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Maternity Top Tutorial, with Jenn of a Jennuine Life


Hello there, DIY maternity readers! I am super excited to be visiting here. I’m Jenn from A Jennuine Life. A while back, I hosted my first blog competition, and Megan honored my little blog with both an inspiration post, and a prize offering - amazing, right!?

When Megan put out the call for a little help, I jumped on the opportunity to return the favor! Here’s a post I put together as part of my Mother to Be, Being, Been competition which focused on DIY fashions for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum Moms.

I’m a 30-something mother to Arden, my adorable little girl who I love more than my arms can hold.  I am expecting another baby girl in October.  My husband Dave and I have been married for 4 years.

I’ve been crafting as long as I can remember.  I made doll’s clothes while staying with my Grandma on her antique Singer.  My Mom taught me how to cross-stitch when I was little, and we sewed a whole bedding ensemble for my cabbage patch doll Krissy Lynn.  Later Mom taught me how to crochet (which I’ve since forgotten), let me go with her to her monthly craft group, and occasionally sit in on her weekly stitch gathering.  As an adult, I learned how to quilt, and tried to start my own craft group where a friend taught me how to knit.  During my pregnancy, my nesting instinct took the form of sewing and knitting, and I made burp cloths out of cloth diapers, quilts for expecting friends, and knitted like a woman possessed.

Upcycled Maternity Tee

I started this project with a find at the dollar store – an XXXL long sleeved t-shirt.  I liked the soft feel of the knit and knew I could use it to make something for myself or many somethings for my daughter!  I created this over several days in part because I was pretty tired with this pregnancy until recently, and also because it allowed the design to percolate a bit – this evolved greatly over the course from my original plan.
Skill Level – Beginner
Items Needed –
Large long sleeved t-shirt
Ball point needle
Coordinating thread
Sewing machine
Rotary cutter and cutting mat

Pin Pleats – With the shirt on, pin pleats along the top of your bump pointing towards the center.  I did three on each side.  Then take off the shirt and arrange the pleats so the same amount of material is pinched and they are spaced evenly.  I made the pleats deeper in the middle and shallower as they moved out.

Stitch Across Pleats – Using a triple stretch stitch (you could use a different stretch stitch or elastic thread), sew across the pleats.

Cut Sleeves - Cut sleeves off a little above the elbow, and then cut the sleeve pieces into 1 1/2″ strips using your rotary cutter and cutting mat.  You don’t have to finish the edges of the knit – they’ll just softly roll after being washed.  Sew a few of the strips together along the short sides and then gather both edges 1/4″ from either edge.  I used the longest stitch length and changed the tension on my machine to a 5 to accomplish this.

Pin and Sew Ruffle Strip – Pin the ruffled band along the stretch stitch you made earlier, adjusting the ruffles as needed.  Sew in place along the gathering stitches.

Pleat Sleeves – Creat two pleats facing center at the top of the sleeve.  This took up some of the fullness in the XXXL sleeve.  Stretch stitch across the pleats only.  I then turned up the sleeve and stitched it in place close to the raw edge and another row about 1/8″ away, but I don’t have a photo of this step.

Cut Neckline – I sort of winged it by folding the shirt in half along the center and then just cutting off a gentle curve.  This seemed to work just fine, but you might want to draw a line if you’re more of a perfectionist.

Ruffle Strip – Sew the remaining strips made from the sleeves into one long strip.  Ruffle one edge 1/4″ from the edge similar to the ruffled band above.

Roll Neckline Over Top Edge of Ruffle – Roll the raw edge of the neckline over the top edge by a little more than 1/4″ to cover the gathering stitch.  Using a stretch stitch, sew close to the edge, and then another line about 1/8″ away from that.

Ta Da!  You’re all done!  Now you have a new maternity top for about $5 instead of $35.

Thanks so much for having me over, Megan!  Feel free to call anytime, it was fun!
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  • That is beautiful. I will try this during my next pregnancy. Thanks for the great pics of your new shirt.

  • I have just the shirt for this in my stash — picked it up in a “bag sale” at a church garage sale! Not pregnant at this time but hope to be before too long, thanks!

  • [...] Maternity top tutorial from A Jennuine Life at DIY Maternity :: Another t-shirt refashion with cute ruffle detailing. [...]

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