Alteration for Maternity/Nursing Top

By Tiffany - Sunday, August 16, 2015

I used one of my existing patterns to sew a maternity and nursing top with just a couple of alterations.

The pattern that I used is Butterick 5356. It's a very simple kimono top pattern that could be drafted on your own if you want (just search for "how to draft kimono tee" in google). The top of the shirt is split into contrasting colours and the front bottom piece has gathers to make room for the bust. It was this bottom front piece that I altered to make nursing friendly.

If you look at the picture above, you will see that there is a pocket by my underarm. What I did was create two bottom front pieces: the regular front with a side opening and a panel underneath.

To make the new front piece with side opening, I simple folded down the corner a few inches (as big as I wanted my opening less seam allowances). To make the panel piece, I traced the bottom front piece on a piece a parchment paper. I then cut half a U-shape in the center front (the bottom of the U is about an inch above the waist mark) and ended piece about 3" below the waist mark.

While cutting, I decided to make my U a little narrower and added back on about 2". I wanted to make sure I would have good coverage (since I plan on wearing it as a maternity work shirt) and the fabric I used is super stretchy. The center front of the U is cut on the fold.

I serged the edge of the U and the bottom of the panel. I also serged the opening edges of the openings and folded them down 1/2" and top-stitched with a zig-zag stitch. Then, I basted the two pieces together and continued sewing the pattern as normal.

Above is the wrong side of the front of the shirt, with my nice U-shape opening in place. And it works!

The back of the shirt is nice and simple.

I finished the collar by making a neck bindings in a similar way to making a t-shirt (see the Sewaholic Renfrew tutorials for what I mean). But, to make it less t-shirt looking, I only made the final collar about 1/4" wide.

Fabric choice was important for the lower part of the shirt. I went with a cotton-rayon-spandex blend that has about 70% stretch in one direction and 50% in the other. This means that the nursing pockets are easy to use, the top is super-duper comfortable, and I have plenty of room to grow.

The top fabric is a simple cotton jersey (like you find with most t-shirts).

I'm 16 weeks pregnant and feeling pretty stylish in my new top.

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