Friday, May 6, 2011

Craft: Maternity shirt from Men's dress Shirt

When I started this blog I said one purpose was for when I felt crafty other than just digi scraping. Well I'm not a really crafty person, so this is the first of its type.
It all started with needing a maternity blouse to match my family for family photos Easter Weekend.
I looked all over. In stores, on the internet... EVERYWHERE. Nothing in the color range I wanted. I was starting to think I was just going to need to do the "white" blouse that so many expectant mothers ware for these sort of pictures. I didn't want to do that. I had already found the perfect suit and shirt combo for my 2 year old and a matching shirt for my husband to go with his suit. I wanted to match them.
Then it dawned on me- there should be enough fabric in a men's dress shirt (especially the larger sizes) to make a maternity blouse.
I started by searching the internet for ideas and to see if anyone had done this before. I found many examples of how to make a woman's blouse out of a man's dress shirt, but few maternity.
One maternity I found that actually works was from a site called diymaternity
I liked the look of it, but all of her examples, she left the buttons in the front. I didn't want the buttons to pull for the pictures.
I found in my stash of fabric a dress shirt my husband had tore the sleeve. I don't let him throw away any of his ruined clothes, I figures I can use it for scraps or cleaning rags. My husband wares an size 18 dress shirt, I found with the shirt I bought I had got a 17 and it didn't work quite as well for a maternity. I made both shirts leaving the front in place but turning the back around and using the large piece of fabric for the front.
Step One: take off pocket
Step Two: put on shirt. Give ample space for bust and determine where you want the empire waist to hit you, WARNING- both times I miss measure, give yourself the space. Mark it with pins. 
Step Three: Cut off the sleeve. Cut out the excess fabric under the arm. For this shirt I ended up cutting off the sleeve completely and using the broad shoulder as a cap sleeve, for the shirt I made for family picture I measured where I wanted my shoulder to end and cut the excess fabric and the old sleeve off. Keep the sleeve for making a new sleeve. I used the actual sleeve in a newly created sleeve hole. Also beware- don't cut yourself short when cutting out the extra. Give yourself enough space for your bust.
Step 4: If you are adding a new sleeve, un-stitch the old sleeve to use in the newly created sleeve hole.
Step 5: Cut off the top from the bottom, where you measured when waring it. Remember give your bust the space it needs. Next put the back over your belly. I pinned the side seam where on me it would hit. This is to make sure you have space for your belly, It will give you an idea of how much you will need to gather or pleat.  
Step Six: if you are cutting of the collar do so now. I First cut off the collar directly and then measured where I wanted it to hit me. Beware- I left it on for the family photos shirt because the neckline was too loose on the first blouse.
Step Seven: Gather the back of the man's shirt to be your gathered front.
Step Eight: Measure the top of the shirt to see where your side seam needs to be. Sew the bottom of the shirt to your top.

Step Nine: If cutting off the collar, finish off the neckline, either by rolling over, or by using bias tape. 
Sew closed sides, if not already, sew up to arm hole.
Step Ten: Sew up the back, cut off the buttons and button holes from what use to be the front of the shirt, but is now going to be the back. Measure it on yourself. Before sewing it closed see if there is anywhere you need the extra space. Sew closed. 
Finished shirt with now added sleeves.
Step Eleven: Sleeves, for the family photos shirt, I took the old sleeve, gathered it to fit into my new arm hole. I had cut the lower part off to where I thought I wanted it to hit my arm. I have fat arms. I left all the fabric from the man's sleeve, but use elastic to make it look like it fit my arm. Finally I sewed white bias tape to finish off the sleeve bottom and make it look more feminine, I pulled the elastic tight while adding the bias tape so it too was gathered. I think the bias tape made all the difference.
The shirt turned out great. I wore it the rest of the day and had so many people ask about it. Since I made it with a size 17 mens it didn't have as much space, but everyone who found out that I had made it from a man's dress shirt was surprised and said they would have never guessed.
family photos taken by Brianna Yardley Photography


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