Finding maternity clothing is ridiculously challenging: how do you find something that not only fits you at the moment, but fits you throughout nine months of your belly growing, is comfortable, and looks good on you too? Some additional criteria for me was it had to be light and have sleeves, no layering required, something essential for humid, hot Southern summers. Well friends, this free, simple pattern is the solution! Pair it with some cute jersey knit fabric, and you have something that you can make a million of and wear all pregnancy long.
You would think by my third pregnancy I’d have a maternity wardrobe I loved to wear. Somehow this never happened, and I found myself designing a pattern for this ruched maternity t-shirt. Turns out I loved the first one so much, I made five more! haha! And now they are literally all that I wear. Take that, non-existing maternity wardrobe!
This shirt features a round neckline, cap sleeves, extra length on the bottom, and ruching only on the front side. It is designed to be worn the entire pregnancy. Extra stretchy jersey knit works best for this pattern, ensuring the ultimate cozyiness that will last you until your baby is born.
So go download this pattern by pressing the button below, then follow along with the tutorial!
- Pattern for the Every Day Maternity Ruched Top
- 1 1/2 yards of jersey knit fabric (or similar). The stretchier the better!
- Matching thread
- 1/4″ wide elastic (you will need 20″ total)
- Scissors, sewing machine, pins, all the usual things you sew with
- Twin needle (or serger)
First, wash your material. Put all laziness aside and do it – you won’t regret it! I forgot to do it with this gorgeous striped fabric and now my shirt has shrunk and doesn’t fit as well as it did when I first made it. Don’t make my mistake!
While it’s washing, cut out and tape your pattern using the instructions included with the download. I chose to cut my pattern pieces out out by folding the fabric so the selvage was in the middle, and I had two folds on either side where I could place my bodice and sleeve pieces (make sure to cut the sleeve twice on the fold). Once these were cut, I unfolded the fabric and cut out my neckline perpendicular to the selvage. I chose to have contrasting stripes between the neckline and bodice, but I’ve made other copies of this with the neckline parallel to the selvage – both work! Do however you wish, just pay attention to where the folds go.
Make sure to mark or pin on the bodice front where the elastic begins and ends.
Cut out two 10″ pieces of 1/4″ elastic. Pin the elastic on both sides of the FRONT edges of the bodice front. It’s easiest to pin at the beginning and end, then find the middle of the elastic and middle of where it’s to be sewn and pin those spots together, then repeat for either side of the middle of the elastic. This makes sure your elastic is pinned evenly.
Sew the elastic to the bodice front with your widest straight stitch, stretching out the elastic to fit as you do so. The picture below shows one side sewn, one side pinned.
With RIGHT sides together, sew the shoulder pieces of the bodice front and bodice back together using a 1/2″ seam allowance, standard stitch length (use this everywhere unless otherwise noted).
Pin and sew both of the sleeves to the bodice, matching RIGHT sides together, again using the middle pinning method used with the elastic (like my term I came up with? I’m sure there’s a better name for that somewhere!).
Now again with RIGHT sides together, sew the front and back bodice pieces together from under the arm down the side. It is important to keep both pieces relaxed and not to stretch out the elastic on the front bodice piece. Just sew down the sides and let it line up on its own naturally! The bottom of the back bodice piece will most likely be longer than the front. It’s designed that way on purpose – just cut off the extra off the back piece once these sides are sewn together. There will be plenty of length.
Hurray! The main structure of your shirt is complete. Now for the finishing touches.
Take out your iron, fold 1/4″ of the end of the neckline over, WRONG sides together, and iron it to seal it down. This will be the finished edge of your neckline (I actually forgot to do this in the photo below, so pretend that has a nice finished end!). Now fold the entire neckline down the middle and iron it in place. Open up the fold and fold the neckline again, this time matching up the ends to the middle as shown in the picture, and iron.
With the front bodice facing you, pin the raw edge of the neckline 1-2″ behind the seam where the two bodice pieces meet, on the left side, where you will begin sewing. This will make sure the neckline is finished in the back of the shirt instead of the front.
Switch out your single needle for a twin needle. Starting where you pinned, sew the neckline to the bodice. Keep the folded edge right next to the raw edge of your neckline as you move along. Important: this pattern requires you to stretch the finished neckline piece as you match it up with the relaxed raw neckline, or you will run out of neckline! It is designed this way to avoid awkward curling in the neckline when the garment is finished (if it looks like it’s curling when you try it on, don’t worry – give it a wash and it will relax and look great! Like I said, I’ve made six of these using this method and they’ve all turned out well).
Because you already ironed down the finished end of the neckline, when you get to the end you should be able to overlap it nicely over the raw neckline end that’s already been sewn.
Now finish up the edges of your sleeves by folding under 1/4″ and stitching with the twin needle. Do the same with the bottom of your shirt, but fold under 1/2″ instead.
Guess what? You did it! Congratulations, now you can be comfy during your pregnancy and beam with pride any time someone complements you on your new cute shirt (come on, I know I’m not the only one who does this!).
Can I ask you a favor? If you make a shirt from this pattern, can you let me know how it turns out? I want to know the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. This is my first time sharing a pattern, especially in multiple sizes and I’m crossing my fingers that you love it as much as I do! Email me a picture at sunni (at) madeforlittlegents.com and I’ll share it on the pattern download page, along with a link back to your blog if applicable.
I can’t wait to see what you make!
♥ / Sunni