Hi everyone! I’m Ann from Sew Paradise and I’m a big fan of Megan Nielsen’s maternity & nursing patterns. I’m geeked she said she’d post my tute about DIY maternity dress trousers here. Most working moms need a professional wardrobe, and even a SAHMama needs a rockin’ pair of something other than jeans. These easy maternity dress trousers are inexpensively made from thrifted regular trousers, have a super comfy stretch fabric waistband that curves to snug your belly. I’m a big fan of purpose-suited clothing, so I loved sewing during both of my pregnancies. The top is Megan Nielsen’s Pina Nursing & Maternity top with long sleeves which works wonderfully after your baby is born as a nursing top – my 10-month old loves it!
For this you’ll need:
- 1 pair of dressy trousers from a thrift store. I bought two, grand total $5.37. They should fit you in the hips but you’ll no doubt be unable to zip them more than about 1-2″ when you try them on. Mine were a washable poly/wool suiting fabric.
- 1/2 yard of stretch fabric – ideally with lycra or spandex in it. This is the belly band. You’ll be making a tube of fabric to sew to the top of your trousers.
- Thread to match your stretch fabric band and/or pants (I used black fabric for both the light gray pants and the dark gray pants in my tutorial.)
- 1 sewing machine or serger – I used a serger, but a sewing machine with a stretch stitch or zig zag also works.
You will need about 20 minutes per trouser to complete this project.
What to do:
1) Measure your hip at hip level, holding the tape measure under the baby (about where the baby ‘crease’ is) This is the maximum width that you’ll need your lycra/knit fabric to be for the stretchy waistband. Then, measure 12″ for the height of the band (my measurement of the folded band was 17″ x 2 = 38″ wide x 12″ high. Use a stretchy knit fabric with lycra. This yields a band that is 6″ tall. If you want a wider band to fold over during your entire pregnancy, make the band about 24″ high. This will yield a 12″ tall band which can be folded over to 6″. Otherwise, at least on me, I found the 6″ band would fit better if unfolded, later in my pregnancy.
2) Serge the short end of the band, right sides together, forming a wide tube.
3) Fold over the band turning it right side out so the serged seam is at center back and inside. Try on the band. It should now be 6″ tall. The folded edge should be at the top. The band should be snug. If it’s even a smidge loose now, it will be too loose once you start wearing the pants. Go tighter if you need to by serging more off the short end you just serged.
4) Once you like the fit of your band fold it right side out and then serge / sew the long raw edges to keep them together. This helps keep the layers together when sewing it to the pants.
5) Put on your pants. Pin where you are able to zip them up to and take them off. Lay your pants on a cutting table or your dining room table.
6) Cut off the pants back waistband, but no more. You can save the tag if you want to save your cleaning/laundering instructions as you do this and serge it into the back waistband as you serge on the band.
7) Then, chalk a nice curve from the sideseam down to the pin where you marked the zip point and back up to the other sideseam where you cut off the back waistband. Cut along this line.
8a) If you’re altering pleated pants as show in my example, you will need to sew the pleats down before cutting as shown in the example drawing and photo above. Simply thread your straight stitch machine with coordinating thread, and sew the pleat down from the right side, using a lockstitch on the bottom end to keep the pleat closed. This keeps the fullness of the legs but doesn’t add it to the waistband (where it would distort the fit of the pants under the belly). Pleats are a design feature, NOT a way to accommodate a belly, pregnant or not!
9) You will cut through the zipper. You MUST remove the zipper to serge the pants, but at this point it should be only about 1″ long and very easy to remove with a seam ripper. Pin and then hand stitch the fly opening closed now.
10) Quarter the band by dividing it into four equal marks – center back, center front, and sideseams. Pin at each point.
11) Placing band and pants right side together, band seam at center back, pin the band to the pants at the CB, CF and each sideseam of the pants. The band will have to stretch to fit the pants when you sew.
12) Placing the fabric of the pants down against the serger’s feed dogs, start serging just past your CB pin (so you don’t run over your pin) and stretch the top layer like mad, carefully lining up the pants raw edge with the serged edge of the band. You are edge serging, not really taking off too much of either pant or band. If you are sewing with a sewing machine, use a 1/4″ seam allowance.
13) as you get to another pin, remove it before serging/sewing. Then stretch top layer, matching up the pants raw edge and continue serging to the next pin before removing it. Once you’re all the way around, fold up the band. If you did get a pucker or fold, remove the serging and about 1-2″ on either side, reserge, stretching to fit the band to the pants.
14) voila! nice dress pants in about 20 minutes, and for $5.37! (or whatever you paid for the pants)