Custom Maternity Clothing

Sewing a custom maternity dress

If you can afford it, custom maternity clothing can keep you looking put-together and stylish. Expectant moms who are skilled with a needle can make their own clothing, too.

Why Custom Maternity Clothing?

Women who like to look their best are sometimes frustrated by maternity clothing offerings. There are more and more makers of maternity clothes, but you still won't find the same variety of styles that you're used to in regular women's clothes. If you're partial to a certain fashion, you may not find it in your local maternity store. Even if you do, the one or two offerings may not fit very well.

Women come in all shapes and sizes, and not all styles work on every body. When you add in a pregnant, growing belly, it's not surprising that maternity clothes don't look the same on everyone! Custom maternity clothes are made to fit your body: your chest, your hips, your shoulders. Pants will have exactly the right rise and the legs will skim your shoe-tops at just the right spot. Shirts will button neatly over your breasts and the sleeves won't be too short, too tight, or too long. A good tailor can also let out a waistline or move a button if you gain a little more weight than you expected.

Maternity Clothing Patterns

Many sewing patterns can be altered to fit during pregnancy. If you're nervous about making changes, start with patterns designed for maternity wear.

  • Burda makes a number of patterns to fit a growing belly. You'll find dresses, tunic tops, and trousers.
  • Kwik Sew also makes maternity patterns, although you may have to search secondhand websites to find a good selection. Options include shirts, jeans with belly panels, shorts, and more.
  • Butterick has a handful of maternity styles, including a simple dress, a few maternity tops, and basic shorts and pants.

Altering Your Own Clothes

The trouble with altering your own clothes for maternity wear is that you'll need to change them back after the pregnancy. They may never look the same again. If you have plenty of extra clothes, though, you can create custom maternity clothing from things you already own.

Essentially, you'll just add a stretchy panel to the front of your pants or additional fabric to your tops. To get this right, try starting with a maternity sewing pattern. It will give you an idea of what shapes will offer the best fit.

For information on finding sites that can help you alter your clothes, visit the LoveToKnow article on Maternity Dress Patterns.

Finding a Tailor

Women who don't sew can still have custom maternity clothing. Look for a tailor who has experience sewing for a pregnant woman's changing body. If you need an outfit for one special night, a tailor can take your exact measurements and create something to fit. If you want clothes you can wear through the whole pregnancy, though, you need someone who understands that your belly will be bigger in a week or two!

Try calling a few different shops to find someone who is comfortable creating custom maternity clothing. Avoid the "tailoring and alterations" offered at dry-cleaning stores, unless someone has specifically recommended their services. They may be good at hemming pants or sewing on buttons, but they may not be skilled at more complicated work. You want someone who's used to making clothes from scratch.

A Word About Fabrics

Big craft stores like Jo-An Fabrics will have a large selection of fabrics in a range of prices. If you're trying to save money, check the remnants bin. Remnants range from a few square feet to the last few yards on a ream and they're priced at a deep discount. You may find enough of a single design to make a top, a dress, or a whole outfit. Simple cotton prints are often inexpensive, too.

Pregnant women frequently complain of feeling hot when others are comfortable, so you'll want a fabric that breathes. Cotton is a good bet for summer. If you can afford it, high-quality wool is cozy in winter. But, consider adding a lining so that the wool won't irritate your skin.

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Custom Maternity Clothing