The perfect nursing hacked hoodie

It’s here!!! After 5 straight days of over 31C (40C+ with the humidity!), our fall weather has finally arrived, and I for one could not be any more relieved! To keep myself preoccupied & to help hold onto the hope that fall & winter are actually coming to stay, I’ve been going through my closet on the hunt for cold weather nursing clothes. Last week I found this hoodie that I made & photographed 2 years ago with baby #1.

The original pattern is a women’s Henley that I modified to have nursing access. Some parts need to be repaired & altered before it can be worn again this year, so it’s out of commission for now. It was always the plan to make another, but spring came early that year & there wasn’t much point.

After closer inspection and another fit check (since it was intended to be a wearable muslin), I tweaked my approach to come up with this year’s design for muslin #2.

Both the inner & outer front panels changed significantly for this version, and even though it’s comfortable & I love wearing it (likely because this fabric is divine & I’m in love with the basic, crisp colour combination), there will be more changes made to version 3.

I’m thinking that I will be most happy with the outer layer from #1 and the inner layer from #2. Hopefully the third version will be faster than 2 years in the making! In the meantime, version 2 was perfect for today’s cool weather – a quick run over to Sewing a Rae of Sunshine to help with some “office” work (in my lounge pants too, because morning) & our afternoon family walk.

My only regret is that these photos do not do this green justice no matter how I edit them – it is gorgeous in person.

Yes, I take my coffee (or tea or water) on family walks…don’t you?!

Pattern:

Patterns for Pirates Women’s Henley

Fabric:

Bamboo Stretch French Terry in Olive

Black 10oz Cotton/Lycra

*fabric from 2 yrs ago no longer available

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Real Life, Real Sewing

Note: this post includes affiliate links! Check out the list of all affiliate links that help support #RandomsByRydz here.

sew20junetourgraphic randomsbyrydz

Well it looks like I’ve been bit by the blog tour bug! The good news is it doesn’t hurt too bad, and the better news is that (I think!) I worked out most of the kinks in the last go-round, so this one should go a lot more smoothly than my first blog tour post!

The challenge from Roxanne at PenSeb&Rox and Sew20 is to show that you actually wear what you make – Real Life, Real Sewing. No staged photos are allowed, just pictures of us in our creations, doing our everyday thing. It can be a new item, or an old favourite that gets lots of wear. Oh yeah, and questions! She gave us questions to answer. So thanks for joining, sit back & relax with a coffee (or keep telling your baby not to eat your phone because you’re trying to read), and enjoy!

1. What do you look for when choosing a sewing project?

I like to ask myself “Will (insert name here) wear it?” The same question applies when buying fabric, but for patterns it’s really the most important question, because to me there’s no use having it if it’s not going to be used. (See what I did there?! Use, and used. Never mind, carry on…) The whole point of sewing for my family is to make clothes that we love and will wear, and that fit us properly. As much as I love sewing, there is no point spending the money on supplies, and time on assembly, if we won’t wear it – because that would be money and time better spent somewhere else, like with my family (who will then be naked because they won’t wear the clothes I made?!).

But the clothes that I have made are actually our most-worn items, and it’s such a relief – because let’s be honest, how many of us have closets full of clothes & think “I have nothing to wear!” Yep, guilty. Right here. That’s definitely me. If there’s something me-made in there, though, I never hesitate. And I want that feeling when I pick a project – I want to love the fabric and the fit of the pattern, and I want to want to wear it every day. Like if all my clothes were dirty and I had to pick something from the dirty laundry pile to wear, would I pick that? If the answer’s yes, it’s worth making.

Other things to consider are whether I can alter a pattern that I already own to be similar to save on the expense of buying a new one, and how many projects I already have on the go (will it get done any time soon, or can I wait to buy it later when I actually have the time to use it?). Also worth factoring is how much have I spent on fabric lately? Since I don’t (usually) sew to sell, there has to be a plan for any fabric or pattern that comes into the house.

Oh, and is there a nursing version/hack included or out there in the Facebook sewing world that I can use/I like, or can I figure out my own hack? The perfect example is this Agility Tank from 5 out of 4 Patterns. In the original pattern there is a clip-down nursing option, but I altered how the bra is constructed to make it a lift-up option since the tank is already open on the sides/has access to the bra without lifting the whole tank up.

2.  Is there anything you would like to (or wish you could) do differently when selecting projects?

Yes! I wish I could sew faster to get more done, and not have a budget. Then I’d never have to think about what I would do differently, and my husband wouldn’t panic every time he sees new fabric on the table! haha.  

3. What is your most used/worn sewing project? This either could be of all time or currently.

The first thing I thought of was my black & camel striped Layer Me Up (LMU) tee from Patterns for Pirates (P4P) – this is the first item I ever put a full bust adjustment (FBA) in, and I wear it ALL. THE. TIME. Like, if it’s not in the dirty laundry pile, it’s because I pulled it directly from the dryer to put it on. In fact, it has already put in an appearance on the blog! As with anything I’ve made for myself, though, it rarely makes an appearance in a picture unless it’s a selfie or it’s a planned photo shoot.

But then, I remembered the collection of pants that Baby Rydz has, and thought for SURE those get worn all the time, because they always seem to be dirty! The reason I even started sewing with knits at all was so he could have some affordable Maxaloones to fit over his adorable, fluffy cloth diapered bum. Then I moved on to Yoggers, because who doesn’t love little baby harem pants?! Then I discovered custom print knit fabric and the world of Facebook sewing groups, and all hope was lost. BUT, if the temperature is cool enough you can be guaranteed to spot #BabyRydz in some me-made pants, a bibdana, or the occasional shirt a few times a week. Our very favourite is this pair of Maxaloones made from a sheriff/cowboy/Texas Ranger print.

4. Do you have a project that you thought would be used/worn frequently but just did not end up working out?

YES! There are a bunch, but most of them can be taken apart, altered, and put back as something that I’ll wear pretty easily. Recently there was a case of serious “mom brain” around here & there was a pair of Mamaloones that were beyond saving. I had measured myself, cut, and taped the pattern just a couple weeks after Baby Rydz was born, because my maternity clothes were cutting into my c-section incision & my pre-pregnancy sweatpants either also cut in, or were still just waaaayy too small. But the project was put on the back burner, and months later I remembered that I still REALLY wanted this comfy pair of ‘loones for myself, so that I could have a bum circle too (yeah I’m dorky like that, it’s ok). Plus kind of, I was excited that my booty would fit into a pair of sweats without them stretching tight across the bum. #BigBumProblems 

Anyways, I forgot that I had measured & cut according to my size so soon after birth, PLUS I had been lazy (read: still on pain killers & really shouldn’t have been assembling pattern pieces on the floor) & didn’t bother shortening the pattern to my 5’1″ frame. By the time I was done, they were about 2 1/2 sizes too big, and a good 8″ too long. And they were entirely serged. I thought about fixing them, but was just so exhausted from a crazy day with the baby & the amount of work involved seemed too ridiculous. So I offered them to the ladies in my book club & one of them generously offered to buy them from me. Then she told me how incredibly comfortable they are, and how she wants more for herself & her daughter. Yeah, thanks. You know who else wants incredibly comfy Mamaloones? THIS MAMA! Haha. But the good news is that someone loves them & wears them often, PLUS just last week I finally made myself another pair. Another 3 months after sewing up the first pair. There’s no pictures of me wearing them other than the fit pics though, since I spilled food all over them the first time I wore them, and they’re light coloured. That’s just how I roll…

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5. What is your favorite tip or quote that applies to sewing for real life?

If you can dream it, you can do it. So often a friend will ask me if I can make something, or if it’s possible to re-create something they’ve seen online or in store, and it surprises them that the answer is always yes. Yes it’s possible. I may not want to, I may not have enough time, it may be easy, or quick, or cheap, or hard, or fast, or expensive. It may be worth re-creating, or it may just be worth buying it from the store, but the answer is still yes. So if you’re looking at a pattern thinking “I love it, but…” just remember that it’s within your power to change it! The beauty of sewing for ourselves is to make something exactly how we want, and if we don’t like it, we don’t have to make it that way! I love that this makes clothing shopping so much less stressful, because I don’t panic when I can’t find what I want, and in the end I have a closet full of clothes that I love and that actually get worn.

Do you have any examples of Real Life, Real Sewing to show off? You can play along by using the #realliferealsewing on social media. You can also win one of two $25 gift cards. More details at Sew 20.
Be sure to visit the other participants on this tour!

6/20 | Sew 20 Tour Kick-off | The Wholesome Mama | Wild & Wanderful | Randoms by Rydz

6/21 | Daydream Believers | Sugarplum Cuties | Friends Stitched Together | The Inspired Wren | PenSeb&Rox

6/22 | Sewstarly | Very Blissful | House of Estrela | The Berry Bunch | Musings of a Seamstress

6/23 | mahlicadesigns | sewingbyti | Candice Ayala | Call Ajaire | Sunflower Seams

6/24 | Beri Bee Designs | Lulu & Celeste | FABulous Home Sewn | Mae & K | Sew 20 Social Media Round-up

6/25 | Sew 20 Tour Wrap-up

My Favourite PDF Pattern Designers

The #1 rule of Pattern Club, is you don’t talk about Pattern Club…

This is going to sound totally ridiculous if you’ve never lived with a sewist (or sewer, seamstress, tailor, quilter, or whatever else they choose to call themselves), but the fabric & pattern world is a cutthroat business, with all sorts of copyright battles, cat fights, embezzlement, & huge drama. Think of a profession that is almost exclusively women, then add teenage angst, PMS, and menopause to a mob mentality. On the outside it’s pretty, but on the inside it is nothing but darkness and drama if you don’t work hard to push back against it.

Since I don’t design or sell fabric or patterns, I’m able to steer clear of the insanity & choose to remain a casual observer (read: lurking to ensure that none of the people I order from are either psycho or a huge fraud). Really, my favourite part of “Pattern Club” is to see what others have been creating, and to get ideas for my own creations. What was most confusing when I first started this journey is that *sometimes* it’s ok to ask the poster which pattern they used & where they got their fabric, and other times it is totally inappropriate, and they will become very angry or frustrated with you (and the 40 million other people who want to know) for asking.

The main reason for this is that anyone who sews to sell (most are Work At Home Moms – WAHMs) does not want someone to go out and reproduce their one-of-a-kind creations & suddenly become the competition, or start under-selling them. The other reason is that while their item may be made from a base pattern, it’s likely that at some point they have mashed two or more patterns together, or used a pattern of their own creation, to design the item, and sharing that information with you for free in a public forum would again create competition, but also discount the tons of hours they put into testing to get it just right. Really, the seriousness of Pattern Club, right here. So you can imagine the drama when someone goes ahead & copies/scams someone else. Ugh.

ANYWAYS. While I’m also not willing to share every little detail of everything that I make, I do love sharing some of my favourite pattern shops, because these owners deserve some crazy credit for being as awesome as they are! In no particular order, here we go:

PATTERNS

Patterns for Pirates – this is the only affiliate link that I have on my entire blog! But also, I’m am in LOVE with her patterns, they are so easy to alter for the perfect fit (I’m short, so there is no perfect fit for me without alterations), and even easier to sew up. The Facebook page is here if you want to see what people are up to with her patterns, or if you need some help putting one together. If you’re going to get anything from Judy, please use my link & help feed my sickness addiction pattern collection!

Max & Meena – most of these pants patterns have an option for cloth diaper bums and disposable diaper/slim fit bums, which we love. Plus you can’t argue with a pair of pants that will fit your kid from 6 months to 3yrs old. #MaxaloonesFTW
The Facebook page is here for ideas & help.

Made for Mermaids – she is actually the sister of Judy from Patterns for Pirates! Their style is similar, but different, and if I’m sewing for myself I will almost always choose a P4P over a M4M – but for the kids, it’s one of my go-tos. This one is especially great if you’re sewing for a whimsical, girly-girl little girl. Facebook group here.

Beautiful Pie Shop – one word: slippers! Really, enough said. Other than here‘s their Facebook page.

Stitch Upon a Time – seriously, these are THE most comfortable underwear you will EVER wear in your life. After my c-section every single waist band on every single pair of underwear I had dug into the incision, and no matter where it fell on my belly, it would settle itself in that exact spot. Scrundlewear to the rescue! And their Facbeook group, here.  One of their dresses is next on my must-try list this summer, whenever I get around to finishing some of the projects I’ve already started…

Did I miss one of your favourites? Maybe I just haven’t tried them yet! Leave a comment to let me know – I’m always on the lookout for designers to love and promote!

XOXO