DIY: The Perfect Maternity Dress Revamped

DIY: The Perfect Maternity Dress Revamped

Finally... the new and improved "Perfect Maternity Dress" tutorial.

Remember these dresses that I made for my last pregnancy?

They worked great, but honestly, they weren't completely the most ideal for a growing belly.

As you can see in the picture of the mustard yellow dress the hem line seems to come up just barely because of my baby bump.

I loved the idea of simply attaching fabric to a t-shirt due to the fact that it is cute, but also because it is dang cheap to make. I think I made each of these dresses for only $6 a piece. You certainly can't find that price in a maternity store.

I just knew there had to be a way to fix this rising problem. Here is what we did!

Supply list:
About 2 yards of fabric
one t-shirt

(I have found that it is best to use stretchy fabric when doing this project. Knit is ideal.)

Neither of the DIY Divas is currently pregnant, so we had to improvise...

Step 1: Measure just above your baby bump. Add a half inch for a seam allowance. Remember that number. Ours was 29". We remembered the number 29.5".

Step 2: Find the spot you will mark to cut the t-shirt. Just eyeball it.

Step 3: Cut t-shirt
*** (When you make this dress you can either attach a band directly to the shirt, which is the "your measurement" from above. For example, our band would have been 29.5" at about 3 inches wide. After attaching the band, you can then attach the skirt to the band, which I am going to teach you to make below. Making a band is only possible if you use knit fabric. In this tutorial we did not make a band, but attached the skirt directly to the t-shirt. Making ties is essential to making this dress look cute if you do not make a band, and acts like the band that we did not make.)

If you do choose to make a band here is what it would look like before attaching it to the t-shirt.

Step 4. Cut the front piece of fabric using the number that you "remembered". Ours was 29.5". Cut a piece of fabric that is your number wide and long enough to touch the ground when you hold it just above your baby bump while you stand. (Hemming the dress to the desired length is the very last step.)

Step 5. Measure 3 inches from the top of your fabric down on both sides. Mark with a pencil.

Cut a gradual curve from that 3" mark to the top of the fabric. Your fabric will have two rounded corners now like the picture below.

Step 6: Sew a basting stitch from rounded corner to rounded corner (This simple step of rounding the corners will solve the rising hem line crisis! Tricky huh!?)

Step 7: Cut the back piece. This time take 3/4's of your number for the width. We don't want our backside to be too full and the dress to become tent-like. Using only 3/4's of your number solves this problem. For example, our back piece equals about 22".

Here is a little formula that will help you out:

(your number x .75)

Use a basting stitch at the top of the back piece as well.

Step 8: Make Ties. Cut two pieces about 6 inches wide and at your desired length. I made mine long so they can tie around the front.

Sew right sides together, making sure to come to a point at one side. Leave other side open so it looks like a fabric tube.

Turn fabric tube right side out.

Iron flat.
Below is a picture of what we have been working on, just as a re-cap.

Step 9: Line the top of your skirt up. Pin and sew right sides together along the sides. At the top of the skirt leave three inches open on each side so you can attach the ties.

Because the front has three extra inches of fabric that rounds at the top for your belly bump, the bottom will not line up. This is a good sign you are doing things right. (Hemming is the last part of this project.)

Step 10: Attach ties at the top of the skirt where you left the front and back unattached. Always sew right sides together.

Step 11: Pin and sew shirt to the skirt. Always sew right sides together.

It helps to line up the seams of the shirt with the seams of the skirt on each side. Pin this in place.
After pining at the seams, pin the front and the back like the picture below. Pin the rest of the skirt where you see needed.
Sew it together.
Hem the bottom to the desired length.

That's it. Now this is REALLY the Perfect Maternity dress!

Happy sewing and Happy growing.

-Megan and Stephanie

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You may also like our DIY Maternity Shirt


  1. LOVE!!! I have a friend who is 12 weeks today and I'm so going to try to make her a dress!!

  2. What do you think about using a different fabric for the tie? Something complimentary that adds some distinction? Or would that accentuate the tummy? Whatever - the whole thing is adorable!! (I'm constantly amazed at you two! You're awesome!)

  3. I love this! And Stephanie you make me laugh, I love the balloon tummy. You guys are too cute.

  4. HELP, I am confused. I am eager to make this dress (currently 15 weeks). HOWEVER, in the directions above you say to do a basting stictch on each the front and back. Later into the tutorial (starting with the pic of all the pieces you have so far, before assembling), it appears that the front and back pieces have elastic in them or that you pull the stitch to ruffle. Am I missing a step?
    This is so stinkin' cute...I really can't wait to make it!

  5. @ Jennifer... I only used a basting stitch (which is just a very large and loose stitch). After using a basting stitch I pulled one string from the stitch on the end to make both the front a back gather. Does that make sense?? Please ket me know if there is anything else i can help you with, or if this just doesn't make sense. Congrats on your pregnancy. I hope you are feeling well!!!

  6. I was hoping you could show us how to make the green dress with the fabric flower! It looks like it was made just a little different. This is so cute I really want to make it!

  7. @Becca - maybe I can make a quick tutorial just for that specific dress. We will see what I can do. Would a drawing of each step be helpful?

  8. nice blog, just stumble with it. i also write about the Maternity Dresses you can see in my profile, but i never get a chance to do it myself but following you on this would not take so long to make me do so.

    Aansy Stone

  9. Made this dress today. I would suggest that for non-stretch material less fabric is needed... mine has a bit too much. I think I would make it about 2 inches smaller around total, perhaps a tad bit more. Overall - a lovely dress.
    I also would combine sewing the ties in at the same time as the sides together.

  10. I love this dress and I am super excited to start making one! I am fairly new to sewing, so this may be a silly question. I am going to use a knit and I would like to make it with a band instead of ties so it looks more like the green dress, but I am not exactly sure when/how to attach the band. Could you give me an idea of how I should attach the band instead of using ties? Thanks!!

  11. @Jackie - measure your torso where you want the band to sit. That will be the length of the band you will need to cut. There is a picture in this post showing what the band should look like once you sew it into a circle and before you attach it to the shirt and skirt portion of the dress. When you attach the band, attach it first to the shirt. stretch the shirt to fit the band. Pin it right sides together and sew into place. After this, sew the skirt portion to the band. This is descibed above in the post as well.. Please let me know if this is helpful, or if you need better instructions. I have been thinking about sketching a drawing of how to do this. Let me know if this intrests you. Thanks! Happy Sewing!

  12. http://sethhollykravetz.blogspot.com/2011/11/adventures-in-sewland.html

    I'll try again tomorrow...

  13. Thanks so much, that clears it up for me! I must have missed it when I read through the directions the first time. I can't wait to get started!!

  14. When you hem the botton of the dress do you cut the uneven to make it even?

  15. @becca- yes just cut off the excess and hem away. How has it turned out?? Do you still need a drawing of how to do the green dress?? Sorry i haven't gotten to that.. We just got done moving and have been beyond busy. Sorry about that. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

  16. I am in love with your blog after falling upon it only hours ago. I have scrolled through tons of your posts til I reached this one. I also wanted to know about the green dress with grey top that has no tutorial. I am not a sewer but have family that could help me along with it. What type of material is the olive green dress part?? I love it and would want to give it a try! I also wondered if you are still selling the burlap tree skirts or maybe that was just for the holidays?!?! thank you. - erica

  17. Just saw this on Pinterest. Totally going to make one for wedding I have to attend when my bump is big! Life saver thanks sooo much.

  18. I'm 21 weeks pregnant with my first angel... A girl :-) I am excited to make many of these lovely frocks! Also, now thinking about making little mini ones for my girl!! Thank you ladies for sharing!

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  20. I'm going to be a grandmother this summer (due date August 17th!!!), so I will be making some new dressed for my dear daughter. A few questions: (1) Do you use a zig-zag stitch when you sew together the dress to the t-shirt? (2) On the red and white dress ties, do you take them across the back and then around the front? And how long did you make them? (3)Is the green dress a knit fabric, and how did you make the roses?

    I love the dresses, and I know my daughter will, too.

  21. When you gather the skirt pieces do you make them as wide as your measurements or a little bit wider so it can stretch a bit? I'm excited to make this dress, I sure need it!

  22. I would also love to know what material that olive green is? Also, are you going to post a tutorial on the olive green one? I would love to provide my grandmother with this so she can make me an assortment of dresses.
    Many thanks for posting, this is such a GREAT idea and well worth it.

  23. What a wonderful idea. We made it a skirt instead and added a side zipper. You have to be careful to measure at each step to make sure it will fit correctly because if its too big it wont stay up. Our first try was very successful but do not curve the front panel if you are going to put in a zipper. It makes it harder to install the zipper. We left a little extra in hem in case we need to adjust later. We made it out of a light weight demin with spandex in it. It doen't wrinkle and its a dream to sew. Comes in lots of colors too. What a great idea. You are so cleaver!

  24. I love this dress! Super cute! I love the green dress and I plan to do mine with a knit fabric. I'm a beginner sewer and was curious to know if you used elastic thread when you attached your knit fabric to the shirt? Also is it possible to make the band with the ties instead of adding the ties into the skirt portion like you showed in the red dress?

  25. I love this dress... I just bought enough to make 2 dresses for 2 different weddings I'm in this spring. Thank you so much for sharing!

  26. I love this dress! Can you tell me how you made the little flowers on the green dress? Are the directions for the green dress the same as the red just with a different fabric? Thanks!!

  27. Just to clarify, when you sew the sides together the front should be longer, right? I'm just at the pinning stage and I'm coming up with the back longer...not a good sign, I think.

  28. @Jessie- you are doing it right. Just even it out an gem it at the end. Happy sewing.

  29. Hem* not gem... :) darn auto correct!

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  31. I love this idea, but have a question. When you are cutting the curve and you go down 3 inches about how far in would you go with it? So 3 inches down but how far across? Thank you!

  32. Hello I'm a little confused. Should both the front and the back piece be my "number"? For example, if my number is 30, should the front piece be 30" as well as the back piece?

  33. I am going to make one of these for a wedding I am going to in a week and a half. I bought knit material, so I would like to make the dress similar to the olive green dress. Is there a tutorial for that one? I am not very good at sewing so hopefully I can do it!

  34. Thanks for sharing that gorgeous tutorial! Your fabric is just perfect!

  35. Thanks for sharing that gorgeous tutorial! Your fabric is just perfect!

  36. Hi! I just love your blog and these dresses are amazing. I would actually like to make all of them. Is there a tutorial for the olive green dress and the yellow dress?

    Thank you

  37. I loved the tutorial on this dress
    too and I just finished sewing
    three of them (to wear to work)!
    During the process, I did modify
    the original instructions because
    I did not like how the tie on the
    front of the dress turned out.
    Instead, I just kept the same
    instructions up to the point of
    attaching the ties. Then I simply
    attached the shirt (I got some
    great and inexpensive shirts at
    Target) to the cloth skirt
    bottom. Then to finish the dress,
    I bought heavy braided elastic in
    a black color (available at
    JoAnne's or any fabric store by
    the yard). I then cut enough of
    it to fit above my baby bump and
    sewed it together in the back.
    Using this as a belt, I just wear
    it above my baby bump and it stays
    in place. The best part about
    this, for me, is that I don't have
    to attach elastic (which is a pain
    for me!) and it looks like a
    trendy color block dress. I
    usually wear a cardigan with the
    dress, which I think completes the
    look. You can see my photos here:

  38. I made this dress today! Thank you so much for answering my questions through e-mail. Love your blog! Here's a pic of the turnout :) You guys are amazing. God Bless :D http://instagram.com/p/Q8emHKIVcP/?fb_source=og_timeline_photo_user_message

  39. I'm 21 weeks pregnant with my first angel... A girl :-) I am excited to make many of these lovely frocks! Also, now thinking about making little mini ones for my girl!! Thank you ladies for sharing!

  40. have you done a tutorial yet for the flowers on the green dress?? Please!

  41. I have never sewn clothes before so this may be very very very stupid but are you using elastic thread or regular thread? if it is regular thread then how is it stretching enough to put the dress on?
    I would love to make a couple of these

  42. @jennifer- when I did these I didn't use elastic thread. It would wonderfully to use it though. I didn't see a problem not using it but I really like the idea you have of using it! Good luck!

  43. I haven't been able to succesfully use elastic thread (don't know if it is too old or if my machine just can't handle it)
    so what type of stitch did you use then?

  44. @jennifer - that is a good question. It may be your machine. Check your tension, maybe it is to tight? I have only ever used elastic thread once. The fabric I used had enough give that I didn't need it when I made my maternity dresses. I am sorry I am not much help!

  45. I'm using fabric with horizontal stripes for the skirt. If I want to match the front and back stripes, will I cut off three inches from the top of the back piece, then? I'm having trouble visualizing and don't want to cut before I'm sure!

  46. @Christina - I would match up your stripes and then cut off the excess fabric where ever it ends up. I hope this helps. Happy sewing.

  47. These dresses are so cute!!! I have been looking for the perfect dress to wear to my brothers wedding since I will be 8 months pregnant and the green one is perfect! Thank you!

  48. I think I will make this, but not attach a shirt. That way I can just untuck to nurse later! I want to get the most use out of it! Has anyone tried that before?

  49. Has anyone not attached the shirt? I am thinking of doing that so I have some comfy clothes after baby is born & can just untuck the shirt to nurse.

  50. I know I'm the third person to ask this but you don't seem to have answers yet, how did you make the flowers on the green dress? Thanks!

    1. haha... That is a very good question. I honestly don't even remember. It has been almost three years since I made this dress. I think I just twisted some fabric and sewed it on by hand. I wish I could be more helpful. Sorry and good luck.

  51. That is an adorable dress! What a stylish maternity piece. We're loving how you involved a ready tee with just a couple of yards of fabric. Very easy!

  52. I just made this dress @28 weeks. I chose a solid bottom fabric and made a tie out of a printed fabric. This is only the 2nd thing that I've made for myself, I usually sew for my daughter. I had nightmares of me messing up the basting and not being able to pull it over my head so I used elastic for the waistband instead using the same measurements. Even my husband was impressed. Can't wait to wear it to work tomorrow. I'm thinking about making a short version with a nursing top I don't really like to use throughout the postpartum period

  53. Thank you for this tutorial. What a cute dress. My question is, when you pin the front to the back, do you match up the square back to the rounded corners, and then just sew a regular stitch along the original basting stitch? Thanks in advance.