Pattern Review, Spring Top Sewalong 2013

Stripey Maternity Tee

So here it is–my first entry into the Made by Rae 2013 Spring Top Sewalong!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Tshirt
Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Tshirt, and my first top for the Spring Top Sew along!

Since most of the of-the-moment patterns this year are obviously not going to fit me in my current preggo state, I’m using this spring’s sew along for motivation to complete my summer maternity wardrobe.  By pregnancy #3, I have a huge number of maternity or maternity-appropriate clothes, but both of my kids were born in May.  That means I was pregnant from September through May, and needed maternity clothes from about November through May.  In short, I have no summer maternity clothes.

I will mostly be able to get by with what I have, but I will certainly need a few more tops and tees for the hot Kansas summer.

This top was essentially my wearable muslin for the Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-shirt. I say “wearable muslin,” but I was always pretty sure that this top was going to fit right.  My measurements tend to put me at the top end of the S size or low end of the M size in Megan Nielsen patterns, so I decided to err on the side of caution and cut an M.

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Tshirt
Spring has finally sprung here. The weather is gorgeous, just wish I had more foliage for prettier pictures!

The fit could not be better on me!  Everything fits perfect, is the perfect length, and because my fabric is so stretchy, there is plenty of room for growth.  And believe me, I WILL grow!  I am one of those women (fortunate or unfortunate — kind of depends on your point of view) who carries babies completely out in front, not tucked back into my torso at all.  That means I tend to get huge.  I am currently only 17 weeks (less than halfway) and already look bigger than many women get in their third trimester.

I’ve read some reviews complaining that this t-shirt is a bit too short either in front or in back.  That was not a problem for me.  I didn’t mess with the length at all on this top.  I am fairly short, only 5’4″, with a relatively short torso, so maybe that’s why the length was so perfect on me.  This top hits me at exactly the right place in the back and the extra length in the front means I’m not in any danger of showing off any swollen, stretch-marched baby belly.  Whew!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Tshirt
See? No flashing! (FYI, photo by J. Not bad for an almost 4-year-old).

The only alterations I made were to add a box pleat at the top of each sleeve and to change the neckline finish.  I don’t know if it was because the sleeve piece was too large or if my super-stretchy fabric just stretched out, but the sleeve piece ended up being 2-3 inches too big for the opening.  I like the extra feminine detail that the pleat adds though and it took care of the extra fabric quite handily.

I also did a neckline binding instead of the finish directed in the pattern.  The pattern just tells you to turn the neckline under 1/2 inch and sew.  I tend to think that looks a bit “homemade,” rather than “handmade,” if you know what I mean.  Instead, I just cut a strip of my fabric that was about 34″ long and 1.5″ wide and did a binding.  I think it looks much more polished.

The fabric is a random, stretch poly-cotton blend jersey that I picked up on uberclearance from Denver Fabrics.  I seriously think I paid less than $3 per yard.  It’s pilling faster than a higher-quality jersey would, but it’s really soft and comfortable, and has a ton of stretch.  Perfect for a maternity t-shirt!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Tshirt
Another windswept photo

Pattern: Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-shirt

Size: M

Fit: Fantastic.  The length and fit are perfect on me.  I made no fit alterations, and this is definitely a top that will see me through to the bitter end of this pregnancy.

Alterations:  As mentioned above, each sleeve has a box pleat to correct for a size discrepancy between sleeve piece and opening.  Also, I did a neckline binding rather than simply turning the neckline under and sewing.

Physical pattern:  Awesome, as per usual with Megan Nielsen patterns.


  • The ultimate, versatile maternity top.  This top can be dressed up for work or down for a casual weekend.
  • Quick sew.  The construction is very straightforward.
  • No tricky techniques here.  This is just your basic top.
  • Keeping the ruching in front only avoids extra bulk in the love handle area.  Let’s face it, us pregnant ladies don’t need any help there!


  • Some have complained that the length is too short either in front or back.  Not a problem for me, but if you’re long in the torso, it’s probably something to think about.
  • The neckline finish gives it more of a “homemade” rather than “handmade” look.

Overall grade: A.  Super easy, fast and versatile maternity top.  If you’re in the market for a basic, staple maternity top, I would highly recommend this one.  The only reason I didn’t give it an A+ is because I don’t like the directed method to finish the neckline, but that’s an easy fix.

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