Well, since it’s Clara’s birth month, I think it’s time to face facts. I have a mum-body. My shape is very different post-Clara. Clothes that used to fit don’t anymore, for a whole range of reasons. I wore a non-maternity bra for the first time the other day, and it was truly terrifying (for me. Brett loved it). Exercise has taken a backseat thanks to a busy life and a long recovery from a busted pelvis, but I have a plan.
I’m participating in a research project based at Central Queensland University that will hopefully take care of the exercise issue, but I also need a new wardrobe. Cue the Stitch-Witch! My plan is to sew myself a substantial wardrobe before I go back to work, maybe 4-5 shirts and the same in dresses.
Mind you, before I get too far into Operation Dress Jess, I need to understand how to dress this new shape. It’s kinda weird that my weight hasn’t changed at all, but without exercise, my muscle mass has decreased, and although my core is back to its former glory, I definitely have a mummy tummy.
I’ve been looking for ideas to better understand my body type, but I’m getting frustrated, because all of the shape guides I’ve found focus on body shape front on, but nothing looks at a side profile. I’m getting stuck, because according to Trinny and Susannah, I’m a Vase, but I have a tummy. Lots of the clothes shapes they recommend really don’t work for me.
I had a bit of a sticky beak at some of my favourite sewing boggers, just to see shat they wore themselves (when they weren’t sewing for their children, which is about 95% of the time…). Me Made May (#mmmay2015) gave me a great opportunity to sneak into other people’s wardrobes to see what they were doing, and also to help me clarify what was going to work for me.
I figured out that my bottom half is pretty easy to dress – skinny jeans, leggings and tights are all winners. Mid length shorts in summer. My top half needs some work though. Thanks to the lack of exercise, and despite lugging around a 10kg baby, tuckshop lady arms are starting to appear. Elbow or mid bicep length sleeves are my preferred option. I like a decent V neck, scoops just tend to emphasise the width of my chest, and I don’t need to show the world my underwear every time I bend over. I need a little room around the waist so I can deny my lack of six-pack, and because I’m really short waisted, I want tops to finish on the top of my hip bones, no longer. Not too much of a demand list really…
I hunted through the big 4 pattern catalogues, and found Vogue 8650. It said very easy, and I hoped they weren’t lying. It’s a square-ish neck top with raglan sleeves and a pleated front, so plenty of room to move. I found some cotton voile in my stash which I’m pretty sure I bought about 15 years ago, and although it took me ages to figure out what colour thread to use, I got there in the end.
I found the sizing a bit dodgy. According to the pattern, I was a size 18 (are you f&*%ing serious?!?). According to the finished garment sizes, I was a 14, so that’s what I cut out. Given this pattern is suitable for knits, I really think they need to revisit their measurements.
Anyhoo, I cut, stitched, pleated and bound over the course of a few nights, put this baby together. I lopped 5cm off the bottom, which may have been a smidge too much, but if it bothers me I’ll unpick it and bind the hem. It fits really generously around the shoulders, which I love. I’m pretty broad across the shoulders, but have plenty of room to move. The sleeves could do with a little narrowing, but overall, I’m pretty stoked with how this one turned out. I have a few other patterns to try, but will definitely come back to this one.