My Growing Wardrobe

When I found out I was pregnant I felt fortunate to know how to sew. As a plus-sized woman it can be difficult to find well-fitting, fashionable clothes. Since learning to sew I’ve come to feel good, real good, in the clothes I make. And still do, eight months into pregnancy. I accept the numbers on the scale, those one the measuring tape and just go from there. I made some great pieces that proved to work well throughout my pregnancy and I can’t help but breathe a huge sigh of relief. Only one maternity dress didn’t make it into this stage of the baby-making process (looking at you, Simplicity 1998 ). With a combination of previously owned ready-to-wear pieces that still fit, my me-made maternity wear and a few maternity pieces I bought on sale I’ve had quite a fun time with maternity fashion.

When I found out I was pregnant I was determined to show the positive energy I was feeling in my appearance. The bright colors and flirty fashion choices continued. And here are the me-made winners that have made it with me into the third trimester.

Purple Sew U Home Stretch Dress Purple Babydoll dress from Sew U Home Stretch.

Pregnant or not, make this dress. It’s so cute and über comfy.

Red/Navy Sew U Home Stretch Dress Red/Navy Babydoll Dress from Sew U Home Stretch

Cicle skirtSelf-drafted Circle Skirt and Colette Jasmine Blouse

Feeling sassy? Make a circle skirt and sashay about. You won’t regret it.

Maternity Ginger SkirtRefashioned Colette Ginger Skirt

I’m glad I was able to save this skirt from the donation pile. Adding a tummy band quickly made it wearable.

Stripey Skirt Stripey Skirt based on an existing maternity skirt

This skirt is my jam. I love it so much.

Liberty DressMy favorite and most loved, the Lace and Liberty 1970 Maternity Dress

I’ve really enjoyed sewing and dressing for my ever-changing body (refashioning jeans came in handy!) and I wouldn’t do anything different if I can do it again. A good mix of RTW and me-made pieces helped me until the near end. I never overexerted myself to make more. But now, with 4 weeks to go, I’m tempted to make a few more pieces :). But the logical thing to do is stay content with what I have and call it a complete maternity wardrobe. And make baby stuff instead :)

Ginger and the Bump

Hampstead Heath

We had gorgeous weather (AKA NO RAIN) this past weekend in London. And too afraid not to take advantage of it, Greg and I braved the chilled weather and went on a picnic Sunday. We packed some sandwiches, snackies and drinks and were off. The benefit of living in East Finchley is that we are surrounded by gorgeous parks. There are Highgate Wood, Queens Woods and Waterlow Park in Highgate. Then there’s Ally Pally in Muswell Hill. And the grandest of them all in Islington, Hampstead Heath. We are a nice leisurely 30 minute walk away from the Heath so we headed there. One of our favorite places to visit locally is Kenwood House, located north of the Heath. Unfortunately the house is closed until spring 2013 for renovations. But the grounds (including cafés and bookshop) are still open. So take a gander if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

The grounds were bustling with people who had the same idea as us. There were lots of families and couples exploring, taking in the view or playing games. We walked away from the house and found a nice spot in front of the pond.

Kenwood Estate

I bought the most beautiful Brexton picnic set ever and still have yet to use it. Sadly it still hasn’t been christened (it’s a bit heavy to carry for long). Instead we got to use the matching napkins I especially made for the set.

Me-made picnic napkins

But this post isn’t about singing the praises of Kenwood House, no matter how much I love it. It’s all about my refashioned denim Ginger skirt.

Refashioned Colette Ginger skirt

Refashioned Colette Ginger skirt

I initially felt bad cutting it up but then I remembered that it never really fit properly. And now I will be able to wear it, even if just for a few months. And the piece I cut out will work perfectly to determine how much I need to cut out in future maternity garments. Perfect.

**Oh! Did you spy my headband? Totally used the hem I cut away from my Simplicity 1998 dress as one. Little waste! Yay!**

OWOP: Day 6 with Prince of Wales Ginger

Prince of Wales Colette Ginger Skirt

See those cute teal shoes above? Yeah, haven’t worn those since I lived in Texas and drove EVERYWHERE. I am not even going to pretend that those shoes will be worn today. I haven’t worn heels since I moved to London. My poor ankles aren’t suited for balancing over cobblestones and uneven pavements. All my heels are gathering dust in the closet. Maybe I’ll start using them just for picture purposes. But really, how do women in this city rock heels so well? My calves hurt just looking at them.

So…this is my first Ginger skirt. It fits a bit big now (hurrah!) but I don’t think I will go through the trouble of taking it in. I bought some wool Prince of Wales fabric and hope to replace this one next winter. When I made this skirt I used a pattern that I graded up to a size 20. I found the pattern a bit too roomy around the hips so I’ve since started using the 18 with a modified waist. I used the slash-and-pivot method to add some inches at the waist and keep the hips the same. I’m liking the new look and will soon retire this skirt. But it’s had a great run.

Prince of Wales Colette Ginger Skirt

Let me end this post with sending a MASSIVE congrats to Dibs and family. She and her husband welcomed Noah into the world late last night. Can’t wait to meet the little guy.

OWOP: Day 5 with Crochet Ginger, the Remix

Gail‘s comment recently lead to today’s outfit. She suggested that my Mustard Jasmine would look good with the crochet Ginger and she was right. I think the look is quite sweet. But I love my layering pieces (viva cardis!) so I think I will have to start making vests (tank tops in the UK). This outfit so needs a coolio 1990s vest. No, really.

A vest would give it a bit more umph, yes? I thought about making vests earlier in the year and completely forgot about it after the weather got warmer. Must add that to the to-sew list. Who knows how long this warm weather is going to last? Oh oh. Did I jinx us? Sorry if I did, London!

I used the belt from my Madhatter Ginger to define the waist. I turned the bow to the back and ta-da…a clean look in the front with a cute bow in the back. Sadly, no photo of the cute bow was taken.

Tomorrow: Prince of Wales Ginger.

OWOP: Day 4 with Fan-tastic Ginger

After reading Handmade Jane‘s post on the Marilyn exhibit I knew I had to check it out. Today I met a friend at the Getty Image Gallery and had a leisurely look around.

And since we were in the neighborhood we browsed around Liberty, fondling fabric, checking out their housewares and stationary section.

Here’s a closeup of my newly made Fan-tastic Ginger. I made it from a Japanese fabric that has a gorgeous pattern of fans on it. It was much too sheer to wear alone so I lined it with black acetate.

As we left Liberty I just had to capture a photo of two women wearing gorgeous kimonos.

If you browse through my collection of photos through the years you’ll find that I am a bit obsessed with alleyways. I love taking photos of them: the lines, the shadows. I saw this alley and asked my friend to take my photo. I am clearly a great actress because you would never know from the look on my face that the alley smelled of buckets of urine. Or can you? Hmmm…

Once home I was stuck trying to take my own photos since my husband is working late today. It took AGES! It’s so hard to get a good self-portrait. The sun is almost gone and I assure you it was high in the sky when I started.

It appears I am still suffering from a sugar high from yesterday’s sweets.

Sugar crash. Enter Artistic Mela…

I’m loving sharing all this Ginger love. And I have more to give!

OWOP: Day 3 with Madhatter Ginger

The lovely Rachel and I planned a baking date ages ago. And today was finally the day that we met to bake to our heart’s content. No tut-tutting over calories or substituting regular for diet. Oh no.

Rachel had a great idea to bake with a theme in mind. We decided to bake all the goodies (cakes, scones, and French macarons) for a nice afternoon tea. Minus the tea. But lots of yummy rosé wine.

Afternoon Tea

Ack! Rachel made us matching aprons! The adorableness is too much, I warn you…

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea


Yes, lots of yummy rosé wine.






Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

We did manage to take our OWOP pic for the day. And then we went back in for seconds.

Afternoon Tea


A great day. A great day indeed.

OWOP: Day 2 with Crochet Trim Ginger

Thank you for all the lovely comments on Denim Ginger! I will definitely keep blue and red combos in mind for future makes.

I made this Ginger last week, using leftover crochet trim from my first Jasmine blouse. I loved the way it peeked out under my jacket.

Ginger with Crochet Trim

I kept the skirt simple, using some remnant black cotton twill. I didn’t have a black skirt in my closet until I made this one. Glad I made it because a black skirt will prove useful. It’s easy to dress up or down and matches everything easily.

Ginger with Crochet Trim

The best thing about black bottoms is making them pop with a bit of color. I may be in the running for Cardigan Queen; I can’t get enough of them.

Ginger with Crochet Trim

The waistband camouflages against my black tank/vest top but the curves still show a bit. Subtle and sweet. I’m really looking forward to styling this skirt with solid and patterned tops*.

I apologize for another short entry. My brain is mush from the fitting workshop. Who knew two days of pinning, observing and toile-making could be so exhausting?

*must make more tops!

OWOP: Day 1 with Denim Ginger

With the excitement of the first day of my fitting workshop, I completely forgot that today was the start of OWOP. As soon as I got home, I threw my Ginger on and took a walk with the mister to enjoy the sun. Londoners, wasn’t today AMAZING?

This Ginger is my least worn simply because it’s still quite snug. Six months ago the skirt didn’t even close around my waist. But today it zips up. Small victories, yay!

Sorry to keep this post short and sweet but there’s Pimms to be had.

When it comes to Ginger, I’m a bit bias

Do you ever wonder what Past You was thinking when they bought a certain pattern/fabric/notion/gallon of ice cream? I do. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the fabric I used for this project. I bought it about a year ago and when I got it out of the closet I instantly thought, “Red, white and blue? Really, Mela? Really?” But since making the skirt I have embraced the fabric and now I am calling it my “Go USA! Olympic Skirt”. Positive thinking, yay!

Because I love Colette’s Ginger skirt I decided one more couldn’t hurt. I’ve made it three times before (here, here, and here) but the fourth might be my favorite*.

Bias Cut Colette Ginger SkirtThis was my second attempt (the first being with the Negroni where the stripes almost matched perfectly by happy accident) at matching stripes.

Bias Cut Colette Ginger SkirtI almost earned an A+ until I stuttered a bit at the zipper. I re-did it three times but I couldn’t get the stripes along the zipper to match up.

Bias Cut Colette Ginger SkirtBut I’ll take it! Success!

I used ticking fabric and it played well. It cut easily, ironed well and has a nice denim weight. I added some bias tape to break up the waistband and skirt and I completely adore how it came out.

I can tell you now that this is not the end of Ginger. I can’t retire her. She makes me look good.

Colette Ginger Bias Skirt

*The Ginger skirt is my pattern of choice for Tilly’s One Pattern, One Week. I cannot wait to style those girls!

A Tea Party Favorite

As I look out at the moon tonight I see the Cheshire Cat staring down at me.

Alice In Wonderland, Colette Ginger pattern

Quite fitting since I’ve made myself quite the skirt for a Madhatter’s Tea Party at Bea’s of Bloomsbury. Guests are asked to come in fancy dress. I didn’t want to invest in something I wouldn’t wear again so I went for a whimsical look. Enter version 2 of the Ginger skirt. After hunting down some fabric on Etsy and using a bit of “Alice in Wonderland’ Kokka fabric for the waistband I was set. The skirt came together easily enough. But when I finished I felt it was missing something…

Alice In Wonderland, Colette Ginger pattern

The more I looked at it the more I wished I had added some cream piping in between the skirt and waistband.

Alice In Wonderland, Colette Ginger pattern

I was not about to take it apart to put in a bit of piping. But I still needed *something* to pull together the two fabrics. Enter…DAH DAH DAH…The Tilly Bow Belt.

Colette Ginger skirt

It really pulls the skirt together, helping it go up a notch in ‘wow’. The bow belt will definitely be a great go-to tutorial/accessory for other makes. So easy and fast. Two things I love :) And I’m not the only admirer; more bow belt love here and here.

What changes did I do to the skirt? Not too much. I cut the front piece on the fold (I was NOT cutting those images), added a lining* ( which I forgot to take a photo of, d’oh!), and hand stitched the hem. That method took a long time but, my word, I love the result.

So, me and my skirt we will be headed to that tea party on Friday, in which I hope to win a prize for best dressed.

*Thanks for the lining idea, Scruffy Badger!