Sewing for a Belly: The Ruched Maternity Tshirt

mad mim maternity sewing_megan nielsen tee_1

Awhile back Megan Nielsen over at DIYmaternity asked me to try out her new Ruched Maternity Tshirt pattern, and of course I was thrilled to–I just needed to find a good knit!

Lately I’ve been bummed by the lack of good knits around  here. Basically there’s either TwinkleAnn’s or Hancock’s. TwinkleAnn’s selection is pretty bad (and pretty expensive), and Hancock’s is only okay. I’ve gotten great knits there before, but it’s hit and miss, and sometimes the quality isn’t great. But on the other hand, sometimes you can get pretty good quality knit for like $1.5 -2 a yard there. I actually found some at the Cotton Shop recently, but $5 a yard is a little much for me (yep, that’s really how cheap I am). HEY, if you know a secret knit source around here, HOOK A SISTER UP!!!

So anyway, I just couldn’t find anything–I have already made something out of all the knits that Hancock’s currently has, so I was out of options. I decided to just get some white knit and then dye it. I recently invested in like $30 worth of dye from dharma trading company, and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been using Rit dye for so long, I’m ready for some high quality, non-fading, brilliant color dye.

So back to my story. I dyed the white knit a nice sea foam green, and was totally WEIRDED OUT to discover that my white knit had a print! There were spots on the fabric! At first I just thought something was on the fabric (although I had prewashed) but when I looked at the entire length of fabric I discovered that the prints were definitely in a really wide stripe pattern. Weird right?! The print just showed up when I dyed it! At first I was kinda grossed out, cause I have some serious gross-out issues with weird random designs or….actually, I just can’t elaborate (ughghghhgggh). But then I actually liked it–I think it looks kinda cool.

Megan’s pattern is great. I was impressed that it fit so nicely over my 8 month belly! This tshirt can hack a serious pregnant belly–which is great because it seems like even my store-bought (yes, SOMETIMES I buy clothes from a store) are belly-breezing me at this point of hugeness.  The neckline and sleeves are perfect, and I love how it actually FITS my curves, rather than just tenting the expanse from my chest to belly (you read me, right?) And it also doesn’t just drop off the belly, but curves under nicely hence eliminating the breeze down there.  The pattern is quite fitted, so according to the size chart I was a large, but I reduced the seam allowance from 1/2″ to 1/4″ to make it a little less so (effectively like making it an XL). I’m happy with how the fit turned out.

The instructions are very clear and simple, and the construction is a breeze. And of course, like any tshirt pattern, there’s lots of room for embellishment and freestyling. In short, I think it’s a great pattern. You can find it and Megan’s other maternity patterns over at her pattern shop.

This is likely to be my last Sewing for a Belly project. Sewing my maternity wardrobe has done WONDERS for my maternity morale. Just having some fun and new and original pieces to wear made me feel more confident, and more accepting of my changing shape.  It was a blast. I’m already scheming post-baby wardrobe additions to help me muscle through the sometimes (always) difficult post-partum-body-image-blues.

I have less than 5 weeks to go, and I am READY. I am a HUGE (literally) natural birthing fan, and I just read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Boy I tell you, it was like watching Rocky right before a fight. It just pumped me right up, and now I’m wondering how in the WWWWWORLD (stuttering for emphasis) I am going to be able to wait for the big moment. Oh man, try not to think about it, that’s for sure.


You see this game face? Bring it, baby. No pun intended. 
mad mim maternity sewing_megan nielsen tee_2

Whew! Just getting in a few lunges while I could (this picture was taken before my injury–there’s no way I could do that now).
mad mim maternity sewing_megan nielsen tee_3

How is it that the last month of pregnancy basically equals the previous 8 months as far as time passing?? When people say, “Oh, you’re almost there!” I think… yeah, if almost means FOREVER. And I mean, like FOR. EV. ER. forever.



you look adorable! and yes, the last month is the longest. by far. hang in there sister! and i don’t know any good knit sources so i guess my comment is worthless!!! ahh!! 😉


I love this shirt!! I just ruched a t-shirt I had to wear for an event and am planning on doing lots of ruching for the belly soon. And I love how the dying turned out. The random pattern is awesome. I know what you mean about finding knits. Thankfully we have a textile outlet in town that has inexpensive knits, however, you never know what you are going to find.


i think the random pattern is cute & I wondered how you got that from dying it. well now I know. Really- I love the color/everything about the shirt & hopefully we will get some sunny weather so you can wear it a lot. well, as much as you can in 5 weeks.


I’m not pregnant, but I look like I am, so I’ve enjoyed this series a lot and want to adopt some of the ideas (like the turn around the room dress) into something that would work for a plus size goddess such as myself.

That last month really is killer. My last one was 10 lbs. when she came out, so I know what you mean when you say you felt ready. Ironically, I went into labor the day I was scheduled for my c-section. It was like she knew it was time and she wasn’t gonna wait. Good luck! You natural women are BRAVE!


Totally awesome that you are psyched up about natural childbirth. It is such an awesome empowering experience. I am 14 weeks along and planning my first home birth. I have been reading “into their hands” and it is a great book! Amazing the changes in birthing history in the past 100 years. I hope you will share your birth story with us!


My sister just had her first home birth a month or so ago, and it was a beautiful thing to see. I’m so excited to try it–hopefully on my next birth. We live in a basement apt right now, and it just isn’t a good place for a birth, but hopefully for the next one we’ll have something a little more appropriate. I AM going to try a waterbirth this time though, which is super exciting to me. Well, that is if I make it. Last time we barely had to time to make it to the hospital once I realized I was really in labor..we’ll see!


Oh my, I swear we must be due like the same day. I only have 5 weeks too, as of tomorrow I am 35 weeks. I feel ya with this month taking FOREVA! I am giving this kid about 3 weeks then we will begin serious talks about vacating the area. You have been such an inspiration to me in sewing for myself. Good luck with your baby birthing and I cant wait for those 4th trimester ideas.

Maman A Droit

Super cute! Definitely bookmarking all your sewing for a belly posts for next time I’m pregnant! Are you considering sewing any of your own nursing clothes next? I’d love to see what you come up with


Love that blue–love the designs, they made it even cooler–love the “Patton Poses” and I’m so proud of you for overcoming the “ewwwwwwww” urges to accept the beauty of the fabric.


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