A Favourite Pattern: Nursing/Breastfeeding Friendly

A Favourite Pattern
The Perfect Nursing Top 

Today's post is going to focus on my journey to finding suitable nursing (breastfeeding) tops. Bear in mind that this is based on my personal preference. I need to keep my chest warm so like to have clothes that keep me as covered as possible. I also don't feel confident being completely exposed in public so finding clothing that provides some modesty is important to me. I focused on being able to created long sleeve tops as we're moving into winter here and I don't always want to wear a cardigan.

During pregnancy I purchased the Hey Babie by Halla. This is marketed as a nursing top as well as a standard hoodie or tee. Let me say I really like this top and do find it great for feeding! I made a few testers with cheaper fabric (now pyjama tops) to get the size right for me

I really love this pattern and had to make very few alterations to get the perfect fit

Here's my favorite one with floral double brushed poly and cotton Lycra (arms and back)

The front is easy to pull down and the small crop easy to pull up. The crop isn't too tight which makes it comfortable over my chest and I can pull it down enough to provide some cover without touching baby's face.

I could have stopped here but I felt like hacking some of my other patterns to get more variety of feeding tops. 

My hacking journey started with my favorite tank top purchased from the warehouse. I also like the clip down singlets but don't currently have nursing clips and with the lockdown wasn't able to easily and cheaply purchase any.

*This photo is similar to the warehouse tank top.

Based on this tank I decided to hack the rad layering tank top (free in their Facebook group) (red tank) and then created a long sleeve top with the rad Choose Your Own Adventure ("CYOA") tee. (Construction fabric)

While these work great and function well they're not my favorite for out in public. I'm not a fan of my stomach and these tops are both rather fitted. Perfect for an under layer though!

There are two other Halla patterns I've used for feeding. The Elise dress/top and the Madeline dress/top (which I've posted about previously).

* Elise dress with singlet under 

* Madeline with crop

For my preference both require a modesty crop or singlet underneath. I've made matching crops based on the rad patterns layering tank and the hey babie under crop. The first (stripes) was a little low at the armpit and tight under bust so it digs in slightly while lifted up to feed.  The second one I made (red/black) has a cotton Lycra band instead of elastic so it doesn't dig in to feed however provides very little support so a bra is required. Both crop tops are reversible.

The Madeline is right up there as a favorite pattern in general but especially for feeding.

There is a top I have previously (2018)  made , Patterns for pirates tulip tee, which opens at the front and is marketed as suitable for nursing. This was a free pattern on their website so I thought I might as well give it a go. To be honest I hate this shape on me. I found the fit too boxy, too short and the top twisted funny. It is however useful to provide some cover while feeding. 

This is me wearing it backwards with a plain pink front.

Many store bought t-shirts that have caught my eye feature a tulip style flap cross-over, and the convenience and coverage of the P4P tulip tee made me really tempted to try that pattern again. Knowing better than to attempt that pattern a third time (yes I have two others I never wear!) I decided to try my hand at pattern hacking.

I took one of my favourite t-shirt patterns, the OTT by little kiwi's closet*, to use as my base. I love the fit of this pattern (it's not too tight on the stomach).

*Here's a "un-hacked" version.

and here's my "hacked" version

I took the front piece and used it to create two flap pieces which I over-lapped when sewing (tutorial is coming)

I love it!!! I love that the flaps start in a good place for feeding, it's a great fit and there's no annoying twisting or bunching like the P4P pattern.

In summary my top three favorite nursing patterns are (in no particular order) 

  1. OTT by little kiwi's closet - hacked to have tulip front

Pros: can be any sleeve length; fits well all over; provides good coverage; could be made with an in built under layer

Con: it probably wouldn't work as a dress; I think it's more obvious a feeding tee so don't know how much I'll wear it after I stop nursing.

  1. Madeline by Halla Patterns

Pros: doesn't require any "hacks"; beautiful to dress up or down; not obviously designed for feeding; can be top or dress; has rouching side option to hide mum-tum

Cons: needs a separate modesty crop top; requires drapey fabric so not as versatile with fabric choice

  1. Hey Babie by Halla patterns

Pros: doesn't require any "hacks" or additional crop/modesty panel (crop part is built into the pattern); can be a tee, singlet or hoody; not obviously for nursing; can be a dress or top; has rouching side option to hide mum-tum

Cons: I can't think of any 🤷

So overall I've got a few patterns I love for feeding. Let me know in the comments if there's any patterns you want a more detailed review on, or and info about my pattern hacks.

*Some links in my blog posts are affiliate links which means I make a small commission if you purchase through these links. There is no additional cost to you.