Our Nine Month Journey

Our Nine Month Journey

 I haven’t been the best at documenting my whole pregnancy on the blog here, so I thought I’d take some time this week to do a little recap of the journey we’ve taken these last nine months. :)

(March) Jose and I had just returned to Midland from our trip to Denton, where I took my accounting final at UNT. It was a tough class and I was just exhausted by the end of it, but I wondered why it was taking me so long to catch up on my sleep from the trip! I soon found out it was because I was expecting a baby!!! This child was something we had been hoping for and been looking forward to for a long time, but nothing prepares you for the moment you find out you’re actually going to be a parent. We were beyong estatic, and wondered how we were going to keep the news to ourselves for so long.

(April) Jose and I stayed busy by keeping up with our running schedule together. We had been training all spring to run our first 5k together on April 11th. I’m so glad we kept up with this exercise routine – it kept me from thinking too much about all the changes and uncomfort I was starting to go through at this time! Our 10 week appointment with the OB doctor was on April 29th, when we saw our precious baby via ultrasound for the first time. It was the most magical moment for us both, we were just in awe watching him wiggle and dance on the screen. I still hadn’t experienced any morning sickness at this point, but was grateful that my spring semester was a condensed one. I don’t know how I would have kept up with both work and school while still feeling so sleepy all the time!

(May) We FINALLY broke the good news to our families! Jose was able to tell his family in person, and I was on the phone with him via FaceTime when he did so. I will never forget the look on his sisters’ faces when we told them the news!! At the end of the month, we took a short but sweet trip to Atlanta for my cousins graduation celebration. I knew it’d be the only time I would spend with my family before the baby was born, so we jumped at the chance to be with everyone together all at once.

(June) School started back for me, and I was a little nervous about how I would balance work and school while also being pregnant. Luckily for me, I got my energy back at this point, and my class was a nice distraction from the anticipation we had of finding out whether the baby was going to be a boy or girl (we wouldn’t find out until July!). Jose and I kept up our running, and were training for our next 5k race on July 4th. While the weather was starting to get hot, it was still not as bad as some past summers we’ve spent here in Texas. I was especially grateful for the milder temperatures this year!!

(July) The weather eventually started to warm up to normal temperatures at the beginning of this month – July 4th weekend was a hot one! We ran our 5k early on that July 4th morning, but at a pretty relaxed pace. I knew at that point my growing belly was starting to slow me down. The next Friday, we had our appointment to find out if it was a boy or girl. For some reason, both Jose and I were convinced that it was going to be a little girl, so when we found out it was a boy, we were both just beside ourselves from the surprise! We came home that day and immediately started thinking up names (we had had a girl’s name picked out and ready, but still hadn’t quite settled on a boy’s name at that point).

(August) My least favorite month of the year in Texas, only because of the excruciating heat. I survived, but had already switched from running to walking very early in the mornings with the dogs. I was hoping to keep up with running throughout my pregnancy, but the heat was too much to bear and I didn’t want to make myself sick by pushing through with exercise. I was a little disappointed, but began enjoying my long daily walks with the puppies.

(September) As mentioned before, September was a pretty busy month for us. We had three baby showers, and went on a short trip at the end of the month to Houston, New Braunfels, and Dallas (for a baby shower, wedding, and to take some maternity photos – which I’ll share here soon!). My Mom made the trip out to Houston, which was so special – I didn’t know if I’d be able to see her again before the baby was born. Our trip was a long one, though, and I wondered if I’d be able to keep up with my energy levels throughout the weekend. I think just the excitement of seeing all our friends and family is what kept me going, but by the time we returned to Midland I was exhausted! I think I slept 10 hours for 3 days straight when we returned. :)

(October) My last month at work ended up being one of the busiest! I was working on a special project for the office, while also training the person who’d be taking over once I was gone. On top of that, Jose and I still hadn’t finished the nursery at home, and we kept busy at home putting together all the baby gear we had gotten as gifts the month before. Also, by this time, I started feeling very pregnant, and just the normal everyday routine was starting to wear me out. I was counting down the days until I was done with work! My last official day was Halloween (October 31st) – and saying goodbye to everyone was a little bittersweet. I had come to really like working with several of the ladies in my office, and would miss the day-to-day routine of getting up and going to the office each day. I also knew that the change meant this baby was on his way SOON!

(November) These past two weeks, I’ve had a long laundry list of things I wanted to do at home before the baby arrives. Turns out, being nine months pregnant, it was a bit silly to think I’d be a productivity machine at home (this nesting instinct is serious business!!). We are having lots of company come to visit these next two months, and I wanted the house to be ready for all our guests. But with the baby arriving in just a couple of days, I’ve come to accept that what’s done is done, and anything left will just have to wait until after the New Year. Also, I haven’t been sleeping too well at all this past week, and have had sort of a loss in appetite these past days, but each night I go to bed I just think about how we’re one day closer to meeting this sweet baby, and that the pregnancy stage is finally coming to an end!!

These past nine months have really been an adventure for Jose and me. I’ve had my good days and bad days, but all-in-all, I have to say that my pregnancy was completely different than what I expected it to be (in a good way). I was very lucky that I didn’t experience any morning sickness or even much discomfort, until the very end here. But more importantly, we’re just happy that this baby appears to be healthy and well, and ready to make his appearance soon. On Tuesday morning, we’ll check-in to the hospital for a scheduled C-section. We’ve waited so long to meet this sweet baby, that I cannot believe it’s all going to happen in just a few short days!!! By this time next week, we plan to be home and figuring out what it means to be a family of five (puppies included!). :)

I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of photos on my Instagram account, if you want to follow along there. I’d also like to share more about the baby and motherhood here on the blog, if for no other reason than to keep me accountable for documenting this little one as he grows up (from what I hear, it all happens in the blink of an eye!).

xo, Amanda

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A Baby Shower Saltspring Dress

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The time has flown by since my last post! I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant, but these pictures were taken last month at 29 weeks. At the time I thought my belly couldn’t have gotten any bigger, but now looking back, I realize how much I’ve grown since then. Let’s just say I no longer wake up in the morning and forget that there’s a baby inside my stomach. ;)

So September was a pretty busy month for us. It always starts out kind of busy – we both celebrate our birthdays that first week of September, and then of course football season keeps us busy watching games on the weekend. ;) But this year, we were also lucky to have so many friends, family, and co-workers who wanted to throw us a baby shower – that we ended up having 3 showers in row those last weeks of September. They were all so special to us, and made the whole experience feel a lot more REAL. Not to mention, having so many events lined up helped us forget about all this waiting around for the due date. ;)

I knew I wanted to make at least one of my shower dresses, and the Sewaholic Saltspring dress was a logical go-to pattern for the occasion. It’s loose and flow-y, and didn’t take too much thinking in terms of changing up the pattern to fit my growing bump. I ended up wearing this dress to my office baby shower, and styled it with a navy cardigan and thin braided belt (not pictured).

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Here are the details about this dress:

Pattern: Sewaholic Saltspring dress, maxi version with double strap variation (tied in the back)

Fabric: Light rayon challis, with a beautiful drape (the exact fabric is Valori Wells Peony in Gold –  you can find it on sale here!)

Changes / Alterations:

  • I cut a size 10 bodice, and size 16 skirt in order to allow for plenty of ease around the belly.
  • I shortened the bodice pieces (4″ off of bodice, and 3″ off of bodice lining) in order to create less of a “blousing effect” on the top. I’ve come to realize with maternity wear, I prefer for at least part of the outfit to be more fitted in order to show off the bump (and also because I want people to know that I’m pregnant, and not simply choosing to dress in a tent for 9 months). :P
  • In addition to shortening the bodice for less blousing, I raised the waistline another 3″.
  • Lowered armholes by 1/2″.
  • Swayback adjustment on skirt back by 3/8″.

Tutorials Used: I followed along with all the posts from the Saltspring Sewalong. Even though I probably could have survived without them, I just love how these Sewalong posts take the mystery out of any steps that may seem vague in the pattern instructions (in this case, inserting the elastic or sewing in the zipper). I still consider myself to be a beginner sewist, and would definitely recommend anyone else who is new to garment sewing to check out the other Sewalongs that are available on Tasia’s website. I live in sort of a remote area of Texas, and there aren’t many places around town that offer classes on specific sewing patterns (like classes I’ve seen offered in LA, Nashville, Austin, etc.). I consider these Sewalongs to be the next best thing to having a teacher at my side, walking me through step-by-step of a pattern.

I also used Tasia’s tutorial on a hand-picked zipper, which I’ve written about and used before, but I always like to have it open each time I sew one in, just in case I forget anything. :)

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Overall Thoughts: Overall, I think this dress was perfect for the occasion! I felt both beautiful and comfortable wearing the dress, which I think is the goal for any momma-to-be when getting dressed in the morning. :)

I was afraid the fabric might be a little see-through in the skirt, but because it’s gathered it really wasn’t a problem at all (although I would recommend wearing nude-colored underthings if you make anything with this fabric – you can see the dark dress form is showing through in the picture above).

If I had to pick, the only thing about this pattern that I’m not crazy about would be the tie straps. It was nice not having to worry about the strap length before sewing them into the bodice pieces – but, trying to make the straps even while making a pretty bow in the back was a little annoying, and it took me several tries to make sure the dress was hanging evenly from  both of my shoulders.

Also, if I make this dress again, I might opt for sewing in a regular zipper, rather than using the hand-picked method. You might be able to see in the photo below, but the elastic sort of pulls at the hand-sewing right at the waist, and I think that machine stitches would have been stronger and held the bodice pieces in place a little better right at the elastic.

In the end, I think this is the perfect special occasion dress, if you can find the right fabric. I actually made another version previous to this dress that turned out not-so-good, only because it was too heavy. I made it out of a lightweight linen / cotton chambray, which I thought would be light enough, but the maxi skirt was so heavy that it pulled the elastic waist down too much and just ended up looking really bulky. So for those of you who are considering making this dress – follow the fabric recommendations closely and only use a very light fabric (lesson learned – I need to pay more close attention to those recommendations myself – they are there for a reason!).

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The Colette Moneta Dress… and some Happy Nine Month News!!

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, and I’m happy to (finally!) announce here that Jose and I are expecting a baby!!

We found out the happy news in March, and told our family and close friends in late April. I was very lucky in that I didn’t experience any morning sickness at all – thank goodness!! I was a little tired and felt kind of “blah” the whole time, so I didn’t spend too much time in my sewing room. Once I made it through to my second trimester, I knew I needed to get busy making clothes that will fit me through the next several months. :)

Lucky for me, Colette Patterns came out with their first set of knit patterns, and the Moneta dress is the perfect blank slate for altering to maternity. I realized I could just take the waistline and just raise it a couple of inches to fit over my growing belly. It turned out perfect, I think!

Here are the alterations I made, in case anyone else is interested in making the Moneta into a maternity dress (or, really, these alterations are good for anyone who wants to make the dress with a more “baby-doll” silhouette).

Maternity alterations:

  • Raised bodice waistline by 2.5″
  • Bodice size – cut small (or cut out size that you would wear pre-pregnancy)
  • Skirt size – cut large (or, cut out 2 sizes larger than your bodice size, in order to make room for expanding belly) :)

Other alterations (specific to me):

  • Brought shoulder seam towards front bodice by 1/4″
  • Extended the shoulder seam OUT by 1/2″
  • Lowered underarm by 1/2″
  • Extended the back shoulder blade by 5/8″, and made same adjustment to corresponding sleeve piece (per Sunni’s tutorial, here)

I could have made a few more alterations to make sure this dress sees me through the whole 40 weeks of pregnancy (like lower the front hemline and slash and spread the front skirt pattern piece), but I like that this ended up being a dress I can easily wear the first few months after having the baby. It’s super-comfortable, and very forgiving in the waist area, so I think this will make a perfect post-maternity dress.

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First up is this red dress is made up of Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey fabric in Red, which I ordered online here. Unfortunately, the color is a little too red for my liking during the summer months, but I think it will work really well in the colder months with tights and a cardigan. The fabric itself is a cotton jersey, and while it has a nice weight and drape to it, I realized I hated cutting out the pieces because the cotton would tend to stick to itself, making it hard to smooth out the grain on my sewing table. Once the cutting part was over, though, sewing it up was a breeze.

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I think the fit turned out really nice on the red dress. While I initially thought the bodice was going to turn out too tight, I think it actually ended up fitting nicely. I’m sort of glad it’s a little on the snug side, in order to help hold up the extra fabric that I added to the skirt. My only hesitation with the fit is the sleeves. I cut out extra room in the armpit, which helps the sleeves from feeling too snug (apparently my arms are disproportionately large compared to my more petite frame – weird, huh?). There is still some snugness in that area, but after wearing it throughout the day it didn’t seem to bother me too much. I think next time I cut this dress with sleeves, I might try out Devon’s tutorial on how to fix armhole gape. I didn’t realize this might be the problem until I made up another sleeveless version… (below).

So, for my second dress, I used a navy polka-dot bamboo jersey (which I also purchased online, here). I opted to sew version 1, without the collar. I love LOVE the feel and drape of this fabric, and it was much easier to lay out on my cutting board. However, the drapiness did make it a bit more difficult to manipulate while sewing, so I guess it’s a give and take on ease in cutting and sewing, depending on what type of knit you choose.

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The only real trouble I ran into with the navy dress was sewing up the neckline. The lining might have been a little confusing to someone new to knits like me, but Sarai posted a brilliant video tutorial on how to sew those up without twisting out the bodice. I still can’t tell you why or how it works, but magically it does!! You just have to be very patient when joining the two pieces together, but it came together nicely in the end. Besides, since the seams are self-enclosed, it doesn’t matter if the stitching is perfect on the inside. ;)

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You can’t really see it in the pictures, but like I mentioned earlier, I realized after making the sleeveless version that there is a little gaping at the front armholes. This might be the reason why the sleeves have some wrinkling in the front on the red version. I’m going to try and alter the bodice pieces this weekend, and see if that helps (using this tutorial that Devon posted on her blog). Also – I’d love to get the sleeves to fit just a LITTLE bit better without so much gaping at the top. If anyone has any tips, I’d love to hear them!

In the end, I’m so in love with this pattern, and I’d love to make a couple more to see me through this pregnancy!! I’d like to try out a maxi version, and then another version with a collar and 3/4 sleeves that I can plan on wearing after the baby arrives. It’s just such a comfortable and flattering dress!! I agree with Devon – this dress really makes you feel like you’re wearing pajamas, which is exactly the kind of clothing I’m looking to wear as this belly gets bigger each day!!

I finish up school in a couple of weeks, and have several sewing projects in mind I want to tackle when I’m done. I’d love to make a pair of leggings to get ready for fall – I love how Megan Nielsen’s leggings pattern is adaptable for both maternity and “normal” wear, so I can plan to use the same pattern once the baby’s here. I also really love her maternity tunic pattern – again, because it’s wearable for maternity and after. I really don’t want to spend a lot of time making clothes that I’ll only wear for 9 months, so I’m trying to keep that in mind as I make my plans…

And of course, I have a little baby quilt that I’ve already started. I think it’s turning out to be beautiful – can’t wait to share it here soon!

xo, Amanda

P.S. For reference, I took those pictures in the red dress at 19 weeks, and in the blue dress at 20 weeks. :)

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