Sewing for Two

Big life changes have thrown a new sewing challenge at me: maternity wear.

PicMonkey Collage
Simplicity 1469 (a Megan Nielsen pattern) and Simplicity 1360 – two of the very few maternity patterns available from commercial or indy companies.

I’m very excited to report I have a bun in the oven, due mid January. Being pregnant with my first is a trip! It’s thrilling, confusing, a little scary, and intensely interesting. As my good friend pointed out to me the other day, “Did you realize that when your body grows a placenta it’s creating an entirely new organ?” It’s crazy, really. And that’s just the placenta. Anyway, you probably aren’t so interested in placentas as you are in sewing, so I’ll move on to that.

When I say I’m sewing for two, I’m lying. I’m really still just sewing for one… one who is about to start expanding rapidly in the belly region. Maybe I’ll attempt baby clothes one of these days, but my one attempt at children’s clothes last year was not a lot of fun. Until I’m ready to try that out again, I’m going to focus on the more immediate problem – my waistline is creeping outward and a lot of my clothes are already uncomfortable. The selection of maternity patterns on the market is pretty slim, and I also hate to sew something I’ll only wear for a few months. What’s a pregnant pear to do?

Secret Maternity Patterns – Making it work with elastic and empire waistlines…

I’ve already sewn a few “secret” maternity pieces. My Vogue 8899 is one example. The elastic waistband means I can still comfortably wear this dress even though I’m 20+ weeks into the pregnancy. The photo below is from only about 8 weeks in, btw, so not much belly to see yet.

Vogue 8899 – A dress for eating a big meal or concealing the beginnings of a baby bump.

Another pattern that’s been helpful for the past few weeks is Simplicity 1887.

Simplicity 1887
Simplicity 1887 – An early pregnancy pattern pick.

This pattern has an elasticized waist in the back. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember me using this pattern to make some disastrous baggy bottom shorts (later rescued) a few years ago. While the gathered waist on the shorts didn’t work for me, on the skirt it’s okay. I don’t have pictures of this one yet, but I’ll try to share some soon. I know this won’t work for later in pregnancy, but it’s fine for the first trimester and early second trimester.

Vogue 1179 is another great pregnancy pattern, hiding amidst the regular dress patterns.

Vogue 1179
Vogue 1179 – convenient pleats at the neckline create lots of room for a growing tummy.

This dress is so comfortable, pregnant or not. Again, I don’t have a photo to share yet, but I’ll try to get one soon. I sewed this one up several months back and have been wearing it to work almost every week. I can see it working well all the way through January.

This weekend Joann Fabrics is having a sale on all of the big 4 pattern companies, so I picked up three more maternity patterns in disguise. I think all of these have potential for accommodating a pregnant belly, and maybe even transitioning to post-pregnancy wear.

Butterick 6209
Butterick 6209

Butterick 6209 is my favorite of the bunch. I love the style lines – especially the way the waist curves up in front. I think it will be perfect as a maternity dress. The only thing I would change is to even out the hi-low hem. With a large stomach, the hem line will want to raise up in front anyway.

McCalls 6952
McCalls 6952

McCall’s 6952 is a simple but pretty pattern. Lladybird sewed it up recently into a very cute and easy summer dress. It has a pretty loose fit, and the princess seams could be flared out more if I need extra room for my belly. The elasticized waist could also be raised in front if needed. This one might not work all the way to the end of pregnany, but I like it as an easy option for now and the next month or two.

McCalls 6322
New Look 6322 – Pregnancy potential, with a few tweaks.

This last one, New Look 6322, will need a few adjustments to make it work. It’s got the same waistline that curves upward (like Butterick 6209). I’m going to raise this curve more when I make it, because I think as is it is positioned too low and would constrict my belly. The skirt does not have a lot of extra room in it either, but I have an idea for a hack. Maybe even combine it with the skirt from B6209?

I’m excited to get sewing and report back on my progress. If you have any experience sewing maternity-wear, I would love to hear about it! What were some of your successes and failures? I loved reading So Zo’s posts. Know of any other good advice out there?



  1. Hi, I took up sewing after my two children were born, so I don’t have any experience in sewing maternity clothing. However, I did wear a lot of it, and I found that for tops and dresses, I really liked things made of of two-way very stretchy fabric. It just seemed to sit better and look more flattering at all stages of pregnancy. New Look 6322 would probably look great for about two weeks, and then be too small. Of the patterns you listed, I like Simplicity 1360 the most. It seems really flattering for us pear shapes, and doesn’t look like pregnancy wear. I almost want to make it myself!!! Once you get back to normal size you can just re-hem the dress and keep wearing it. All the best for you materntiy sewing, and all the very best for your wonderful adventure having children!


    • I have just re-read your post and seen the you are planning on changing the skirt for New Look 6322. That would look really lovely, especially with a very drapey woven.


      • You’re right – Simplicity 1360 is probably the best bet to last me throughout my pregnancy. I was about to cut it out last night, but I bought the wrong size! Well, I bought the right size according to the envelope, but the pattern is marked as having 4.5″ of wearing ease. Whyyyyy? It’s a knit! And I also think you’re right about the stretch factor – I’m definitely leaning towards knits in my fabric purchases lately.


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