30 March 2011 – Mini DIY Project

March 30th, 2011 § 17 comments

30 March 2011 - Maternity top 'After' picture


Top – Liz Lange Maternity for Target, via consignment store
Jean skirt – Liz Lange Maternity for Target, via consignment store
Cardi – very old H&M
Brooch – vintage, via consignment store
Tights – TJMaxx
Yellow shoes – Gianni Bini
Scarf – Vintage Threadz on Etsy


This skirt and top are two more finds from my maternity shopping spree with E. The best part of going maternity clothes shopping with E.? She has such a great eye for the potential in items. I found this teal top and instantly liked its color and drapeyness, but once on, the drapeyness was a little too much and it felt a little long and frumpy…

Maternity top 'Before' picture

But E. suggested two ways in which this could be quickly and easily remedied. One way would be to add ruching to the sides of the fabric (see a simple tutorial here), gathering it with that puckered effect symptomatic of many a maternity shirt. I loved that solution for keeping the top structured while allowing for extra belly fabric, but didn’t think that my remedial sewing skills could produce it. So I went with the second – and easier option – which was to add an elastic band along the bottom seam bringing the fabric in that way.

Shirt hem DIY

This was a very quick and effortless project that only cost me a couple of dollars in elastic and a few minutes in DIY time. I used a seam ripper to cut an opening into that bottom seam and ran the elastic all the way through. Once I had the elastic in, I tried the top on to see how wide I needed my elastic to be to fit comfortably around my hips. I pinned the ends in place with a safety pin while I had the shirt still on, then sewed them together, cut the excess elastic off, and stitched the shirt seam back up. And voila! The new and improved version…

30 March 2011

For comparison purposes, here is the top once more with the ‘Before’ and ‘After pictures…

Maternity top 'Before' picture 30 March 2011
Maternity top 'Before' picture 23 weeks preggers

I much prefer this more nipped in and tailored version, as it hugs the belly while still being loose and comfortable but without looking shapeless and frumpy. It’s such a minor change but still one that makes such a difference. Thanks, E., for a great idea! Being able to see the potential in items makes shopping for a maternity wardrobe (or any wardrobe) much easier, especially when scouring thrift stores and consignment shops. The selection may not always be as great as in a retail store but the pricer are much better and the possibilities after altering something to suit your shape and aesthetic make the find all the more rewarding, don’t you think? ┬áS.

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§ 17 Responses to 30 March 2011 – Mini DIY Project"

  1. Brooke says:

    That teal color is so gorgeous with your skin and hair, and I love the contrast with the yellow. Pretty and spring-y! :)

  2. Jane W. says:

    Well done! You look beautiful in that color, and I love the scarf in your hair.

  3. Beth says:

    This is genius! I’m definitely filing this idea away for my next pregnancy (in addition to the style benefits mentioned, it should be a great way to address the challenge of being short and maternity shirts being super-long on me).

  4. e. says:

    S., it looks great! Way to go. And I love it with the yellow accents.

  5. Rosa says:

    Great work in doing your own alterations! Got to say, I kinda prefer the unaltered top – it looks nice and flowy :)

  6. Krysti says:

    I love this DIY trick! I’m not even preggers and I know I can use it. There are just some tops that fall to an unattractive point between waist and hip that can benefit from a modification like this. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. The Gracious Gaze says:

    So smart!

  8. I really didn’t think the top was frumpy before. It’s a lovely color on you.

  9. Jen says:

    Great hack! I love what you’ve done with the shirt!

  10. AJ says:

    I love what you did with the top! I’m pregnant as well and I will definitely have to try this one! Thanks :)

  11. Vicki says:

    Aww :( I own that shirt and never thought of it as frumpy :( Why I own a maternity shirt having never been pregnant is another issue, but it’s one of my favorite tops and I’ve always gotten complimented on it.. but now I’m slighty paranoid about looking shapeless.

    • academichic says:

      Vicki, I think a lot of it has to do with fit! I’m short waisted and tops are always a bit longer on me. I felt like the bottom hem was neither long enough to be a tunic but hit at my widest hip part just not making for the best proportion and fit.

      If you’ve gotten a ton of compliments on yours, I’m sure you look great in it and it suits you well! The same garment never looks the same on two different people, so don’t let this deter you!


    • C says:

      Personally, I think the top looked much better before, so don’t worry – I’m sure t’s beautiful on you!

  12. I ignore the blog world for about a week, and you suddenly grow a baby! I kid, I kid, but seriously–you look gorgeous! Honestly, though, it seems like you and E have both “popped” in the last 10 days. You’ve got some serious “glow” happening, too–that color combo of teal and gold is magnificent on you. And this project is just one more reason why I need to learn to use a sewing machine!

  13. This looks gorgeous on you! Quick question: did you shorten the top, or just add the elastic?

  14. [...] S. elasticizes the bottom of a shirt for maternity wear and E. shows us how to “skinny” your jeans [...]

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