Thoughts on a Sewn Maternity Wardrobe

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

 Hello - and a very Happy 2015 to everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas/holiday period. I took a little bit of an unplanned blogging break there, partly because I was bummed about the house situation, but also just to relax and enjoy family time. I have a few finished projects to blog about as I have been sewing even if I haven't been blogging - but now that I'm back to work and we are still having this dreary winter lighting it has been very hard to get any photos taken! Hopefully I'll be able to get some pics this weekend!

I've had this blog post half written for a number of weeks (erm, I'm now 19 weeks pregnant!) so I thought I had better dust it off, finish it and post it!

I'm 15 weeks pregnant today and yesterday I had my first wardrobe freak-out because I couldn't fit into any of my work clothes! I don't really have a proper bump yet, it's too early for that, but I have certainly put on weight (tut tut I know - I didn't have morning sickness during the first trimester but I did have extreme hunger pangs and had to eat ALL the time. Not so good!) so my skirts and trousers give me an awful muffin top and my tops/blouses are too tight around my boobs! So I'm in that awkward in-between period where my old clothes are too tight, but I'm not big enough yet for proper maternity clothes and I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of the sewing options I have come across for maternity wear.

I have split the pieces into two sections, Early Pregnancy / Post-Partum and All Stages of Pregnancy for easy reference. Following that I have also curated a list of other blog posts talking about this subject to give you even more options. This list is a personal preference though, and there are many more patterns out there (the big 4 all offer options for example). If you have come across any specific patterns which were a gift during your pregnancy I would love to hear them in the comments as well! I've just noticed that Jen from Jennifer Lauren Vintage is also pregnant (I think we are only a week or two apart!) and she is planning to post about maternity sewing too - and release a maternity pattern! So I'm really excited to follow along with her posts, and to see the pattern she releases.

Finally, these are the thoughts of a person who has had no/very little experience of pregnancy yet (!!!) so perhaps some of these patterns won't actually be as suitable as I think. I'm hoping to be able to revisit this post after the pregnancy and give my revised thoughts!

Early Pregnancy / Post-Partum Plans:

These patterns are pieces that I think will work well during the early stages of pregnancy (first trimester and early second trimester - the early signs of a bump) and should therefore also be good to wear after the baby arrives (some more than others and of course it depends if you are nursing or not).

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Made By Rae Washi Dress
So, now it may become apparent why I recently made another Washi Dress. And it also explains why I tried out leaving off the shirring at the back, as I thought it would give me a bit more room. As I said in my write up, leaving off the shirring does leave you with a bit of a 'sack' shape, but oh my goodness, it is so comfortable!!! I also have another in the works, it just needs the bias binding sewn and it will be finished (argh - better get on that!). And I've just discovered that Rae has done a tutorial showing us how to make the dress/top nursing friendly - brilliant!

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Wiksten Tova
I've had the Tova on my 'to-sew' list for years now so I would love to get around to finally making one. I thought this would be a lovely loose tunic to wear during the transitioning stages. It should also work well during this time made up in the top length as well.

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Deer and Doe Plantain T-Shirt
I love this t-shirt, it's such a comfortable loose fit, which also lends itself well to the early stages of pregnancy. I'm also wondering if lengthening it might  work too - or would that end up being too tent-like?

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A Shift Dress such as the Coco or Laurel
If you make up a shift dress in stretchy ponte knit I think this would work well for the first signs of a bump. I think once the bump starts getting larger it could end up looking a bit unflattering. I also just ended up buying a shift dress from H&M because I didn't have time this week to sew and needed something for work ASAP - and wow do I love it. I just bought it in a size bigger and I see myself being able to wear this for a good month or so from now, and also after the baby is born - so woven shift dresses sewn in a slightly larger size than your normal size should work as a good transition piece.

Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges Dress
Debatable suggestion here as I have actually never made this pattern up before, but I thought it could make a good piece for early pregnancy as well as work well for nursing due to the button front. Other shirt dresses could also work, but I picked the Darling Ranges dress due to the high waist, which should give more room for a mini-bump.

Deer and Doe Bruyère Shirt 
Again, another piece for both early pregnancy and nursing due to the button front. I thought the looser lower section would work well during this time, but the waist band may need to be either sewn with a loose fit, or raised slightly to more of an Empire line.

All Stages of Pregnancy:

These are pieces that, as the title suggests, should work throughout your pregnancy as they are either designed to grow with you, or are loose cover-ups.

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 A Kimono Jacket/ Cover-up
Such as the Elise Kyoto Kimono (which I actually pattern tested...but picked a very misbehaving chiffon fabric and promptly created a big puckered mess!). Sewn up in an accent fabric this would be a really effective way to brighten up a basic black outfit (which I have a feeling may be my pregnancy wardrobe staple!).

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A Loose Cardigan
There are loads of cardigan patterns and tutorials out there, but I have linked to Megan Nielsen's wrap cardi tutorial as an example. A loose wrap or waterfall cardi seems to be a pregnant ladies go-to piece if Pinterest is anything to go by. It's a great way to make summer clothes last into colder months and is just a great layering piece. I live in cardigans in work (our heating is temperamental) so I know I will be making a couple of these up for the pregnancy.

By Hand London Victoria Blazer
I've picked this pattern because I recently got a copy of it, but any loose blazer or jacket pattern would work - just don't expect to be able to button it up!

Megan Nielsen Wrapped Maternity Top
I am in love with Megan Nielsen's ENTIRE maternity pattern range, and I also just love the way they have been styled on her blog (just gorgeous, as is the model!). I was lucky enough to win this pattern earlier in the year, before I become pregnant (I took it as a good sign! lol), but it has been my no 1 maternity sewing pattern choice for a while so I would definitely have bought it if I hadn't have won it. Looking forward to making this up in black ASAP and then living it in!

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Skirt
Designed to grow with your bump, this skirt will hopefully be the answer to my work wardrobe woes. Again, I'll be making this up in black ASAP.

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Smock or Empire Line Dresses
I deliberated about whether to include these dresses under this category, or the early pregnancy category. I tend to prefer the look more on smaller bumps than in the later stages of pregnancy, but I have seen some photos of ladies who look gorgeous rocking a little dress with their large bump - so it's all a question of personal style choices. Either way, I have one dress in mind that I would really like to make but I haven't found the perfect pattern so it may require a bit of pattern hacking.I don't have a pattern to link to for this style, but I think it should be quite an easy hack?

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-Shirt
Did I mention how much I loved Megan Nielsen's Maternity range?!! I image this will be a great staple, but I'm also seeing the potential to lengthen this to a slinky dress, which I think could be lovely as well.

Phew! Well that should keep you busy for a while. As I said earlier, this is just a personal selection of sewing patterns which I think would be good for maternity. I have started to curate a more extensive selection of maternity/nursing friendly sewing patterns on this Pinterest board, so do check that out if you are interested (it will no doubt grow over time so keep checking back).

Megan Nielsen also has a blog dedicated to sewing your own maternity clothing, the aptly named There you can find a whole host of suggestions and tutorials on pregnancy fashion so I really recommend having a browse through the site.

And finally, here are links to a number of blog posts specifically about maternity sewing:

54 Maternity Sewing Tutorials
24 Maternity Outfits You Can Make Yourself
Very Shannon Maternity Sewing Tutorial Roundups: 2010, 2011, 2012
All of So Zo's Maternity posts, which includes tutorials and post-pregnancy reflection on maternity sewing (really recommend reading through these posts)
Another Maternity friendly pattern round-up, by Joanne from Stitch and Witter

I'm sure I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg in this post, so please feel free to offer your sewing or blog link suggestions and I'll check them out, and add them to the list above.

Did you sew anything for your maternity wardrobe? Any suggestions on styles that worked the best for you?

Next up I'll talk about what I personally would like to get sewn up for my own pregnancy (2 makes already done!).

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  1. Check out burda for maternity patterns. I had a lot of luck with their patterns! I also modified regular patterns for a bump that seemed to work well for me.

    1. Thanks for the tips Liza Jane. Yes I was really excited to see they were releasing some maternity patterns in one of their recent magazines, but then was a bit disappointed with them. But I need to check out their website for older mat patterns - thanks!

  2. First of all, congrats! Secondly, don't overlook a cute maxi dress pattern (like jamie christine's) and make it a bit bigger and then ruche the sides to make room for a bump. Some days you won't feel like dealing with the heat and it'll be easy and comfy...and adorable.

    1. Hi Tracy, thanks for the congrats - and thanks for the comment and tips on the maxi. I was actually thinking about a ruched sided jersey maxi dress, so I can't believe I missed it off this list! Thanks for reminding me!!!


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