Maternity: Tops for Nursing

This Tuesday I turned 34 weeks and my back is killing me.  If I stand too long round ligament pain starts to set in front, making me miserable all around.  The baby is measuring large for his age and until a few days ago was sitting breech.  My right rib cage really hurt and I kept complaining to the doctor – so he took an ultrasound, and voila!, one mystery solved.

Given all of these discomforts I haven’t done any sewing since finishing my cousin’s wedding dress.  None of my projects interests me. I don’t weather pregnancy all that well.  My pregnancy complications aren’t life-threatening to myself or the baby, luckily, but they are enough to make for a difficult nine months.  Lately I have been a tad depressed and feeling drained of any spark.   Things that I normally do no longer interest me. 

Though most folks are advising me to rest, sleeping and staring off into space are not working to restore my mood.  Today I decided something else needed to happen so I picked up and went shopping.  With the birth only five to six weeks away I no longer can get excited about maternity clothes.  I am on to thinking about the next stage – nursing.

My past experience with nursing was very fulfilling, though a bit messy.  I have an unusual problem in that the banding on any kind of nursing or standard bra causes my milk ducts to clog.   Last time I brazened my way about town without a bra and no one said anything, though I did feel a bit self-conscious.  I didn’t think through what kind of clothing could best accomodate this situation, and the styles six years ago were different.  But experience is the best teacher and this time around I have a plan.

My solution

Cami’s and racerback tanks underneath with unstructured loose overblouses on top. 

 My normal styles leans toward semi-structured but that look really highlights that your boobs aren’t in that perky place they used to be.  (Alas my unfettered breasts no longer stand without support. 😉    ) Plus the sewing is more intensive on structured garments and any leakage is impossible to hide if the item fits closer to one’s form.  So unstructured it shall be for the next year of nursing.  Easy access for the baby and coverage for me.

With these parameters in mind and looking forward to the next stage of life with the baby, on impulse, I stopped by my local Hancock’s.   Lo and behold they were having an 89 cent sale on Butterick patterns and Vogue patterns were going for $3.99!  Such fun sitting down perusing the catalogs and I want to show you what I came home with. 

Butterick 5216

Butterick 5216: Unsure if this one is going to work out but I liked the long-sleeve version.

Butterick 5645

Butterick 5645: No long sleeve versions unfortunately, but I like options C &D and think they should be fun come next spring/summer.

Butterick 5355

Butterick 5355: Looks like a standard tunic. I like versions A & C best as their sleeves look like they will stay out of harm's way. The other two version have sleeves that look so floufy that they might drag in baby messes.

Butterick 5357

Butterick 5357: Peasant tops usually emphasize all of my rounded features so normally I avoid them but they are quick and easy. This one should sew up well in either a knit or lightweight cotton. I might end my sleeves at 3/4 with a simple band though to get away from too girlish a look.

Butterick 5388

Butterick 5388: Looked simple to make and has both cold and hot weather options.

Butterick 3314

Butterick 3314: I really just wanted the cami from this pattern, but I might end up making some comfy PJ bottoms too.

Vogue 1261

Vogue 1261: Trendy hemline and looks like it is especially suitable for ultra-thin layering knits. Best of all some of the options are sewn up with unfinished seam edges. What could go more quickly?


All simple patterns without a lot of pieces, I am looking forward over the next few days cutting them out and giving them a trial.  I’ll keep everyone posted how things go!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tanit-Isis
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 14:26:01

    Good luck! I agree, a tank and and an overblouse are a good nursing compromise (I tended to go with front-opening, but the ones you’ve picked look lovely). I also found that synthetic stretch-velvet is both supportive and hides leaks, if that helps. I know it’s not the most fun to sew. Clogged ducts suck the big one, especially when they turn into mastitis (which I used to get like clockwork if I got run down, and when are you not run down when you have a small baby?)

    Good luck with your last few weeks! Tyo was born at 37 weeks and while we were wretchedly unprepared, it was SO nice to not be pregnant for that extra three weeks…


  2. Sewista Fashionista
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 16:09:50

    Synthetic stretch velvet is a great idea! It is going to be winter during much of my nursing time and if I do stretch velvet cami/tanks then the wick of the velvet might prevent the overblouse from getting moist. I am going to have to go back to the fabric store and start playing around with this one. Thanks! 🙂


  3. Sister
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 19:10:29

    I love your patterns, and I bought that PJ pattern a coule of years ago – be warned that the PJ bottoms run HUGE. I’m sure you’re probably aware, but KID MD’s blog has lots of info about nursing shirts and turning regular stuff INTO a nursing friendly shirt. You’re getting close now – hang in there!


    • Sewista Fashionista
      Sep 10, 2011 @ 14:17:35

      I did not know that about KID MD blog and the nursing shirts. I will be sure to check it out. Thanks for the tip! And the one about the PJ bottoms too 😉


  4. Lee Ann Slosar
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 19:27:26

    I am impressed! I never thought to make my own nursing clothes. I am able to wear nursing bras as long as there is no underwire and I just wear regular shirts on top. can’t wait to see how they come out.


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