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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Tutorials

How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm

Earlier this week, my 7-year-old daughter fell on the driveway while playing and broke her wrist. A couple of years ago, my other daughter broke her wrist falling off a swing. Thankfully, broken arms heal…so why not have some fun with the sling while it’s healing?

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

The hospital issued slings aren’t the best. After watching two little girls with broken arms using the slings, I have made a couple of improvements to the standard issue hospital sling. Both have complained about the scratchy strap cutting into their neck, so I padded the neck strap. On the current sling, the strap slide is too high and also cuts into the shoulder/neck area. I moved it down to fix that problem. Finally, the new sling is reversible—plain navy on one side and a fun pattern on the other!

I made a sling for an elementary-aged child, but you can easily adjust the size for a smaller or larger person. My kids asked if it would work for either arm, and the answer is yes!

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

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

How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm:

Materials:

2 fat quarters of quilting cotton
2 d-rings (1″)
1/4 yd. fabric for a strap (OR 1 yd. of 1″ webbing)
1/4 yd. fusible fleece (to pad the strap)
1 yd. of 1/2″ double fold bias binding (make your own with this tutorial!)

(If making a larger size, you will need more webbing and more bias binding. You might also consider making a wider strap and using stronger o-rings in place of d-rings.)

Cut the Following:

(4) 14″ x 6″ rectangles, 2 from each fat quarter
(1) 36″ x 4″ rectangle from 1/4 yd. fabric
(1) 36″ x 2″ rectangle from fusible fleece (you can piece this together from scraps)

(For a larger size, measure from the elbow to the fingertips, add 1″, and replace the 14″ measurement on the first cut. Change the depth of the sling by changing the 6″ measurement on the first cut. For example, a sling for myself would be 18″ x 8″. Remember that you might also need a longer strap and more bias binding.)

Sewing Instructions:

1. Place one matching set of the large rectangles right sides together. Use a bowl (or another rounded object) mark rounded edges on the top right & bottom left corners. Trim the corners. Repeat for the second set of large rectangles.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

2. With the rounded rectangles still right sides together, stitch along the left and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

3. Turn one piece right side out. Place the two sling pieces wrong sides together and set aside.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

4. To make the strap, fold the 36″ long fabric in half lengthwise and press. Fold each long, raw edge into the center seam, wrong sides together, and press again.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

5. Place the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the strap, centered between the fold lines. Fuse, refold, and press.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

6. Stitch along the long, folded edges of the strap with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

7. Cut a 6″ length from the strap. On the right (open) end of the sling, baste one end of the strap, just at the edge of the curve on the front of the sling, as shown. Place the d-rings on the 6′ length of the strap. Baste the other end of the strap on the back of the sling. (Ignore the strap slide…I ended up switching hardware after finding that the strap slide was too slippery.)

8. Baste the remaining strap piece to the left side of the sling, centered over the seam.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

9. Next, open and place your bias binding right sides down on the raw edge of the sling. (It doesn’t really matter which side of the sling since it will be reversible.) Fold the end of the bias binding down about 1/2″ and begin sewing. Continue around the whole sling, stitching on the first fold line, and catching the strap ends in the stitching. Overlap the end by about 1/2″. Backstitch and trim excess binding.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

10. Clip the curves and press the binding toward the other side. Pin in place and stitch around the binding again, 1/8″ from the folded edge.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

11. Flip the straps to the right side and tack them onto the binding by stitching a couple of lines across them.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

12. Shorten the shoulder strap if needed and finish the end with a wide zig-zag stitch.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

While this is not a sewing tutorial I had planned on writing, I hope a handmade sling makes healing from a broken arm a little bit more comfortable and fun!

Also sharing this tutorial at: Sew Can She, Craftastic Monday, Made By You Monday, Modest Monday

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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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Sewing

Sewing a Woven Girls Tank Top

I did some summer sewing for my growing preteen daughter this week. She’s always loved my Wiksten Tanks and has asked for something like it several times.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank Top | Radiant Home Studio

I haven’t found a pattern like it in a preteen girl size. I’m sure one exists somewhere. Since it’s a relatively easy shape though, I decided to draft my own pattern for a woven girls tank top.

I used a bodice from another pattern to make sure the shoulder width and arm hole depth were right. From there I drew a slight scoop neck and gave the sides an A-line shape. The bottom hem is slightly rounded. I wasn’t sure if the head opening would be big enough to slip over her head, so I added a small slit opening and button loop on the back. (Here’s a tutorial for a similar back neck opening.)

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank Top | Radiant Home Studio

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

For fabric, I used 2 Art Gallery cotton prints. The blue is Bonnie Christine’s Blooming Brook in Moon from the Wonderful Things collection. The green and purple print is Bari J’s Sunswept Canyon in Sage from the Sage collection. 

I used french seams on the shoulders and sides. To finish the armholes and neckline, I used bias strips to make a bias facing, similar to the Wiksten Tank pattern and others. On the blue tank, I added a small chest pocket. It was really easy to put together and I only spent about an hour cutting and sewing. I might even let her try to make her own next time.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

She loves the tank tops and has gotten a lot of wear out of them already this week. I know some kids will only wear knits for comfort, but the woven fabric is much cooler in hot weather and also looks nice enough to wear to church and other events.

If you’d like to make something similar, you can trace the shoulders and armholes from a ready-to-wear shirt or another bodice pattern. Then just draw basic A-line tank. If you’ve put together similar tops for yourself, it’s really easy to make one in a girls size. I’d suggest a lightweight cotton or chambray for the best results.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

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