to make an insert so you feel like a cool, together mom going for a walk.
- Choose patterns that require less fitting. As I mentioned last week, your body might feel a bit foreign to you for a while. Opt for garments that require less fitting as there is nothing worse that spending tons of time trying to make a garment work when you’re less likely to actually know what will look good on your body. You don’t have time for that. You need to be able to sew it and love it immediately.
- Pick patterns you’ve never made before. It’s really easy to play the comparison game when trying on old clothes or making a pattern you’ve made a hundred times. If you are working with a new pattern (or new pattern designer, even!), you’re less at risk to think things like “ugh, I had to size up two sizes,” or “this is too tight, but I’m going to lose the weight anyway.”
- Make clothes that are right for right now. It’s also really easy to fall into the trap of, “I’ll make this one size smaller than I need because I’ll have lost the weight by the time I’m done.” All that does is set you up for disappointment when it doesn’t happen and you’re stuck wearing something that doesn’t quite fit. Just focus on making clothes that make you feel good.
The most important things to think about when sewing for those crazy (awesome) weeks and months after having a baby are making clothes that will stand up to bodily fluids and tons of washing, are comfy and easy move around in, and, most importantly, make you feel awesome.