At 4 months pregnant, I’m still pretty comfortable, so I like to wear more structured pieces that fit close to the body on top, but have extra room for the baby; however, later in my pregnancy, comfort generally outweighs all of my fashion “preferences”. Woven fabrics are definitely out by then and anything with “stretch” becomes my new best friend.
Today I have a shirt tutorial that can either be made in a woven or knit shirt. The tutorial pics are for the woven shirt, but a knit shirt will work just as well and have more growing room. For woven, I prefer a man’s dress shirt. It makes the finished shirt easier to put on because it can be unbuttoned down to the waistband. A polo shirt works great for knit because of the extra stretch.
What You’ll Need:
Oversized woven or knit shirt
Shirt to use as a template (make sure the bust area fits comfortably with extra room to “grow”)
Tailor’s chalk (or other temporary marking tool)
Matching thread for sewing
Contrasting thread for top stitching (Optional)
Ruler for drawing straight lines
Sewing essentials (machine, seam ripper, scissors, etc.)
Step 1: Selecting a Shirt – The final shirt is a pullover (sorry cute bellies!), so you’ll need to make sure that it will fit comfortably over your head and bust and have enough “skirt” fabric to gather. Take your bust measurement (fullest part). The circumference of the shirt that you select should measure at least your bust measurement plus 12 inches for woven or plus 7 inches for knit.
Once you’ve selected your shirt, try it on. Using tailor’s chalk, mark the point just beneath your bust line.
Step 2- Lay your oversized shirt out flat and center your template shirt on top.
Step 3 – Match shoulder seams making sure that the distance from the sleeve seams of the template shirt to the sleeve seams of the oversized shirt are the same on both sides. If using a shirt with sleeves, tuck them behind the template shirt, so you just see the outline of the armscye (armhole).
Step 4- Using tailor’s chalk, trace the outline of armscye (add 1/2″ seam allowance).
Step 5 – Remove template shirt and find the point (under the bust) that was marked on the shirt earlier. Mark a second point 1.5″ down. Using your ruler, draw a straight line across from side seam to side seam.
Step 6 – Smooth out the shirt and pin along the outline of the new bodice. Cut along the new outline. (Set the sleeves and bottom of shirt to the side.)
Step 8 - Remove the extra threads from the collar stand. Iron flat and top stitch the stand closed using contrasting thread (Optional). Continue top stitching around the entire collar stand including sides and base.
Step 9 - Open the bodice and lay out flat. Fold armscye under 1/4″ and iron flat. Fold under an additional 1/4″, iron. Edge stitch fold in place.
Step 11 – Create 2 Bands (Cut the sleeves down the seam and use for band fabric.). Measure the bottom of the front of the bodice. Create a band equal to the front bodice length x 4″ width. Repeat for the back of the bodice using the back bodice width.
Step 12 – Fold both bands lengthwise (wrong sides facing). Iron flat. Pin the raw edges of the front band to the raw edge of the bodice. Attach band to bodice using 1/2″ seam allowance. (Repeat for the back bodice). Iron bands away from bodice center.
Step 13 – Gather skirt of bodice. Using the bottom pieces of the shirt that were cut off in Step 5, sew two rows of basting stitches at the raw edges of both pieces. Gather to match band length. (I switched the buttoned piece to the back of the shirt for a different look.).
Step 14 – Attach skirt to band. Match the raw edge of the front skirt piece to the bottom of front band (Right sides facing). Pin in place. Sew together using 1/2″ seam allowance. (Repeat for back band.) Iron.
Subtract your “under bust” full circumference from the total band length (Add front and back bands together). Subtract this number from the back band length and add 2″ to get elastic length.
(FB) Front Band=18″
(BB) Back Band=18″
(UBC) Under Bust Circumference:30″
(FB)18″ + (BB)18″=36″
36″- (UBC)30″=6″ + 2″ = 8″(Elastic length)
Feed elastic through the back band. Once the end of the elastic reaches the edge of the opening, stitch in place 1/4″ from the edge. Continue feeding elastic through to other end. Once the elastic reaches the opposite edge opening, stitch in place 1/4″ from the edge.
Step 16 – Sew sides. Turn the shirt inside out and match up sides. Right sides should now be facing. Pin sides in place from base of armscye down to skirt hem. Sew both sides using 1/2″ seam allowance. Try the shirt on. Mark preferred hem length. Adjust the hem accordingly.
Optional: If you’d like to add the flower shown in the picture, you can find my super simple flower tutorial here.
And, that’s it!
(**The tutorial assumes that the reader has a working knowledge of garment construction. To reduce the size of the tutorial some basic steps have been left out or shortened. If you have any questions at all or need clarification on any of the steps, please leave a comment below or send me a private email at firstname.lastname@example.org)