Maternity friendly pattern: Anneli Double-Front Tee
I am a firm believer that maternity tops and dresses should also be maximally nursing-friendly. I just can’t justify clothing that is designed to have a useful life of months; ideally, I feel like everything purchased or made for this period should work with a non-pregnant non-nursing body as well as for one doing those things.
The Named Anneli appealed to me for this reason, since the double-front has a nice fashion feel for a non-maternity body, the roomy shape should accomodate a growing belly, and the double front panel should mean that there’s easy access to boobs without lifting or stretching the shirt all over (which I’m not above doing, at all, but I like to treat my clothes better than that if I can). Pattern reviews of the dress even described that it might open too easily, which sounded like a nursing plus when I mentally translated to a T-shirt.
I’m also a big fan of Boob Design for maternity wear, and got a couple of their pieces for my first pregnancy. Stylish clothes that provide nursing/regular body/maternity coverage in single items, made with more-sustainable-than-average fabrics (organic cotton, recycled cotton, lyocell, recycled polyester) , and with a minimum of rucheing/ weird looking nursing hacks. Not only that, they design their clothes to actually survive being washed and they have production chain information on their website.
Long story short, they have a few pieces featuring a double front style - although theirs are achieved with a pleat and nursing-access slit, it looks like (I haven’t gotten to check them out IRL). This made me want to try out Anneli for sure.
I’m really quite pleased with my first effort at this top — my only quibble is that the top front panel’s vertical edge keeps turning on me and it would look better if it didn’t. Doesn’t help that I didn’t use a matching bobbin thread…
The fabric is a lovely hemp-cotton blend with a touch of spandex, resulting in a jersey with a nice slubby texture and soft handfeel. I am super happy with the colour (which is the part of this project Matthew compliments the most…), too! The cotton is GOTS certified, and hemp is a great fibre sustainability-wise. Spandex not so much, but in terms of neckline (and therefore t-shirt) longevity, it’s a boon. I’d be super interested to learn more about the production, but baby steps!
A super nice making process with few to no surprises — even getting my bobbin tension right for the twin needles went smoothly. I only did this along the vertical edges of the front panels, since I figure I want stretch for something a baby would potentially be pulling on, and the bottom/armhole hems won’t get that stress. I do wonder if the placement of my stitches is exacerbating the curling? Or if it’s going to be an unavoidable reality of a vertical-ish jersey edge?
Also! This is the first major project I’ve made with my NEW IRON which I was given as the best ever bridesmaid’s gift. Let me tell you, a heavy iron with proper reliable steaming and real heat behind it feels good. It feels really good.
I’m planning another Anneli shirt in a blue version of this fabric, with some hacks. I want to add at least two inches to the front hemline, since even sans belly the front is a bit higher than the back. I also am thinking about mimicking the pleated style instead of the two panels, since that would provide more belly covering insurance as time wears on. And avoid the flipping-edge issue. Maybe a different sleeve shape? That seems like a big ask…
Pattern: Anneli Double Front Tee
Size: 40 - I measure 96 cm/ am normally 77.5 cm in the waist; am currently a C-cup. Belly is 96 cm (18 wks) in these pictures
Fabric: Dusty Rose hemp & organic cotton jersey from Blackbird
If there is a next time: Add two inches to centre front. I want to convert the front panels to a pleated front with a nursing access slit. I wouldn’t mind changing the sleeve shape, but it’s so wide that I don’t know where to start.