Wednesday, 5 April 2017

How to make your own maternity patterns

Well, the New Grandma who wants to sew is taking a temporary break from making things for the grand-children. And guess why? Well, one of their Mummies is set on expanding the brood! So it's time to think about clothes for the Mama-to-be.

In this post, I'll tell you how I've adapted non-maternity patterns into patterns for maternity clothes. But I will also tell you more about making maternity clothes with free or paid for maternity patterns in a later post. See here.

Having done a serious hunt for new patterns, it seems that most of the manufacturers are no longer interested in maternity clothes. In fact, one of the books had a huge section on dressing up clothes, and only one page of maternity patterns! Pah! I've had to get a couple of vintage patterns from our local fabric store that re-cycles patterns. However, all is not lost. There is a lot you can do to adapt non-maternity patterns, especially tops.

How to choose a suitable pattern?

What you need for a maternity top is a garment that will expand to allow for a waistline much bigger than normal, but which will also hang nicely before the bump is huge. So you are looking for something that is, or COULD BE, a more-or-less trapezoidal shape.
There are various non-maternity patterns that will lend themselves. I've given some examples below  of adaptations, and you can see the results on some of the other posts, for a tent-style top, an empire style top, a top with a yoke, and tops made from other non-maternity patterns

1. Patterns with a yoke.
For example:

It's not a maternity pattern, but I've made a nice top for my daughter with just a couple of modifications. In the non-maternity version, the front is gathered into the yoke, the seam line being just above the bust. The back is also slightly gathered, so the top is already loose fitting.  I made it up in a size which is a size or two larger than my daughter would normally wear, as a pregnant bust can be a size or two larger! To read more on how to adapt this type of pattern, see this post.

2. Patterns with a below the bust seam / empire line style

You can consider adapting any pattern with an empire waist line. Some already have the skirt part gathered into the below the bust line, others may be more fitted. Here's an example of a fitted style from a vintage pattern (left) and another, which is not a full empire line style, but does have an inder-bust seam.

First, make sure the size you will use is large enough to accommodate a fuller bust! Then it's easy enough to allow for an expanding waistline.  To find out more about how to adapt this type of pattern with an under-bust seam, see this post

3. Tent style  tops or dresses

Any pattern with a basic tent shape may well work as a maternity top or dress without much adapting. the only thing to watch will be the bust measurement. I've written a post (here) about tent style dresses. I had a dress of this shape many years ago. I wasn't pregnant at the time, it was just the fashion then. But I always liked it. Very easy to wear.
(The reason it looks a bit pinched on the waist is because my brand-new husband had his hand round my waist.)

4. Any loose fitting top 

This, below, is another example of a non-maternity pattern which can  work as a maternity top with just a small adjustment. 

This is already a nice loose fitting top. There are several ways this can be adapted, and you can read about how to do it on this post

But you can use almost any pattern for a top you have kicking around - even one you may have drawn round a T shirt that fits! For example:

Read more about adapting patterns on this post, and on the others referred to earlier.

I hope this post has given you some ideas to help you avoid needing to buy a lot of special maternity patterns that will be used only once. But if not - you can read more thoughts on maternity patterns here.

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