Guess what? Come November, my toddler is going to be a big brother. Of all the joys that come with pregnancy, there are also a lot of pain points, whether people care to talk about it or not. For me, maintaining some semblance of body positivity is the main challenge and what I wear impacts on how I feel. Couple that with a desire to have some kind of sustainable maternity wardrobe and the whole thing is a bit of a pickle. Yes, I know there are far bigger problems in fashion, but it’s my issue for today. What to do? Well, take a picture against a nice wall with some ivy for starters.
Are clothes really all that important for that one year?
I give maternity-specific clothes a 1-year lifespan, from 2-3 months pregnant to a few months post-birth. In the grand scheme of things they really don’t last that long. So, on the one hand, I’m not concerned with trying to look great since it’s such a short time and there are better things to worry about. But at the same time, I don’t feel great health wise (no radiant pregnant woman to be found here).
Also, our family has just relocated from the UK to the Netherlands (hence the blog silence). The last few weeks I have been knee-deep in admin, setting up house, being an almost full-time mum etc. which doesn’t leave too much room for thinking about what to wear. Maybe this is the answer to the problem – just don’t think about it and chuck on whatever??!
This is in contrast to when I was around 9-10 weeks pregnant and already feeling slightly depressed when I realised I already needed to dig out my old maternity clothing stash from the loft. Apparently, a bump makes its appearance earlier second time round if you aren’t a fitness bunny concerned about keeping tummy muscles in check. Here’s me at 3 months, my Grainline willow dress is very nearly too tight.
How about a maternity capsule wardrobe?
If you’ve read my blog or followed my Instagram for awhile, you will know I am the worst at a capsule wardrobe and am firmly in the “more clothes means more choice” camp. But in this context, I’m thinking it’s ok to have a tighter collection of things worn in rotation without getting too bored. Especially if getting dressed is not my first priority. After all, it’s only my kid, the postman and the supermarket checkout that sees me every day.
Do you have clothes you can already wear?
In the past year, I’ve been really getting into wearing loose clothing. Purely for comfort – loose tops, or even just a nice loose dress. My Insta turned real-life friend Jing in South Africa had a lot to do with showing me what’s comfortable and can still be nice.
Jing sews almost exclusively with Japanese sewing pattern books. If you’ve ever looked at one of those books you’ll notice that a much of the clothing in it is boxy in style or the opposite of fitted. And therefore quite maternity friendly. It’s like the sewing version of the high street brand COS in the UK.
Here are 3 of my pre-existing dresses which I made in the last 2 years from Japanese sewing books. I took this picture on holiday in July 2018! The orange floral was already a remake, read about it here.
The light blue and the orange floral ones have waistlines at the natural waist (rather than empire line) which looks a little weird with a bump, but it doesn’t bother me that much.
Loose clothing works for all occasions (if you like it)
As I like the boxy/loose look, I added a couple of things to my wardrobe collection which I sewed using Japanese patterns. The pattern styles also appear to be a bit in trend, if brands like Eileen Fisher or Elizabeth Suzann are anything to go by.
In the interest of variety, I scouted maternitysewing.com for indie patterns and the maternity sewing article I wrote for the Sewcialists after interviewing two of my pregnant (at the time) friends for pattern inspiration. But seeing as I own >10 Japanese pattern books, I decided on this (Japanese) white linen top with the ruffle sleeves which has been a workhorse. It is so loose I can pop it on top of anything and it also hides “too much cake” syndrome super well.
And another picture with it on top of the navy Japanese dress pictured previously.
And then I made these two dresses in a darker colour so they work for winter as well with a polo neck, tights and boots. My favourite thing about the camisole dress is being able to wear the linen jersey top underneath it, as the top is now way too short to cover the belly!
Sustainable maternity sewing?
I did have to buy 3 pieces of linen for my sewing as there wasn’t anything in my stash. My justification is that I do see myself wearing these as normal non-maternity clothes. The aim is not to buy or make any more clothing in the next few months for the sake of maternity. I realise this might make it quite difficult to make anything at all, but I can always do some imaginary sewing right? Also, I have a ton of charity quilting to do, we had to buy curtains for our temporary house (which need taking up) and my kid has suddenly had a growth spurt and needs a bunch of new t-shirts!
I will add here that I bought 2 pairs of maternity jeans in different shades of denim. One of them alas has no stretch and already doesn’t fit (what was I thinking? what a fail) and the other pair I hope will carry me through till next year. Wish me luck….
Till next time