Maternity clothes are very expensive for the short amount of time you’ll wear them. There’s no need to go out and purchase maternity clothes, though, when you can change some of your current clothing to fabulous maternity outfits very easily. All you need is a sewing machine and a few pieces of fabric.
Jeans are some of the most comfortable pants you can find – pregnant or not. Some women have favorite jeans that they have to give up when their belly begins to swell, though. You can keep your favorite jeans, to wear while you’re pregnant, but after changing them to maternity wear it’ll be impossible to change them back to their former design.
Cut the tummy portion out of the jeans beginning at the side seam. Leave about an inch of fabric, next to the seam, to sew in the new panel. Cut down the side seam stopping when you get to the area, at the side seam, that’s directly across from the bottom of the zipper. Cut across the lower front part of the jeans, about an inch or so below the zipper bottom. Now cut straight back up, next to the side seam, until you have removed the entire tummy panel.
Purchase stretchy fabric that you can insert in the tummy area of the jeans. Cut a piece of fabric, that is an inch larger on each side and across the bottom, than the blue jean panel. The panel should be a couple of inches longer at the top waist portion for hemming and insertion of elastic. Hem the panel, at the top, and insert half-inch elastic. To insert the panel begin by sewing down the side seam, then across the lower front portion, and back up the opposite side seam.
Shirts are even easier to make into maternity wear. Different methods are used depending upon the design of the shirt. For a simple shirt, such as a tee, lay it flat and smooth it. Cut a sliver from each side, just enough to remove the side seam, from bottom hem to underarm seam. Cut a piece of similar fabric (that is, similar cloth) of a coordinating color. It will be difficult to find exact fabric so think of something that will make the shirt look like it was made with different colors or patterns. For example, if it’s a light pink shirt cut dark pink insertion pieces. Or, cut the new pieces from a patterned cloth.
For some people who sew it’s easier to cut from the bottom hem to the sleeve hem than it is to stop at the underarm area and try to insert the new piece. Cut the shirt the way that will be easiest for your own sewing skills. Cut the new pieces for the sides by measuring the length of the piece you’ve removed. Cut each piece 5 to 8 inches wide depending upon how large you want the belly of the shirt. The sleeve area will not need to be expanded quite that much, so taper it to just an inch or two. Make the piece a couple of inches longer on each end to allow for hemming of the bottom and of the sleeves.
Hem the sleeve and bottom of the fabric, making sure the hems are the same size as the existing bottom and sleeve hems. If you’re starting from the underarm area simply hem the bottom of the new pieces. Pin the new pieces into the appropriate sections. Begin sewing by starting at the sleeve area and stitching the new piece to the front portion of the shirt. Now attach the new piece to the back of part of the shirt. Do the same to the opposite side. If you’re only inserting a piece from the underarm to the hem begin with the hem area and taper off into the underarm seam of the sleeve.
Turn tube tops or bathing suit tops into cute summer maternity clothing by adding to them. Cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than your current belly measurement. Cut the cloth to reach from the tube top or bathing suit top to just below the belly. Make sure you have enough length to allow for hemming. Cut the piece on the fold so that there is only one side seam. Hem the new piece of fabric first. Pin it onto the lower portion of the top, aligning the side seam of the fabric with the side area of the top. Align the fold with the opposite side area of the top. The fabric will be slightly larger than the top so you will have to take a few pleats to make it align with the top. Your best bet is to take two pleats in the front and two in the back – on each side of the center. These types of designs are easily changed back to their original look by simply removing the new piece that was added.
It’s a little more difficult to change button-up shirts into maternity wear. You can, though, by adding a piece that will make the shirt look as though you have another shirt under it. Unbutton the shirt to begin. Cut a piece of fabric by using a tank top or tee as a pattern. Cut the front portion only, allowing it to be larger than the regular shirt that you’re using as a pattern. Pin the new piece under the button-up shirt. Arrange it to look as though the button-up is open and you’re wearing another shirt under. Pin the new shirt piece in place and stitch by following the existing stitches down the front. Tack the piece at the shoulder seam as well.
Some clothing designs are much too complicated to make into maternity wear so stick with simple pull-ons, button-ups and such. You’ll be happy with the results and you’ll save a lot of money on maternity garments.