Hatching Plans: Back-to-Work Wardrobe for my Sis!

Hello, everyone!  Hope this little post finds you all well!

As you may remember, my youngest sister had a baby mid-January, so now she’s preparing to go back to work.  She’s going through a bit of a rough patch right now, so I thought maybe the prospect of a new work wardrobe might cheer her up and give her something to look forward to.  (She’s related to me, after all, and few things get me more pumped up than doodling up plans to sew new outfits!)  I thought I’d share my plans with you guys to get your input!  My sister is very laidback and the opposite of a diva, so she rarely shops for or spends money on herself, and she doesn’t give a lot of feedback about what she likes.  So I’m hoping to put together some pieces that she’ll be able to mix and match and that she’ll really love.

OK, since my sister’s immediately post-baby and is long-distance, I need to make garments that are easy to fit and that won’t look ill-fitting and gross right away if she loses weight.  My first thought was to make a few basic a-line skirts, since they only need to fit in the waist and are straightforward to fit.  So I showed her some skirt patterns (and by “showed”, I mean “texted photos of”), and her favorite by far was Megan Nielsen’s Kelly skirt.

image from Megan’s blog

This requires a pretty decent fit through the waist, but my mom lives near my sister and can take it in for her if she loses a ton of weight.  I hopped online and bought this yesterday, so I’ll be checking the mailbox all week long!  My sis favors blue, gray, and aqua these days, so my thought was to make this skirt for her in:

chambray and navy twill.  I also thought that a red twill skirt might be fun to combine with the blues and aquas.  I don’t want her to get bored wearing only the same skirt pattern, so I may add Tilly’s new Miette skirt pattern to the mix, too.  I didn’t buy any fabric yet, though, so I’m open to other ideas.

image from Tilly’s blog

Cute, right?  This seems like a nice option, too, since it’s so adjustable.  Perfect!

Another thing I thought she might like is a pair of stretchy pants.  I just found Tessuti’s Anita ponte pants pattern and immediately downloaded it (you’ll be seeing these on me soon if all goes well!), and I think they might work on my sister, too.

image from Tessuti’s blog

I love these!  They have a bit more coverage and are more substantial than leggings, so they seem awesome for work and running around with a baby.  I’m thinking gray ponte?

gray ponte from Mood– click on photo for link!

Next up, tops!  I went a little bit crazy at Girl Charlee and picked out a boatload of jerseys to make some tops.

Aren’t these all adorable?  You can see why I couldn’t help myself!  I was thinking I’ll make a whole flock of Renfrew tops with a variety of sleeve lengths and necklines (the Renfrew is my tried & true pattern, after all… heeheehee!).  What I like about the Renfrew top is that it’s feminine, but still really easy to wear and slim enough to tuck into a skirt.  But I’m not sure if maybe it’s TOO slim for someone with a changing body?  What do you guys think?  I’m also tempted to make a couple of Cindy’s dolman sleeve tops, but I don’t know how good those would look paired with skirts.  What about the Briar sweater/tee?  Is it too loose for someone that might be feeling self-conscious about weight around the mid-section?  Thoughts?  Any other patterns that might be nice?

If I have jersey leftover after cutting out all the tops, I’d like to make a skirt like Miranda’s simple layered summer skirt.

photo from Miranda’s blog

Wouldn’t this be super cute with the different striped fabrics combined together?

My sister works with kids in and out of classrooms and homes, so I figure that a couple of cardigans would be good so she can toss one on over everything if it’s chilly.  I’m thinking that I’ll do one inspired by Andrea’s Renfrew cardigan mod, and for the other, I’d like to try my hand at drafting a waterfall cardigan (similar to the Burda Karen pattern, but not quite as voluminous, perhaps).  I’m thinking one in navy, and the other in gray:

both from Girl Charlee

Maybe not the most exciting things in the world, but I’m sure they’ll be worn regularly.

I also ordered this purple polka dot ponte from Girl Charlee because it reminded me of my sister:

What should I make with it?  A dress?  Another pair of stretchy pants?  A skirt?

Any other patterns or garments you can recommend?  I’d like to make her some Archer shirts and perhaps a version of M6553 down the road, but she has basically nothing to wear right now, so I’m looking for quick makes!  I’m especially interested to hear what any moms out there liked wearing post-pregnancy (btw, breastfeeding isn’t a concern here, so no need for tops that accommodate that… tmi?  I hope not…).  I’m especially interested in any free tutorials or patterns as I’ve exceeded my pattern buying budget for the next little while!  🙂

Now, I have one last favor to ask!  Maybe you’ve noticed, but I love to make sewing plans, but find it hard to stick with them!  Since this is a pretty ambitious plan, I’ll be tempted to get sidetracked, so I’d love it if you could remind me to keep at these sewing plans if it’s been a while since you’ve seen me post anything!

What are you guys up to these days?  Any wild & wooly sewing plans??

152 responses

  1. Eh eh I’m going to be selfish and take a note of the wonderful ideas popping up here! You’ve initiated something big here, Sonja! Having sewn the Tiramisu dress when I was about 4 months pregnant, I found it very forgiving and flattering (I had the same doubts as you re knits) – and it still fits me at 7 months 🙂


  2. Man, you’re amazing. I love all your choices with the exception of the Briar sweater/tee. I can’t imagine that flattering a nursing mother or a woman getting her body back.

    I have that polka dot from Girl Charlee. In real life it’s not as vivid as the photo but it’s really substantial and wonderful. I think it would look great in a Washi Washi dress or a Darling Ranges. Again, you’re an amazing sissy!


    • Thanks for the feedback, Colleen! I’m really on the fence about the Briar top. I cut one out last night for myself, so once I put that together, it will be easier to see if it’s going to be a nice shape for my sister. I suspect that it won’t be the greatest. And thanks for the tip about the polka dot ponte– I love the idea of the Washi dress!


  3. You are an awesome sister! I am planning a few things to wear post baby (I’m due Sunday… any. day. now. PLEASE baby….). I don’t actually know what I’m going to feel most comfortable in but for some reason I’ve pulled and bought several wrap style patterns. I’m going to make that new Amazing fit wrap dress pattern as a dress and a top. And I’m want to make some big blouse-y tent like silhouettes, too, (but in really drapey fabrics so they don’t scream maternity) Not sure if that’s a good idea, or not. Anyway, your plan sounds awesome and super generous. And make that purple polka dot ponte knit in to pants, please!


    • Just checked out that wrap pattern– it’s really cute! I’m persuaded by your polka dot pants enthusiasm! After all, you can find polka dotted dresses pretty regularly, but pants? The few, the proud, and the awesome wear polka dotted pants.

      Now… Hurry up, baby lady! 😀 Hope these last few days go by quickly and smoothly! I’ll be thinking about you!


  4. What a wonderful sister you are! I think that everything that you are planning looks great, I think that the skirts are a good idea and archer shirts could be very useful when you are feeling insecure about your middle.


  5. majorly cool sister you are!
    i have had four little people reside in me (not all at once, sigh of relief) and have done the gain alot lose alot a few times. the first year after a long knit dress with some crazy belly ruching is nice. very nice. there is this nice ‘hot mess mommy’ free prairie dress pattern i also found kind. i wore the heck out of those wiksten patterns. patterned fabrics are your friend. also there is this crazy hot flash stuff that i get with nursing and breathable fabrics would be good. also avoid avoid avoid shirts that may be misconstrued by clueless passerbys as maternity shirts. also with the ‘when are you due’ postpartum. always.


  6. Hey love!
    Thought i’d add my two cents 🙂 When i was postpartum i had the same issue – i wanted cute things to wear and then when i lost weight too. So my simple solution (for skirts like the Kelly with a fitted waistband) was to make the size i currently was – then when i lost weight i added rows of elastic shirring on the inside of the back of the waistband online (or thicker elastic for thicker fabrics) and it worked a treat 🙂 it was a quick easy solution and to be honest, i’m about 20lb lighter than after Bunny and Buddy were born right now, and i still wear all those skirts with the elastic in the back waistband. Good luck honey!! XOXO


  7. I can HIGHLY recommend the Style Arc Nina cardigan for a waterfall cardigan pattern. Exquisitely drafted, easy to make up, and it creates a nipped-in waist look even if the waist isn’t all that nipped-in. I’m itching to make more in different fabrics, and with decorative serging, but even the very simple black rayon sweaterknit version I made up as a wearable muslin gets worn 2+ times per week.

    I’ll add my voice to the mix–what a lovely thing to do for your sister!


  8. Ok, now I have to go check out these patterns…love the skirt/belt look, I think that would be an amazing gift. What about skirts done with a smocked waistband? I made one for my sister (how funny) and she loved it post baby…..And holy cow woman, that lace dress is AAmazing…that cut is so flattering and chic. Ahhh how have I never heard of Dear and Doe? I’m off to browse. See you soon 🙂


    • Thanks, Natalie! I love the idea of a smocked waistband– that sounds so easy to wear! And hey, I will totally piggyback off of someone else’s success sewing for their sister! 🙂

      Happy shopping! Deer & Doe is delightful!


  9. Wow, you’re making a ton of stuff! She’ll love it. Not to add more to the list but if she’s nursing or pumping some button up tops could be really helpful – maybe Colette Violet? Dresses are easy to wear but can be a pain to nurse/pump in if there aren’t buttons…who wants to completely undress just to feed their babe;-)


  10. Everyone has such great suggestions, I am going to say the knit wrap dress is a great idea, I have one that I wore through both of my pregnancies and after (I still wear it!) I wore my maternity jeans for like 7 months after each baby, totally embarrassing but that tummy area was the last to get back into shape, even when I had lost all of the weight. I just saw this pattern and thought it would have been great post-pregnancy: http://sewliberated.com/products/simple-skinny-jeans-sewing-pattern. It has a knit waist but not maternity, and you could use the same pattern to make leggings too. Also, maxi skirts/dresses are great if you are dealing with kids, you can bend down to their level without flashing anyone 🙂 It is a nice thing you are doing for your sister!


  11. Pingback: Sewing for my Sis: Miette Skirt! | Ginger Makes...

  12. Pingback: Marianne Dress x 3! « Ginger Makes…

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