Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Standard Woven Shirt's Maternity Makeover

This came from


I took two non-maternity shirts (both destined to be donated before the idea dawned on me) and turned them into a perfect fitting maternity shirt!
It's easy, you can do it too!

 I meant to do this project over a year ago, in the winter, when J was in my belly.  But back then I wasn't sure how big my belly would get so I wasn't sure how exactly to do this project.
(Luckily, when I was 40 weeks pregnant I made a bust of myself for this exact purpose --- future sewing projects --- and the hope for a brighter maternity-wear future. 
I plan to do an entry on the making of this bust, AND I totally recommend doing this for yourself if you sew and plan to have more pregnancies, or are just obsessed with maternity wear.  But I'll get to that later...hold your horses!)

So this week, when consumed by waaaaaay too many project ideas in my head (and no time to do them), I decided to get this easy one done so I could feel accomplished. 

I pulled this shirt from out of the sewing pile,
 and stuffed up the preggie dummie,
and put the shirt on it.

This shirt does kinda lend itself towards a pregnant-ness.  It's gathered under the bust and loose in the belly.  (And in my idealistic pre-pregnant mind I thought it could be a maternity shirt just the way it was, I just didn't see all the changes coming my way.)  But anyway I do believe that you could do this exact same thing to any woven shirt and make it work.  You just might need to exaggerate what I did a tiny bit more to make up for the gathered-looseness your shirt might be lacking --- I'll get to what I mean in a bit.

So what you want to do is
 take the seam ripper (oh what a glorious tool!) and take out the bottom part of the side seam.

How far up should you take out?
If you go from directly under your bust, then move over to your side seam, measure down 4 1/2 inches and right around there should be your stopping point.  
Or at least that's what worked for this shirt on my preggie bust.
If you are worried that your woven shirt is more fitted in the belly and want to make sure you have enough room, go ahead and rip up further.  To see it in action, you can try the shirt on and then shove a pillow in your belly and take the seam out until the shirt seems right.

Then you want to use a stretch knit fabric to fill in the gap.  The stretch will make it so the shirt has the potential to "grow" even if you don't get it exactly the size of your growing belly.
 I thought the easiest thing would be to use pieces from a knit shirt so that way I could use the existing hem.  (Plus I already had a matching shirt that I didn't like, so... Free Fabric!)  If you don't have one laying around, you could get a cheap shirt on sale or at the thrift.  Or if you are up for hemming it yourself, just some yardage of matching fabric.  

Then I traced the space that was now between the opened up seam onto the knit shirt lightly with a pencil.

If you don't have a preggie dummie I'll give you the measurements my piece of fabric ended up at.  I think they will work pretty well for most people.  If you are worried it will be snug, give yourself a bit more width.
 Across the bottom the knit piece measures 7 1/2 inches. 
If you want to include a side seam that lines up with the original shirt's side seam (the way I did), I had 5 1/2 inches to the "belly side" of the seam and 2 inches on the back side of the seam.
I cut the triangle 9 1/2 inches tall. 

I folded the knit shirt in half, lining up both side seams, and cut both pieces out at once.

(Right around here, J woke up from a nap and I had to capture the irony of her admiring her old stomping grounds)

Then I pinned in the pieces. 
The triangle ended up being a bit taller than I needed so the extra got cut off.

 And I serged each side into place.

Then I locked the seams with my sewing machine. 
(If anyone knows a better way to lock a serged seam, let me know, I'm not really sure what is the "right" way.)

And that's all there is to it!

You open up the side seam,
 and add in about 7 1/2 inches of knit fabric to each side.
 And you have a maternity shirt! 

 Looks pretty inconspicuous!

It's also good for post-maternity camouflaging. 
And I don't mind wearing it now when I'm not preggie either.
I feel like it has a lady's tuxedo shirt kinda vibe.

Cute with a belt.

And now I have one more outfit ready for
 when we are ready for baby #2!

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