Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sewing Maternity Tops

Being pregnant has been a great excuse to try my hand at sewing myself more knit tops - something that I have wanted to do but hadn't prioritized. Having more of a deadline to get things done for them to be useful while I was pregnant helped me get in gear!  I have been lucky to also get some nice maternity clothes as hand-me-downs and bought a few things, but I was having a lot of fun sewing these up too.  I was tempted to make more but realized it would be kind of ridiculous - but hopefully I can keep that energy going to make more clothes for myself and the kiddo in the future!

aqua maternity shirt

I made a few out of upcycled tops that I had found at thrift stores - I found that starting with a top that was a 2X size or larger was good to make sure that there was plenty of fabric to use and particularly that it would be long enough to cover my growing belly.  For the aqua colored top above, I reused the original neckline and the sleeve and bottom hems.  I traced a maternity tee that I owned for the basic tee pattern (sleeve/armhole/sides), and added the gathering below the bust before I cut out the pieces. (To add the gathering, I just sewed a piece of elastic on the wrong side of the shirt, stretching it as much as I could as I sewed).  I sewed everything together just using my regular sewing machine, using the knit stitch which is kind of a slight zigzag (the symbol looks like a lightning bolt on my machine) and am very happy with how it turned out!

blue v-neck maternity shirt

This v-neck tee is even more basic, but was put together basically the same way (minus the gathering at the bust) - I used the original neckline and hems again.  I really like the color of this one, it has been a nice basic to wear.

Orange maternity shirt

I also made some tops just starting with knit fabric that I had on hand.  I honestly haven't worn this one too much both because the fit is a little off and it's not really my color... but it was fun practice at least.  I had remembered seeing Anna from Noodlehead's t-shirt tutorial where you make a t-shirt with kind of dolman-style sleeves where they are just part of the front and back pattern pieces rather than inset at the shoulder.  I didn't actually look back at the tutorial before I sewed, which probably would have helped - I think a looser fit in the bust/shoulders is definitely more flattering for this type of tee and it's not what I did.  It's not horrible but like I said, it's not my favorite.  Definitely piques my interest to try this style tee again though!

Orange maternity shirt sleeve

See how there's just a seam down the top of the shoulder?  Definitely easy construction.

The last two things that I sewed were based on one of my favorite styles of tops/dresses, where you have a gathered cross front.  I made a top as practice (and because I wanted a top) and then I made a dress with the same basic style and pattern.   I was pretty proud that I was able to figure out how to make the gathered cross front based on modifying a regular t-shirt pattern and that it turned out so nicely!

blue maternity shirt

I didn't have the energy to take photos and write up a tutorial when I was making these, but this style shirt would also be great for non-maternity so if I make another I may write up a tutorial.  I'm hoping that both this top and the dress still work for non-maternity wear (and it certainly would be easy to make a non-maternity style using less fabric/gathers for the lower part).  When I made them, I intentionally designed them to be fairly low cut and intended to wear with a tank underneath - I figure that after baby is born, I can wear them with a nursing tank and they'll work great for that too!

green maternity dress front

(Ahem, pardon the jeans under the dress.  We took all these photos one day and I didn't feel like changing out of my jeans when we got to taking the photos of the dress.)

The back for the shirt was also similar to the back of the dress, with some gathers/pleats but not as many as the front.

Green maternity dress back

As you can tell from these photos, I'm definitely in the home stretch of this pregnancy! We actually took these a few weeks ago so I think I look even more pregnant now. Our baby is due next week so she could come anytime in the next few weeks! I have already started my maternity leave from work and am taking advantage of the time to rest and also do some more crafts, so hopefully I'll find time to come back and put up another post or two before baby arrives (unless she comes sooner rather than later).


  1. I think there might be a baby in there!
    Good luck.

  2. I did not want to make any maternity tops - way too overwhelmed by my size - yours look super 'flattering'. Well done!

  3. Those look so great! I wish I had been more motivated to sew maternity clothes, but since I don't leave the ranch very often I haven't seen the point. Most of my favorite shirts have been long enough until recently. I guess I still have 3 weeks and a couple hand me down tees that I could play with. I love them all!!!

    Hope you're feeling well and good luck! :)

  4. Wow, these are amazing, Kate! And you are getting so close! Best to you and Lawson - enjoy being just a "couple" for a few more days!

  5. Those are so cute!! Good luck in this home stretch - I can't wait to see adorable little baby pictures soon :)

  6. So talented, Kate! Wishing you a speedy delivery.

  7. How cute are you?!?! Great job, mama!

  8. These look great, Kate! I particularly love the last two with the gathered cross front, and you are right, these will be so practical and comfortable for nursing. I am so excited for you!! Can't wait to see photos of the little one and of all the beautiful things you 'll make for her.

  9. These tops are adorable, and you look FANTASTIC! I hope you're feeling as great as you're looking. You should see the monstrous maternity dress I tried to sew for myself a LONG time ago -- it was a disaster. I made it way too big in the neck and shoulders somehow and it was like a maternity dress for a giantess. It ended up going IMMEDIATELY into the Goodwill pile!

  10. Wonderful!!
    Wishing you a healthy birthing experience! Hope you're doing ok in this last week :)

  11. Oh my goodness, Kate!! Congratulations on your soon-to-arrive little one!!! You sure are rockin those maternity tops! So looking forward to seeing lots of pictures of your happy family. big hugs

  12. You did a fabulous job!! I love 'em! Congrats and I wish you a safe and easy delivery!!

  13. I love the last two. I would love a tutorial for non maternity ones if you ever decide to write one up!!! They are all great!

  14. I just found your blog and assume by now that you've celebrated Mother's Day with your little girl. Congratulations!!

    I really love your top & dress and hope that you will be writing a tutorial.


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