It didn't take long for most of my regular clothes to stop fitting me. The scale tells me I've only gained about 5 pounds, but my belly tells a different story. It was time to try out a tutorial that I've had saved for a long time: how to modify a t-shirt pattern for maternity wear.
I used the tutorial from So, Zo... to modify my TNT Renfrew. I followed it exactly except that I didn't go up a size (my normal Renfrew is a size 4 with a slight wedge removed from CB for my narrow shoulders). I did use a 3/8" seam allowance on the side seams instead of 5/8". In case you don't want to click over and read the whole tutorial, you basically add length to the front bodice only, then gather that extra length to fit your unchanged back bodice. How you choose to gather is up to you, either with regular basting stitches, pleats, or elastic. I chose clear elastic because most of my RTW maternity shirts use elastic. Next week I'll post a mini-tutorial on how I sewed this top with the elastic in the side seams. It was a bit lengthy to include with this review and it won't be interesting to anyone who isn't sewing maternity wear!
This really unflattering side view shows that there is plenty of room left in the shirt for an expanding belly. If you follow the tutorial you'll be producing shirts that will fit through your entire pregnancy, I'd wager.
The fabric I used is a very pretty heathered coral cotton/rayon jersey from Girl Charlee. It's been a while since I ordered it so I believe it's sold out. I like the fabric a lot, but it was way off-grain. The heathered effect is sort of horizontal from selvage to selvage but even that isn't straight. After attempting to straighten it, I kind of stopped caring and did what I could to make it work.
What I like about this shirt is that it looks normal in the back, you can't tell that it's maternity wear. I *might* add a teensy bit of length there if I make this again, because all my other maternity shirts are longer in the back and that's what I'm used to. We'll see.
This was my first time making the cowl-neck version of the Renfrew and I like it. A lot. For some reason I was under the impression that the cowl was a folded-over rectangle sewn to the neckline, but in reality there is quite a bit of shaping. Just be warned that it's kind of huge and it will take a bit of fabric. This top took two yards, I can get a short-sleeved Renfrew (non-maternity) out of only 1 yard.
It also took a little longer to sew, due to the cowl. My previous Renfrews were knocked out in two days, one day to cut and one to sew, but this one took three. Still, I paid something like $11 for the fabric. There is no way I could buy a maternity shirt just like this for under $30. My favorite part is how pretty the front gathers turned out. Just need a bigger baby to take advantage of them!