Thursday, June 07, 2012

Great Expectations Maternity Tunic -- Free Pattern and Tutorial!

Please note: I've had a few people mention that the armhole was too tight for them, and oddly enough I found it fine for this pregnancy but not the succeeding pregnancy! So you may wish to modify the pattern -- I hope to do so myself at some point, but until then...  Edited 6/11/2018

Well, at long last, the Great Expectations Maternity Tunic pattern is up and ready to download! Okay, it hasn't really been that long, but this project has been considerably more time-consuming than I anticipated. Hopefully the pattern itself is ready for general use (feeling pretty confident on that one), and I didn't befuddle the directions too much (not feeling so confident on that one...).

It may not look maternity on my dress form, but there's plenty of room
in this baby for... well, your baby! 

The pattern comes in two parts. The first part is comprised of the pattern pieces themselves, including assembly directions. The second part is comprised of instructions for sewing the tunic, including my gorgeous illustrations of certain steps. Could you hear the sarcasm in my tone when I said "gorgeous?" You'll also find sizing info (which I've also included below for your convenience), yardage requirements, and pattern layout in the Sewing Instructions.

Just click on the links below, scroll down on the new web page that opens up, and click "Download File." You're ready to print your pattern!

~ Great Expectation Maternity Tunic: Pattern Pieces

~ Great Expectations Maternity Tunic: Sewing Instructions

For a pictorial tutorial to go along with the instructions, go here: Great Expectations Maternity Tunic: Sewing Tutorial

I'd love to hear feedback from anyone who tries this pattern, and I'm also setting up a Great Expectations Maternity Tunic Flickr pool so you can share photos of your creations! You can find click on the link or find it in the sidebar to the right.

I would consider this a size Small/Medium, since it's not a particularly "fitted" garment. I would say it would fit women with a bust measurement of 30-40". The finished measurements are:

Bust: 45"
Width at hem: 54"
Length from shoulder to hem: 26"

  • First off, this is not a commercial pattern. While I have made every effort to ensure that pattern pieces fit together (and based on my tests, they do), you may find discrepancies. If so, please let me know and I'll try to correct them!
  • If you're super picky about having your maternity shirts longer in the front than the back to account for the baby bump, you may want to add a bit of length to the tunic front piece. I'd advise making a "mock-up" to check for fit.
  • Actually, no matter what, I highly recommend making a trial version of your tunic in a cheap fabric to check the fit. Each body is built differently, and as forgiving as the fit of this tunic is, you may want to make adjustments. Better to know you need to tweak the neckline before you sew it up in a pricier fabric.
  • There seems to be plenty of room in the tunic at the almost-halfway-done point, so I'm highly optimistic it will still work at 9 months. In fact, if I have extra room in the tunic at the end of my current pregnancy, I may take a little out of the tunic back, since I don't like things being too blousy over my rear. We'll see how it goes... Update: There was plenty of room for me at 38 weeks, which is when I delivered. 


Maternity Dress:
I tried lengthening the tunic into a dress, and it seemed to work fairly well (though my fabric was a really grouchy rayon that doesn't drape very well. I'll have to try again with a better fabric). I used a very gentle slope along the side seams as I lengthened, and while the resulting tea-length dress doesn't allow for big strides, when I tried making a more dramatic slope the dress looked too frumpy. Again, my fabric might have been at fault. I'm going to try this again with a (hopefully) better fabric, and I'll update this section with more detailed info.

Non-Maternity Wear:
I think you could easily adjust this pattern for normal wear by reducing the angle of the side seams (making them more straight than slanted). Just check your hip measurement, add a few inches of ease, and make sure you don't reduce the pattern more than that measurement. You could just use pattern as-is, but it's quite blousy to allow for ample baby bumps. I think you could also alter an existing tunic in the same way, if you want to wear your tunic post-baby. 


  1. It looks great! I can't wait to try it out, though I may have to wait a while since I just delivered on Tuesday! :-P Maybe next time. :-)

  2. Shannon, you look lovely as always! I was just thinking today how I've been following your blog from before you were married through to the birth of your first child and now into the pregnancy of your second one :) I love your creativity, your flair, your honesty, your passion for family and for God. Continue to shine for Jesus, you are an inspiration! Much love to you and your family.
    Aoife (Dublin, Ireland)

  3. I am finding your pattern difficult to work out (Maternity tunic). I dont understand the tunic front diagram as the pieces seem not to work with each other particularly page 8! HELP. Mary

    1. Mary,

      So sorry to hear that you're finding the pattern confusing! Hopefully I can clarify.

      Pages 2-7 are individual pieces small enough to fit on single sheets of paper. They do not need to be taped together, and can be cut out individually.

      Pages 8-16 make up the tunic front (three rows, so pages 8-10 are the top row, 11-13 are the second row, and 14-16 are the third row, as indicated on the diagram included with the instructions. If you're looking at page 8, you'll tape page 9 to the right side and page 11 to the bottom.). Page 8 is blank, because the tunic front doesn't extend onto that page -- it's included in order to help keep the layout square as you tape the pages together and avoid confusion as you lay the pages out (though apparently that didn't work out too well ;-). The diagram on page 1 of the pattern may help clear up your confusion -- the numbers in the boxes refer to the page numbers. Also, the pages should be aligned along the dashed lines, which means you'll have to trim about 1/2" off each sheet (or just overlap the pages).

      Is that a bit clearer?


  4. I'm having a hard time accessing the pattern itself. Please help!

    1. Erica,

      Sorry you had an issue accessing the pattern! I had it set to private, which meant you had to have an account with the web hosting service. I've changed it to public view, so hopefully you can access the files without needing an account. Let me know if you have any other difficulties!

      Also, as a note, some people have had an issue with the armhole being too tight. I had made several and didn't find them uncomfortable, but oddly enough, the next time I was pregnant I found the armholes restrictive! Unfortunately fixing this requires some adjustments to the armhole piece and the tunic front and back. I'm hoping to update the pattern at some point, but haven't gotten around to it yet, and wanted you to be aware!



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