The most obvious solution for woven maternity tops is the empire waistline! Perfect for accomodating a growing baby bump, while working well both early and late in the maternity stage. And personally, I appreciate the easy, adjustable fit of peasant-style tops.
So far I've tried two empire waist patterns for maternity tops -- the first being McCalls 5039 (which I also used to make this dress).
The fabric for this top came from a Regency gown I made about five years ago -- it had been snug for a while, and I decided that it probably wouldn't fit post-pregnancy, anyway! So I salvaged a blouse from the skirt sections, and it has turned out to be very handy in my wardrobe. Again, changes from the original pattern were simple bias-binding casings for elastic, and an "extended" bodice divided by another casing.
Next came a cream top from the same pattern, this time cut from a thrifted Egyptian cotton sheet (which also provided me with fabric for a previous blouse and the binding for the blouse above). It's hard to find thrifted maternity clothes -- and virtually impossible to find anything in white or cream that's unstained (not to mention in the right size!). I thought it was a bit bland, though, so I dressed it up with a lace flower pin.
I noticed that the raglan sleeves on the McCalls pattern were a little binding, and decided to look for another pattern that had more sleeve versatility (and maybe a bit more room in the tummy region!). So I pulled Simplicity 5582 out of my costume pattern collection.
This fabric is in its third "incarnation," but this is the first time it's been worn! I made a Regency drawstring dress from it shortly before our trip to England a few years ago (and yes, I know it's not remotely correct for the Regency time period -- I just like it), but was unsatisfied with the fit and left it at home. Later on I re-cut the skirt for a flat-front Regency dress and cut new bodice pieces, but never got around to making it. So after several years of waiting, it has emerged as a maternity blouse (though it still hasn't escaped the empire waist!).
I can't actually recall if I raised the neckline on this pattern, or just pulled the elastic a bit tighter -- but either way, it's much more modest than the pattern cover would imply! I shortened the sleeves due to fabric constraints, but would love to try the 3/4 version, and maybe even the "double-puff" version for Fall and Winter. The armscye is certainly looser than the McCalls pattern, but is also quite puffy -- which works for this blouse, but is something I might try to tame in the future. I marked the empire waistline once the blouse was assembled, which resulted in a rather strange and not-at-all-straight line for the casing -- but it works perfectly, and that's what matters. Fortunately I strayed from my norm by actually *marking* that line on the pattern piece, so I'll be able to repeat it!
I'm hoping to tackle a little more sewing this week -- though my wardrobe is finally reaching the stage where I don't have to plan carefully what to wear so that I don't run out before the next laundry day! *wink*