Things I’m sewing now I’m a Pregbot*.

Pregnancy is seeing me do things I would never normally do… like sewing with a plan. It’s refreshing to know that my loathing of shopping for clothes is ever so slightly stronger than my inclination to sew whatever I like whenever I like it. Whether or not I actually stick to the plan will be another story!

I’d love to hear from those of you that have been faced with curating a pregnancy wardrobe before – self-sewn or not – what worked? What didn’t? As I’m due in early-ish 2016, I’ll be dealing with a cold and windy Spring as it slooowly morphs into a Melbourne summer. Maybe we won’t even actually get that far? Come on, weather deities!

So, I started by pulling together patterns that make me smile.

I feel a close affinity to Megan and her patterns, which is probably because we’re both West Australians. Ok, so she actually lives there and I merely claim that title by birthright, but still. She’s clearly the most go to pattern line for maternity clothing – I bought the survival pack and plan to sew up three of the four patterns it included – the Ruched Maternity Skirt (Erin), the Ruched Maternity Tee (Cara) and the Wrapped Maternity Top (Alissa). The pack had a leggings pattern too (Virginia) but I’m not really a leggings girl. Yet. Be prepared to get sick of me parading about in baby-con dress-hacks, tops and skirts, basically.

MN Maternity Survival Kit

Initially I was hesitant to add pants into the mix. But… I bought this from the online Burdastyle – two others have made them up and they look both comfortable and practical, whilst still not appearing overly ugly. I’d heard rumours around the place that maternity jeans are notorious for slipping down – I’ve since bought a pair and can confirm that this is true, you just don’t get the same huggable fit. The pair I got have a similar stretch band over the mid-section to anchor them in place, so I’m hoping these will be just as comfortable as my RTW preggo jeans are. I’m also really grateful to past-Melanie for taking all that time to get my pants block up and functional. I won’t mention the fact that she was clearly too traumatised from that experience to then actually go and sew some pants. Poor past Melanie.

Burda Maternity Pants

Yeah, I wish my legs were this long!!! I’ll be chopping half of that length off, haha!

An oldie, but a goodie – and still available on the mccalls site here. I have a wearable muslin thrown together from probably over two years ago that I found whilst cleaning out some boxes in my sewing room. Being already 90% complete, it will become an early 2nd trimester top that will ideally then morph into a post-partum/breastfeeding top, because the cowl is fabulously stretchy. Winning.


STYLE ARC Harper Jacket
I’m delving into the world of unstructured garments here – totally uncharted territory for me. I originally had in mind the Nina Cardigan, with Harper being a runner up contender. I consulted with Lara – undoubtedly queen of the unstructured Style Arc pattern – her preference was Harper so that was that. The hope is that this knit outer layer will provide some warmth and match the majority of my co-ordinating maternity wardrobe during the early spring, and then be a staple post-partum also. I want it specifically in a pale grey (preferably marle) merino wool knit, but haven’t been able to find the exact right shade just yet.

Harper Jacket

I’ve developed a penchant for French sewing blogs in the last 9 months, and early this year stumbled across this pattern brand, which caters specifically for maternity. Whilst Megan Neilson covers all things stretch fabric in Maternity pattern land, 2nd District covers wovens for maternity. Now, I’ll admit I’m more team bodycon baby-con than team loose-and-flowy-maternity, but that’s because I’ve always felt really frumpy in shapeless clothing. But, I LOVE coats and jackets, so the fact that this pattern company has these triggered my clicking the buy button.

I’m suspicious of the drafting based on the photos I’m seeing though… and will most likely be altering sleeves and shoulders based on outerwear patterns I’ve already made and like (*cough* Marfy *cough*).

The 7H Manteau – looks like a really cosy winter coat:

Manteau 7H

And the 11H Veste – perfect as a blazer and I think would really lift a comfy knit outfit into ‘smart’ territory. It also looks like it would be pretty simple and quick to sew, making it even more ridiculously attractive. It’s terribly ill-fitting on the model around the shoulders, though.

Veste 11H

I also rather like the 10H Tunic too… but these patterns and postage are expensive ($46 aud at the time for the both of them), and not knowing anything about them or their drafting I’m already taking a risk. Not sure I’ll even get around to sewing the coat, but ah well.

ahahahahaha…… yeah, nah.


One word – Pinterest. Except I’d completely stopped using it ever since they brought about the ‘Picked for You’ pins, which clogged up my carefully curated feed with crap I cared nothing for. Until Urbandon posted about an html hack he found that allows you to hide the promoted pins. It does make your feed look a little bare, but this I can handle!

A particularly bare section of my feed after enabling the HTML hack:


Now I’m right back into pinning pregnancy style ideas. It’s been the main source of my ideas for pulling together the colours and styles I want to be wearing over the next 6 or so months. Which naturally leads us to…

Upon investigation, my stash returned 5 pieces of knit fabric, three of which co-ordinate quite well together (a total of 6 actually, but the last one is a beloved Missoni knit and I’m not sure I’m ready to sacrifice it for Maternity sewing. I change my mind like the weather in Melbourne though, so who knows what will happen).

I’ve since bought two new ones online – and been gifted two others.

Also, a first at chez poppykettle – buying matching fabric together with the intent to sew a capsule wardrobe for work. I scored these at the 50% off sale The Fabric Store had a few weeks back – four garments for $80! and I’m starting to see how sewing for pregnancy is super cost effective.

The Fabric Store purchases

Top to bottom – a merino knit for a Vogue top I plan to adjust for maternity, a wool/poly blend for the Burda maternity pants, some cream DKNY knit – which you’ll soon see made up as a Megan Neilsen Ruched maternity skirt, and a cotton/lurex blend for the 11H Veste.

My hope is that by sticking to the same patterns and not being so anal-retentive about finishes (except where it counts) that I’ll be able to get all of this done (famous last words?). With that in mind, I have safely stored my bolt of organza away (won’t be needing that) and will be sticking a post-it note on my Janome reminding me to switch to lightning stitch instead of its default straight stitch. I’ve already started and finished on the DKNY knit so progress is great to date.

Now – I need to hear your stories and experiences about pulling together a pregnancy wardrobe!!

*Pregbot(n) – a personal joke that I find particularly humorous and which originated from my disgust of the (both Australian and American) far political right taking action to erode the basic human rights of women who also happen to be pregnant, in many instances reducing their status from human beings to mere incubators of foetuses. Not cool, dudes.


117-08-2009 Serenageo’s Blouse


Today I’m going to blab on about how much I love the sewing blogosphere. Everyone is just so awesome. Case in point – when serenageo of Burdastyle posted this gorgeous, floaty top from the August 2009 issue of Burda mag, I commented that I loved it so much that I was going to try and track that issue down. Turns out that issue is coveted by many a sewing-enthusiast, so my extended bouts of online searching went mostly in vain. When I logged back in a few days later, she replied to say she’d be happy to send me a copy of the pattern. Cue ginormous grin!



A little while later, I received a package from Romania. Not only had she traced the pattern for me, but also written me a lovely letter and included a super gorgeous crocheted collar (which I’m planning to include in another top at a later date. It’s taken me nearly six months to get around to making this though, so don’t hold your breath!). 

My initial muslin for this was a bit of a joke. Besides having bucketloads of ease, clothing in general that is straight up and down just doesn’t suit me. Unless you like the bag of potatoes look. So I took in a lot of ease, added a bit of shaping to the seams, a dart above the bust and cut back the ‘sleeves’ for a more flattering fit. The top itself was a breeze to put together – I even found two perfectly matching buttons to go at the front so had the added indecision of deciding which one to go for. From Buttonmania, naturally.

I finished the armscye with some self-fabric bias tape, but it ended up stretching and just generally looking a bit lame. So that got tucked under and sewn up:

BEFORE                                       AFTER  .
I made it with a cotton voile called ‘Then Smell the Mauve‘ from Tessuti. The fabulous thing about this fabric is its so light and breezy – but it’s almost impossible to tell the wrong side from the right side – perfect because the frill detail is single sided. I made this plus bias binding for around the frill edges.

All this from a meter of fabric – another meter is soon to be on its way to Romania for serenageo, so I hope she likes it as much as I do. So thanks Geo, you’re one totally awesome dudette!

The original Burdastyle photo:


The Stats:
00:00  Pattern Preparation (all thanks to Geo!)
07:30  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
00:50  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing)
03:55  Sewing
12:15  hours

Oh, and Merry Christmas everyone – hope you all have a wonderful, safe and happy break!

Melanie xo

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 6

07-2011-131: The Lace-but-not-as-you-know-it Dress

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 1

It’s lace, but not as we know it. And that’s why I love it!

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 2

I fell hard for this geometric styled lace when I saw it on the Tessuti blog (they also have it in black), back in January. I hot-footed it in there pronto to get some!

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 3


Totally inspired by the black lines in Chanel’s Spring Summer 2012 RTW collection, in which this lace featured (see here), I wanted to create a bit of an ode to this collection, using the #131 dress from Burda Magazine issue 07/2011 (also available as a down-loadable pattern here). 


Along with the lace at the front panel, I used a wedgewood blue stretch cotton from Clegs, and some black piping inserted strategically in the seam lines and also by cutting up the dress panels to get a diagonal line at the back. 

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 9
Lining, Underlining and seams finished with rayon seam binding

I wanted a dress that I could wear during the cooler months (of which there are plenty where I live) and also I didn’t want my stretch cotton to pucker and crease every time I wore it. This fabric is the same type as the one I used to make my Green Peon-y, and it rather likes to get itself creased! I underlined it in a baby-blue 100% cotton flannelette which proved a solution to both quandries! 

After using a thick silk satin fabric to line my Vogue Suit, I was hooked! I used the same fabric again in black (also from Clegs) which should also insulate quite nicely :) I used the mat side of the silk satin to create the piping by cutting bias strips (same way as you would for making bias tape) then using my regular zipper foot (it’s the only foot I have that lets you get the needle position right to the edge of the foot) to encase the cord in the bias strips. 

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 6

I really love the square neckline of the dress, and the split at one of the sides. My only bother with this pattern? No seam allowances. I would happily pay a bit extra for the pattern if it included these! I made the ultimate mistake when sewing my toile – I forgot to add them. My bad, but an annoying thing none the less.

As other sewists have discovered, the neckline on this pattern is low. I’m usually all for the occasional showing of a bit of decolletage, but even I needed to raise this a little! Using the selvedge of the lace to go over the seam edge also provide a bit of cover up. 

07-2011-131 Burda Dress 8

I used silk thread to baste the lace to the backing so it can’t move independently of the dress. I’m over the moon that I happen to have enough lace left to re-create the gorgeous top below I pinned a short while ago – sadly it will have to wait until I get back – as by the time this post goes live I will be in Ecuador!!! Even better – I made up Pattern Runway’s Sweet Shorts which I am over the moon about – they really are gorgeous! So all I need is some on location photos… coming soon! :D

I’ve even got enough left over lace to make something else… I’m loving the look of this triangular lace panel top!


07-2011-131: A Chanel Ecru Lace Dress To Be

Ecru Lace, via the Tessuti Shop

How amazing is this lace? I may not be the biggest fan of the dress below (unless I wake up tomorrow with a hankering to look like a toilet roll doll), but I can definitely appreciate the lace.

Chanel Dress, RTW Spring 2012 via

The lovely ladies from Tessuti and I are convinced this fabric is the real deal… The dress above also making the front page of Vogue Australia’s February edition:

February edition of Vogue Australia

Unfortunately my fiscal reasoning doesn’t allow me to make an entire dress from this lace, but I do have enough to make a feature panel and some little cap sleeves. Enter #131 from Burdastyle Magazine 07-2011, also available as a downloadable pattern on the Burdastyle website:

A few other bloggerette’s are making (or planning to make) this little number at the moment – and I’ve heard the fabulous square neckline that I’m loving about this pattern is scandalously low, but it’s a silhouette I keep seeing popping up:

Elie Saab Spring 2012 Resort, via    

Unfortunately I made the ultimate Burda downloadable pattern mistake – and forgot to add seam allowances to my toile! So it’s a take two on that note.

I had originally thought to stick with the Chanel colourscheme of black and white (I loved the black geometric lines featured throughout their SS/12 collection), but considering I already have a white ‘day’ dress and that I’m a colour fanatic – I’m leaning towards a wedgewood blue possibly with a small slash of another colour, or maybe a hint of black piping as well?

I can’t remember when or where, but I recall reading at some point that a famous mid-last-century’s  actress once wore a skin-tight dress that was underlined in flannel to give a smooth appearance even when moving. Possibly the slip Elizabeth Taylor wore in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? I really wish I could remember. But I love the idea of this, especially as we are heading into winter! Most ‘going-out’ dresses I have are light-weight and summery, so if I have a fancy occasion on in the winter, my options dwindle drastically. Seems like a perfect opportunity to give this flannel underlining business a whirl!

Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – via
Burda 8155 4

B8155: Christmas Cheer in Royal Blue

B8155 5

Welcome 2012! I’m stoked to be starting off the new year with a new creation, this should be a good omen for all the finished projects to come I think! Although I’m a tad annoyed with myself for not ironing it before taking photos…

B8155 4

The second version of my most favourite pencil skirt pattern – Burda 8155. This time I actually followed the instructions most of the way through as I’ve kept the waistband – unlike my first iteration where I used a gorgeous bright red grosgrain ribbon (see the Technicolour Dream skirt here).

Burda 8155 1

Burda 8155 4

Mum was gracious enough to take the above photo – after which I was promptly told to sit up properly.

Burda 8155 3

I bought a gorgeous glass button from Etsy, and used a bound button hole on the waistband – you can see my bound button tutorial here.

B8155 2

I found that had I left the length of the waistband as per the pattern (a size 38), it would have been too long. I cut about 6cm off the end – a much more manageable length! I ‘stitched in the ditch’ along the front leaving the seam allowance flat, reducing the bulk inside the waistband. The wool blend fabric was quite thick – so this worked perfectly, and the texture of the fabric meant that it’s nigh on impossible to see the ditch stitching at the front.

B8155 1

I used the French seam finish technique along both of the side seams of the lining – you can see a tutorial on that here

B8155 3

The fabric was a gorgeously soft royal blue basket-weave wool and nylon blend, by Alexander Wang and bought from EmmaOneSock. Beautifully thick and perfect for winter – lined in my favourite lining fabric – a black habotai silk. Shame I couldn’t get a zip with a colour to match quite properly… but one does the best with what one has!

Burda 8155 2