Monday, 25 September 2017

Sew My Own Maternity Wardrobe: Mama Agnes

Hello. I am back to blogging, after a more than half year absence. The last seven 7 months has been so crazy. I have been pregnant! First Child. So you can imagine my excitement and how my life has turned upside down. However, that’s not the excuse for my half year absence. The winter in Melbourne this year is too cold and too long. I have chosen to stay in bed and keep warm when I should be sewing. Now that winter is truly over and I went straight back to my sewing table on a warm and sunny day.

This pattern, Maternity Agnes from Tilly and the Buttons, came out just at the time when I needed maternity clothes the most. After 30 weeks, I found most of the clothes in my closet are no longer wearable. My belly is too big! So I looked for some maternity patterns. Initially I wanted to alter Vogue 1314 into a maternity dress after seeing a few ladies did so on PatternReview, but pattern alteration or drafting is not really my strong suit so I gave up. Then I came across the new maternity release from Tilly and the Buttons on PatternReview, my search ended with this pattern.

Size and Fabric

I have been seeing lots of their famous Bettine Dresses but I had not sewn any of their patterns. So I made the top version to test out the fitting. I made size 3, according to my pre-pregnancy bust size. My first attempt was on a Grey poly/rayon jersey. My second version is a thicker stripe cotton/rayon jersey. I did not have enough stripe fabric so I made a shorter sleeve. They are both stretchy.
Grey poly/rayon jersey: 1.5m wide, 1.3m long
Strips cotton/poly/rayon jersey: 1.5m wide, 1.2m long.

Version 1 

Version 2
Fitting and Alteration

I was not happy with the fitting of the armholes. There seems to be excess fabric at the joint of the shoulder and sleep cap. So when I made a second version, I used the armhole of the Sewaholic Renfrew top. The Renfrew top has a higher armhole, and smaller neckline. After washing both garments and wearing them, I actually think the original pattern fits well too. So when I make it next time, I won’t alter the armholes.

One thing I am adamant to alter is the gather of fabric on the top front. As the gather starts at the bust line, there is an excess of fabric between the underbust and top of the belly. So I moved the starting point of the gathering down by 1 inch and made more gathering below the waist on my second version. It fits much better.

I also shortened the hem by 1 inch.


I dived into sewing knits recently. Before making this top, I watched the T-shirt making class by Marcy & Katherine Tilton on Craftsy. I learned a few tips and applied them to this top. I really don’t like the instructions of Tilly and the Buttons. The illustrations for the steps are actual photos, not diagrams. I found it’s confusing and not clear. Luckily it’s an easy project. I am not sure I will buy their patterns again given the instructions are not clear for me.

The instructions usually tell you to stitch two lines in the seam allowance and pull them to make a gather. I prefer to stitch one line on each side of the actual stitch line for the gather, then I sew the actual stitch line in between the two gathering lines, as shown below.


I Iike this pattern and the two tops made from it. It’s a very close fit so using a comfy stretchy fabric is important. I am definitely making the dress version soon after finishing some other projects. Highly recommend it if you are sewing your own maternity wardrobe.


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