Friday, February 5, 2016

The Isabelle Top...and a surprise!

Remember my whiny, I-don't-have-time-to-sew post from a few weeks back? I wasn't being entirely forthcoming. Yes, two kids are keeping me twice as busy as one, and that's definitely cutting into any "me" time. But there's more to the story.

Isabelle Top

That's right, baby #3 is on its way! Hence the extra fatigue, the lack of motivation to do more than feed my already-born children, and the downturn in my sewing. But I'm officially in the second trimester and feeling so much better. Now I know what you're thinking...wasn't she JUST pregnant? Yes. Yes I was. I'm having serious deja vu about it too. And your second though must be...not MORE maternity clothes! And I'm right there with you. Since I was pregnant this time of year last year, the thought of sewing more maternity clothing made me barf (or maybe that was the hormones). Instead of more ruched tshirts, I decided to sew a few tops that do double duty. (And yet again, I'm sewing black, so these photos are really blown out so you can see detail.)

I'm embarrassed to say that I bought this pattern when I was pregnant last year, and never made it. Since I got a second chance I thought I'd better use it! This is the Isabelle Nursing and Maternity Top from LouLouJames Creative on Etsy. The pattern is truly genius, because you can wear it front or backwards! One side has a zipper and modesty panel for nursing. The other side has pleats to accommodate a pregnant belly. Since I'm nursing and pregnant, well, I can wear it either way!

The fabric I used is a black modal jersey, and it's yummy. I believe it's from Mood. I had two yards I was hoarding and it turned out to be perfect for this pattern.

This is a lesser-known pattern designer so I do want to give a good review of the pattern itself. I had no issues printing and assembling or cutting. The sizing is generous because that's just the design. It's possible I could go down a size but it would lose the slouchy look. The instructions were excellent and all the notches matched up. I believe there is one omission in that the neckline binding is never sewn closed at the short ends. I just did that, RST, then turned the binding back out and sewed it to the neckline as instructed. If you're using a serger, I recommend basting the modesty panel shoulder seams to the front bodice shoulder seams before sewing to the back. The instructions have you do it separately, which doesn't really work once the shoulder seams are already serged.

The only complaint I have is about the zipper insertion. I don't like how the facing doesn't cover the zipper tape. In other words, when it's unzipped and flops open, you see the zipper tape. I'd rather that was covered. I puzzled over how it could be done and also studied some RTW tops. I'm sure the way this pattern is constructed is the easiest method, just not the most finished. Sometimes you have to choose one or the other.

One other thing to look out for is the sleeve length. These are cut loooooong and then ruched on one side only. Meaning the un-ruched side is still looooooong. You may want to take some measurements and shorten the sleeve before sewing, or be prepared to cut off at the end.

It took forever to sew this top, back in November when I was really struggling to just exist (by the way, I do not recommend back to back pregnancies unless you have a live-in nanny or something). But somehow not dying of exhaustion can probably whip one of these up in a day or two.

I also have the Jenna Nursing Top/Dress pattern from LouLouJames so I'm sure you'll be seeing that one pop up sometime. It's much more practical to sew nursing tops than maternity, but they rarely get any attention.

So now you know my big secret and the real reason why it's been quiet around here! Hope you're ready for some itty bitty baby sewing, because that's in full swing!


  1. Congratulations on the pregnancy. I had babies back to back (14 mo apart) so understand what you're going through. That older child just had her own baby, which puts me on your baby-sewing path too. On your stressed days, just breathe. Time ticks on no matter how you feel about it :)

    1. Great advice! I've definitely learned through the years that giving myself a break and not expecting too much is the key. Some days brushing my teeth is a big accomplishment!

  2. Congratulations!! You have been missed in blog land,hope you'll feel better soon :)

  3. Congratulations. You look fantastic and that top is lovely and flattering. Looking forward to all the new baby sewing to follow :D

  4. I love the way you have decorated sleeves! You did a great job with this sewing!


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