crafting a meaningful little project at a time

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Maternity Crafting: Totally Worth It!

I had to take a pause yesterday when my daughter asked me why I never make anything for myself.

What? Yes I do! I make things all the time! Why, just last week I was working on a skirt for…oh. Well, before that I sewed up a few bibs for that baby shower…right. But wait- didn’t I just get done working on Baby Boy’s scrapbook?

Hmmm…point taken.

This came up when I was standing in front of the mirror in Little Lady’s bathroom, tugging around at an ill-fitting maternity shirt, wondering out loud why it was so baggy here, so tight there, and why it didn’t seem to fit me the way it had fit the model in the magazine. (Well, there are several answers to that last part, but we won’t go there!)

Little Lady said, “Mommy, let’s get out your fabric and make you a new shirt! Then you can make it however you want! You NEVER make yourself anything at all!”

Why is it that the biggest duh moments, the smartest and most insightful comments, seem to keep coming out of these little mouths while I-the grown-up- just spend my time overcomplicating and overthinking everything?

Why is it that I sew stuff for my kids all the time, but I never make anything for myself?

Am I not worth the time and effort? Hmmm…that’s a thinker…

So I spent late hours last night trolling Pinterest for some clever DIY maternity tutorials. The thing that’s been bugging me most is the shirt situation: I may be getting wider and rounder by the day, but my height is still stuck where it stalled out in sixth grade- 5 foot 3 inches (and that’s on a good day). My torso is super short, so most of the maternity shirts and dresses that fit belly-wise are super long. The ones that aren’t gathered on the side are very tent-like, and “flattering” has become a word that just makes me laugh out loud.

Here are some of the ideas I thought I might try…the dress below is a pic from a tutorial on Do It Yourself Divas, and the rouched shirt before and after pic is from a tutorial on Made.



I spent about $15 between JoAnn Fabric’s Red Tag clearance section and Goodwill’s tank top section yesterday morning, and about ten minutes sorting through my own tank top & t-shirt collection and sewing supplies to find some elastic for rouching.

Now the tricky part: finding time to sit down and tackle these projects! If Little Lady had a class spirit day next week, would I find the time to make her a special skirt? Absolutely. If my son was invited to a birthday party, would I make time to create a gift for his little buddy? Totally.

So why is it that when I look at my to-do list and look at this pile of material and collection of ideas on making my own everyday wardrobe fit correctly, my initial reaction is, “Oh, I’ll work on that when I get all this other stuff finished. If it doesn’t get done, then that’s ok too.”

Hmmm…maybe Little Lady has a point?

Fine. I made the time. And of course, I’m so glad I did!

I tried something along the lines of this dress, though I deviated considerably from the tutorial. I eyeballed everything as far as measurements go- I tried on the tank top, marked just below the bust, and chopped that off. This particular $2 Goodwill find had some interesting layers underneath that I hadn’t noticed when I bought it- this made pinning really fun. But I think the added layer helped make the top sturdier, which kept the weight of the skirt from pulling too much on the bodice. For the skirt, I had picked up a remnant that was just over a yard and a quarter- I just sewed this up the back into a tube, and sewed a casing in the top wide enough to accommodate a yard of 1.5 inch braided elastic. Inserting the elastic here created a fitted, gathered top, which allowed me to bypass the hated task of gathering by hand! Then I just attached the skirt directly to the top (not flipping inside-out the way the original tutorial showed). This gave the dress a finished look without needing ties or bog floppy bows (not quite my style anyways). After hemming the bottom, the dress was done. All in all, it took maybe an hour to pull together. This is terrible news: I think all my tank tops are in danger now!
I also tried out the rouching technique I saw here on some giant t-shirts I recently picked up from Target, and it was super easy! Well, aside from the fact that I had a hard time keeping the elastic steady and stitching in the seam of that wiggly knit. I think that more pinning and more practice would solve that problem, but for a first try- and given the fact that the end result is supposed to be bunchy-I’m happy with the results.

I gave in and decided to hem a couple new dresses while I was on a roll, so now I have three tailored dresses and three “new” rouched t-shirts to lumber around in this week! I may not be able to change the fact that I’m not one of those six foot, slender preggers with a tiny basketball bump under their shirt, but it does feel good to have clothes that fit the way they are supposed to! Sewing for myself may become a habit…

The best part of this whole endeavor, as with most things I do, came about with the kids. The excitement Little Lady shows when she comes out in the morning to find something new I made for her drives me to stay up late, crafting tired for the sake of wide-eyed happy mornings. But who knew that her excitement would be for me too? Perhaps it’s a good thing to show the littles that I can take time to make things for myself sometimes too? Little Lady came out this morning to find me in my new dress and said, beaming,

“Mommy, you did it! You made your dress!  I knew you could do it- I love it!”


  1. I thought your dress was aDORable!! You need to teach me to sew!

  2. Love the shirt. Those were my favorite kinds when I pregnant!