Maternity T-Shirt Refashion

Project: DIY maternity t-shirt
Cost: Price of shirt + elastic
Supplies: Loose T-shirt, matching thread, 1/4″ knit non-roll elastic

Well world, I am now 22 weeks pregnant (over half way through!) and I am looking starting to show. And by ‘show’ I mean that I look pretty chubby. No cute baby bump for me yet, just bloat. I feel like the only woman in history who has ever felt like this. My weight gain is on track, so what is up? DON’T JUDGE ME!

pregnant belly
Not me

My sewing activities came to an abrupt halt due to 1) exhaustion, and 2) loss of motivation due to said chub. Let me tell you, the sad lack of cute maternity sewing patterns does not help inspire me. Why do they want pregnant women to look so bad? I feel oppressed!

Unfortunately, the few cute pregnancy sewing patterns I have found online are out of stock, and it appears that they will stay out of print for the duration of my pregnancy. Come on, fire up the presses and print up those patterns before an entirely new human being is formed in utero! Megan Nielsen designed some contemporary and flattering maternity patterns, but they are all unavailable on her website (and apparently through resellers too).

The alternatives to new maternity sewing patterns are maternity pattern alterations and maternity refashion sewing projects. Both of these are challenging to me as a novice sewer!

I decided that my first pregnancy sewing project would be a t-shirt refashion. By adding ruching to the sides of a large t-shirt I will add shape and comfort to a boxy, unflattering shirt. The idea for this project came from Homemade by Jill. I found that Sew Like My Mom had a very helpful tutorial. However, it was essential for me to subtract 3 inches from the length of elastic she used in order for me to get a ruching effect. (So, measure 4 inches from the armpit seam and 2.5 inches from the bottom of the shirt, and subtract 3. Cut this amount of elastic, but beware that maybe different kinds of elastic need different adjustments). I would love to try to alter the waist of some jeans some time like she did.

Maternity T-Shirt with side ruching
22 Weeks pregnant and nothing to wear!

I needed more guidance on how to sew ruching with elastic. had a helpful elastic ruching tutorial.As in the tutorials, I decided to sew on the elastic to the sides of the shirt while it is stretched out.  I had some problems getting the shirt/elastic to move through the machine.  I have several unsightly thread balls in the shirt.  They are never coming out.

Sewing the elastic was super annoying.  Ripping it out was worse. If you are not pregnant, you may need a drink afterwards.

Elastic for rouched sides in a maternity t-shirt
1/4″ Inch elastic added to sides for ruching

Verdict:  This project has lots of potential if you have a shirt that is already flattering in the chest and shoulders, and if you know how to sew elastic.  I  used again with a women’s large t-shirt. Once I adjusted the length of the elastic needed, I was pretty happy with the results. I think a cute semi-fitted pregnancy look is the way to go, instead of the circus tent look. I think I might need to look for a longer style shirt in the near future.

I am still wearing my regular jeans thanks to the good old hair tie trick or my Bella Band. The Bella Band is great because it is much more comfortable and it covers up the zipper on your pants so people do not constantly tell you that your zipper is undone.

Luv in the Mommyhood posted a very helpful list of maternity sewing projects that I want to try out!