If you have a t-shirt pattern that fits you in the chest and arms you can hack it into a variety of different maternity shirts pretty easily. In this blog post we’ll walk you through how to hack a pattern into a super fitted maternity shirt with gathered sides that will show off that pregnant belly to full advantage.
Start by selecting a size on your shirt. As a rule of thumb, you’ll probably want to go up a size or two from your pre-pregnancy size, and/or if your shirt pattern has separate cup size options you may want to choose a larger cup size. Over the course of pregnancy you gain weight all over your body, not just your belly. The amount each woman gains, when during her pregnancy she gains it, and how that affects her size (especially cup size) is different for each woman and if this is your first pregnancy it can be hard to predict. Better to have your shirt be a little loose than uncomfortably tight during a time when all of you is uncomfortable to begin with!
Next select your fabric. We recommend using a fabric with at least 40% stretch, even if the original pattern says you can use fabric with less stretch, because it will help the shirt easily and comfortably stretch to accommodate both weight gain and belly growth.
On the Front pattern piece only, remove the waist shaping and add about 8″ in length. When you sew the Front to the Back, gather the excess length to fit.
It’s up to you exactly where you want to start gathering. If your bust has gone up many cup sizes you may want to start the gathering right under the armpit. If you’re not worried about fitting your breasts into the shirt, you can start the gathering ~5″ down from the underarm seam.
Of course if you don’t want to draft your own pattern, you can always buy the perfect pattern already ready for you in our shop! Browse all of our knit shirts or, if you’re specifically looking for a belly skimming style we recommend:
Erin is one of the co-founders of Maternity Sewing. She also publishes patterns as Tuesday Stitches where she publishes patterns to help you play Every Day Dress Up, whoever you are. She believes in empowerment through sewing and encourages inclusivity, representation, self-love, and self-expression.