Completed: Maternity t-shirts

Having experienced over 8 months of pregnancy so far, I can safely conclude that I don’t like it. I am looking forward to holding and seeing this little human that is growing inside me, but wish the growing inside me part didn’t have to happen first. If only I were a bird, or a man. My husband might argue that being married to a pregnant woman is not easy either but I don’t see him willing to trade with me right now. Especially with that whole giving birth part of pregnancy looming on the horizon.


Funnily enough, I don’t think I look all that pregnant in these pictures.

During the moments I didn’t feel too crappy I managed to do some sewing but not that much. My sewing machine hasn’t been neglected this much since I first got it! Today I thought I’d show you some maternity wear. Actually, I’ll show you the only maternity wear I made…


From the side though, there’s no mistaking what’s going on in there!

When my belly started to expand a bit too much to still fit comfortably in my regular wardrobe I adapted a t-shirt pattern hoping that I could use it to sew some t-shirts/sweaters that would last me through the rest of my pregnancy. I believe I was 24 or 25 weeks pregnant at the time (it took a while before I grew huge). I used the t-shirt pattern from Meg McElwee’s Sewing with knits Craftsy class. I made two t-shirts from this pattern years ago and at 25 weeks I was still wearing these although they started to get a bit short in the front. The fit of this pattern is a bit looser than the other t-shirts I made for myself which made it more suitable for an expanding body and a good starting point for a maternity shirt.

Changes made to the pattern:


Schematic of changes (in red) made to the sewing with knits t-shirt pattern. The original pattern has shaped side seams but I found it too much trouble to incorporate this into the drawing.

  1. Added 1 inch to bottom of both front and back bodice because the rise of maternity pants is much lower than in regular pants and I wanted to keep the belly band of the pants covered.
  2. Added notches on both front and back bodice to make sure I could align the pattern pieces properly after all the changes that were later made to the front bodice only. The top notch is 18 cm from the top and the lower notch 6 cm from the bottom. I based this on how the original t-shirt fit me and took into account that I would lose some fabric in the seam and hem allowances. The area in between the notches is basically where I expected my belly to start and end at its largest, so where extra room is needed.
  3. Added 8 cm of extra length to front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly.
  4. Added ½’’ of extra length to bust area of front bodice to allow extra room for all those additional cup sizes that you accumulate during pregnancy (it’s quite crazy, really).
  5. Graded out the sides of the front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly. Started with nothing just below the top notch to 1 inch at widest part of belly and then straight down to the hem so in total 2 inches were added to the t-shirt circumference.

My husband calls me turtle when I wear this t-shirt…

Construction wise the only changes that were needed were that the extra length that was added to the belly part of the front bodice was gathered to fit in between the two notches of the back bodice. The extra length at the bust was simply eased into the back by stretching the fabric between the top notch and top of the bodice as they were sewn together with my overlocker.

I managed to complete 3 t-shirts and I have pictures of 2. The third one is plain grey and I prefer to wear the ones shown here. Pictures didn’t happen until 36 weeks in a quick “let’s a least get pictures of these shirts while I’m still pregnant shoot”. I should have paid more attention when I put the shirts on, the one with 3/4 length sleeves was twisted a bit, the left side seam is oriented too much toward the front and the right side seam towards the back. Ah well, at least there are pictures…


After more than 10 weeks of wearing these shirts regularly I can say that I am very happy with how they turned out. They are very comfortable and the changes I made to allow for expansion appear to be sufficient to also last the couple of weeks I still have left. I am glad I managed to make these shirts, I think I have worn them often enough to warrant the time spent making them and I feel much more comfortable in them than I would have been in the ready to wear shirts I tried on in stores and didn’t buy.


Normal service will most likely not return anytime soon on this blog as it took ages to get this single blog post done… I’ll be back though, there are too many things I still wish to show you.

January 12, 2017

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. katechiconi

    Aha, the cat is out of the bag at last! Now I can publicly say congratulations, and how lovely you look in your unique and individual maternity wear. It would be lovely if you get a chance to let us know that you have delivered safely, but I do understand you will have other priorities!

    • Emmely

      I’ll let know eventually. I’m hoping it won’t be 8 months though… 😉 Right now writing this one post took me several days because using a computer for longer stretches is very uncomfortable. I’m hoping that will get better when this belly thing has gotten back to a more normal size.

  2. tialys

    What a surprise! You kept that news under cover (literally) – no wonder you’ve dropped off the blogging radar and it will probably get worse once you have the little one. I’m sorry you have felt crappy – I must admit that I had two trouble free pregnancies without even any morning sickness. You look very well now, though, and your tops look great Like Kate, I hope you will find the time to keep us up to date so that we can ooh and aah a little bit over the new arrival. Bon courage! x

    • Emmely

      Thank you!
      The person who called it morning sickness did not truly experience pregnancy induced nausea. True, it was worst in the mornings but “never ending nausea” or “nausea 24/7” would have been more adequate descriptions… I have to rest a lot right now but I’m hoping everything will get better soon.
      I do have pictures of a lot of things I made (some even from before the pregnancy), just need to get some text to go with it….

  3. ANN M.

    You look great. When I was pregnant(back in the age of dinosaurs) I went wider hip to hip with hardly anything up front. I resembled a large wall. I hope time goes quickly for you for the next month and then slows for lots of baby time. They are so fun, I had 4, and they become big people way too fast.

    • Emmely

      Thank you! I find it really fascinating how differently women carry when they are pregnant. I certainly only increased in the front. Time goes way too fast! Some of my friends already have children and it seems like they were born only a short time ago but the oldest already turns 3 this month!

  4. magpiesue

    Oh congratulations! What happy news! And your shirts look wonderful. I hope you’ve been making little things for the baby too. You won’t have much time for sewing after the delivery!

    • Emmely

      Thank you! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to sew for a couple of months now because I have had to rest a lot to make sure baby didn’t make an early appearance… I’ve done some crochet as I could do that in bed and I’m hoping once we’ve established some sort of rhythm with baby. (so many things I wish I could have made though…)

  5. Marianne

    Congratulations! Almost there!

    • Emmely

      I can’t wait! 😉

  6. prolificprojectstarter

    Congratulaions! Sorry to hear you’ve been having such a tough time. The shirts look great. Hope that the birth goes well for you, and the hard work beyond that too.

    • Emmely

      I am really looking forward to the next part! We’ve got our house ready and just need to wait a little bit longer…

  7. Vanessa

    Congratulations!!!!!! Your tops look great! Many blessings on the rest of your pregnancy, and delivery.

    • Emmely

      Thank you! I’m hoping it won’t be long now.



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