maternity sewing patterns: why are they so lame?

Friday, 27 June 2008
Whoa, I stepped away from my computer for a few days only to come back to all your lovely congratulations on the bub news. Thank you kindly, they are warmly received indeed! Although I was a bit freaked out by Jean C's description of the new hair line between my navel and below that I have to look forward to, but greatly cheered up by Vicki's revelation that high heels and pregnancy aren't entirely incompatible - I feel so underdressed in flats, particularly if I'm wearing a skirt or a dress, so I'll be giving them up reluctantly and only when the time comes.

And Myra, I will definately be checking out vintage maternity patterns because what's on offer in the current pattern catalogues is a little, well lacking IMO. They've only slightly improved from the horrible 1980s style that lsaspacey quite rightly pointed out. Since both Spotlight and Lincraft had sales on the sewing patterns recently, I moseyed on down there to check out the offerings for maternity wear. Hardly anything is on offer, with each pattern company only having a few patterns to begin with, and what is available are generally casual style clothing such as elastic waist pants and big tent style dresses and shirts with naff ties in the back to give shape. I know that being pregnant means I am going to have change my style, ie less structured and fitted clothing to more loose and comfortable clothes, I still have to go to work in a corporate environment and I won’t be sacrificing too much personal style (well at least until I'm 7 or 8 months when all bets are off!)

I did pick up two patterns that have potential: Vogue 2818 which is a corporate wardrobe type pattern in very simple but elegant style and Simplicity 4704, which has a nice shirt and a flirty style skirt and dress as well.

And I have these vintage patterns already in the stash which I will be putting to good use:

Thankfully, lots of patterns of late have been in the empire line / smock / baby doll dress style and cropped swing style jackets which are perfect for adapting to maternity wear, such as this jacket from BWOF 3/08:

And this dress from BWOF 4/08:

And these low cut pants with an elastic waist instead of fabric, and the infamous 'Duro' dress with a bit extra fabric pleated across the front:

So all in all I have many many options to make some stylish maternity wear, which I coupled with a big stash of nice casual maternity clothes from a friend who has finished her family and t-shirts and knit tops in the smock / baby doll style that I bought cheaply in the sales, I should get through this without having to purchase too much overpriced maternity clothes.

As for baby clothes, well I'm not finding out what I'm having, plus the baby will be born in the middle of summer so it will probably spend the first month or two in a singlet and muslin wrap, so baby clothes can wait - it's all about me before it comes along and takes over my life!


  1. I haven't read all of the previous comments, so apologies if this has already been mentioned, but the current issue of Ottobre Woman focusses on maternity patterns. Might be worth checking out?

  2. Patrones also do maternity sections in two issues per year (which in Spanish is "premama", awww!). And BWOF always have some great maternity stuff in their August issue.

    You might also want to check out as she just had her baby a month or so ago and was sewing up maternity stuff. Oh, and Nikkishell posted a bunch of maternity alterations on too!

  3. Congrats! My OB told me that 1" to 2" heels are better for maternity wear, since they help counter the natural tendency to lean backward, and therefore help avoid back pain. Go figure, high heels are good for you? Whatever helps you feel well dressed!

  4. Update on my assistant who is (was) pregnant and still wearing heels - well she gave birth yesterday 9 weeks early!!!!! As far as I know both are well. But couldn't have been the shoes cos she had resorted to flats recently :)

    What she wore was - the same suits she always wore but with the jackets undone. Her pants initially were just unbuttoned but later she incorporated some stretch maternity pants. The tops were just stretch tops that covered the belly. If the tops are long enough you can even leave your zips undone on the pants - just add some elastic from opening to opening (with a safety pin or buttons if you must) so they don't fall down. In the last month she looked fabulous. Black stretch top, pants and jacket. Then coloured shoes and necklace to match. So to make a long story short, don't bother with maternity patterns!

  5. You have such a cute figure your probably going to stay nice and trim and have one of those cute preggie shapes! Sigh!!!!! I wish I could say that I have a cute shape now! Ohhhh welll!
    Good for you on the maturnity wear buys! And I really like your preggie wear pattern selections! Sorry to bum you out about the hair thing! It's just one of those silly things that happens... just so you know... it's not like some terrible long stuff! Just different! Hang in there. How are you feeling? Any morning sickness? Put some crackers by your bed and grab some first thing when you wake up if you do! It works great!
    Hey, a girl has every right to look good when she is pregnant too! Besides everyone is going to be smiling at you (once you start showing) and just seeing your glow!
    Jean C.

  6. I sewed my maternity wardrobe for my last two children and I worked in a corporate setting too. I have to tell you I stuck with 2 or 3 patterns and just changed up the fabric. I think I made one dress like 10 times out of solids, prints, with and without a collar, etc. No one ever noticed they were too busy staring at the baby bump!

    Two pieces of advice - sew early into the won't feel like it much towards the end. And two, elastic waist pants are your friend...especially when you put it in because it allows you to grow and it isn't tight on your belly. I found that towards the end of all my pregnancies I hated having anything on my stomach!

    Otherwise good luck with this new adventure...and I can't wait to see what stylish things you come up with!!!

  7. Congratulations on the pregnancy! You are going to be one stylish mom-to-be!

  8. Dont knock elastic waist pants until you try them!!! Even elastic waisted skirts are good!! YOu can get that great buttonhole elastic from spotlight so you can let the waist out when needed.

    You may need to make your summer clothes(3rd trimester) at least one size larger than you are now.Both top and bottom. I was a size 10 before pregnant, and was wearing size 14 near the end.

  9. Comgratulations on the baby mode! My middle daughter who had a baby two years ago and always looked great said she hated the pants with panels.etc that came up over the bump. She liked the newer style that rode under the preggie belly a whole lot more.I was preggo in the era where the pant/skirt panels were made of ribbing to match the woven fabric. My oldest daughter who is just starting to show, took me with her to an upscale maternity shop and lots of the things were like stylish clothing now that the young are wearing. That is beautiful loud prints for the tops and dresses(more gathers under bust and room in tummy area than rtw) out of wonderful knit fabrics and silky microfiber luscious fabrics. The various solid slacks were fairly fitted in the upper leg and had a real bootcut at the ankle and many of the jackets looked like normal fare except for more middle room. She has to dress in nice clothes and professionally for work as well. Keep in mind that some women due to fluid retention,etc. need one wardrobe for the first half and bigger clothing towards the end so don't overfit in the bust and tummy areas in the early months. I always had problems with shoes and needed larger shoes the last 6 weeks or so but of course it was a temporary situation of the feet swelling. Some don't have the problem but many do. I am sure you will have some pretty maternity wear as nicely as you sew. mssewcrazy

  10. Alas, the offerings have become even worse! I went into JoAnn's yesterday, and found a grand total of six maternity patterns (and nothing smaller than a 8 - a problem for my size-4 self). McCall's and Simplicity didn't have a single maternity pattern between them. What is their problem?

  11. I, as many of you, was hopful to find many fun maternity patterns and of course did not.
    I just went ahead and got a few patterns that I think can be converted to maternity, but now am having trouble figuring out how to do that.
    Any advice on how much fabric to add in length, width, etc would be great!
    I don't want to be a mom in a moomooo.

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