nursing tops and dresses Sew Paradise

Nursing funnel / turtleneck tutorial

I’m using this pattern: Christine Jonson Patterns Travel Trio Three funnelneck pattern. It is a two piece pattern – the front and back are the same, plus a 3/4 sleeve. This is a great pattern for a tutorial because of it’s simplicity and fast sewing time.

I’ve traced off my size, and I’ve made two changes to the pattern. First, I measured from my shoulder/neckline point (on my body) over my bust, and under it, about where a nursing overlay would end. This, on me is 14″,  so I added 1″ for the hem. On the pattern, I measured from the same neck/shoulder point down 15″ (which on this pattern happens to be the side <> marks). I drew a solid line at 15 and a dashed on at 14. Solid = overlay that I’ll cut off and the hem, fold on the dotted line.

The underlay on top of the overlay shows the entire full pattern piece as it will be sewn to the back and sleeves
Trace the pattern pieces, make an overlay and cut out the underlay
Christine jonson funnel neck nursing breastfeeding top
The nursing top, closed

I’ll cut a second one, only this time, I marked from the 14″ finished line up 1.5″ on each side. This is the underlay’s side bust opening. I drew a curved line from this point upward to meet the armseye, so it makes a very low armhole. This is what you’ll pull aside to nurse. You can make it as deep as you need (deep meaning into the center of the top). Some nursing tops look like they are racerback tees on the inside. I don’t need that much, but if you are nursing twins, you might.

Then, I will cut this out. So, I’m cutting three – a back, a front overlay (cut off at the 15″ mark from shoulder down, no other changes) and a front underlay, which has deep scooped armholes but otherwise is the full length.

Once you've sewn the overlay's bottom hem, baste the shoulders together and treat this as one layer

The next step, to sew, is to first hem the nursing overlay. Fold under, press and stitch this hem. I like a stitch with some give, a zigzag works fine, or a twin needle if your machine does that well (mine does not). Then, you will be treating the two layers as one from now on.

On this funnel neck, you’ll baste the shoulder/neck and the sides where they meet, to keep the layers together. Construct the top as usual, which takes about ten minutes! Voila! In about 40 minutes you can have a nursing funnel neck top, suitable for winter almost everywhere except the subtropics (but I lived in southern Florida, I remember wearing turtlenecks in December!!)

Nursing opening in action

Here is a link to my nursing tee shirt tutorial, which has the very same type of alteration.

I’ll also be making the reversible hoodie in this pattern, and lengthening it to sweatercoat length (fingertip in my case). Eventually I’ll make the wrap skirt, and probably reversible. Anyone with kids will attest, you’ll put this outfit on, and two hours later, someone will spit up/spill on it and you’ll have somewhere else you need to be (like work!) and you can just duck in to the rest room (or your car!), reverse the skirt and voila! clean outfit.

All of these are made in a knit fabric, and they are so comfortable. Truly, there’s no reason to wear pajama pants to the preschool drop off. These are far more stylish and just as comfortable. If you’re really lazy, just pull on knee high boots over your slipper socks to wear with the skirt for a terrific, chic look. No one ever has to know it’s been two days since your last shower! On the pattern envelope, Christine shows this shorter length skirt with leggings, and that’s what I wear when it’s cold out.

And this is how you nurse in a sling. This is a baby doll.

Once you make this funnelneck top, it will become your winter go-to top. It’s 3/4 sleeves are perfect under a cardi or jacket, but of course you can lengthen those, too, for a long-sleeve turtleneck. The empire nursing opening is perfect for nursing in a sling or baby carrier (no yanking the tail of your top up through a tightly tied wrap or sling, and no exposing your postpartum belly to do so!)