Thursday, May 24, 2012

Maternity patterns: are they a good idea, and where to buy them?

I've already said that sewing is realy only economical if you're (or the person you're sewing for is) going to remain the same size for a while, and the garment will see years of use.

Still, there's something appealing about sewing your own maternity clothes... at least for me. Being able to choose fun patterns, and lengthen what needs lengthening. So I've been mentally cataloguing companies offering maternity patterns.

But first; if you're not a mom and don't plan on becoming one, I realize this post is about as fun as watching grass grow. So I promise posts like this will be few and far between. Further, I'm not pregnant now, so I'm not going to be going all boring-blogging-only-about-my-baby on you. Although the baby I already do have is the best baby ever. Just sayin'.

I do hope to maybe have another baby in the future, and the problems I had last time I was pregnant were the same ones I always have with RTW. Pants too short, sleeves too short, this too wide and that too snug. You know.

But. Just nine months of wear, or less than that actually, seems like too short a time to put a bunch of work into making a garment. I'd probably rather be sewing for the new or current baby, or nesting, or whatever. Not to mention the cost involved with buying maternity patterns and enough fabric to stretch around that expanding girth. My last preg belly was huh-yuuuuge!

So even though I won't be sewing an entire maternity wardrobe if I become pregant again, I'd probably like to me-make a couple of pieces.

Here's a list of maternity pattern resources! Did I leave any out? Have you made any? Do you think maternity sewing is worthwhile?


Of the "big four" pattern companies, they're the ones who seemed to have maternity the longest in recent memory. I was going to complain how kinda boring theirs were, maybe even somewhat dated, until I went to the site just now and saw the one I pinned above. Ruching is pretty typical when it comes to maternity wear, but pretty cute nonetheless!

Butterick's selection was limited to just two patterns and labeled simply "maternity" until recently. Sometime last year they added a second, seperate section called "suitable for maternity", which for some reason has just two of their now four regular maternity patterns, plus some of the more loose-fitting regular patterns. Which I must say, does NOT make me want to buy said regular patterns for non-maternity use. I mean, what non-pregnant person wants to wear a dress that's been deemed "suitable for maternity"?

Butterick Maternity & Suitable for Maternity


McCall's doesn't have any maternity-specific patterns, but added the same "suitable for maternity" section that Butterick did at around the same time. McCall's section does denote, however, that "Hem adjustment may be necessary."

Again, not too sure I'd wear these regular patterns for normal use. The one I pinned above is great... if you'd like to channel your inner pregnant Nicole Richie.

McCall's Suitable for Maternity


Kwik Sew offers the standard, basic, maternity fare and is easy to get your hands on if you live near a Hancock Fabrics.

Kwik Sew Maternity


Burda Style Magazine's popular website is another one I don't remember having maternity patterns until very recently.

The handful of maternity pattern downloads they offer are pretty great; basic maternity staples that, if made properly, could be extremely stylish-- which is just how you want to feel when you're heavily pregnant. And while their downloadable patterns aren't readily available during $.99-$1.99 sales like the above pattern-makers, Burdastyle's maternity patterns are reasonably priced in the $5 range.

Burda Style Magazine/ Maternity

Burda has a line of already printed patterns as well, which are easily available at Jo-Ann and other retailers.

Burda actually has one of the more decent-sized selections of maternity patterns when it comes to the major pattern retailers, and certainly the best selection under the Simplicity Creative Group umbrella. That's because Simplicity and New Look don't currently offer maternity patterns.

Burda's patterns tend to look cute in the thumbnails on the Simplicity website. Then you click on them and they... don't. Their maternity patterns are no exception. Case in point, the pattern on the left above, which, once I clicked on it, turned out to be some sort of a belly-baring maternity crop top over a satin jumpsuit. If you say so.

The one on the right, a bonus pattern image to illustrate my point (plus I was too embarrassed to actually pin these to Pinterest), it's likewoahmaternitygeniepants. Not the most flattering look on anyone, let alone a swollen-ankled pregnant lady. Note to Burda: it's not the mommies who need the diaper allowance.

Still, don't let these patterns fool you. Burda offers a couple of great maternity basics, including a winter coat and a maxi dress. At least that's how the thumbnails look...

Burda Maternity Wear


Fear not, Colette, Sewaholic, and Pattern Runway fans! There's an indie pattern company for the pregnant set, too!

Megan also has some of the absolute best DIY maternity wear tutorials on the web on her sister blog, DIY Maternity.


There are a whole host of maternity wear how-to's online... in fact, too many to list. Megan Nielsen's site that I mentioned above is a great starting point. You could also check Pinterest or simply Google "maternity tutorials". Some of my favorites include the various maxi skirt tutorials and ruched T-shirts. There are also various methods to alter non-maternity patterns to include a wider front and longer hem.

Source: via Elisha on Pinterest

Just because some of the big pattern companies don't currently offer maternity patterns, doesn't mean they never did. The usual suspects, Etsy and eBay, are great places to start if you'd like to purchase some of these.
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