Several weeks ago, Susan from Crafterhours generously asked me to contribute a tutorial to their fabulous Skirt Week. I knew it might be a tough time to get my mind into gear for a skirt project, but I just couldn't bring myself to say no--especially when Susan suggested maternity wear. And I'm so glad I didn't. Despite the fact that making it required me to get off the sofa for half an hour, this was probably the easiest article of clothing I've constructed yet, and it's such a fun addition to my shrinking maternity repertoire! Not to mention that it came absolutely free--it's the product of a cast-off polo shirt of my husband's and one of my old t-shirts. Score.
I love how the finished skirt combines the nautical pattern of the golf shirt, the soft pique knit, and those preppy side vents (thanks, again, to recycling!). I also surprised myself by liking the gathers (my first try at this project was straight, and it didn't have enough body to be a skirt--it felt too thin and panty-line-showy). Of course, cute gathers aren't ideal for an untucked maternity shirt, but hey, who among us is aiming for ideal during pregnancy? Kind of an oxymoron. But I think it works. Even this thirty-minute, super easy version. It's cute and incredibly comfortable. We might be seeing a lot of it around here.
Special thanks to Susan and Adrianna for providing me with the motivation to make a maternity skirt happen, and for the endless inspiration provided by Skirt Week! And if you're a Crafterhours reader who is new to Growing Home, welcome! If this post was interesting to you, stick around--I'm crossing my fingers that once I get out of rest mode, all kinds of sewing for baby's nursery is coming up. Who knows? Maybe I'll make it all the way to forty weeks and use sewing up a storm to bring labor on!:)
See the full tutorial for the Prepster Maternity Skirt below.
- XL men's polo shirt, preferably in pique. This one was a gift to my husband that sat in his closet (I never could convince him that he looks good in red), but you can find similarly attractive versions by Ralph Lauren, Nautica, and Tommy Hilfiger heavily discounted at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
- An old t-shirt that fits your baby belly tightly. This is one I could still pull down over my bump, but was way too form-fitting to wear to the gym--and that's the size you want.
- Basic sewing supplies, including a ball point needle for sewing knits
Fold the cut t-shirt in half inwards, so that you create a double-layered tube. If there is a portion of the t-shirt that you do not want to show in the final skirt, it should be on the outside (in other words, wrong side out).
2. Gather the skirt. Use a ball point needle to sew a gathering (or basting) stitch about 1/4 inch from the cut edge of your golf shirt fabric, all the way around (I used an edge of my shirt's stripe to get it even). A gathering stitch is as long a stitch as your machine will allow, NOT locked with reverse stitches at the beginning and end. Now, sew a second gathering stitch about 1/2 inch from the cut edge. This step isn't totally necessary, but I think it makes the gathers a little hardier, especially with this heavier fabric.
Gently pull the TOP threads from your two gathering stitches with one hand and gather your material with the other. Once you've gathered one side of the skirt, switch to the top threads at the end of your stitch and repeat for the other side. You can see that I like to get things really cinched up and then pull them out to get even gathers. Of course, I was surprised to see how far I had to pull them out to get a skirt big enough for my current "waistline." You probably don't need to cinch it quite this much!
3. Attach the skirt to the waistband. Pull the gathers out evenly until the width of your skirt generally matches the width of the cut edge of your t-shirt tube. Now, I didn't do this, but learned just today via Prudent Baby that at this point, you should tie together the two top threads of your gathering stitches and the two back threads (at both ends of your stitches). This step locks the width of your gathered fabric and prevents things from getting uneven as you work (see? there are good things about laying on the sofa all the time--blogs and sewing tips!).
Slip the t-shirt tube around the top of your skirt and pin all three layers of fabric along the top edge. Make sure that you pin the gathers as you want them to appear in your final skirt. Also, keep the gathers away from the side seams--you'll get a slimmer look.
Now, sew the three pieces together all the way around with a seam allowance equal to your second gathering stitch (about 1/2 inch).
And voila! You have a maternity skirt! But you may need to do one more step to finish it off...
4. Adjust the hem, if needed. Jim's Ralph Lauren shirt was longer in the back than the front, although an old Izod version I tried first was even. To fix the length, I tore out the seams along the back vents, hemmed the back edge to match the front, and re-sewed the vent seams. This photo is before:
And this one is after.
Now, this is probably obvious, but if you want this skirt to hold up to tons of washes, you would be wise to finish the waist seams with an overlock or serging stitch (and to do it before you start the gathering/sewing process). Being on partial bed rest, I took the very easy way, thankful that knits don't fray. So consider mine the easy approach to the easiest maternity skirt you can come up with:).
I hope it will bring some summery cheer to your baby-brewing wardrobe!