Sunday, February 24, 2008

maternity clothes

Let me start by saying I have issues with maternity clothes. Therefore I am halfway convinced that I would like to try to get through my pregnancy buying as few "maternity" items as possible, and instead search out items other places that are cut a little more roomy. So far I have had pretty good luck finding things I think will work, at least I am hoping they will be able to last until August. Forever 21 has been great for tops and a lot of the chain stores have more blousy tops as part of their spring lines.

The thing that bothers me most about the maternity wear out there is that it seems like the affordable stuff is not cute and really bad quality and the cute stuff is ridiculously expensive. I seriously want to start my own company and make affordable, cute, decent quality maternity wear because so far I am not convinced it exists. Oh and the sizing is all weird too.

Anyway, this is what lead me to latest project. I have lots of pants I like and I wear all the time, and I decided that rather than buy items I don't like to wear while I am pregnant, I'd rather take items that I do like and make them work, and buy new stuff after I am pregnant, hence my first pair of maternity pants. This was so easy, but if you are not the crafty type, I am pretty sure you can take any pair of pants to a tailor and they can convert them for you. Here is the step by step.

1. Choose the pants.
I took a pair of my favorite J. Crew White boot cut jeans. These were one of my favorites last summer and I thought I could get a lot of pregnancy wear out of them.
2. Remove the waistband
Next I carefully removed the waistband with a seam picker. I was surprised how easy this came off, and according to some other sources a tailor could add this back on later post pregnancy.

3. Determine what kind of waistband you want.
Once I cleaned out all the little threads I was ready to make my waistband. I recommend buying either cotton Lycra or spandex from your fabric store. Depending on your waist size, a 1/2 yard should be enough to do at least one, possibly two waistbands. There are a few ways to construct the waistband so if you have a favorite pair of maternity pants already, look at how their waist band was made or go to your local maternity store and study their waistbands to look at options. I myself opted for a cotton Lycra one that I could fold over now and would give me plenty of coverage once the belly starts to swell. You can decided if you want to sew in an elastic band at the top or not. I opted not to because I don't like things too tight around my waist. The thickness of the waist band will depend on how high you want it to come up, once again look at other maternity pants for options. Measure your belly at the widest part now, and remember your belly will stretch but so will the fabric. Give your self a little extra room, but be careful not to cut it more than a few inches larger because you don't want your pants falling down.

4. Construct the waist band.
Once you have your fabric cut to the measurement of our waist +2/3 inches, fold inside out and sew along edge twice, once with a straight stitch and again with a zigzag stitch or serger if you have one, to finish the edge. Make sure the seam is tight and test it by stretching the fabric. Depending on what kind of waist band you elected to do, you will either sew in elastic at the the top of the waistband at this point, or if you are making them like I did, turn the waistband right side out (you will want the total thickness of the waistband to be about 12-18 inches if you are doing this type and fold half into the inside of the circle so that you have two layers of fabric.

5. Attach to pants

Depending on your sewing skills, this will be either an easy step of the process, or the tricky part, but either way, definitely doable. Line the unfinished edges of the waist band up with the exposed edges of your pant so that the waist band is around the waist of the band almost like a belt. Being careful to match up the edges sew a straight stitch along the edge giving about a 1/4 inch- 1/2 inch selvage. Once you have sewn all the way around, finish the selvage with either a zigzag stitch or by serging the exposed selvage. Double check that once again the seams are tight and strong and voila! Here you have you very own maternity pants, sure to be cuter than anything you could buy at the store and they only cost you about $5 in fabric and 1/2 hour of your time.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, I may start a new blog with some of my non maternity but wearable with pregnant belly fashion finds if any of you would be interested.
*blouse and seersucker pants from Gap maternity
*white denim jeans from J. Crew


go boo boo said...

You are lucky - all of the non-maternity shirts available now look like maternity wear to me! (it drives me crazy since I no longer want to look pregnant!). Love the pants idea - saw it in Juno too.

Julia said...

dang girl- you are one resourceful mama! You are going to be the most stylish pregnant lady around! Thanks for the step by step.

I'm glad you are having such a nice time in Utah.

Muranda said...

Great idea. One thing to make sure of...make the band either below the belly, or above it...I hated the line in the middle. Also, this is super cute, I did it with a pair of sevens, but if your legs grow (most likely they will) you better use some baggy pants!

Barb said...

You are so talented! Well done!

Ashley said...

Wow...I'm so impressed. I wish you could actually be here when I attempt this because I could use your sewing expertise.

Anonymous said...

this is assuming your butt doesn't get as big as your stomach...good luck with that

Brynn and Jesse said...

You are so crafty! If you do want to break down and buy some maternity clothes I recommend Target and Motherhood Maternity. They have pretty cute stuff and it's not too expensive. Old Navy has some cute things also but I've noticed their sizing is a little strange.

Kate said...

I think you will be fine for a few months.... but - when you get the point where you want maternity clothes... Target is a good place! Actually - you are lucky you weren't pregnant when I had Harrison... all the shirts were big tents...and in the last months- I have to admit- I pull the tent shirts out and start wearing them because I don't care what I look like- I just want to be comfortable... good luck!

Kate said...

BTW- at Mimi Maternity they have these waist band things for the transition period- (about where you are) when you can still kind of fit in your clothes- but you need a little breathing room...they were a life saver and they come in white or black... check them out!

Danielle said...

congratulations!!! i've only been a mom two weeks and i love love love it! pregnancy clothes...different story - i bought a bunch of shades one size larger and they fit me throughout all nine months...your waistband idea is brilliant i'm so doing that next time around!! good luck!

Sam, Julie, Tucker & Maizie said...

Wow Cait!! You're crafty! I miss you, I'm bummed I didn't get to see you when you were in Utah! Anyways, hi to Dan, me and Sam are really excited for you guys, xoxo

Sarah said...

welcome to the pregnant world. just wait till you really pop. :)

w and w said...

you guys congrats! We're thrilled for you! I bet you're thrilled to see Dan as a dad. That's my favorite part seeing Will w Annie. Pregnancy clothes? It's amazing what normal clothes you can make work. Especially with the styles these days! How are you feeling? Do you cry all the time yet?

Anonymous said...

I keep wondering...Motherhood/mimi/pea in the pod came out with the "secret waist" this year. Looks like they basically added their version of the bella band to the top of the pants. This seems like a very seamless way to convert a few belly bands there and use those as the panel you sew on. Anyone ever try that? would the fabric they use in the bands work for sewing into clothes?

Unknown said...


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