DIY maternity shapewear

Monday, 6 February 2012
I thought I'd put up another post to see if I could provoke 'anonymous' into posting another passive/aggressive comment asking"why?" like I got to the post before the previous one in relation to me still wearing high heels.  I have heard that you're not a real blogger until you get heckled on your own blog, so yay for me! Even though mine was in the gentlest way I had a chuckle.....

So.  Maternity shapewear sounds like an oxymoron or at least very absurd, but it's all about the support of the lower back and belly, the firming up of the jiggling legs and behind and smooth lines under clingy clothes is just a bonus! I posted a while back about my love for maternity Spanx (which many of you concurred with) but unfortunately I wore and washed those so frequently that they got a big run in the front over the belly panel.  Still wearable but a tad bit annoying.

I was about to buy another pair when I decided to see what else is available because there were a few annoying things about the Spanx - namely that they are made of sturdy pantyhose like material which means they grab onto knit fabrics and even some loose fitting cotton dresses so that the fabric bunches up between my legs in a most unladylike manner.  They are also quite loose across my upper back so that there was a ridge line across my back under my bra - again not flattering.

Surprisingly there's not much else out there in this style, so I decided to try a DIY version when I saw that Big W had the traditional high waisted, bicycle short style made with a satiny finish on sale.  And it worked so double yay.  Here's how I did it:

1. purchase shapewear in a size larger than you normally wear.  I did this mainly because I am a size larger (or two) than I am normally but also because I wanted this fitted but not super sucking in a drop a dress size kind of way.

2.  cut out a 'u' shape where your pregnant belly sits.  I made these back at the end of November last year so I managed to just get them on and trace around the edge of my belly before quickly taking them off - that much pressure on the belly was an awful feeling!

3. from some stretchy fabric in a similar colour (I used some swimsuit lining) cut out a 'u' shape that is a bit wider than the 'u' shape cut out from the shapewear - stretch it out over your belly to see how wide you need it.

4. sew on the stretchy fabric 'u' shaped panel to your shapewear - I just overlocked mine on but you could also use a stretch stitch.

And you're done in about 30 minutes and have probably saved about $20 or $30 too!

I'll spare you all a photo of me modelling it though - that is a sight that no one deserves to see! I will however answer the questions posted in the comments to the post before the last one:

Uta - I agree that the styles in Burda are getting better lately - I thought they were cruelly taunting me because it seemed that the bigger my waistline got the more fitted their dresses became! I can't wait to regain my figure sometime in the (fingers crossed) near future so I can make some of their more lovely styles of late.

Jean - you're right, the roundness of my bump is mostly the baby's bum is sticking out! Anna is so excited, telling everyone that her mummy has a baby in her tummy and kissing my bump frequently but I also made the mistake of telling her accurately how the baby comes out so she is now going around telling everyone that the baby will come out of my vagina! Yes it's correct but it is still disconcerting hearing that word come out of three year old's mouth....

Mysummertouch - I probably won't sew anything for the new baby (except for some more cloth nappies, thanks to Bettina for reminding me!) because I don't know what the sex is but also because I have plenty of newborn sized clothes in neutral colours leftover from Anna.  And I found that in the first few months Anna was always wrapped and mostly asleep so her outfits were never really seen anyway, so I'll make some 3 month + sized clothes after the baby arrives and I know what colour to sew.

And to anonymous who lamented that me still wearing high heels is doing his/her head in and asked why, I guess the answer is that I still can and I still have somewhere to wear them! Pretty poor answer I know, but I have always worn a suit and heels to work even though there is no official dress code and some people dress very casually, but I never feel in a work frame of mind unless I'm dressed professionally.  Plus I don't own many flat shoes and the ones I do have are pretty casual slip ons, so I feel like I'm shuffling around wearing slippers when I've got them on.  But to put your mind at rest I do wear flats when I walking to and from the office, and I certainly don't go out on my days off with Anna to the playground or the museum or the library etc wearing heels - I am so not a yummy mummy!


  1. Great tutorial. Had to laugh out loud at your 3 yr old telling people where babies emerge from!

  2. You may enjoy this recent quote from my nearly 3 year old grand-daughter as relayed by her mother...

    "Your heart is here." L. tells us, patting her chest (she's learning about bodies at nursery school).
    "And it comes out of your vagina." Um, what was that?!
    She explains, "You have to wear underpants so your heart doesn't come out of your vagina."


  3. Oh, how lovely to have gently supportive undergarments while you are pregnant! Ingenious solution. 20+ years ago, I just tugged on a maillot to get that effect. As my swimsuit had large, loud stripes on it, there was a limit to what I could wear it under without show-through; and it was awkward when in the bathroom. High heels? Wear whatever you like on your feet, honey, as long and as often as you want! It is nobody's business but your own. (Why is it that everyone in the wide world seems compelled to lecture pregnant women, even pregnant women who are strangers to them? And to treat you as if you have no brain, when in fact you are harboring TWO brains, thank you very much.)

  4. I think its so kewl that you've made your own maternity support wear. As for the heels thing, I think you should base that upon your own feelings versus those old rules that have changed since the times have changed.

  5. Because I can is a perfectly good explanation to me!

  6. High heels, lampshade on your head - who cares. It's your body and you do whatever works for you. I'm super impressed with your maternity support wear.

  7. My goodness...I can't believe someone would have the gall to ask you about the heels, let alone take the time to post a comment. I'd tell them to go to you-know-where.

    Great idea about the support things. I've always thought they could be made for much cheaper than the stores. Especially maternity ones! Don't you just love sewing? :)

  8. Your post is making me smile! hehe, so cute about Anna's knowledge of the correct place a baby comes from!

    Spanx really are such a wonderful creation. I love the feeling of being 'enclosed' that they seem to give. Supportive too!

  9. Based on your previous recommendation I bought some maternity spanx and I love them. I seem to be way more comfortable when my belly is supported. Making your own is a great idea - thanks!

    Oh, I wish I could still wear my heels but unfortunately sciatica and swollen feet mean I can only wear flats atm (with lovely arch support inserts) :(. Wear yours with pride - I would if I could!

  10. Great idea! Lucky I don't and won't need these. And I think if you can wear heals and be pregnant or shop or walk or anything in them go for it.
    Thanks for you comment on my blog .. and yes it is a Women's Weekly cake as my friend told me it was. Good picking or she has done a great job and it is recognisable ... I'll let her know!

  11. good work on the spanx and the heels - you go girl! :-)