Thursday, February 23, 2012

$3.10 maternity shirts

I loathe the cost of maternity wear.
It's rarely cute, always poorly made, and only occasionally on sale (though never the right season).
If I find a cute $8 top I practically dance in the aisle at Target.

So my $3.30 a piece maternity shirts require the following supplies:
3 pack of men's v-neck white t-shirts $6 on sale
Sharpie fabric markers $20 for a set of 8 ($2.50 each but I'm only counting them as $1 in my calculation b/c I didn't come close to using the whole marker on one shirt)
Elastic (about $0.30 worth)
Scrap fabric
Spare stencil optional if like me you can't draw

I made them in two styles, one using scrap fabric to make an empire waist, the second sewing elastic directly to the sides of the shirt to create rouching, therefore a little pouch in the front.

For both versions you want to start by using the fabric markers to decorate a part of your shirt. Use your stencil to draw a pretty pattern, or freehand it if you've got that kind of skill. I chose to do a little something up top by the neckline, and a larger area of color on the belly and side:

Empire waist version:
Measure the width of the shirt two inches below the armhole seams.

Cut a piece of fabric twice that length (so it will go all the way around the shirt) plus an inch, and 3 inches wide. Fold the long sides of the fabric under about 1/4 inch and iron.
Sew the fabric on to the shirt 2 inches below the armhole seams. Leave the ends open. This will create a long pocket for your elastic to be threaded through.

Measure under your bustline and cut a piece of elastic (I used 1/4") one inch shy of that number.
Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the fabric. Secure the elastic ends together (hand sew or machine will work for this).
Fold the ends of the fabric over each other and sew the fabric tube closed.

Side rouching version:
Measure from 2 inches below your armpit to your hip bones. (For me this was 8 inches)
Cut two pieces of elastic (I used 1/4") to that length.
Flip the shirt inside out and pin one end the elastic two inches from the armpit seam and the other end two inches from the bottom of the shirt. Do this on both sides.

Sew the elastic directly to the shirt, stretching the elastic as you sew to fit the shirt.
I used a straight stitch for this. If your thread is catching in your elastic considering turning down the tension.

Looking at this picture I'm definitely going to go back and add more pink and black to the belly part of this shirt. It was hard to judge how much would be too much, but I feel more neon is in order. Thoughts?

Also, for size calculation purposes, I bought a men's large and I'm normally a women's medium. They do look a little big now, however, I'm not due until June 24th so when they're getting the most wear (warm weather) they will probably barely contain the belly.

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