I recently became a mother. Maternity sewing was fairly straightforward (imo) , but I’ve definitely been struggling to find things that are 1. my style 2. comfortable 3. nursing friendly 4. work/lab friendly post-partum. I found some awesome RTW dresses that fit three-ish of the requirements, but showed much too much cleavage to be very comfortable in for work. Enter the Megan Neilsen Briar sweater and t-shirt.
I’ve long admired this Australian designer, collecting a few of her patterns. After trying her free Acacia panties pattern and successfully using her t-shirt binding method for other patterns, I figured I could use my limited sewing time to make some great nursing friendly tops that would last most of the year in my sunny, home state of Florida, USA.
The Briar features unique scooped hemline, two lengths (cropped and standard), three sleeve lengths (short, 3/4, long), and a tutorial for elbow length sleeves. The designer also has a sew-a-long that includes inspiration for ways to modify the pattern and tutorials.
I chose to make three cropped versions for pairing with my RTW dresses. I shopped my stash for these. Two are made from linen/hemp/cotton blends, which I’ve forgotten where they were purchased. The eggplant is a rayon/lycra blend is from Imagine Gnats; she has the best customer service! (not an affiliate, just love her shop).
I’ve had the opportunity to wear these makes before posting this, hence all the wrinkles in the photos. These tops are great for nursing (and pumping) since I don’t have to bunch up a ton of fabric to get access, and they don’t require any fiddly secret access bits. Also, they cover my bum well enough that they can easily be worn with a top underneath and some leggings. ‘
The pattern is well written. I did find it a bit odd that the sleeves need to be eased in on a knit pattern, but it’s a pretty trivial amount.
I took my time on these, which were all sewn on my regular machine. I even tried “stitch witchery” for the first time to get nice hemming on the tan version–which I regret putting since the fabric is so light. I’d glad I also took the time to switch to a double needle for the hems/bands.
The linen/hemp/cotton versions are very comfortable and are great for hot weather, but they stretch out a bit during the day, making the neckline too large and the sleeves a bit baggy; nothing the dryer doesn’t fix between wears. The eggplant version is light, breezy, and drapes nicely; it’s definitely my favorite as I like the neckline fit more and it wrinkles less.
I made a matching head-band out the scraps of the eggplant and blue/green (not pictured) using a free tutorial. It’s nice having only the tiniest scraps when you are done cutting out a project.
Overall, I’m really glad I took the time to make these. It is much easier to be comfortably covered when pumping, and they are great for nursing as well. Sometimes they look a little sloppy at the end of the day, when they are stretched out; that can easily be remedied with a different fabric choice. A friend of mine was a bit confused by the the shape of the hem and told me she didn’t get/like “the look I was going for”, but I love them. I will definitely be making more.
x Niqueknacks x