Regular Tee to Maternity Tee: Easiest Ever Maternity Shirt Refashion

A few weeks ago, I grabbed some Men’s shirts off the clearance rack at Old Navy, determined to  refashion them into maternity shirts.

And I did. And they turned out great. And I might blog about them later.

But it wasn’t exactly what you would call a quick project.

It required a lot of steps-cutting, unpicking, measuring, sewing, hemming, etc.

I figured there had to be an easier way. And there is!!!! And not only is it easier (like, literally will take you 5 minutes kind of easy), it was actually cheaper too, so it’s a win-win-win kind of project.


{sorry for the crappy pics!}

So, as you can see, all I did was add some ruching to the sides of a large tee shirt so that the shirt fits nicely around my belly.

I guess if DIY Maternity Tees aren’t in your needed repertoire, you can just use this little tutorial to learn how to ruche…which is seriously so, so easy. No need to be intimidated!

Here’s what you need in addition to your regular sewing stuff:

  • A tee shirt (I found this tee at Walmart for only $2.88. Remember that ruching scrunches your fabric up, so just make sure your tee is long enough to spare losing a few inches. I chose an XL because it fits my belly and had some extra length)
  • 1/4 inch elastic
  • safety pins (although, you really could manage without)


First, try your tee shirt on to get an idea of where you want your ruching to hit you.

I kind of go by where my belly starts and stops. So (for this shirt) I decided to have my ruching start 3 1/2 inches below the armpit seam. And I wanted the ruched portion to be about 6 1/2 inches long, so I cut two pieces of elastic, each 6 1/2 inches (full disclosure-the bottom of my shirt was a little looser than I like, so if I did this same project again, I think I’d cut my elastic to 8 inches to get more shape at the very bottom).

So, cut your 2 pieces of elastic…


Then, with your shirt inside out, measure down to where you want your ruching to start (again, in my case, it was 3 1/2 inches down from the armpit), and pin your elastic in place.


Next, stretch your elastic right along that side seam. You will be pulling your elastic totally taught, but don’t pull your shirt at all. Pin the end of the elastic in place. You can kind of tell from the picture above how the ruching will play out once it’s sewn.

Do the same thing to the other side seam.


When everything is pinned into place, you can pull out your sewing machine. Using your zig zag stitch, stitch the top of your elastic directly onto the side seam of your tee shirt. Once that top part is secure, stretch your elastic while sewing it to the seam of your tee. Be careful that your elastic stays on the seam and that you are stretching the elastic the whole time. I go slow and readjust every couple of inches.


This is how it looks when the elastic is all sewn into place. You just have to repeat with the other side and you’re done!

If you need some maternity tees, I highly recommend making your own! This project literally took me 10 minutes (and only so long because I was taking pictures of the process) and I feel like I saved $20 by doing it myself. Win-win!



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