DIY Maternity Shirt

I have a confession to make.  I am NOT a fashion anything.  I don’t mind looking at clothes (too much, especially if I’m alone), but to try stuff on, find things that look good on me, be “in style,” nope, that’s not me – at all.  My biggest things are comfort, practicality, and (hopefully) not too much slouchiness.  (I try; I rarely succeed.)  As you might be able to imagine, being pregnant has really put me in a pickle, clothing wise.  Thankfully, my mama found a great deal at a yard sale this past spring on a bunch of maternity clothes, but I’ve really wanted some more comfortable shirts.  For awhile, I’ve shied away from the maternity shirts with the elastic in the sides.  With my record, I figured they would like some kind of melted colored marshmallow that I squashed onto myself, so it came as quite a surprise when, out of desperation to find something that was comfy and decent-looking, I tried one on and found that didn’t look too terrible.  Too bad the price was a bit much for more than one, so I bought only one.  Coincidentally, I also recently found a blog that had an incredibly simple tutorial on how to make more.  Whoo-hoo!  The original blog post that I found is called “Big Tee To Maternity Tee Refashion” on the blog Homemade By Jill.  (

Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart for some groceries and also decided to see if I could find a suitable, cheap t-shirt to make my own maternity t-shirt.  After scouring the women’s department and men’s department for a suitable shirt, I finally ran across one in the craft department for about $3.  A spool of matching thread and a package of elastic, and I had all I needed to make a shirt for about $5 total, about half the price I paid for the maternity t-shirt (on sale) at Target.

I am on here today to make my own little tutorial on making one of these shirts.  Now, let me say, I’m not an expert seamstress by any means.  I don’t even have a sewing machine.  This isn’t necessarily the prettiest shirt in the world, but it’s not half bad.  And it gets the job done.  I hope this little tutorial makes sense to everyone!  😀


What you need:

  • a t-shirt about 1-2 sizes too big (It needs to be a little long.  Men’s shirts work well.)
  • matching thread
  • narrow elastic (I used 3/8-inch braided elastic because it looked stronger than the rolled elastic, but in the maternity shirt I bought, it looks like they used rolled.  I guess just whatever melts your butter.)
  • pins and needle
  • something to attach your shirt to while you sew

What you do:

*Let me remind you, I don’t have a sewing machine, so I was doing this by hand.  If you have a machine, go for it.  It will take a lot of time off the whole thing and be a lot easier, too.

  1. Mark a spot, just below the bust line on the shirt with a pin.  For me, this was about 3 1/2 inches below the armpit seam of the sleeve.  Do this on both sides.  I put the shirt on, pinned a spot on one side, took the shirt off, measured the spot of the pin, and marked the same spot on the other side.
  2. Measure from the bottom of the shirt up about 2-3 inches, and mark the spot on both sides.
  3. Here’s where things get fun.  Find something to which you can safety pin the shirt and elastic.  The elastic has to be stretched out when you sew it onto the shirt, so you have to be able to secure it in a stretched position.  I used a couch cushion, but you could use something much smalled if you prefer, like a couch pillow.  (If you’re using a machine, you don’t need this step.  Just keep the elastic pulled tight as you sew.)
  4. Safety pin the elastic to one of the marked spots (also pinning it to your pillow at the same time).  Smooth the side of the shirt across the pillow.  Stretch the elastic to the other marked spot, and safety pin it down, too.
  5. Sew the elastic onto the shirt.  If your shirt has side seams, sew it onto the seam.  If it doesn’t, just sew it directly onto the side of the shirt.  Use plenty of stitches so that it doesn’t come loose, and sew the entire piece of elastic.  (If you are using a machine, a zig-zag stitch would do the trick nicely.  If you’re like me and doing this by hand, just be patient and stitch, stitch away.)  Also, as you do this, be careful to not sew the shirt to the pillow!  Patience is key when doing this project by hand.
  6. Remove shirt from pillow, go to the other side, attach it to the pillow, and sew elastic on to that side.
  7. Try on your creation, and be happy and comfy!

Tacking down the shirt and elastic to the cushion. Safety pins on both ends. Elastic stretched out.

Stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch! The inside side of the shirt after the elastic is sewn on and the shirt is removed from the cushion.

The outside side of the shirt after the elastic is sewn on. (The lighting is weird, but I never claimed to be photographer. 😉 )

Connor in his new clothes! (Never trust a happy daddy-to-be with a camera.)

A success! Whoo-hoo!



Filed under Pregnancy and Baby, Sewing, This and That

3 responses to “DIY Maternity Shirt

  1. I had lots of these shirts when I was pregnant. I also thought they would look terrible but they really were flattering. I wore them for the first few weeks afterward too. They were great belly camouflage till things got back to “normal!”

  2. Amy

    This is great, Crystal! If you wanted to make them even more fitted for when after the baby comes, you could take in the seams along the armpit and sleeves. I’m going to have to give this one a try.

    • Yeah, I was thinking about how the top is still kinda slouchy. I’m a very beginner at sewing, but I was thinking about rolling the sleeves up a couple of times, tacking them down, adding a button or something to kinda help them. Thank you, though! I’m sure you could do one pretty easily. 🙂

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