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Maternity workwear

kapnoel | Posted in General Discussion on

Dear friends,

I just found out that I am pregnant with our fourth one! As a mother of three I have some maternity casualwear, but, for the kind of job I am doing now, I really need a maternity suit. Since these cost quite some money I would like to make one or two from cool wool. I have looked at the old discussions and the tips about altering patterns for maternity wear, yet I found nothing specific to jackets. This is the kind of jacket I am thinking of:


Any ideas about what pattern to use and how to adapt it so that I do not look like an elephant right from the beginning? The tendancy in Europe is to look like a normal person when seen from the back and show off your belly (although I am not sure this is quite confortable especially in the end).

Just to have an idea about the look I want to achieve: http://www.mia-nana.de/umstandsmode/index.php


Thanks in advance for your suggestions!


Best regards







  1. Tatsy | | #1

    Congratulations on the new baby!The designs you chose are very stylish and should be comfortable. They all work by lengthening and widening the amount of fabric over the belly, either by gathering at the sternum or along the front side seams. The rest of the pattern will stay the same. You can start by copying the front of a jacket pattern you already have, then slashing and spreading to create the room for the baby. For the dress styles, I would try doubling or tripling the amount of fabric between bosom and hip and setting the center front at a slight angle on the fold, adding an extra inch or two at the hemline and nothing at the neckline. Good luck on your project.

    1. kapnoel | | #2

      Thanks, that sounds relatively easy. Have you tried it and what fabrics gave the best result?


      Best  regards



      1. Tatsy | | #3

        I haven't tried it for maternity, but I have adjusted lots of patterns for fit. Definitely begin with a cheap fabric to play with. My kids were born a long time ago and we wore lots of knits then.

      2. sewelegant | | #4

        Wool would be very nice, but have you seen or worked with the new "travel" fabric?  Like slinky?  It has 4 way stretch and I found it a lot easier than I thought it would be to work with.  I made a shell, pants and jacket that have a very slimming effect; at least I think so.  I rarely let Ron take a picture of me so this is not that great, but you can kind of see how the fabric hangs.  I have an "apple" figure so have to deal with that maternity look all the time, but at my age no one would mistake me for a new mother.  At least I'm glad I dearly loved the grandmother whose figure I seem to have inherited.


        1. Palady | | #5

          >> ... shell, pants and jacket ... a very slimming effect; at least I think so ... <<

          Absolutely!  Your ensemble is perfect!  The color, the combination, the drape all come together in a notable wearing.  It's an outift that will fit many occasions.  Can you post a pattern company & # if it's fairly recently done?

          Was this your first cruise?


          1. Sancin | | #6

            It has been a very long time since I was pregnant but as an older pregnant woman at the time I found there was too many cutesy clothes for much younger women. I only needed one work/formal dress at the time and made it from a vogue pattern. I can't recall whether it was a maternity pattern or not as I tend to use patterns as a base only. The dress was a simple straight A line dress made from very fine black wool with a soft white collar that stood away from the neck. Alas, like sewelegant, I am now an apple again and have to make the same adjustments. I REALLY recommend the slinky (travel knit) fabric. However, it would not make up with Isabella style. A cardigan type of jacket would be more appropriate. I never thought I would wear anything like it but I do look smashing in the several outfits I have which I dress up or dress down. The other advantage to the fabric is that it is cool to wear, something one wants to consider in the coming (one hopes) warmer weather. It feels a little heavy when picking the fabric up but seems to float yet drape beautifully when on. And you can just throw it in the washing machine and dryer with no fear.Congratulations on you growing family and have a safe and comfortable pregnancy!Edited 5/11/2009 8:01 pm ET by Sancin

            Edited 5/11/2009 8:08 pm ET by Sancin

          2. kapnoel | | #7

            Dear friends,


            Thank you for your suggestions. I am 42 so not exactly the jungest mother, but it is my fourth child after all, so it is fine! Additionally, I am an apple shape size 16, so thank you particularly for the tips and the pictures coming from fellow apples. The purple outfit looks great and I will go fabric hunting to see if I can find something similar. As to how apples look, I believe we look great and we have the softest lap for children and grandchildren to sit on!


            Best regards





          3. Palady | | #13

            Uuuuhhhhhhhh - your - 

            >> ... Congratulations on you growing family and have a safe and comfortable pregnancy! << 

            conclusion will hopefully be read by kapnoel who bega nthis thread.  It is she who is having a baby.  Were I to be pregnant, I'd be a subject for the New England Journal of Medicine and all the news programs.  I'm nearing the end of my 7th decade.



          4. sewelegant | | #11

            This picture is from last Fall when we took the New England cruise out of New York to Quebec City and back... I loved it and the weather as well as the scenery.   My daughter had given me a gift certificate for fabric.com and I got the slinky from them.  With my "white" hair, I really like wearing purple and it suits my coloring so it felt good wearing this.  I did have a problem with the jacket front, neckline band treatment.  It was just a straight piece and I interfaced the band with Easy Knit but it did not want to turn back on itself the way it's supposed to.  It made the band too bulky and, I think, also took away some of its ability to "mold" around the neck curve.  I ended up doing a lot of zig zag stitching over the seam edge to keep it down and when wearing it the seam tends to expose itself at the back neck and I don't like that.  I keep thinking I will take it off and re do it, maybe without interfacing, but until then I just pin it. (since the slinky is so forgiving it hasn't detracted from the look)

            The pattern I used was Coni Crawford's Easy Jacket.  It is out in her Butterick line now, but I had an older version on heavy paper, but it's the same.  The pants are from the C.C. pattern making book instructions for drafting pants.  I really like the fit and am making a white pair for summer.  The top is copied from a Vikki Vi slinky shell I liked the fit of.  I didn't want darts and all the patterns I made drafting my own and trying to fit c.c.'s dartless blocks didn't work well.  That is the first time I ever copied a ready to wear and was successful.  (and that's all it takes to keep me sewing!)

            Thanks to all for the kind feedback.

          5. Palady | | #15

            >> ... daughter ... gift certificate for fabric.com. ... <<    Astute of your progeny to recognize a very suitable gift.

            >> ... "white" hair, ... like wearing purple ... suits my coloring ... <<     Sort of like the poem When I am Old ...

            For anyone unfamiliar, one site is -


            >> ... problem with the jacket front, neckline band treatment ... <<   Awareness only to you I'd say.  The drape pf the jacket in the photo looks grand.

            Thank you for the info on the pattern.   What fabric are you using for the white pants?

            >> ... That is the first time I ever copied a ready to wear and was successful ... <<  Do I understand correctly previous attempts were less than successful?  Or, did you mean this is the first attempt ever?  I've used RTW's that fit well and did likewise with my effort.  Granted the fashions were somewhat basic w/o too much detail.  One particular was a duster which I still use some 45 yrs later.






          6. kapnoel | | #16

            Dear Nepa,


            I quite liked the poem! Purple suits very well all winters (sewelegant seems to be one) and its lighter ton also suits summers, too. I wear quite a lot of it actually, so I wonder what shall I wear when I am old?


            You amused me so! Thanks!


            Best regards



          7. Palady | | #17

            >> ... You amused me so!  Thanks.  <<    You're very welcome.  I take it the ... Wear Purple Poem was new to you. 

            I came upon it circa 1985 at casual stop in a gift store in Vernon, CT, USA.  There was a doll (Rose) offered along with a soft covered book.  The all caught my attention and were mine in short order.

            One of my granddaughters spoke for the doll as soon as she saw it.  Friends enjoyed the book & poem.  After a time, the Red Hat Society was on the scene.


            I have yet to "join" a group for a variety of reasons, but can understand the popularity.

            My deceased husband worked with a woman who's wardrobe was entirely in the purple hue.  She felt comfortable in the color and felt it was a lark to dress.  It also served her shopping needs and budget!

            >> ... so I wonder what shall I wear when I am old? <<   More of the same I would say.



          8. sewelegant | | #18

            To answer your question:  the white fabric I plan to use is something I found on the EmmaOneSock site.  It is labeled 11 oz. rayon/lycra single knit jersey and I thought that sounded like the same thing as slinky (or Travel Knit) so ordered it.<!----><!----><!---->

            It was recommended for tops, skirts and dresses but not pants. I have not seen any white slinky pants either in ready to wear or on the fabric sites so I'll probably find out why, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. This fabric has a matte finish instead of the shiny and I like that.  Have decided to make the top first and if it is opaque enough will cut out the pants.  I find the pants I have like to "grow" and hang too long until I wash them again.  Haven't tried rehemming them shorter... which is probably all I need to do.  I suppose I could wear a pant liner, but I think that would defeat the reason I like the slinky.  Sorry, I am rambling.<!----><!---->

            The poem is one I am familiar with and seems to be the motto for the Red Hat Society ladies  that has emerged around the country.  I encountered one of these groups on a cruise we took to <!----><!----><!---->Mexico<!----><!----> and they were quite boisterous, and of course were always dressed in red/purple with big hats.  I had a nice red/purple pant set with me and I never wore it because I didn't want to be confused with their group.  I did like the poem when it first came out, but I don't like being the center of attention.<!----><!---->

          9. Palady | | #21

            Interesting the fabric is recommended for tops, skirts/dresses yet not for pants.  The latter two present 'seat" issues which is why I would think a fabric needs to apply to pants.  As you mention maybe a pant liner or lining them is a consideration w/o affecting the drape.

            It does seem some of the Red Hatters get loud.  Possibly as with any group, there are those drawn togehter because their behaviors fall in line. 





        2. GailAnn | | #8

          OutStanding!  So that's called 'slinky"?  I've never tried it, but I think I'll give it a go.  Gail

        3. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #9

          Sewelegant, your picture matches your screen name! A superbly crafted outfit on an elegant lady. It fits and suits you so well. Pun intended, tee hee hee. It is nice to see you in person too. :) Cathy

  2. gailete | | #10

    Congratulations on the baby. My youngest is going on 26 so a very long time since I had to wear maternity clothes--he was such a big baby that at six weeks along I was praying the dr. would say I was pregnant just so I could wear maternity clothes as I had already grown out of my regular stuff. I ended up growing out of the maternity clothes by the end too. He was 10 1/2# and 23" long. Anyhow in those days, we all wore those smock things and didn't show off our bellies one bit.

    The other day while waiting at my doctors office a drug rep came in and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She had to have been in her 7-8th month, very obviously pregnant, and was dressed so elegantly I couldn't believe it. She had on a pair of wide legged pants with a cuff in lightweight suiting fabric, a knit top of some kind and a loose jacket that I'm not positive if it was strictly a maternity one or not, then she had a lovely long scarf, thrown around her neck with the ends coming down past her belly, and some nice jewelry and nice looking shoes. She was gorgeous and it was really a simple look, but well done in nice fabrics. I wanted to cry thinking about the homemade stuff I had worn when pregnant! But I think having that lightweight scarf flowing around her neck and then down helped to give a very vertical line on her, which took the emphasis off her belly and onto her face. Just something you might want to think about. It was still a cold spring day then, but using a chiffon or silk scarf in the summer might have the same effect.


    1. kapnoel | | #12

      Dear Gail,I understand your feelings when you saw that gorgeous pregnant woman and I also understand your wanting to cry about the homemade stuff. I have two comments to make which crossed my mind upon reading your post.Firstly, pregnant women do not realize how much they glow, mother nature plays such tricks on us! When we see other women being pregnant while we are not, we are in the observer position and we can lay back and admire this natural glow which radiates enough to englobe the whole appearance including the clothes and the look. When we are pregnant ourselves, we have so many things to think and worry about and, of course, we cannot look at ourselves. So, we are not able to realise how beautiful we can be. I am sure you looked gorgeous during your pregnancy, too.Secondly, to the homemade stuff. I admire well made clothing and I realise that homemade stuff cannot always compete with well done RTW. Still thinking of making my own stuff and actually doing so, gives me so much pleasure and keeps my mind and my hands working that what a make has a big emotional value to me. Wearing it makes me feel very special as if my wishes and my determination were suddendly visible to the world.Best regardsElissavet

      1. gailete | | #14

        Thank you for your kind words. Back when I was making maternity clothes, I knew so little about proper sewing: the whys and how's, but if I wanted my body covered I had to sew. In my last month of that pregnancy I made yet another dress as I had grown out of everything. The first Sunday after the baby was born that I went to church, I threw the dress on as I was still very poochy and went to church. It was then when the baby got hungry that I realized I had done the ultimate no-no. Worn a dress that I couldn't nurse in. Trying to figure out how to feed the baby and look decently covered in the nursery was a challenge! Those were the days. My oldest son got into my sewing when I was on the home stretch of a maternity top and chopped a big hole in the middle. If I had known then what I know now, I would have made some appliques and covered it up. Instead I just cried. Even cheap fabric was so expensive if you get my drift. I think that is why having a stash now is something that I enjoy. I know I have the material to make any kind of garment I need and to do any craft project that I get my mind up to. With the economy tight at this point, it is always nice to know you have a reserve of resources, kind of like a full pantry!

        My SIL got to see my youngest son on Mother's Day over at her folks house (I was sick) and just sent me a lovely note about him that so touched me. He has grown so much and is turning into a wonderful young man and has over come so many obstacles as he is autistic, that whenever I think back on everything about him I get misty eyed.

        I know what you mean about feeling special in your clothes that you have made. I didn't feel that way for a long time. My first MIL scoffed at homemade clothes even though that was all I could afford to wear. But after reading up on sewing magazines and books I finally, about 2 years ago, attempted a skirt with interlining. I LOVE that skirt. I made it from yard sale fabric, but the feel of it and how well it wears makes me want to smile whenever I wear it. I think having that success has spurred me on enormously in my sewing to want to add those extra touches that make something turned out extra special. It is amazing just how much better a turned over narrow hem looks if you measure it instead of eyeballing it! Those little things add up. I am in awe of expert sewers that I have seen here. At this point I have the head knowledge, but haven't had the practice to turn out garments like some, but I'm trying and that is what is important.

        I think women today have it so special when they are pregnant as no longer are you bound to try and cover up the belly (not that I like seeing exposed bellies on anyone--that is for the beach only) but have such different fabrics and styles to wear. I do hate though the 'news'papers that refer to the pregnant abdomen as a 'bump'. Is that just me or is that offensive to other women? That is a baby in there! Anyways, I think that is why the pregnant woman I saw so impressed me, as she was put together so well in the types of garments that weren't even available to pregnant women back 25 years ago. Absolutely lovely! I wish I had told her so.


  3. Teaf5 | | #19

    Congratulations!Those are lovely shapes, but I'd caution against using wool; pregnant women tend to be overly warm, even in the coldest climates. It might be better to use a suiting rayon, which would give the authoritative body to a suit jacket but would drape much better from earlier to later sizes of the pregnancy. You can always add layers and thicker sweaters underneath to add warmth when you need it; you just need "the suggestion of a jacket or third layer," advice that helped me so much when I was pregnant and working. I also used a lot of gorgeous, generously sized silk scarves and interesting, art-to-wear vests as that "third layer of authority" and wore my best jewelry to achieve a more formal look with basic separates.On a loose rayon jacket, in the early months, you can use a back tie or elastic suspender to create a kind of gathering at center back that will take up some fullness. As your belly grows, you can release or remove this back cinch. One problem with a maternity suit jacket is that, in order to get a straight hem at the later size, the front panel is significantly longer and curved. However, this curve will look strange until it is filled, so it's easier to choose a curved or uneven hem from the beginning. The center front ties tend to draw the eye, so consider a clean buttoned front closing (with subtle buttons) instead. You can use some really interesting collar/yoke detailing to help people focus on your face while you're talking to them--something the pregnant professional always needs!Keep us posted on your new adventure!

    1. kapnoel | | #20

      Thanks Teaf5, you are probably right wool might be too warm for me.

      I thought of cool wool initially, but another lighter all season suiting drapery fabric may be better. I thought of making it in a red burgundy colour (a huy between deep wine red and brown) since I do not wear black well and I definetely do not want to wear it during my pregnancy. I will go to try some jackets first, I have seen one that has little satin ties on the back to gather excess fabric when the belly will not be big enough to fill it.

      I love asymetrical cuts because they are so flattering, so I might as well try one, but I prefer to try it on a knit wool and make a jacket without closure where asymetrical panels hang freely. I could then tie them if necessary.


      Thanks again for the good advice. I will keep you posted!

      Best regards



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