Boobs… Bubbies… Milk Machines…. Milkies…. Milkers… whatever you wanna call them babies need access to them. Its a beautiful honor to be able to nurse your baby, and it is also a daunting responsibility at times. I hate being cold, so as this weather is starting to cool down I’m getting all my layers ready while still keeping access open for The Baby.
Before I get into things I just want to put a shout out to those moms who for whatever reason don’t nurse whether it be due to physical, situational, or circumstantial just know that we are all in this thing of motherhood together and whatever you need to do to nurture your baby I support you. #momminghard
The pattern I used is the LMU (Layer Me Up) by P4P. But you could use any pattern that has sleeves like this. I may use this same technique for a hoodie one of these days… but I have a few other nursing hoodie hacks in mind first.
Lets talk fabric first. For this hack it makes a BIG difference. Mostly the stretch and recovery of your fabric. You want a lot of both! If your fabric doesn’t have a lot of recovery then you can try sewing clear elastic in the seems of where we will be adding bands to help. The blue tie dye looking one is a fabulous bamboo from SOC. The grey striped one is the Pique Luon LuLulemon from Discovery Trekking Specialty Fabrics (so comfy!).
I made a size Medium so if your the same size you can use the same measurements for the bands, but if your smaller or bigger you will need to calculate your own (but ill explain how!). I like to fold my patterns when I am altering them that way I can easily adjust until I get the perfect fit.
The first thing I did was fold the top of the arm so that it makes room for the band. I measured 1″ in at the top and then just smoothed out the line to the curve of the armcye.
Next I decided how low to make it. I measured over my boobs and estimated about 8″. I measured the outside edge and again folded towards the armcye making it smooth. I also drew a line to know where the under layer part should end.
Then I measured my new edge of the bottom of the nursing under layer-done forget this is cut on a fold!). You will multiple these measurements by .85 to determine how long they will be. Then measure the first 5″ of arm piece you folded, now measure the rest. Take that second measurement and multiple by .85. You will not stretch the arm band for the first 5″ which why it isn’t included when you multiply.
You will want the width of each to be 3″. So finished measurements for me came to: 3″ by 11.5′ for the arm area and 3″ by 14′ for the under layer band.
When cutting your fabric you will cut two pieces from this front piece, one is the true long front and the other is the underneath area that stops at the line you made. I like using the same fabric for both that way the nursing access is less noticeable. When cutting your long front piece be sure to mark where your nursing line for the under layer is.
To attach the band of the under nursing layer fold your band wrong sides together (so the right side shows) and place right sides together along the bottom. Sew together trying to stretch the band evenly.
Next attach the bands along the arms of the long front piece. Again, fold the band so wrong sides are together, and place the band on top with the right sides together. Do not stretch for the first 5″. Then try to stretch it evenly until you get to the little mark you made (mine was in chalk).
Now attach your front pieces to your back piece. Line them up like this. Back piece (right side up) long front piece (right side down) and nursing under layer (right side down). Stitch the top of the arm pieces together.
Then attach your sleeve pieces. Only catch a small portion of the long front piece band in with your sleeve at the top seam, push the rest of it out of the way.
Now line your side seams. I like to start with the long front piece. Line up the bottom of the long front piece and the bottom of the back piece. Don’t stretch either, place a clip where the front piece is banded (you will want the end of the band to hang off a bit so a triangle shape will get cut off when serging). Now line up the nursing under layer. Starting from the armcye without stretching the back or the front pieces line them up. The long front piece and the nursing under layer bands should overlap slightly.
Last piece is the neckband. You will attach as normal according to the directions, include both front pieces when attaching the neckband.
Ta Da Your Done! Now you should be able to pull to the side the front long piece and lift up the nursing under layer to access the Feeding Vessels.
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