Hello DIY Maternity readers! I’m Dana, blogger and maker over at Sew Thrifty, and am thrilled to be a part of DIY Maternity today. When I create, I constantly look for ways to save money and today’s project is a great example of that. Today I’m going to share with you a thrifty way to use your old maternity tank to make dozens more tanks for yourself. Let’s get started!
- A previously used (and loved) maternity tank
- Freezer paper or other pattern paper
- Rulers (curve ruler is optional, I’ll show you why I used mine)
- Pencil and pen (optional)
Place your maternity tank over your pattern paper. I use freezer paper because it’s inexpensive, but you can use any kind of pattern paper you prefer. Then trace. I had to trace parts of my tank and then move the shoulder pieces around so the pattern came out like the shirt. You can also cut your old shirt to make the pattern, but I truly love this shirt and didn’t want to cut it up, so I had to finagle it a bit to get my pattern pieces correct.
In continuing to finalize my pattern, I added seam allowances of 3/8″ (or 1 cm). Additionally, I used my curve ruler to add 1 1/2″ to the neckline, since I wanted the neckline to be a bit higher and more modest than my original shirt.
I also used my curve ruler to help create my seam allowances around the armscye.
To finish it off, I added 1 1/2″ to the bottom of the tank pattern for the hem allowance and traced the entire final pattern in pen.
Follow the same steps to complete the back of your tank and you’ll have your two pattern pieces.
Step 3: Cut your fabric
You have your two pattern pieces, so lay those, one at a time, on top of your stretchy knit fabric and cut away! Be sure to cut on the fold. Tip for selecting fabric: choose something with spandex or lycra in it. This is my fourth pregnancy and trust me when I say you’ll want plenty of stretch in your shirt. It’s hard to know how your body will change with each pregnancy and the stretchier, the better!
Step 4: Construct your tank
Start by sewing (or serging) your shoulder pieces together. Place the front and back pieces right sides together and sew. If you’re using a sewing machine be sure to use a zig zag setting to maintain stretch. On my machine I set my zig zag width at .5 (the lowest setting), but yours might be slightly different.
Then sew or serge down the side seams on both sides. I also finish off the bottom of my shirt at this stage with either a zig zag stitch or a serged edge. (I wait to hem until later though).
Cut the pieces for your armscyes and neckline. I use the following calculation to determine the length of my pieces: .85 X circumference of neckline. If your fabric does not have lycra, spandex, or another stretchy material in it, you might need to make your pieces longer at this step. The width of all three pieces is 1 3/4″.
Sew or serge all three pieces together to form a circle. The measurement should now be 1 3/4″ x half the previous length.
Fold your circles (hem bands) in half and section them off into four equal parts. To do this, fold the circle at the seam and place pins on the seam and directly across from it. Then fold again, matching up the two pins and place the other two pins on the new folds you just made. In the above picture, my two purple pins match up and the two pink pins are on the folds.
Take each hem band and place it evenly around your armscye or neckline. I start by matching up the seam on my hem band with the side seam or bottom of the armscye. For the neckline, I match the seam of the hem band to the right hand shoulder seam. Stretch the circle slightly as you go. Sew or serge all three hem bands in place. Finish your bottom hem and you’re done!
Step 5: Admire your handiwork
There’s the comparison between my two tanks. I love the higher neckline and a little bit of extra length at the bottom (for my belly to expand)! But for the most part, the tanks are identical and will last me all throughout my pregnancy.
I will definitely be making plenty more of these tanks to last me through my long Mississippi summer pregnancy. It doesn’t turn cool until late October and baby is coming in September! I will be living in these. If you’d like to see more of my maternity makes, check out my blog or Instagram.