Maternity Tunic from Men's Dress Shirt

4:00 AM

Here's what I made with the rest of my husband's chambray dress shirt.
The sleeves went to the toddler cuff pants, and the body of the shirt got flipped backwards to make a tunic for me.

I didn't have enough fabric for sleeves, so this maternity top is a tank which would be good for anyone pregnant in summer.
But winter is in full swing with snow on the ground and low temperatures, so for this baby I plan to use it as a layering piece.
I was excited to have a chambray top, as it can be kind of a neutral with crazy colored bottoms, like my orange jeans I made, tutorial here.

So the back of the dress shirt became the maternity front, allowing the gathered center to drape over the belly.  I added boob darts and just a simple rounded neckline.

The button up front of the men's dress shirt is now the back of the tunic.
I sewed the button placket closed up to my mid back, as I only needed the first few to get my head through.  I also switched out the buttons with silver post buttons.

My 4 year old took all these photos of me wearing the tunic, and did pretty good using the tripod.
I guess my husband will be relieved I found someone else!

(doesn't have to be maternity)

1.  Remove sleeves and chest pocket.  To carefully cut off the pocket, I find a straight edge razor is much better than a seam ripper to carefully cut the threads and slice the pocket right off.

2 Cut Tunic Back
First remove the collar and cut the shoulder seams so you're only using the button front of the dress shirt.
Using a shirt that fits you as a pattern, fold both the dress shirt button front and the pattern tee in half and arrange their folds on top of each other, and align from the bottom up, as the hems can line right up.
Third, cut the neck, shoulder, arm hole and side seam a seam allowance away from pattern shirt.  

3. Cut Tunic Front
Using the back half of the dress shirt, you'll first cut the bottom of the tunic front that covers the pregnant belly.  Align your pattern tee in the center and at the hem.  Cut across 3" or so below the base of the armpit.  This way you'll ensure you have enough length to cover a pregnant belly (red line).
Next remove the yoke from the dress shirt and fold the remaining shirt and pattern tee in half to cut out bodice.

4. Gather Tunic Bottom
With using the full width on the bottom, and your regular size on the bodice, you have a much wider bottom, which is how you get the extra fabric to go forward around the belly.
I measured around 7" from each side to stay flat, then the remaining center fabric needed to gather enough to line up with the width of the bodice.   Baste stitch across the top and gather as much as you need to.

5. Connect Front to Back
Finish tunic front by sewing the bodice to the gathered bottom, right sides together.
Next sew the side and shoulder seams of the tunic back and tunic front, making sure right sides are together.

6. Darts
I noticed I needed to add a dart on the chest to take care of excess fabric at the armholes.
To make a quick, easy dart without a pattern, I put on the tunic inside out, and using masking tape to mark, taped from the most prominent point on the chest down toward the base of the armhole, then pinched however much fabric needed to come together to take care of the sag.
To sew the dart, fold matching up the masking tape on each side and sew along the edge.  The dart should taper right to the edge of the fold.
When the bodice lays flat, the dart should stand up straight between the two pieces of masking tape.
Just peel the tape off and use the finished dart to mark the other side and sew it to match.

7. Finish Neck and Arms
There are many different ways to finish the neck and arm holes, make a lining, facing, self made bias tape, etc.
I didn't want any added fabric with a facing or lining, and decided to use bias tape on the wrong side for this top.
Finalize where the finished neck and arm holes should be and trim 1/4" from the edge.
Sew narrow 1/4" double fold bias tape on the raw edge.
Fold bias tape to the wrong side of garment and top stitch in place.

8. Button Placket
Sew the button placket shut on the back, except for the three top buttons.
Remove all the shirt buttons and replace if you want.

I used the original hem on the dress shirt--the perk of re-fashioning!

I ended up using pretty much the entire dress shirt, except the yoke and collar.
It's nice to have a top that's not knit and stretched tight over the belly as it makes it though the last trimester.
10 weeks to go!

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  1. This is so cute. And thanks for the boob dart help. I have a shirt that I am making, from a pattern, for myself. But I had to go up so much in size to fit my darn hips that the darts don't even come close to fitting in the right place. I put the shirt aside trying to figure out what to do. This idea is going to help so much! At least now I will be able to mark where I need the dart to come to.
    Thank you for posting it!

  2. I would have never thought of using tape to mark out a dart. You clever woman you. Thanks for the tip. The tunic looks great!

  3. Thank you for calling it a boob dart.

  4. This looks so cute on you. =) And I love how you marked the darts... that has got to be easier than trying to draw a straight line on a curved body with a pencil. =) Very clever.

    1. Or I've also tried pinning a dart while wearing the item...didn't work very well and was unpleasant to get poked there!

  5. Terrific conversion with the shirt! Well done to the budding photographer too. :-))

  6. Cute! Love how versatile this is too - now that you have the pattern you could add a collar, different fabrics, sleeves, whatevs! Good design, lady!

  7. You are too talented! Not to mention that you are so cute pregnant! Love this shirt and your cuff pants. I am featuring both of these at

  8. I see you got a chance to use the placket on the back! Bonus that the hem worked out too. I love this shirt with your outfit and how the belt ties it all together. Good luck with the last part of your pregnancy!

    1. Thanks, it was nice not to have to hem it and that there was already the lower curve to give more belly coverage!

  9. Super Cute! I would love to feature this on Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle. Feel free to stop by and grab a featured button. Thanks!

  10. You are so resourceful to get two cute projects out of one shirt!

  11. Very cute. I always had designs to make my own maternity clothing but when it came down to it, I was always just too darn tired. Kudos to you for whipping something up for yourself.

  12. I can't handle how cute this is. What a terrific use of a button up shirt. :) Love this, friend.

  13. Thank you for this tutorial! I've pinned it and hope to get some sewing done for me as well as for the baby to be! I loved the toddler pants too btw, so adorable!

  14. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Sewing Community? Our members will love it.
    Members include: Needleworkers, Clothes and Dress Makers, Enthusiasts, Experts, Groups, Clubs, etc.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Sewing Community:
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

  15. Very smart and sassy ! Well done !

  16. Super super:):):)I'm not pregnant but I love the idea and trousers for kids.Thanks for this nice sharing.Greetings from Turkiye:):):)


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