How To Make A Maternity Shirt?

If you’re a pregnant woman who loves DIY projects learning how to make a maternity shirt can be a rewarding task.

You can create comfortable flattering and trendy maternity shirts that cater to your style and comfort needs using supplies like fabric scissors a sewing machine and your chosen fabrics.

The process involves cutting sewing and adjusting the shirt to accommodate the changes in your body size and shape during pregnancy.

But how do you achieve this without sewing knowledge?

How do you make a maternity shirt that fits perfectly and looks good?

How To Make A Maternity Shirt

How To Make A Maternity Shirt

Creating a maternity shirt involves adding ruching on the sides for extra flexibility and comfort. It all begins with a long shirt that fits well on the top.

Measure the length from the chest area to the hem and cut a piece of elastic that is 1/2 to 3/4 of that length. Pin the elastic to the side seam stretching it taut as you sew.

Here you have a ruched maternity shirt that is both flattering and comfortable for a growing belly.


Step 1: Gathering Materials

Start by sourcing a large cotton T-shirt from a thrift store ideally an extra large men’s or women’s shirt. A large to extra large size is recommended for roominess.

Also prepare your sewing machine sewing machine thread pins fabric pen fabric scissors and elastic.

Step 2: Measuring and Cutting

Measure your shirt for an empire waistline and mark it. Carefully cut below the marked line.

You can use a tank top as a template for the sleeve holes. Place the tank top on the T-shirt and mark the outline of the arm holes.

Cut along the lines. Fold and sew the armhole hems on your sewing machine.

Expert Q&A

Question: What are some recommended steps to making a homemade maternity shirt?


To start ensure you have the proper raw materials including a long cotton t-shirt in a large size ideally from a thrift store for cost-effectiveness. You’ll also need a sewing machine fabric scissors pins plain paper for outlining a hard plastic ruler for accurate measurements and a tank top or t-shirt pattern.

Begin with measuring and marking your shirt for an empire waistline. Using the tank top as a guide mark and cut the arm holes.

Any gaps between the bust and armpit area can be fixed by creating darts. After you’ve cut and adjusted as necessary focusing on creating a flattering fit in the chest area proceed to gather and pin the waist.

Sew this with a straight stitch line.

You can also create a sash out of leftover fabric or a blend of fabric pieces and sew it around the waist and possibly add fabric flowers or shapes for extra flair. It’s essential that you always measure twice and cut once to ensure accuracy!

Continue to keep in mind the wearer’s comfort and the need for flexibility and growth.


In this video tutorial we’re following the DIY ruched maternity shirt method using the Union St. Tee pattern effortlessly created by Hey June Handmade.

She starts by adding an extra 7″ of length on the bodice pieces at the shorten/lengthen line providing more coverage for a growing belly. Then the clear elastic integral for the ruching mechanism is sewn onto the front bodice piece.

Ensure the stitch is a stretch stitch and stretch the elastic taut while you’re sewing. She did the hem and sleeves with a state-of-the-art coverstitch machine but this could also be done with a regular sewing machine.

Although the hem tends to flip a bit it’s largely unnoticeable and doesn’t distract from the overall finished product.

This shirt still fits her comfortably right into 38 weeks of pregnancy a testament to the flexibility it provides. With its handmade unique leopard print design it moves away from boring maternity clothes into a more stylish category.

Tips for Making a Maternity Shirt

Creating your own maternity shirt is not only cost-effective but also allows for a touch of personal style. Start with a long t-shirt that fits well on the top.

Perhaps you can hunt for large men’s or extra large women’s cotton t-shirts in thrift stores. You also need to have on hand a fabric pen clear elastic fabric scissors a sewing machine and of course your essential sewing knowledge.

Measurement is key. Measure the length from the chest area to the hem and cut a piece of elastic that is 1/2 to 3/4 of that length.

You can use a yardstick or hard plastic ruler to get accurate measurements. Pin the elastic to the side seam starting at the chest area and going down to the hem in about eight spots.

This will create the ruched effect commonly seen on maternity shirts.

Sewing is the next step. Sew the elastic to the side seam stretching it taut as you go.

If you have a coverstitch machine you can use this for a more polished look. You can also add elastic around the front bottom of the shirt to cradle around the belly for added style and comfort.

Take note that using a stretch stitch when sewing the elastic is advisable to allow flexibility for the growing belly.

If you’re not the fan of the simplistic design feel free to add embellishments like fabric flowers or shapes to the top of the shirt. You can use leftover fabric to create these or create a sash that wraps around the empire waist adding elegance to your homemade maternity shirt.

As you progress in your DIY maternity shirt venture you might just realize that making maternity clothes yourself is less boring and more satisfying.

Several DIY enthusiasts have shared their tips online. I personally love the DIY ruched maternity shirt using the Union St. Tee pattern from Hey June Handmade shared by one skilled DIYer.

The shirt required a 7″ addition of length at the shorten/lengthen line on the bodice pieces demonstrating how adjustments are often necessary depending on your body’s needs and the stage of your pregnancy.

Do not forget: patience precision and creativity are your best friends in this task. Happy sewing!

Maternity - Updated: August 2, 2023