For me, being pregnant has a way of warping time, leaving me somewhat disoriented as each day seems to last forever… but then somehow I find myself 6.5 months pregnant and thinking, “Wait, I still have so much to do before this baby makes his entrance!” Yep, that’s pretty much where I’m at right now, coming up for air as I get some of my energy back and nausea under control.
So, I’m looking at my pile of projects, and maternity clothes are close to the top of my list of things to work on, because my belly has popped out and I have already grown out of some of my maternity shirts. (What?! Aren’t maternity shirts supposed to fit the whole time you’re pregnant?) So while I work on a few sewing projects for me, I thought I would share my inspiration with you, and then when I finish, I can share the results of my dabbling.
This men’s shirt to maternity shirt refashion at Cotton and Curls
This lace tunic top at A Beautiful Mess
Also check out my tutorial I posted last pregnancy on how to refashion a long, stretchy skirt into a maternity shirt:
I hope to post more pregnancy- related projects, including some natural remedy type stuff for dealing with aches and pains without using medicines that are a no-no in pregnancy- so stay tuned!
About a year ago, when I was getting ready to have Lacey (and in serious nesting mode), I decided I wanted to make my own diaper bag. I was inspired by Rochelle’s diaper bag that she made for her sons a few years ago, and wanted one of my own! She kindly held my hand every step of the way as we made it (It was my first big-girl sewing project)! (See tutorial links at the bottom of the post.)
I found some cute canvas at JoAnn Fabrics, and got to work. Rochelle had the great idea of reinforcing/protecting the fabric with clear vinyl – in fact, most of the vinyl we used actually came from a couple bedding bags that Rochelle had been saving…genius! We felt pretty good about ourselves for recycling what could otherwise have been thrown away. (Although I will say, that after nine months of use, the plastic is starting to rip a little…I’d recommend using clear vinyl that is thicker and has a little more give – the kind that you use for tablecloth liners…oooh or you could use a clear shower curtain liner… I’m brilliant!)
I also made this cute diaper/wet wipe holder (very nice so I don’t have to bring the entire diaper bag with me for a quick diaper change):
Because I had quite a bit of fabric left over, I decided to make myself a Boppy cover to match! I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and I love having the two different fabrics – so fun!
I had fun learning how to sew a little better with these projects, and I love having high-quality (and matchy) baby accessories!
Diaper Bag: A Mingled Yarn
Diaper Holder: Jan Andrea
Boppy Cover: Vanilla Joy(she saved it from economical baby blog, which had been removed)
I mentioned very briefly in my last post that while in Oregon, we had a baby shower. What I didn’t mention was that it was a shower (or, more accurately, a mother and baby shower) for my sister Marissa! My mom, my sisters and I collaborated and planned it all, with Marissa’s help and input, and I think it was a success!
Marissa wanted frilly, lacy, pink-y loveliness as the theme, and so that’s what we did!
Marissa and I got together and laughed hysterically- as we usually do- while we designed the invitations. We were able to make them entirely out of what we had on hand already. The pink part is a sleeve which the invitation slides out of. The umbrellas, clouds, and hearts were cut using my Silhouette machine. I designed the text part of the invitation in Inkscape.
If you are going to ask people to RSVP, it is a good idea to not only include your phone number, but also your email address- some people (including myself) don’t like to call. We also created a facebook event. Hey, we just figured that the easier it was (and more ways there were) to RSVP, the better response we would get.
I had read about an idea of a “mother blessing shower” in one of my favorite new books (The Gift of Giving Life– seriously an amazing book; I would say that reading it, along with their blog for the past two years has changed my life and the way I think about motherhood- I’m not paid to say that, it’s just true. Go check it out; you won’t be disappointed, even if you just read through the archives of some of the positive birth stories). I was charmed with the idea that while it is great- and really fun- to focus on the baby, a shower is also a great opportunity to celebrate motherhood. So, taking the suggestion from the book, in our announcement we invited people to bring a blessing or good thought for Marissa and a bead or charm to represent it, which would be put on a charm bracelet for Marissa to wear and feel happy vibes! 😉
|This was a blank paper we included in the invitation for people to bring their written good wishes on.
The shower was fun (I really enjoyed seeing people I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting with for many years in some cases) and lovely of course. We used pieces from our mom’s wedding china to hold flowers and candy. My mom also had a great collection of crystal and glass serving dishes, and glass snack sets which she inherited from her mother. I had picked up mini- chalkboards from the craft store recently, and those were fun to use, along with ribbons, and tons of tissue paper that we turned into flowers and pom-poms.
Ooh, before I forget, the menu included assorted fresh fruit, gluten/dairy/egg free brownies (which were amazing), oreo truffles, jordan almonds and Dove chocolates, dark and white chocolate drizzled popcorn, and heavenly pink sorbet punch. Mmm.
Here’s the cute pregnant mama… I wonder why I couldn’t get her to look at the camera?!
Something else we did that I have seen done at other showers is pass around a basket of blank envelopes for people to address to themselves to make it that much easier for Marissa to send out her thank-you notes. (Whoops, don’t have a picture of that one, but you can use your imagination…)
A few nights ago, Marissa and I got together, and we added jump rings to all the charms, and attached them on to a bracelet that we made. I think it is adorable, if a bit crowded- but you can never have too many blessings, right?! Some of the charms were meant for the baby some day, so ultimately, a few charms will be removed and it won’t be quite so crowded.
Here’s what it looks like on. Artsy, unique, lovely, and a reminder of all the love, blessings, and good wishes from friends and family!
As a gesture of gratitude/ favor of sorts for those who attended, we made about 30 of these crocheted friendship bracelets with a bead in the middle. The idea was that people would grab one as they walked out the door, but of course we forgot until half of the people were already gone. 😛 Oops. Maybe they will go out in some of the thank you notes.
We definitely had fun with this baby shower, and I really liked the “mother blessing” part. It seems appropriate to me that this portion could be done for any mother- regardless of how many babies she has had, or if she needed an actual “shower” for the baby. Honoring motherhood and womanhood is always a good move in my book! Tell me what you think in the comments!
There are tons of styles of nursing shirts out there, and while I think some of them are super cute, I usually just do ok with pulling my regular shirts up. It is nice to have a few nursing shirts though, especially when you have to nurse in public, because the last thing you want after having a baby is for people to see your belly hanging out while nursing, right?!
The concept I used for my nursing tops is the overlapping seam under the bust. I like it because it isn’t too obviously a nursing top, it is functional yet cute, and it keeps you covered above and below. There are some great patterns you can find for free online for this kind of shirt if you want to sew it from scratch, but I wanted to use up some shirts from the bin of “refashion candidates” I have that I wouldn’t otherwise wear. “Use what you have”- my personal motto.
I made two nursing tops, each using parts from two different shirts. Here are the “before” shirts:
These shirts were both maternity shirts that had been well- loved and were no longer suitable for wearing.
This shirt was given to me and is not a maternity shirt, but is a babydoll style that lends itself well to the type of refashion I had in mind. I also used a bit of a plain white T-shirt (not pictured).
I did the pink shirt first, and learned a few things along the way that I used the second time for a better looking shirt. For the pink shirt, the first thing I did was try on the shirt and mark dots where I would cut a seam under the bust line. Then, I connected the dots to give a straight line, and I cut all the way across.
Then I cut off the sleeves of the darker pink shirt, and trimmed them a bit so that they were straight tubes. After the sleeves were more or less even, I basted both ends of each of the sleeves, and pulled the threads to make gathers.
Then I pinned one of the sleeves on top of the raw edge of the top portion of the shirt and sewed it all the way across. I did add a few gathers under the bust to try to give it a more fitted look.
I cut a piece of lightweight, clear elastic which was 3/8″ thick and about 2/3 as long as the width of my shirt. I sewed it with a zig zag stitch directly onto the raw edge of the bottom portion of the shirt. If you were using a fabric that frayed, and if the length of the shirt was not an issue, you could sew a small casing and thread regular elastic through it. The elastic is important, because it will keep the bottom part of the shirt from sagging down. The gathered band will hide this part- it will not show.
With the elastic on and the shirt turned inside out, I carefully pinned the sides together so that the darker band was sandwiched in between the front and back pieces of the shirt. Here is what the shirt looked like at this point, inside out:
I actually sewed the side seams together at this point, but didn’t like how it fit or looked, so I added the other sleeve in the back, took in the sides of the shirt a bit, re-sewed the sides, and trimmed the excess off.
For the next shirt, I used a little different method. I cut along the seam that was already there, then used my seam ripper a few inches down the sides. I cut two rectangles from a white T-shirt, one was about 14″ x 3″, and the other was 14″x 6″.
I basted and gathered the short sides of the bigger rectangle, like I did with the sleeves on the previous shirt, then I sewed the long edges together, turned it right side out, and sewed it to the top portion of the shirt. I added the elastic on the bottom portion and sewed the sides together exactly like I did on the pink shirt, except that I didn’t make the band go all the way around the shirt, only in front.
I knew the shirt was too low cut to wear on its own,but wearing a tank top or camisole under it would defeat the purpose of the shirt, so I found a white tank top, also in my bin of “potential refashions”, which I inserted under the top of the shirt. All I did was cut the shoulder seam on the top of the tank top, match it up with the shoulder seam of the shirt, sew them together, then pin and sew them together around the neckline of the shirt. I just cut away the rest of the tank top. Here is what that looked like inside out:
Here is a photo demonstrating how the shirt works- just lift up the top portion of the shirt; the bottom part stays in place with the elastic.
I actually wore this shirt all day Sunday and found it to be very comfortable and discrete. I think this kind of refashion is easiest with shirts that are already babydoll style, but you can use any shirt that fits you well. I would recommend the second method I used for making the gathered band, instead of using sleeves- it just works better. Also, the material you use for the gathered band needs to have a fair amount of stretch to it, or it will not pull up easily, and it will be difficult to put on as well.
I have some ideas for other styles of nursing shirt refashions, so stay tuned and hopefully I will have more to post soon.
Here is my basic “how-to” on making a maternity shirt (or regular shirt) out of a long skirt.
I started with this mid-calf- length skirt that I got years ago and no longer wear (the truth is that I still like it but just because I can still get it on doesn’t mean it “fits”).
I don’t remember exactly what it was made out of, but it was quite stretchy and it had an elastic waist. I laid the skirt out flat, and found a cotton shirt that I wanted to use as a rough guide in making pattern pieces for the maternity shirt.
I pinned the edge of the sleeve to the top of the skirt, so that the elastic waistband would be the new sleeve edge (thinking ahead to save as many steps as possible- no hemming required here!)
I did the same for the other sleeve, cutting generously to include a seam allowance. At this point I also cut off the tags and some little belt loops that were attached to the waistband. I folded the sleeves exactly like they are in the picture, but with right sides facing (inside out) and I sewed along the short edge so that the sleeve was then round, like… a sleeve.
Then, I pinned the shirt on the the skirt so I would have a cutting guide for the bust of the shirt. I picked a bigger shirt because its always good to make maternity clothes a little bit larger than you would normally wear (or you could actually use a maternity shirt as a guide if you had one handy).
After the shirt was pinned, I cut a similar outline from the skirt, and continued cutting down to the bottom of the skirt, allowing it to flare slightly (I actually went back later after the shirt was made and sewed it so there was less of a flare because I didn’t like the fit).
On the shirt front, I cut a deeper neckline than the back.
Now for the easy part: I matched up the shirt front and back with right sides facing each other, pinned them together, and sewed the shoulder seams and up the sides of the shirt. Then I pinned the sleeves in place and sewed each of them in. For the neckline, I initially just folded the fabric over and sewed it, but it didn’t look good, and felt too flimsy, so I cut a sort of “facing” from some stiffer black fabric I had, sewing right sides together, then folding it behind the shirt and top-stitching. The photo below is what the neckline looks like from inside the shirt.
Here is the neckline from the outside of the shirt. I felt like the front needed a little more detail, so I used some of the scraps of fabric I had left to make little ruffles. I basted up each strip, pulling on one thread to gather the material, then I pinned and sewed the ruffles in place. It’s kind of hard to see in the picture, but I think it gives some depth to the shirt.
Here is another attempt to show the detail on the front of the shirt. There are 5 ruffles of differing lengths, sewed on in a somewhat orderly manner, but nothing too mathematical!
I didn’t have any extra fabric left over- I ended up using every bit of it! Here I am, at 6 months pregnant.
And that’s it! Embellish and tailor to fit your preferences and your body type, and you have a brand new shirt that didn’t cost a thing to make!
Note: I opted for a basic how-to rather than a detailed, step by step tutorial because, quite frankly, I forget to take pictures of every step. However, if there is an interest, I can certainly add more detail- and please feel free to email or comment if you have questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them!
On second thought, I won’t post pictures of my jeans now. It’s just one of those awkward, I look really chubby- not quite pregnant pictures. Maybe later…
Anyway, thanks Alise for sending me the link to this project!