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More Mommy Sewing

Once I got started looking for non-preggo patterns (I should trade mark that) that can work for the ‘in process’ moms, I got more and more ideas, which I thought I’d pass on. One of the advantages of using a regular pattern is that ‘post arrival’, you will still have clothing that fits, looks non-maternity and cute. Here are a few I found today – these are from vintage sites but they are not ancient history fashion-wise; you’ll be able to find ones in the current pattern catalogs that look pretty similar.

This top is being shown with a belt on it. As you can see, there is plenty of gathers and room in the front (one tip: when you look at the back of the pattern, see the item on the chart labeled “width, lower edge”. This will give you a good idea of how much room is there. In this top, at the larger sizes, the width is close to 60 inches. So, one way to take advantage of that would be to get the pattern (they have multiple sizes now) and cut the pattern out using the cut lines that are your size (or perhaps one size up to accommodate for bust development) and then grade out to a larger size between the bust, the waist and the hem. One other advantage of something like this is that you can move the belt around as you need to – as your tummy develops, move the belt up under the bust; when baby arrives, move it back down. Genius.

Another way to find patterns that have possibilities is to search on any of the pattern sites – even the current Big Four – on certain words such as ‘Swing”, “babydoll”, Mod (because during the 60s, many dresses and tops were either babydoll or trapeze), Boho (because usually the tops and dresses have that drapey in the front, gathered hippy thing going).

This top is making use of two really clever treatments that can be used for ‘during baby’ wear: the “blouson’ and pleats in the front. I would not use any fabric that is too crisp for this – as a matter of fact, I’d use a lightweight knit for a more modern look. But to take more advantage of the blouson, I’d lower that elastic waist almost to the bottom.

Another useful style uses what are called ‘princess seams’. Now, there are all sorts of variations on this theme. In this one, the top of the seam ends at the shoulders, which is very useful if you are busty because you can modify there. But one way to make this blouse do double duty for maternity wear is to view it as an opportunity to put in a box pleat or a godet between the bust and the bottom.
For how to make a box pleat, gopleats
Or burdastyle demo

For how to add a godet, go skirt with godets(this is how to take a pattern for a skirt and add a godet – you can do exactly the same thing with a patern such as this one for the blouse).

And don’t forget the option of very drapey, stretchy knit material. I can definitely see someone(especially someone who is tall, relatively elegant looking and pregnant), using clothing like this set of designs to get through the last half of the pregnancy. Throw it on, wrap it and go.

Finally, a couple of words about stretch fabrics. You will want to see a percentage of lycra something like the following:
Stretch wovens for blouses: 3% lycra
Stretch wovens for dresses: 3-5% lycra
Stretch wovens for slacks and jackets: 5% lycra
Stretch knits for tops: 5-10% lycra (as a matter of fact – you will also want to see the words “four-way stretch” in the description and if you are able to get your hands on them before you buy, take four inches in your hands and see if you can stretch it to eight inches. You will need really stretchy knit – 2 times the length is the minimum you will want to use, especially if you are using a knit top that is not necessarily designed for maternity wear but is being shown performing that function (Jalie patterns has several tops that they show that way – you need very stretchy knits to accommodate because the pattern does not have separate sizing or cutting lines for pregnant tummies).

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  1. A very interesting and informative post, Toby…as usual 🙂
    Thanks for sharing such good information !

  2. Aunt Toby says:

    Pam – I’ve been absolutely stunned at two things: How horrifically expensive maternity clothing is these days and how few ‘maternity’ patterns there are in the Big Four catalogs. Part of this, I think is because so many of us go to work in casual clothing (I won’t even call it ‘business casual’ since that seems to be a step up from what you see anyway), so the pattern sellers don’t see a need. But anyone who has any fitting issue of any sort (short, tall, fat, thin, big shoulders, short arms, big rearend..whatever) is going to find that buying maternity is going to be a tough go. And if you need actual ‘business clothing’ (which is why I got into this; my eldest is pregnant and has a big week long conference she has to go to in November, which requires a much nicer level of clothing than she has..or that she can find, so I figure other pregnant ladies have the same issues. But the lack of patterns is pretty shocking.

  3. […] source: More Mommy Sewing – Kitchen Counter Economics. […]

  4. kbenco says:

    Have you considered BurdaStyle (formerly Burda World of Fashion) magazine? There is usually one issue per year with plenty of maternity patterns – the most recent maternity issue had business clothes.
    (Re Vogue 8305- the wrap over top has lots of ruching in the side seams – use a super stretchy knit, increase the fabric allowed in the ruching to allow room for a belly – I made this for my SIL, and she wore this to work for the last 3 months of her pregnancy with a cardigan style non maternity jacket worn open

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