Can you stand another post in which I mention breastfeeding? Since this week is World Breastfeeding Week, I thought it would be a perfect time to show you my absolute favorite (and one of the very few) nursing tops that I made, and how you can make your own!
About a year ago, my local BurdaStyle Sewing Club had a sew-along in which we all used the BurdaStyle Lydia t-shirt pattern to sew a top for ourselves. It was great to see everyone's interpretations. I used the pattern as a starting point for a top based on a RTW nursing top that I saw online (and can no longer find to show you, unfortunately...).
Navy/cream striped fine sweater-knit cotton jersey purchased during Summer 2010 at Pacific Fabrics. The bolt was actually labelled "100% recycled cotton jersey" - recycled from what, I don't know...
Notes on construction/tutorial
I didn't take any photos during construction so hopefully words will suffice. I know, a tutorial with no photos is no fun. Sorry.
There are a few different ways you could make this style, but here's how I did it:
1. Cut out the front, back, and sleeves as normal. I altered mine by cutting a deeper front neckline and by cutting the side seams a bit wider with more of an A-line shape, and I also added length. During those first few post-partum months, I avoided anything fitted in the waist!
2. Cut a second front bodice piece, but not the full length - this will be the shorter, top layer of the bodice. You'll want it to fall at least a few inches below your bra band. For now it's better to cut it too long than too short, you can check the length in a bit. I'll refer to this as the "short front" and the other front bodice as the "long front".
3. Stitch the 2 fronts together at the neckline, with the wrong side of the "long front" facing the right side of the "short front". Turn so that the "short front" is laying on top of the "long front". You should be looking at the right side of the fabric on both pieces. Baste together at the shoulders.
4. Finish the neckline of the back bodice with your preferred method. I used a strip of the fashion fabric to bind the back neck, you could also just press the raw edge to the inside and topstitch.
5. Stitch the front and back bodices together at the shoulder seams. Stabilize those shoulder seams with some interfacing, if you're so inclined.
6. Now is a good time to check the length of the "short front". Baste the side seams together (we're still sleeveless at this point) and put the top on. You'll want the "short front" to provide a bit of coverage below your bust, but the final length is up to you. Cut off length to shorten if necessary.
7. Hem the "short front" with your preferred method. I decided to play with the direction of the stripes of my fabric and hemmed it with a narrow band. Baste the "short front" and "long front" together at the side seams.
8. Stitch the sleeves to the bodice. I always set my sleeves in flat when I'm working with knits.
9. Stitch the sleeve seams and side seams.
10. Hem the sleeves and bodice, again however you prefer. I used vertical stripe bands to hem my sleeves in order to complement the bodice.
11. Now put the top on and mark both bust points on the "long front". Take off the top and cut a small circle around each bust point. Smaller is better at first, you can always cut a larger circle if necessary but you can't go the other way! Initially I tried cutting just a slit instead of a circle, but that didn't provide great access for me, so I ended up with circles.
Voila! You are the proud owner of a stylish nursing top.
I get a lot of compliments on this top. From people who don't know it's a nursing top. (I think it's the stripes, actually.) It's so simple yet one of my favorite pieces I've ever made.
Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have any questions about the construction!