Monday, April 9, 2012

TUTORIAL: simple ruched maternity shirt

It's weird to see pictures of myself pregnant again.
But if we're celebrating BABY, then we must celebrate pregnancy too.

And here is the one and only maternity project I sewed.
A semi-homemade ruched shirt:
I bought this long T-shirt/tunic top from Old Navy a few years ago.
And wore it once on the blog when sharing the Big Bag (made from a couch cushion slip cover from the IKEA as-is bin).
But it always felt like a maternity shirt to me. So when my belly started growing, I started wearing it with leggings. I even wore it to the Alt Design Summit when teaching my class.
It looked pretty cute.
But then I actually saw the photos of myself in the shirt.....
Not so cute.
The shirt made me look bigger than I was, since the bottom wasn't contour with my body.
Not very flattering.

But.....with simple ruching on the side it was an easy fix!
(In fact ruched shirts from Target made up a majority of my wardrobe during my pregnancy).
This is very easy to do.

• Start with a long shirt (easy to find at Target, Forever 21, Old Navy, the usual suspects)
• You want the shirt to fit you well on the top. So, if you happen to find a cute shirt on clearance that's too big for you, you could always take it in a bit on the sides so it fits better and leave more room on the bottom for your big belly (sorry, no tutorial on this but I'm sure you could google it and find one).
• Basically, you want a long T-shirt similar to the one below.
• On the side seam of the shirt, measure from the chest area down to the hem of the shirt.
• Cut a piece of elastic that's 1/2 to 3/4 of that length (skinny 1/4 inch wide elastic works best).

- There's no rhyme or reason to this. Just do what works best with your shirt size, guestimating how much you want it to ruche up.
- Ruching means gathered on both sides, rather than gathered on one side, such as the Simple Skirt.

• On the inside side seam, pin the elastic down the length of the shirt.
• First pin it to the seam just below where your chest would be. Then pin it at the bottom of the shirt. Then pin it in the middle. Then continue splitting the difference so you have it pinned in about 8 spots. Remember that the elastic is smaller than the area you're pinning, which is what you want. The elastic will stretch as you sew and gather the shirt up with it.
• Sew the elastic to the side seam.
Start at the top of the elastic and use two hands to pull the elastic taut, down to the next pin. Sew to that point, remove the pin and do the same thing down to the next pin. Continue this all the way down to the bottom.
At this point you have ruched sides!

Now....because my shirt was especially long, I also added elastic around the front bottom of the shirt to help it "cradle" around my belly even more.
- Cut a piece of 1/2 inch wide elastic that's appx 2/3 the length of the front hem.
- Pin it in place as we did above.
- Sew it by stretching from pin to pin.
A much improved maternity shirt.
This actually become one of my favorite shirts to wear in the final pregnancy months.
And in case you're I don't always wear leggings so exposed like that. This shirt worked better with a pair of yoga pants I had from Forever 21.

And in case you're also wondering what I looked like on a day-to-day pregnancy basis, here you go.
Keeping-it-real photo:
Dude I look hammered.
Growing a baby is serious business.

Check out the Celebrate BABY archives HERE.

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