DIY: The Perfect Maternity Shirt

8:50 PM

This DIY Maternity Shirt is simple enough to make and extremely comfortable! This shirt is designed for a size small pregnant woman, but can easily be adjusted for larger or smaller women. Plus it can be made in just a few hours. I did this whole shirt during my little girl's nap time. 

Get your fabric! All you need is 1.5 yards. Pre-wash it. 

Cut 2 pieces of fabric, each measuring 24" x 24"
These are the front and back pieces of the shirt, so your total circumference will be 48" around your body, but it will be gathered so it won't actually be 48" around in the end. If you think you need more room than that, add a few inches to the width of each square. The length will be 24", so if you want it longer or shorter, just add or subtract a few inches to the length. Keep in mind you need room for seam allowance at the top and bottom of the shirt, and the sides as well.   

Measure arm hole length 8 inches down and mark with chalk.
If you think 8" isn't enough room for your arm, measured from the top of your shoulder to below the pit area, go ahead and add an inch or two if necessary. Be sure to remember how long you decided to make this since you will need to cut a sleeve that will fit this opening. 

Mark 3" from the edge with a piece of chalk. 

Draw a line connecting these two points. 

Cut the triangle off. 

Repeat on other side so you have 2 arm holes. 

Do this to the back piece too. 

Measure sleeves with the fabric folded. (Mark everything with chalk first. I'll tell you when it's safe to cut.) From the folded edge, measure out 5 inches and draw a straight line from the fold to the 5 inch mark.

On the fold, from the line you just drew, measure 8.5 inches down. 
If you happened to make your arm hole larger, you also need to make this larger so the sleeve fits perfectly on the arm hole. However many inches you made your arm hole on your shirt, just take that number and add .5 inches. My arm hole space on my shirt is 8" so I need 8.5" on my sleeve. Sorry the picture looks like I marked it at 9"... :/

You need to also measure 11 inches down and mark. This is the length of the sleeve. 
If you added length to your arm hole, you also need to add length to your sleeve. For example, if you made you arm hole 9 inches long, you only added 1 inch from the original 8 inch design, so you need to add 1 inch to the sleeve length, making it 12 inches long. 

From the 9" mark to the fold, measure 6" out.  Make a small mark. Make sure it's a 90 degree angle. This will give the sleeve a belled out look. 
Here is another spot you may need to adjust if you want a size bigger. You can give your arm more room for movement by adding inches to the 6 inch wide mark. Maybe something like 8" wide will feel better. When the sleeve is opened up, the 6 inches become 12 inches; you can take your tape measurer and place it around the arm measuring from the arm pit area around the arm and meeting back at the arm pit area. You may notice that for a size small person, 12" makes a comfortable, flowy sleeve. So whatever measurement you come up with, make sure it doesn't hug your arm, but rather flows around it. 

From the 5 inch line, draw a straight line to the 6 inch wide mark. Sorry you can hardly see my line, but it's there. 

Next, Draw a curved line at the bottom connecting the sleeve length measurement and the arm hole length measurement. In other words, the 6 inch wide mark and the 11" length mark. 
Try and get a 90 degree angle from the bottom of the 11" mark and gradually curve up to meet the bottom of the 6" mark. If everything looks good at this point, cut it out. Sorry it's so hard to see! 

Cut 2. 

Here's what they look like opened up.

Hem the sleeves just at the curve.
It can be a little tricky since it's curved, just do your best. Iron flat.  

Pin sleeve to shirt right sides together.
Remember where you cut those triangles off? That's where you are pinning the sleeves. Pin one side of the sleeve to the front piece of the shirt. Pin the other sleeve on too while you are at it.

Sew it and this is what it should look like.

Pin the other side of the sleeve to the back piece of the shirt just the same as you did to the front shirt piece. Sew the sleeves to the body of the shirt. 

Here is what it looks like right side out once the sleeves have been attached.
Notice that the tops of the sleeves become part of the neck. And yes, the neck it really huge at this point. 

Turn it inside out and sew the sides closed and hem the bottom of the shirt. 

Serge the neck.
This just gives it a more finished look on the inside of the shirt. Sadly I couldn't do this step.

Measure how big you want the neck to be. Mine was 24". Cut that much skinny 1/4" elastic. 
I recommend not going smaller than this so you can easily get your head through. Just eyeball it, mark spot with fingers.

Measure under your boobs. Mine was 28". Cut 28" of skinny elastic.
Just make sure it's comfortable. You don't want the elastic to stretch on you and cut off circulation. You want it to just rest on you. It only needs to stretch in order to get the shirt on and off and for when baby grows.

Pin the neck down about an inch and sew a basting stitch through it.

Ruffle up the neck by pulling that loose basting stitch. Make it the same size as the "neck size" elastic.
Pin the "neck size" elastic onto the inside of the ruffled neckline. 
Sew down the middle of the elastic. No need to pull and stretch the elastic while sewing.  Remove the basting stitch when complete.

Try the shirt on and measure from the bottom of the shirt up to the point where you want the "waist band" to go, under the boobs in other words. Mine was 14 inches. 

Pull shirt inside out and mark it with chalk all around the shirt 14" from the bottom. 

Baste stitch around the middle part of the shirt where you marked. Pull the basting stitch to ruffle the mid section of the shirt and then pin the elastic onto the shirt. Pin first on the side seam.

 Pin on other side seam.

Pin at center front. Then pin at center back.

Sew the elastic onto the shirt with a zig zag stitch for extra stretch.
Pull out the basting stitch when the elastic is secure.  

You're Done!!!

Since we know you love shirts, check out our totally uniques tees made for DIY Divas like yourself.

Guess what, I didn't put an elastic around the stomach area on this blue and white shirt. I just added a belt!


You Might Also Like


  1. Great tutorials! Love your site!

    - Sam

  2. These sleeve measurements are really confusing...anymore explanations?

  3. I made a shirt like this today, but a whole lot bigger (I'm in my last week and VERY big right now). All my maternity wear is getting too small, but I don't feel like buying anything, so I grabbed some fabric I still had lying around and made this, with a belt. I will also serve well as a comfortable nursing gown for those first weeks. Thank you for the very clear tutorial.