Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Mother to Be, Being, Been: Finalists!

Today, I'm so excited to share our amazing finalists in the Mother to Be, Being, Been competition!  Voting will be open using the poll on the right sidebar through Saturday, so vote for your favorite entry!

In no particular order:

Miranda's Black and White Dress

Laura's Wraparound Maternity Top

Miriam's Turn About the Room Dress

Bre's Audrey Hepburn Nursing Top

Jess' Flowered Maternity Tank

Aly's Maternity Tunic

Emilie's Four Corners Nursing Top

Lauren's Red Maternity Dress

Suzanne's Perfect Nursing & Maternity Top

Aren't they all amazing?!  I love all the different varieties and creativity!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Jennuine Life: Mother Been Inspiration

Please take a moment to upload your post-baby pooch-hiding entries at Mother Been Flickr Group.  The prize sponsors are amazing!  This portion of the competition is a lot more open to interpretation - if it disguises, cinches in, or minimizes a postpartum jiggle belly - we want to see it!  If you have any trouble getting your project uploaded, please feel free to send your photo and description to me at deshazer(dot)jennifer(at)gmail(dot)com.

Jenn of A Jennuine Life:

This top was super easy to make and I was so happy when Shana from Ain't No Mom Jeans affirmed my design choices with her amazing inspiration post!  It does a pretty decent job of hiding my 21-week baby bump (and I get HUGE!), so it should do even better with the more modest demands of a postpartum jiggle belly!

I started with a yard of a polyester knit that had a nice weight and feel.

With the selvage edges together and then folded in half so the cut edges lined up, I laid a shirt folded in half lengthwise on top to use as a rough guide for cutting.  I had the fold of the shirt a couple of inches over to allow plenty of extra space for gathering.  For the sleeves, I just cut a gentle arc from the shirt sleeve to the side to create a bit of a Dolman sleeve.  I used Nina, my serger to sew and finish the edges, but you could sew a seam with a regular sewing machine and using a ball-point needle and finish the edges with an overcast or zig-zag stitch.

For the neckline I cut a deep, wide V and a gentle arc across the back.  This would be on the fold at the top of the piece.  I ran a gathering stitch on front and back to take up the extra fabric I allowed when cutting the side seams.  I finished the neckline using strips of the fabric I cut away from the sides; making a long strip and folding it in half wrong sides together.  I aligned all the raw edges with the strip on the right side of the top, sewed, finished the seams, and then turned the edges under and topstitched.  You could easily do a folded edge, or use bias tape to finish the edges however you prefer.

For the waistband, I cut a strip of ribbing to fit snug to my hips.  I sewed a side seam and turned that seam inside to make a folded band.  I ran a gathering stitch on the bottom of my shirt, but you could also just stretch the ribbing to match up to your shirt.  With right sides together, I ligned up the raw edges and sewed a seam.  Finish the egdes, and then turn the edges inside and topstitch.

For the sleeve edges, I turned the edges under about 1/2" twice and topstitched with two lines of stitching.

Voila!  A pooch (or in this case bump!) hiding shirt in way under an hour!

See?  There's a baby in there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Extra Ordinary Bree: Mother Been Inspiration

I'm sure you all remember Bree from The Extra Ordinary Bree from Project Toddler Runway - she had some of the cutest entries in the competition!  Since then she's kept busy as a contestant on American Crafter, and is now in the middle of hosting Extreme Makeover: Fabric Edition with April from Wildflowers & Whimsy, another great contestant from Project Toddler Runway.  She's mom to five adorable children, so I bow to the master mommy and thought she would be able to provide amazing inspiration to handle the postpartum deflated belly syndrome!  Not that I'm saying anything about her belly - I wish I looked as good as she after just one delivery!

Before we head into Bree's inspiration post - here's where you'll be posting your pooch hiding entries - Mother Been Flickr Group.  This portion of the competition is a lot more open to interpretation - if it disguises, cinches in, or minimizes a postpartum jiggle belly - we want to see it!  If you have any trouble getting your project uploaded, please feel free to send your photo and description to me at deshazer(dot)jennifer(at)gmail(dot)com.

Bree of The Extra Ordinary Bree:

So when Jenn asked me to share a tutorial with you guys I was so excited... and then I realized that she was looking for a postpartum related tutorial and I sort of panicked!  Hold on.  Let me explain.  

Since 2004, when I got my first positive pregnancy test, I have been pregnant more often than not.  Seriously.  I did the math.  Out of the last 89 months, I was pregnant (for some duration) through 49 of them. That's 55%. 

I know, I know... holy macaroni.

So why the panic?  I should be a pro right?

Well if you've been there before, in that crazy, yucky postpartum phase, then you know that, somehow, someway, you forget everything about it!  Maybe it's the lack of sleep or the overdose of hormones.  Maybe we just mentally block it out as some sort of coping mechanism.  Maybe it's the smell of a new baby or the sight of tiny baby toes that brings about Mommynesia (a common condition in which a woman magically forgets what being pregnant for 9 months and not fitting into her favorite jeans for at least 6 feels like).

But, because I think Jenn is so totally cool, I revisited that deep dark place.  

What do I remember most?  Two words...

Muffin. Top.

Okay don't scream.   It's not that bad... well, maybe it is... but it can be remedied. I'm going to show you a couple of super simple tricks that will help you look great when you're ready to get out of your sweat pants and maternity wear.

The first one is really easy.

Find a maternity shirt & cut about 2-3 inches off the bottom.

Cut and sew this band so that it fits the widest part of your hips snugly.

Fold the band in half and reattach to your shirt. The band wont be as wide as your shirt so you'll have to either stretch the band while you sew or gather the shirt with a basting stitch before you sew.

Now instead of having a giant, billowing maternity top that will have people asking "you're already pregnant again!" You've got a fun bubble top that hides the squishyness.

Oh and if your shirt isn't long enough to cut 2-3" off, try shirring, elastic or a drawstring!


Next, I'm going to show you how to adapt a regular pattern and make it work for your postpartum body by ruching the tummy!
Grab a favorite tank top or shirt (don't worry... you won't be cutting into this) and some jersey knit.

Lay your shirt on top of the jersey knit and trace and cut the back.  Don't forget to leave seam allowances!

Now you're going to do the same for the front of your shirt but this time you are going to extend the length of your shirt a lot.  I added almost double the length and could have used a lot more!

Now line up the front and back of your shirts at the shoulder and sew it up. 

Next you're going to pin the two pieces together from the arm pit to a bit under your bust.

Now pin together the bottom the same way.

What you should be left with is a giant extra piece of fabric right at the tummy!

Now just start gathering the front of the shirt and pinning it to the back. I tried to alternate between big folds and pleats and little bunches and ruffles to give it a lot of depth.

Repeat on the other side.
Now sew the side seams.

And the beauty of jersey knit is that you don't have to finish the edges if you don't want to... sooooooo... You're done!

Good luck everyone!  Can't wait to see what you guys come up with!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ain't No Mom Jeans: Mother Been Inspiration

We have another great guest poster today for the Postpartum "trimester" of Mother to Be, Being, Been!  One of my best friends turned me onto this great fashion blog called Aint No Mom Jeans, and I've been hooked since!  Ain’t No Mom Jeans is a fashion and lifestyle blog for moms.  They cover everyday mom style, as well as how to dress a bump with non-maternity clothes, disguising a postpartum pooch, nursing-friendly fashions, as well as baby and kid gear reviews.  I'm sure you can guess why I asked them to contribute some opinions about postpartum fashions to help inspire all of you!

Before we head into today's inspiration post - here's where you'll be posting your pooch hiding entries - Mother Been Flickr Group.  This portion of the competition is a lot more open to interpretation - if it disguises, cinches in, or minimizes a postpartum jiggle belly - we want to see it!  If you have any trouble getting your project uploaded, please feel free to send your photo and description to me at deshazer(dot)jennifer(at)gmail(dot)com.

Shana Draugelis of Ain't No Mom Jeans:

Hello, little baby.  I can pat you, and rub you and hold you in my arms.....

I'm talking, of course, to my poochy stomach.  Who, as of six months ago, is babyless.  The actual baby is now one of the lights of my life...but the resulting poochy stomach is currently the bane of my existence.

So when Jenn asked me to guest post with a little post-partum style inspiration, I knew it was right up my alley.  I'm living it these days.

But then... intimidation set in.  I realized that Jenn's reader base is made up of very talented, very crafty mamas.  Mamas who design.  And then make.  Yikes and double yikes.  I've always been impressed with those talented enough to make a curtain here and there...but clothes?  I'm positively green with envy. (Once in a while, one of these very talented, crafty moms will insist that I could learn.  No.  I could not.  Really not.  I'm pretty much stuck in the safety pin and staples stage.)

But having a platform to (hopefully) inspire these very talented moms to make something that solves post-partum pooch-hiding issues?  Yes!  Sign me up.

Post-Partum Problem 1:  Maxi Dresses

Finding pooch-hiding maxi dresses has been problematic.  Anything with an empire-waist only emphasizes the pooch.  To illustrate:

So cute for a pregnant mamma.  Not so cute post-partum.

Here's what I'm looking for:

C'est possible?  Maybe?  For more pooch-hiding maxi dress inspiration, check out my current finds here.

Post-Partum Problem 2:  Booooring Tops

I'm so tired of the typical empire-waisted top.  Some (like the empire-waist maxi dress) actually accentuate the pooch and others...snore.  The good news is that styles today are trending away from an empire-waist to a slightly oversized, fabulously drapy shape.  The only problem?  These fabulous drapy styles are often made of a very thin fabric that, on its own, is often too sheer to hide the pooch.  I need one with a little somthin-somethin strategically placed to hide. that. pooch.   Here's my own version of DYI (NOTE: it involves standing still and holding things in place).

Bustle It:  Remember being a bridesmaid?  And you had to bustle your BFF's dress after the ceremony?  I did that to the peach maxi dress (pictured above) with a safety pin so I could wear it with flats.  Not recommended.  The safety pin put a hole in the back of the dress.  Sigh.  But I think one could do something fun with little bustly-like tucks and sews to make a top more interesting and, most importantly, pooch-hiding.

Bubble It: Hearken back to the days of early 90's prom.  Oh, bubble hem dress, I loved you so.  Now I'm loving bubble hem tops.  They do wonders for the pooch - why aren't there more bubble hems???

Band It:  A flowy top, reigned in at the hips with a belt is so flattering.  But rarely stays nicely tucked in.  Banded tops are a post-partum mama's best friend.  And so easy to find!!  snort If you don't mind shopping maternity.  GROAN...

There you have it, stylish and talented mamas!!  Now that I've amazed you all with my crafty add-words-to-photos us whacha got! 

Wait! Wait! I just learned another one:  big collage!!  Ooooooooo......

Good luck!  And a huge thanks to A Jennuine Life for this fun opportunity to guest post!



This gives amazing insight into how to dress our postpartum pooch.  I love how Shana gives us some tips to create fashions that she has imagined, but aren't readily available in stores! 

One of our entrants in the maternity category gave really great descriptions of the three "trimesters" - per Miranda of One Little Minute: "pregnant: the expansion stage, nursing: the quick-access stage , and postpartum: the muffin-top stage."  How very apt!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Breastfeeding Aids Roundup

I believe the fact that I have had some difficulty finding inpirational posts for this week is a bit of an indicator that breastfeeding could use more vocal support.  It's something that we all know is good for both baby and mom and that nearly all new mothers want to try to make successful.  Many mothers aren't able to nurse their babies for the length of time they intend for one reason or another.  I wanted to take this opportunity to share products that I have found to be helpful in the hopes that at least one nursing mom has a little bit easier time with this "natural" (in quotes because while natural, it's often not easy) process.

Here's where you'll be posting your creative entries - Mother Being Flickr GroupPlease note that this is a new pool for the nursing fashions you've created.  If you have any trouble getting your project uploaded, please feel free to send your photo and description to me at deshazer(dot)jennifer(at)gmail(dot)com

First off is the Boppy.  I know nothing new or earth-shattering here, but I would have had a much more difficult time nursing without my Boppy.  It became a huge crutch for me - I took it with me on at least two cross-country flights because the thought of trying to nurse without it was just too much.  They're also really versatile - tummy time for Baby, sitting aid, pillow for tired Mommy...

Yup, nipple shields.  Turns out that I have flat nipples and this made it really difficult for my daughter to latch.  I wasn't made aware of this until we were in the hospital after a few days for an unrelated problem and the hopital lactation consultant gave me one to try.  That little piece of silicone changed everything!  I used them for a couple of weeks and then gradually stopped using them as my tissue stretched and the nipple drew out.  They also helped me avoid any cracked or bleeding nipples, making my early breastfeeding nearly painless.  They can also be very helpful with incorrect latch, premature or ill babies, or a baby that refuses the breast.

Lansinoh lanolin.   If you put just a pea sized amount on each nipple after every nursing session, it can really help prevent cracks and chafing.

Bravado Nursing Tank.  Bravado also makes regular nursing bras and they're great, but I lived in these nursing tanks.  Wear it alone during the hot summer months, or under any shirt and you can just lift up the top shirt, unsnap the nursing hook and you're ready to go - with no postpartum belly peeking out for the world to see!

Mommy Necklaces.  These stylish and sturdy necklaces are great for moms in general, but they can be really great for nursing moms - baby can twiddle with your child-safe necklace while nursing to help keep their attention on the task longer.  I have two of these necklaces which come in a wide variety of styles and color combinations to meet anyone's tastes.  They make a really nice shower gift, too!

Milk Bands.  These inexpensive little bracelets can be a lifesaver for a sleep-deprived new mom.  Just flip the bracelet to indicate Right or Left and slide the little clip to indicate the time of last feeding and you don't have to worry about trying to remember which boob nursed on last or how long ago!  I can't tell you how many times I sat there squeezing my boobs trying to decide which one felt fuller since I couldn't remember which one my daughter nursed on last - until I got my Milk Band.  Dilemma solved for less than $8.

Hooter Hider.  Easy to stash in your diaper bag for coverage while you're out and about with your baby.  There are countless Etsy shops that sell variations on these, and I made one myself here to give as a shower gift using the tutorial from Sew Much Ado.  I also found mine really useful as a sun cover on the stroller or as an imprompto blanket for Arden to lay on.

Fenugreek.  This herb is helpful in increasing milk supply.  You can take capsules or there are teas with fenugreek as an ingredient.  Oatmeal is also supposed to help increase milk supply and a friend of mine swears by her oatmeal cookies for keeping her supply bountiful.  This website is a wealth of information and there are really helpful forums if you want a supportive sounding board. 

Well, there it is - my list of favorite breastfeeding aids.  I really hope something I've listed here helps someone, and if you have something you've found to be a great product please leave a comment saying so!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Jennuine Life: Mother Being Inspiration

Today I'll be sharing a project I hope you find inspirational for Mother Being - Nursing.  I had originally intended to share a refashion using two button down shirts, but in the meantime I rediscovered a pattern for a nursing top that I have been searching for forever.  It was in the same book that Lindsay from The Cottage Home made her Early Empire Cinch from - Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner.  I went to pick it up to make the cinch and there it was - the long lost pattern I had seen while browsing at a Barnes & Noble with my (at that time nursing) daughter!  Serendipity indeed!

Here's where you'll be posting your creative entries - Mother Being Flickr GroupPlease note that this is a new pool for the nursing fashions you've created.  If you have any trouble getting your project uploaded, please feel free to send your photo and description to me at deshazer(dot)jennifer(at)gmail(dot)com

As a reminder, the guidelines for entry are for your project to be:
  • Sewn in 2011:  It doesn't have to have been made specifically for this competition, but let's keep it current - sewn in this year.
  • Photographed on a person:  Preferably on you, but since that can get difficult - just do your best! 
  • More than just embellished:  I'm not saying that every stitch of the project has to be sewn by you, but if you've just added rosettes to an existing maternity top, then this doesn't count.  Refashions are great - let's see some ingenious transformations!  If you've used a pattern, let's give credit for it!

Jenn of A Jennuine Life: Four Corners Nursing Blouse From Handmade Beginnings

Okay, ignore the fact that I am obviously pregnant in this photo.  This would actually work quite well as a maternity top - especially so if you were nursing while pregnant.  This pattern came from Handmade Beginnings - 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby by Anna Marie Horner. 

It's the Four Corners Blouse.  It's a really cool pattern, especially if you're a quilter because all the cuts are rectangles.  Whip out your rotary cutters, girls!

I made mine entirely from my stash - I had to get a little creative on the yoke because I couldn't quite eek it out of the contrast fabric, but luckily I had another orange fabric that would work to piece in at the center and sides. 

I like the loop and button detail along the yoke and placket.  If I hadn't been using buttons from my stash I think I would have tried to pick up on the little bit of periwinkle blue in the Japanese fabric and they should be 1/8" smaller.  But these work.  My husband pointed out that our daughter Arden has a thing for buttons and zippers and these would probably drive her crazy since they don't work!

The nursing access is really ingenious - you just undo the back ties and there are overlapping panels on each side.  It almost acts like a nursing cover in that there's almost no chance for a sneek peek - even with a squirmy baby!
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