Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sewing Maternity Tops

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*


  1. Shannon I absolutely love all three of them! They are beautiful and so feminine. I would love to dress that well when I am pregnant! Its inspiring to see what is possible. Even if you are pregnant you can be stylish and feminine. Its encouraging to hear about your frugal fabric finds and your adjusting patterns. God bless!

    In Christ,

  2. LIKE, LIKE--and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that last one! I hope you post some more photos of you wearing these sweet items. I also am very interested in your thrifty ideas. I try to repurpose and sew thriftily so it's encouraging and inspiring to me to read about what others are doing.

  3. Lovely job with all your maternity sewing! I especially like the last top -- the prints are so pretty. I only have a few maternity pieces that I really like -- hopefully next time around I'll be pro-active about sewing my own stuff.

  4. I ran across this blog and it made me think of you. The entry for Sept 22, 2010 is one that I think you'd especially find interesting. Hope you do enjoy it:

  5. You are so talented! Love all of those tops, just gorgeous shannon. :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much for stopping by!