This is part three in a three-part series on Post-Partum Sewing. In the first post, I wrote about why you NEED to sew the clothes you plan on wearing right after your baby is born. Last week, I listed tips on planning to sew in those first few weeks and months.
Now, for the fun part: planning your after-baby capsule! Luckily (or unluckily), you’ll be doing tons of laundry and will be able to wash and re-wear your new me-made faves multiple times a week, so a capsule wardrobe of just a few items is going to get you through your parental leave. I’ve compiled some patterns that I’ve either seen around or made that I think would contribute to an easy-to-make capsule that is comfy and makes you feel awesome. I’ve also broken it down to five main categories: loungewear, casual outings, “nice” outings, accessories and outerwear, and special occasion.
Loungewear: You can probably get away with three tops and two bottoms
- The Grainline Linden Sweatshirt. This is the top to start with as it’s super simple and pretty much fits perfectly out of the envelope. Use a super plush French Terry or a fun jersey to make this sweater feel less basic. If you want a really slouchy look without the appearance of wearing a top that’s just too big, size up one or two sizes, but make sure the sleves still hit at the wrist bone. I also find that a split hem makes this top look a little more like a sweater than a sweatshirt and looks great over leggings. I don’t recommend View B (the cropped version) unless you miraculously have no mommy gut or lower the hem to hit at the hip.
- The True Bias Hudson Pant. I fully regret never making these pants in my first weeks at home with my daughter. I’m fairly confident I would have worn them pretty much every day.
- The Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pajamas. Don’t underestimate how much time you will spend in your jammies. Make yourself some nice ones. You will thank me.
- The Helen’s Closet Suki Kimono. This is another one I didn’t make but super wished I had. Throw this on over the puke stain on your shoulder when Fed Ex knocks on your door and feel instantly glamourous.
Casual Outing Outfits: I managed to get away with two bottoms and two tops.
- The Grainline Archer. I made this up in plaid and wore it minimum twice a week. I lengthened mine so it would just cover my butt with leggings. I found it super versatile since I could wear it open, closed, sleeves rolled or under a bulky sweater. It’s super easy to wear and perfect for chasing junior at playgroup.
- The Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirtdress. I wish so much I had discovered this pattern earlier. I made mine easier to make and wear by converting the pattern into a knit box-top pattern. Seriously my favourite tops ever.
- The Helen’s Closet Avery Leggings. While I wore my old RTW leggings, this pattern looks pretty awesome. Make two pairs in black and you are pretty much set. I’m also curious to see how these would sew up as jeggings with an ultra stretchy denim. I had a few pair that I wore in the first weeks after my daughter was born, but realized that jeggings can be awful when they have an elastic waist band (ie. they pinch and give you awful gut rolls). High, yoga-style waistbands are where it’s at as they made me feel held in without being squished.
“Nice” outing outfits: Honestly, you need one outfit and can probably get away with wearing leggings under a tunic. Here, it’s all about the fabric you choose.
- The Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirtdress. I’m mentioning this one again, because I find it so versatile. Made up in jersey, this top is casual, but as soon as you choose a flowy rayon or nice shirting, this tee becomes a blouse. I wish I had made the dress length to wear with leggings and boots to all my holiday parties this winter.
- The Grainline Studio Alder Dress. Similar to the kalle, but I love that this pattern gives the option for the gathered almost-skirt. If you want something a little more feminine, here you go!
- The Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan. This cardigan could easily go into each category, but I saved it for this one because I find the longer length option looks so stylish with boots or a dress. Make this in your neutral of choice and wear it every fricken day. I’m dying to pattern hack this into a vest because I think it would look so cool over a basic tee and leggings.
Outerwear and accessories:
- The Closet Case patterns Kelly Anorak. If you’re lucky, your coats may still fit. Even if they do, you might find yourself needing a slightly more casual jacket (I felt weird wearing a trench coat over leggings and a baggy Archer). Depending on the season, you can choose your fabric to be warm, waterproof or light enough for a cool summer evening. I’ve also seen people hack this into a vest and it looks SO GOOD. If you’re interested in making a babywearing insert for your Kelly, check out my tutorial.
- Infinity Scarves. I didn’t sew any of my own, but I found that I wore a lot of circular scarves over my leave. I found that they quickly elevated leggings and a tee to an outfit. They also double as nursing covers, which is awesome.
- Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity Dress. Inevidably, you will be invited to a wedding or holiday party and will need to wear a more formal outfit. Any dress with this general shape will work as this is a pretty universally flattering cut. It might seem counter-intuitive to go for a fitted bodice when you’re least likely to be loving your middle, but if you get the waist placement right, it will nip you at your smallest part, but give your tummy and hips room to breathe. While beautiful, the skirt is over-complicated, so save yourself some time and just turn it into a gathered skirt. Please note that this bodice isn’t pumping/nursing friendly. I recommend looking for a stretch woven for this one so you don’t have to fiddle with fitting too much.
- The Cashmerette Appleton Dress. I have never made or worn a wrap dress, but I hear they are the shit and make everyone look good. The bonus here is that it is stretchy (yay!) and breast-feeding friendly.