Pattern Review

Black Matcha Top

I’m back to sewing after a few months of low energy at the end of my pregnancy. It’s been almost 4 weeks since our new little one arrived, and I’m short on clothes that fit! I bought the Matcha Top pattern (from Sew Liberated) a few weeks ago, knowing it would be great to hide the postpartum mom tummy.

Black Matcha Top | Sew Liberated | Radiant Home Studio

I’m happy to report that it’s perfect for new moms. The flowing silhouette around the hips is flattering and the pretty details around the shoulder and neckline draw the eye up, so it takes the focus off of your mid-section. The loose fit also makes it easy for nursing moms to wear.

Black Matcha Top | Sew Liberated | Radiant Home Studio

I used 2 yards of rayon that I bought at Jo-Ann fabrics a few months ago. The weight and drape of the fabric work well with this pattern. I have a couple yards of another rayon print that I bought at the same time. I plan to make another Matcha Top with it.

Black Matcha Top | Sew Liberated | Radiant Home Studio

I made a size 10, based on my bust measurement and my hips. If you are making this after having a baby, ignore your waist measurement. It won’t make a difference with this loose silhouette and you don’t need to size up. Meg recommends using a smaller sized collar if you want more gathers at the shoulders. I cut a size 6 collar.

Black Matcha Top | Sew Liberated | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, this pattern was pretty quick to cut and sew. It took me a few days of stealing time between naps and nursing to finish it, but I think it was only a 2-hour project. The instructions are thorough with tips for really nice seam finishes throughout. I used my serger to finish the inside of the v-neck and the shoulder seams and I used french seams down the sides. I opted for the hand-finished collar, so everything looks very clean.

I’m looking forward to making some more. You can see more Matcha Top inspiration on Instagram with #matchatoppattern … I love all of Meg’s blue cotton and gauze versions!

What are your favorite postpartum patterns?

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Crafts, Home Decor

Shibori Indigo Dyed Napkins

Last week, I shared a zipper pouch that I made using the shibori indigo fabric I dyed. We also dyed a bunch of other things, including some cloth napkins and fabric yardage. Once the dye is mixed, you can use it for several yards of fabric, so we tried to get as much use out of it as possible.

Since we made the indigo dyeing a family project, I wanted to let the kids experiment with folding small pieces of fabric into different patterns. I found some packages of white cotton dinner napkins, perfect for dyeing. I ordered 2 packages, so we had 24 napkins to dye. They absorbed the dye well and were perfect for experimenting!

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

You can see we had a variety of patterns. I like how the napkins are all unique, but work together as a set. We gave some as gifts but kept most of them to replace the worn out cloth napkins I made several years ago.

Overall, the cloth napkins were perfect for indigo dyeing as a family. They are inexpensive, practical, and perfect for experimenting with shibori folding techniques.

We used and recommend this Indigo dye kit! I have a few more details about it in the Shibori Indigo Zipper Pouch post.

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Sewing

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch

Today I’m joining some friends in a shibori indigo blog tour! Last weekend, we spent some time experimenting with indigo dye as a fun family project. The dye makes a gorgeous blue color, and it’s made from natural, plant-based materials. I used some of the fabric I dyed to make a shibori indigo zipper pouch to share today. Plus, I have a couple more projects to share later!

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

(Some links are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my business in this way!)

I’ve been hoping to try indigo dyeing for several years, but never managed to gather all of the supplies. I thought it would be fun to involve the kids in my indigo dying experiment. Normally, my chemistry major husband isn’t interested in crafting, but he jumped right in to help measure water and mix the dye. Since I’m too pregnant to be carrying five-gallon buckets of water around, I was thankful for his enthusiastic participation.

We did a little bit of research before our project on the history of indigo dyeing and looked for some information on shibori dyeing techniques. This CreativeLive class on shibori dyeing was the most helpful thing we found. It wasn’t very long, but it covered all of the details we needed to know in a clear and interesting way. I definitely recommend it! We also looked up some other shibori designs and folding techniques on Pinterest.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

The only thing the shibori class didn’t cover was mixing the dye. There are more “authentic” ways of making indigo dye, but we just ordered this quick and easy kit from Amazon. You just measure four gallons of water, dump three packets of powder in, and mix it up. My older kids could have read the directions and made it themselves. It was inexpensive and worked perfectly, so I’ll definitely be ordering it again.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

The only thing I would do differently…I dipped each piece twice, but after everything dried and lightened up, I wished I had dipped a couple more times. My knit fabric took the dye really well and ended up with some deep navy blue streaks, but none of the other pieces got that dark.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

We dyed two packages of cotton napkins (also from Amazon). They were great for experimenting with different folding techniques and patterns. The kids each folded three or four and eagerly waited to see how their designs would turn out. I also folded up a piece of muslin, a scrap of white bamboo knit, and some canvas tote bags. I used the muslin for the zipper pouch.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Zipper pouches are fast and easy. I didn’t follow a pattern for this…just cut out some rectangles, added little leather accents, and sewed it up. You can use this zipper pouch tutorial for basic construction techniques. I think these would make really cute gifts or nice craft fair products.

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Shibori Indigo Dyed Zipper Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

If you’d like to see what some of my friends made their indigo fabric, follow along here to read their posts:

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Monday 7/24

Sarah at Sewing with Sarah – Shibori Top

Stephanie at Swoodson Says – Shibori Kit Review

Tuesday 7/25

Katie at Creative Counselor – Shibori Shift Dress

Sara at Radiant Home Studio – Shibori Zipper Pouch

Wednesday 7/26

Vicky at Vicky Myers Creations – Shibori Scarf

Stephanie at Swoodson Says – Shibori Blanket

Thursday 7/27

Maryanna at Marvelous Auntie M – Shibori Bag

Ula at Lulu & Celester – Shibori Clutch

Friday 7/28

Laurel at My Heart Will Sew On – Shibori Maxi Skirt

Agy at Agy Textile Artist – Shibori with Mango Leaves

Stephanie at Swoodson Says – Shibori Curtains

Pattern Review, Sewing

Sewing a Rumi Tank for Maternity

With all of the great basic knit sewing patterns that indie designers are putting out, I’ve had a much easier time making maternity clothes for myself this time around. A couple of weeks ago I made a Lodo Dress (which has gotten a lot of wear!). But these Rumi Tanks for maternity are the easiest thing I’ve made so far!

The Rumi Tank is a basic racerback style tank with quick and easy binding. It comes with both a tank and dress length pattern. The dress pattern is wider so that it flows out around the hips. It turns out that the width is also perfect for covering a pregnant belly!

Rumi Tank for Maternity | Maternity Sewing | Radiant Home Studio

I didn’t make any modifications except for adjusting the length and adding some elastic to the side seam. I measured my bust at a size 10 and then cut a size 10 dress. The dress pattern has a band at the bottom, which can be eliminated completely for a maternity tank. I cut my tanks at the size 0 hemline on the main pattern piece. I also had to adjust the length of the straps. The neckline and armholes were both too low, so I cut the strap length around a size 2-4.

The tank could have worked without the side elastic, but it felt a little shapeless. I added about 6″ of clear elastic (stretched) to the side seams by zigzagging it in the seam allowance.

Rumi Tank for Maternity | Maternity Sewing | Radiant Home Studio

I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy at this point (about 30 weeks…) and these will easily fit until the end. For earlier pregnancy, you can probably eliminate a couple more inches. You could make a maternity dress, slightly longer than recommended, which I’m sure that would work as well! Not only that, a dress would be a nice transition piece that would fit early in pregnancy and after birth.

Rumi Tank for Maternity | Maternity Sewing | Radiant Home Studio

I used two lightweight knit fabrics (both from Girl Charlee). The striped fabric is a cotton/poly combo, and the boho patterned fabric is a rayon knit with a lot of stretch (so much so that I could have gone a size smaller…). I have very few maternity stores nearby, so I’m left with a bunch of solid-colored plain tees from Target. These fabrics were just what I needed to add some color and pattern to my wardrobe.

Rumi Tank for Maternity | Maternity Sewing | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, this is perfect as a basic summer maternity tank! I’m looking forward to making more after pregnancy and trying the full-length dress later on.

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Sewing

Lodo Dress for Maternity

So, I’m about 6 months pregnant and have been working on some maternity sewing for summer. We have very few maternity store options in town. I’m able to get basic jeans and solid colored t-shirts, but that’s about it. If I want anything with printed fabric, interesting styles, or quality construction, I have to make it myself (or load up 6 kids and drive over an hour…).

Sewing a Maternity Lodo Dress | True Bias | Radiant Home Studio

I remember trying to make maternity clothes several years ago. There were very few instructions online and no patterns available. I did manage to take an empire waist dress and make it fit by adding extra width and gathers in the front. I also adjusted a knit wrap shirt by making it wider and longer. It was all just a guessing game though. There are so many more options now! Lots of indie designers have easy to sew knit clothes that can be adjusted for maternity, and there are tons of tutorials for maternity sewing.

The first pattern I hacked to fit over my baby belly this time is the Lodo Dress from True Bias. It’s a casual knit dress, with a basic straight shape. I bought it as soon as it was released, knowing I could make it work for maternity wear without a lot of changes. I used an organic cotton interlock fabric from Cloud 9. The weight and stretch are perfect for this dress.

I chose to start with a size 10 in the bust and shoulders based on my current measurements. I also cut the longer length because I knew I would end up cutting a bit off while making adjustments. To make room for my baby belly, I measured across the front of a maternity t-shirt that fits me well and graded out in the waist to that size. (Something like this tutorial from Melly Sews.) That ended up being around the size 16 waistline. I cut the back of the dress just one size bigger in the hips and didn’t change the waist.

I sewed most of the dress together (which was really quick & easy!) and then basted the side seams to check the fit. It was way too big! I’m not sure why the t-shirt fit and the dress didn’t, but I ended up cutting off a couple of inches on both sides. In the end, the waist and hips might only be 1-2 sizes bigger than the top. My belly isn’t small at this point, but with the stretch fabric and loose fit, there was still plenty of room for my baby belly.

I gathered up the sides of the dress front below the bust line to add more length over my belly. Then I cut about 4 inches off the bottom of the dress back, so that the hems were the same length. I ended up with a nice knee-length hem.

Sewing a Maternity Lodo Dress | True Bias | Radiant Home Studio

If you want to make a maternity Lodo Dress (or any dress of a similar style, like Caroline’s Coffee Shop dress), my best advice is to cut a little bit more width than you think you will need and try the dress on as you go to make adjustments. Every belly is a different shape, so it helps to make changes as you go.

Besides the side seams, I also ended up taking in the center back seam near the waist where my back curves to support my growing belly. I suppose that would be a swayback adjustment, but it was easiest to try the dress on inside out and pin where I needed to take in the fabric.

It took some trial and error to get the fit right, but a second dress would go together really quickly now that I have the sizing figured out. And even better, I think I can easily take out the side seams and redo the hem so I can wear this after pregnancy too!

I have another easy maternity hack, using the Rumi Tank from Christine Haynes, to share next week…

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