Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shirred Maternity Tops

I love this tutorial from very talented designer Megan Nielsen's DIY maternity blog.  These tops have been done for weeks now, but I just finally got pictures of them.  Both were made from thrifted tops.  The first one was bought for refashioning purposes:

I swear in Seattle this year it's either raining and freezing or it's sunny as all get out (or it's all three at the same time, like today).  Nonetheless, you get the idea.  The fabric is 100 % cotton in cream with brown dots embroidered all over.  These pics don't really do it justice, it's really cute...  Other than the fact it could really use a good ironing, as if that's likely to happen.

Gratuitous baby bump shot.  I'm 32 weeks by the way.  I didn't have elastic thread (umm, apparently) so I used some weird clear elastic I had in my sewing box for reasons unbeknownst to me.  It's basically thread, except it's really thick and, well, sticky?  It's not covered in cotton or anything so it had a helluvatime getting out of the bobbin holder/case.  I'm sure that thing has a name but alas, I have yet to learn it.  It worked just fine, though!  Mend and make do, right?

In the comments section of the blog post a lot of people were asking what the back looked like...  Well, here it is, with one caveat: Following the instructions to the letter I was left with a whole lot of excess material on the back which looked, well, sloppy.  So I put the shirt on inside out and repinned and resewed the side seams taking about an inch or two off each side of the back.  It may have been just a little bit too much around the belly apex, but it looks better overall.  I actually think it would be really cute with ties (a la Darling Ranges dress) to help hide the excess back material while you're not using it.


Onto the second: this shirt was foisted (I mean... donated?) by my mom.  I warned her not to buy it because it's just not her style.  No less than a week later she insisted that I take it and wear it.  I mused I could perhaps sew something out of it and she said "Oh no, just wear it as is; it looks great."  It did not; it was awful.  Shiny pink & silver stripes chevronning all over the front of a big boxy shirt is apparently not a good look for me.

Fast forward a year and it becomes shirred maternity top #2.  It was a bit tricky and I'm not 100% happy with it, but it'll do for the next couple months at least.  These were the biggest problems:

Even though it was XL or XXL it was quite short.  I have a long torso, and the front bump expansion certainly seems to eat fabric, but this thing is just barely long enough.

There are darts.  There are darts in the back which is good I suppose since it meant I had to shape the sides slightly less.  Then there are darts in the front in the (very) general vicinity of the boob area.  All the darts are very small and not very well placed on me.  Meaning that they don't do much to create extra room for the parts that need it and they mostly just futz with the stripes =(

There was no button right below the bust where the shirring is so I had to add a hook and eye to keep it from gaping (obviously the shirring pulls).  I feel like the buttons are too far apart on this shirt, but they aren't quite far enough to squeeze in an extra button between each one.

I think that a men's shirt works better for this tutorial, overall.  While I love that this shirt is pink and sparkly (both at the same time) the shape just isn't ideal for refashioning.

Instead of following the tut again and having to adjust I simply put the shirt on inside out and pinned where I wanted the side seams to lie (basing it on the seams of my tank top underneath) and it worked just fine.  One thing I've noticed, though, is that the cutting and gathering at the neck change the fit a lot so I think it's better to do that first and then the side cutting.

Basically the cost of these shirts was about $8 total (5ish for one shirt and about 2 bucks for elastic thread, plus tax).  I'm pretty happy with that, especially considering the cost of maternity clothes.  I'm working on one more in plaid from a donated shirt.  Coming soon =)

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