Maternity Sewing

Figured it was about time for my annual blog post 😂😅 so I thought I would summarize the sewing I did during my pregnancy and garments/ patterns that worked well throughout.  I'm also planning to write up a post about patterns that have worked well so far for postpartum and breastfeeding, so you can expect that sometime in 2022 (ha!!).  Baby boy W arrived in early January and it's been an amazing 3+ months so far.  I'm currently typing this intro out with one hand while he’s snuggled up napping in my other arm.

Two things to keep in mind for this post: For anyone reading this in the future... note that I was pregnant during the Covid-19 pandemic (still ongoing at the time of writing this) and totally working from home, so my wardrobe definitely reflected that.  Also, I was pregnant from April to January so I was at my largest during the cooler winter months.  While this did somewhat affect what I wore and sewed, I don't think there would have been too much of a difference had I been expecting a summer or fall baby.  A lot of what I wore in the summer during my second trimester would have carried me all the way through to birth.

A lot of the patterns I made and wore were not originally intended for maternity wear.  Either they fit well enough for part or all of my pregnancy with no modification, or I made modifications for them to fit better around my growing belly.  I did buy a couple maternity-specific patterns, but 1) there really aren't a ton out there, and the ones that do exist are... just not my style, and 2) they were actually difficult to find in my size!  This is absolutely absurd.  Pre-pregnancy I was right on the cusp of straight and plus sizes... plus size people get pregnant too!!  I was sized out of all the Megan Nielsen maternity patterns and while I made the skirt, because it's made in a knit with room to grow and a simple enough shape to grade up from.  More on that at the end of the post.

First Trimester

When I got pregnant I was SO excited for all the things I was going to sew over the next few months... and then the first trimester nausea and exhaustion hit and I didnt sew anything for nearly three months.  During the first trimester comfort was key.  I found I was really bloated so I tucked my jeans away into the back of my closet pretty early.  However, pretty much all of my wardrobe still fit so there wasn't a huge change in what I was wearing, aside from ditching structured skirts because of working from home. 

Noteable Patterns:

Second Trimester

As my belly started to grow, the weather got warmer, and my energy and appetite returned, I pulled out the various loose dresses and skirts, and elastic waist pants!  Oh my goodness what a blessing sack dresses and elastic waist pants were for the second trimester.  I could look and feel cute, while also being super comfortable.  One bonus of working from home?  Caftans all day, (almost) every day.  I didn't really make any maternity tees or tops, choosing to instead buy some RTW.  I was really pleased with the quality of maternity clothing from H&M, so I've stashed away what I bought for any future pregnancies.  

Noteable Patterns:

Third Trimester

At this point in my pregnancy my belly was getting pretty darn big!  Most of the non-maternity things that fit through my second trimester were too small and it was getting too cold for caftans, so I stuck with mainly leggings and sweatpants paired with RTW maternity/nursing camis and tops.  Although "hard pants" had been banished thanks to a huge belly and the pandemic, one thing I really wanted to challenge myself with was making a pair of maternity jeans from my TNT pattern, the Ginger Jeans.  They fit pretty well right into the last month of my pregnancy - I'm pretty sure the last time I wore them was at 38 weeks!  I documented the process of making those jeans in my Instagram stories, but I might put together a blog post on that, since in my googling similar posts were few and far between!  The jeans turned out exactly like I had hoped, and it was nice to have something other than leggings to wear out of the house for appointments.

Noteable Patterns:

Overall Maternity TNT's:

If you couldn't tell from the lists above, the Avery Leggings are the clear winner here.  A bona fide maternity tried ‘n’ true pattern!!  I made a few pairs with maternity-friendly modifications.  I lowered the rise of the front to accommodate my belly, and increased the height of the waistband by about 4" so it could be pulled up and over.  I also had a pair I had made pre-pregnancy out of double-brushed poly and they fit right up until the end because of the amount of stretch!

The Elliot Sweater was also a great pattern throughout.  I moved the side slits up a smidge on the second one I made, and both were so comfortable and fit really well over my belly.  I’m pretty sure I actually wore one of them to the hospital when I went to for my induction, knowing it would be super comfortable to wear home, too.  They’ve also been one of my go-to tops postpartum as they’re really easy to pull up for breastfeeding!  Huge props to Helen’s Closet for making easy, comfortable patterns and a very inclusive size range.

The Ebony Tee also makes the TNT list because it fit for my entire pregnancy with zero modifications!  I had three that were in fairly regular rotation, and like the Elliot Sweater, they’ve been really great for breastfeeding.  I actually have three more cut out and ready to sew right now!

And last but not least, the Envelope Dress is another amazing non-maternity maternity pattern.  Zero or low-waste, and sizing is based on your hip/waist measurement.  Sew one up in linen and you’ll be the most comfortable pregnant person around on those hot summer days.  I added and invisible zip to the front of one for easy boob access, and I think I’m going to need about 10 more for this summer!

Honourable Mentions:

I have to hand it to the Givre Maternity Dress pattern.  For a super simple bodycon maternity dress, it’s perfect.  Well, mostly perfect.  The two tee versions I made were amazingly comfortable, and I made a long sleeve version in a sweatshirt knit for my maternity photos.   The tank version was a huuuuge miss for me.  The straps are too wide, and it didn’t look nearly as cute as I had hoped.  Another drawback is the size range.  I was right up at the top end... which again, is ridiculous.  Pregnant people come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone deserves cute and comfortable clothing!

Another honourable mention goes to the Pietra Pants.  I have three pairs of pants and one pair of shorts, and they were one of the most comfortable things to wear over the summer during my second trimester.  No modifications needed, the elastic waist stretched enough to accommodate my growing belly for a good few months.  While I would have loved to just wear caftans all spring and summer, I needed some pants for easy belly access at ultrasounds and midwife appointments.

Don’t Bother:

So, really only one pattern here... and that’s the Erin Maternity skirt from Megan Nielsen.  While I did make 2 and they worked out well for me, it’s a don’t bother for a couple reasons.  First being the total crap size range.  Like I said above, I was out of the size range with 45” hips (the pattern goes up to 44”).  Second, the pattern is essentially just a tube with some ruching on the side, so a beginner sewist could easily draft their own.  For $18?  I feel silly for buying it in the first place.  In finding the link for the Burnside Bibs, I've discovered Sew House Seven has a new free pattern that could VERY easily be hacked into a maternity-friendly skirt and the size range is much more inclusive!

In conclusion... I'm really quite pleased with the "maternity wardrobe" I put together over a few short months.  I know a lot of people say "I don't want to sew anything I'm only going to wear/buy for a few months!"... but I'm going to have to disagree with that for a couple reasons.  First off, when you're feeling uncomfortable and awkward in this new body, having something to wear that makes you feel cute is totally worth it.  Second, there are plenty of things you can sew that can still be worn postpartum!  And third, when you're done having babies you can always pass on your maternity-specific duds to a friend or donate them to a thrift shop so they can continue to be enjoyed.

I do hope I'll be able to get a post up soon about the various breastfeeding friendly garments I've made and worn over the past few months, but in the meantime I've posted a couple things on Instagram that you can check out.  


  1. This is super helpful! Thank you for sharing so much detail. Looking forward to the breastfeeding friendly post, whenever you get a chance :)

    1. Thanks Zoey! Glad you found it helpful. Hoping to get the next post up in the coming weeks :)