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How to make a maternity peasant top from a men’s button shirt

Feb 25, 2011


I love this little peasant top, and it’s just so quick and easy to make! It’s a super flattering style for your baby bump, and since it buttons up you can still use it as a nursing top too after baby arrives. Lets make one!

What you’ll need:

  • Men’s button shirt
  • 1/2″ wide single fold bias tape in the same colour as the shirt, or in a complimentary colour
  • Ribbon

What to do:

  1. The first thing I like to do is alter the sleeves, because this gets a little harder later. Basically just cut the sleeve to the length you want (I cut mine to be 6″ long from the underarm, so that it would sit just above my elbow), and then cut along the seam towards the armpit to make the sleeve a little narrower.
  2. Now we’ll need to sew this seam and neaten the edges. Basically just sew from the hem of the sleeve till you match up with the old seam. You can either finish the edge with a zig zag stitch or a serger.
  3. Hem the sleeves
  4. Next we’ll cut the neckline. You want to measure 4″ from the shoulder seams, and about 5″ down from the top of neckline. I know it seems really large right now, but we’ll be gathering it a bit later on.
  5. If you have a pocket in the front of your shirt, now is the time to carefully unpick it – and then get that bias tape ready!
  6. Measure 4 to 5 inches down from the armpit of the shirt, and mark with a pin. Now measure 4 inches in from the centre front of each side of the shirt. Take your bias tape and fold under the raw edge, pinning it 4 inches from the centre front of the shirt. Now carefully pin the bias tape all the way around the shirt, keeping it level, till you reach the front of the shirt again.

    Fold under the raw edge and pin 4 inches from the front of the shirt again.
  7. Now we need to sew the bias tape to the shirt. This will be the casing for our ribbon, so be careful to sew as close to the edges as possible, and do not close up the ends!
  8. Now cut your ribbon to be 55″ long. Attach a safety pin to the end and thread it through the casing until both ends are poking out.
  9. On to the neckline. Set your sewing machine on a straight stitch, with the longest length possible. Sew 1/4″ from the raw edge all the way around the neckline, and do not backstitch!
  10. To gather the neckline, simple pull one of the threads while holding the fabric stationary and it will just gather up for you!
  11. Now cut a piece of bias tape to be 30″ long. Unfold one side, and pin it to the neckline with right sides together. You’ll also want to fold 1/4″ of the raw edge of the bias tape inwards so that it won’t be seen once we’re done. Smooth out your gathers so that they are evenly spaced along the bias tape. The bias tape will be the size of the finished neckline, and you want the gathered fabric to match that.
  12. Sew 1/4″ from the edge, attaching the bias tape to the shirt.
  13. Now we need to enclose those raw edges! Fold the bias tape inwards, encasing the raw edges of the neckline inside it, and pin.
  14. Top stitch along the bias tape to close it all up! I like to use a zig zag stitch because I find it pretty, and it also hides any messy sewing a bit better than a straight stitch!
  15. This last step is important. Take your top over to the iron, and iron the neckline into shape. The base tape needs to be curved and then shrunk a little, into the curve of the neckline. Spraying a little water on before you iron will help with this.
  16. And that’s it! You’re done.
    Go enjoy your new adorable maternity peasant top!

What do you think girls? Do you love it as much as I do?!

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25 Comments

  • I like it! I would definitely make one for me, i am just not sure if it’ll look as good on me with my huge bust)))

    • Hehe I’m so glad you like it! You should definitely give it a try (at least you’d fill it out – unlike me! hehe) XOXO

  • Wow I love this top sooooo much! I can’t believe it used to be a mans shirt. I have to try this! THanks meg!

  • Adorable. Can’t wait to try this out!

  • hi thanks for dropping by my blog…this is exactly what I was thinking of making and hope to make something like this soon too…….:)

  • I really love it! thanks for the tutorial

  • Great blog! We’ve got a fab maternity site, check it out and contact me if you want to collab?

  • Bravo! I’m very impressed. Enjoy your pregnancy. :)

  • I am so happy yo find a DIY Maternity blogging mom! I am 20 weeks pregnant and have been buying most things new but have not found many patterns or tutorials online.
    Out of curiosity how much bigger than the size you normally wear is your shirt you used for this?
    I have 2 shirts of my hubbies set aside for some summer maternity shirt recons. :)

    • Congrats on your pregnancy! and I”m so glad you’re enjoying DIYM!

      With respect to the shirt, I’d say quite a bit bigger – my general rule of thumb is to choose the mens size that i would be in womens. Ie. I wear a women’s medium, so used a men’s medium shirt. Does that makes sense? That method seems to work pretty well for me!!

      But at the end of the day, I reckon bigger is better – so if you’re unsure, go up a size! I hope that helps! XOXO

      • Mine is nearly done! I’ll be sure to post a picture on my blog soon! I’m working on changing one thing about it and then it will be done. :)

  • [...] The Conservatory Girl made an adorable ruffled top from some old tshirts, and a cute variation on my peasant maternity top [...]

  • LOVE this tutorial. Finally got up the courage to try it myself, and the result is a perfect fitting maternity top. Thanks so much!

    http://madmaxmama.blogspot.com/2011/06/peasant-top-from-diy-maternity.html

    • ooooo it turned out so cute!!! I love it!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! XOXO

  • Oooh this is such a perfect tute for me !! I hate buying maternity clothes … i’m going upstairs to steal one of hubby’s shirts …. hope he doesn’t notice *giggle!**
    Cheers!!!

  • wow! never thought that a man’s shirt can be a maternity top.. must try at home. i don’t like shopping for maternity clothers – they are expensive!

    thanks for the tutorial. i also like your top from man’s t-shirt. very comfy :)

  • [...] will be a life saver. Citymouse – I found a website on upcycling clothes into maternity clothes. Here's one but there are a bunch on the site. Right now I'm making some gladrags pantyliners. It seems I need a panty liner everyday as I don't [...]

  • [...] am currently working on a maternity top for my niece that is a combination of a TUTORIAL + a DYI.  Hoping for a ruffled top with a full “skirt”, using 2 white undershirt type [...]

  • Thank you for this! :)

  • Just did this project start to finish while my 3 year old was at preschool! It turned out really cute. One addition that worked out well: I have some decorative stitch functions on my machine. I cut the sleeves a little shorter then finished the hems on the sleeves with a “fancy” stitch in a contrasting color that matched my contrasting color bias tape.

    Great instructions thanks for providing them.

  • WOW, this is a wonderful idea and very straightforward tutorial… Thanx a lot! My husband´s shirts always get ruffled and destroyed at the collar (beard)… this is a great way to use them! :-)

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