Inspired by a RTW maternity breastfeeding top I’d bought I decided to figure out how to hack a pattern to make more feeding friendly clothes. The idea of this top is that it’s got a modesty panel so that you can feed without feeling quite so exposed. I thought I’d share the instructions in case anyone else fancied doing the same. Our baby hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t say for certain how practically it works, but it definitely looks similar to my shop bought version so fingers crossed!
- Choose an existing jersey top pattern. Choose your size based on bust measurement, it should fit closely at the bust. I chose the Deer and Doe Plantain tshirt which is a free download. 🙂
- Trace or cut out your pattern pieces.
- Take your paper front bodice piece and mark in the seam allowances at the shoulder seam.
- Standing in front of a mirror, or with a pal to help you, hold the front bodice piece up to you so that the seam allowance sits just over your shoulder. Mark your underbust point onto the pattern. (roughly about the same place as the band of your bra) Draw a line across the pattern piece using this mark as a guide.
- Cut across the line you’ve just marked. This will leave you with an upper and lower front bodice piece. Mark the upper piece A and the lower piece B.
- Use an extra piece of paper to add in seam allowance to both A & B at the line where you’ve just cut (this will be for joining them together again later on)
- Make a second copy of pattern piece A and label the new piece C.
- Use a curved ruler to redraw the neckline on piece C so that you turn it into a V neck. Stop drawing the line just above the seam allowance.
- If desired add extra length to piece B. I opted to do so since I was making the top whilst pregnant. I added 2″ to both the front and back of the pattern to cover my bump and make it more of a tunic length for wearing with leggings after baby has arrived.
- That’s your pattern adjusting done – time to cut out your fabric! The Plantain tee uses binding to finish the neckline, I used the original pattern piece but cut out a few extra of these to individually bind the new necklines.
- Add neckline binding to each piece (back, piece C x2, piece A)
- Take bodice piece A and sew a strip of elastic onto the hem. It’s up to you how tight you’d like this. For mine I just wanted it to scrunch up a little bit so that the under layer would stay put.
- Take your two V neck pieces (pattern piece C) and place right sides together with the lower bodice (pattern piece B). To do so align the side seams first, you’ll possibly have a little overlap on your V neck pieces. Stitch together.
- Trim down your seam allowances and press (either open or to the back). You’ve now got a new V neck front bodice piece.
- Lay your back bodice and the new V neck front bodice right sides together. Lay piece A on top so that it’s right side is facing together with the wrong side of the V neck front. Pin all 3 layers at the shoulder seam and stitch.
- Trim and press the seam allowance open.
- Hem your sleeves and insert them as per usual pattern instructions. Be sure to catch both layers of the front bodice in your seam allowance.
- Sew your side seams right sides together, press the seam allowance open.
- Hem as per usual instructions.
And that’s it!
I think you could use this hack for any fitted jersey tshirt or dress pattern. In terms of fit, it’s comfortable to wear right now as a maternity top. In hindsight I’d have extended the length of the modesty panel (the piece I’d labelled A) so that it would have room for a little more growth but otherwise quite happy with this as a first attempt at maternity pattern hacking! 🙂