Maternity clothes drive me nuts. They are so very much needed for a 6 months (or a whole year if you are really unlucky), but then, what? Most of my maternity clothes were bought second hand, and I sent a good deal of them away to the thrift shops and pregnant friends. Still, a couple have lingered and I could really use something new to wear at 10 months post-partum (as I type this, I am, in fact, wearing an unaltered maternity top :O).
Here is an idea to make those maternity tops not only wearable after the little mite arrives, but actually quite useful for nursing. Since I have no before picture, you'll have to believe me that until recently, this was a maternity tee shirt:
The tee shirt has two front flaps that are attached to double fold bias tape that come around behind and tie at the back.
To convert your maternity tops to a wrap around tee, you'll need your maternity top in knit material, another tee shirt or bit of knit fabric (for the underneath panel), single fold bias tape and double fold bias tape.
(Truthfully, you could make a wrap tee with any overlarge tee shirt, but you would also have to adjust the shoulders and sleeves for a proper fit. With the maternity shirt, the shoulders, sleeves and arms should already be well fitting, and the extra fabric at the front is used to create the wrapped portion.)
A quick note on sewing knits. Use a ball point needle on knits. For this project, a woven material (the bias tape) is being sewn on also, for which you want to switch to a sharp needle. When sewing the two different materials, position the knit material against the feeddogs, with the woven material on top. When pressing (ironing) knit material, do not rub the iron along the material. Press the iron straight down and lift up again. For the most part, hovering a steaming iron closely above your seam will pull the stitches and fabric straight and there will not be much need to directly apply the iron to the material.
I recommend trying on your shirt a few times during construction to see how it will drape on your body (or, if you are lucky enough to have a dressmaker's dummy, this is a good time to use it). The instructions here are a guideline for you to follow, but there are no measurements. With refashioned clothing, your best guide is your body. Rely less on my diagrams and more on your instincts - you know your body best.
Now, let's chop something up!
Here is your maternity tee. Note tent-like properties.
Take your scissors and cut a more flattering line (use a good fitting tee from your closet as a guide) down one side of the shirt. On the other side, split the seam with your scissors to almost the armhole (don't cut the armhole!) and cut the flattering line on the back only. On this second side, leave the front of the shirt uncut. This will be the front wrapping flap.
Next, cut off the neckline ribbing and seperate the front wrapping panels in a general V neckline shape. Use the diagram below as a guide.
Still with the scissors, shape the bottom of the front flap with a curve (see diagram below). The idea is to have a curved shape but still cover up the belly area. While you are at it, cut off the bottom hem all around the shirt. Also make a cut on the back front flap on the side to make to bring it in line with the cut side on the back.
Cut off a large panel from your additional tee shirt (or piece of knit material) to use for the back front flap. Following the diagram below, slip the panel under the cut half flap (the portion to be the back part of the wrapped front). Use a piece of chalk to trace the curve of the half flap, trace out the sides (as shown by the back of the shirt, and draw a curved front down to the bottom hem. This will be the extra material to form the under flap of the wrap. Make sure to add a seam allowance to the top curve and side before cutting.
Sew the panel onto the back flap. Sew closed the flap sides to the back of the tee.
To stabilize the neckline, sew your single fold bias tape on the inside of the neck. Attach the single fold bias tape by opening up the tape to the raw edge and sewing that edge to the neckline all the way round, right sides together. Fold up the tape again and press the tape on the inside of the neckline. Secure by top stitching all around the neck.
Use the double fold bias tape to make two straps for tying by top stitching the length of the tape closed. Sew two bias tape straps onto the pointy edges of the flaps. Put a small button hole in the knit at the side of the top flap (where the bottom flap tie meets the shirt) to allow the bottom tie out.
The bottom of this top is finished with a lettuce edge. Lettuce edges are easy and attractive way to finish knit (in my humble opinion, anyway).
Lettuce edging is created by stretching the knit edge while sewing a zig zag stitch over the edge. The ripple is created by the stretch being held by the stitches. The zig zag stitch length should be just a bit smaller than your usual stitch, but not too tight (such as with a satin or applique stitch). To stretch, use both hands and pull the material apart as it is fed into the machine.
Lettuce edge all around the bottom hem, except where the bottom flap goes underneath the top flap. Keep doing a zig zag stitch on the hidden portion of the bottom flap to finish the edge, but do not stretch the material to prevent a noticable line underneath.
Done! Wrap tee around your body. Open for babies.
Standing in the snow in your new wrap tee is optional.
(the circle skirt from button down men's shirts is the next tutorial in the hopper... coming soon!)
This is a free tutorial and I encourage you to use the information in any way you need to (check the disclaimer at the bottom of the page). If it works for you, please consider supporting my etsy shop by purchasing a Little Print Design pattern or toss a dollar or two in my paypal to show appreciation and to encourage me to offer up even more quality patterns and tutorials.
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