Maternity Sewing, Pattern Review

A smokin’ maternity skirt!

I actually finished my very first me-made Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Skirt way back at the beginning of May, but just now got around to taking photographs!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Skirt
Work basic — Ruched Maternity Skirt

I’m sure I’m starting to sound like a broken record about Megan Nielsen patterns, but I really, really like this pattern.  It just fits me so well, and the design is perfect for maternity office wear.

This skirt may actually be the perfect office-appropriate maternity skirt.  It’s a simple sew, takes very little fabric (only 1 yard of 60-inch knit), and results in a stylish, comfortable skirt that can be as conservative or edgy as you want depending on your workplace!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Skirt
Every maternity shoot must have the token looking-at-the-belly shot, right?

I did have to tweak my sizing a bit for this pattern, but that’s actually 100% my fault, and 0% the pattern’s fault.  Had I followed directions and used a super-stretchy jersey knit with at least 40% 4-way stretch, as instructed in the pattern, I would have cut a straight size M and have been done with it.

Instead, I decided that I wanted to use a thicker knit for my skirt, since I am a lawyer and work in a law office, and wanted something a bit more conservative.  So, I used a heavier black double knit jersey that I got from a clearance sale at Denver Fabrics.  The weight is perfect for a pencil skirt, in my opinion, but it has relatively little stretch, and certainly not 4-way stretch.  The pattern pieces as designed would make an unwearably small  skirt for me.

To remedy that, I simply added a roughly 3-inch panel of fabric on each side, and voila — perfect fit!  I have some gray double knit pulled out for a second skirt, and for that one, I will simply add an extra 3 inches in each pattern piece at the cutting stage.  No problem!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Skirt
You can kind of see my fix in this photo. Black really does make it hard to photograph details!

My only complaint about this skirt also has nothing to do with the pattern, and everything to do with the limitations of standard sewing machines.  I simply can’t get a stretchy enough nice-looking hem with my standard sewing machine.

I hemmed this skirt with my double needle, which looks quite nice from the outside.  But even a double needle doesn’t have enough stretch to keep the hem from breaking on a jersey pencil skirt.  My hem broke in two places when I wore it for the first day of MMM13, and I worry that I will be repairing this hem every time I wear it!

This, and the fact that I sew a lot, maybe even primarily, with knits,  has convinced me to save my pennies and purchase a coverstitch machine for myself.  Hopefully for my birthday or Christmas this year.  Yes, it’s a complete vanity purchase, since 90% of the time, my machine and serger (which I still have to learn how to use — yipes!) can do all the sewing I need.  But that other 10% of the time — i.e. hems on stretchy knit items, I yearn for a coverstitch machine to eliminate all worries about broken hems.

But anyway…enough of my whining.  Bottom line: Great pattern, easy sew, if you’re going to buy one maternity sewing pattern, this would be a good one.  If you’re going to buy two, buy this one and the Ruched Maternity Tshirt, and you’ll pretty much be set!

Creative Counselor: Ruched Maternity Skirt
Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Skirt in black double knit.

Pattern: Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Skirt ($18 AUD).

Size: M, with an extra 3 inches added to each pattern piece to account for my less stretchy fabric.

Fit: With the extra width, the fit is perfect.  There’s plenty of room to grow in the belly, too, so this skirt should last me for the whole pregnancy.

Fabric: Black double knit jersey from Denver Fabrics.  The recommended fabric is a stretchy jersey knit with at least 40% stretch and preferably 4-way stretch.  My fabric had nowhere near 40% stretch, hence the need to add inches in the pattern pieces.  And I wanted it slightly less form-fitting to make it more appropriate for my office.

Modifications: I added inches to each pattern piece to account for my less-stretch fabric and to get a slightly looser fit.  Otherwise, none.

Physical pattern: Beautiful, as always.


  • A very easy, straightforward sew.
  • Uses very little fabric.  The pattern calls for 1 yard of 60-inch fabric, and you’d probably have fabric left over.
  • Plenty of coverage, but still a very stylish design.  This skirt would be equally appropriate for an office or a night out.
  • The ruching at the sides and the shape of the front piece leaves plenty of room for a growing belly.


  • I generally have a hard time finding super-stretchy knits that I would consider to be thick enough for a pencil skirt.  Instead, I just added some width.
  • As drafted, the skirt would fit very snugly.  I work in a law office, so I wanted my skirt slightly looser.

Overall grade: A.  This is a great maternity basic.

13 thoughts on “A smokin’ maternity skirt!

  1. Awesome skirt! Looks great on you! How did you stabilize the side ruching? I’ve always had problems with ruching knits…the gathers always go away after I let out the basting stitches. RTW uses some sort of silicone elastic. Thinking I may need to do the same!

    1. Thanks!! This pattern just uses 1/4 inch elastic sewn to the seam allowance with a zigzag to create the ruching and it worked like a charm! (I think it was 9″ of elastic stretched to 16″). The lightweight clear elastic you see in RTW would work well too, particularly on a more lightweight knit. This skirt is made with double knit so regular elastic worked fine.

      My ruched maternity t-shirt doesn’t have elastic and the ruching stayed just fine but only the front piece of that top is gathered, so the back stabilizes it. If both pieces are gathered you’d really have to use something like elastic on the seam allowance!

  2. It looks great! You look so pretty, that pink looks good on you 🙂 I don’t plan on having any more kids but if I were pregnant again I would rock EVERY SINGLE ONE of Megan Nielsen’s maternity patterns, ha. Have you tried using wooly nylon thread in the bobbin when you sew hems on knits? I’m not sure if it would be enough stretch for a pencil skirt but it does give a stretchier hem. I want a coverstitch machine SO bad, but I would probably have to blow my sewing budget for the rest of the year to get it…I am saving what I can though, I hope to get one maybe at the end of this year. I think it will be totally worth it!!

    1. Thank you! I have never tried the wooly nylon thread, but I remember reading about it in your Briar/Mission Maxi post and I was intrigued. Where do you get it? The combo of a stretchier bobbin thread and a double needle might be enough for me to at least muddle through until I can justify the coverstitch purchase. It might be a challenge to find someplace to house yet another machine (particularly since I STILL haven’t learned to use my serger — it’s on my ever-growing to-do list), but I agree — totally worth it!

      1. I got mine here:
        I just bought a few basic colors. It is actually poly- not nylon, but they say it is better. You have to hand wind it on the bobbin but then you just sew as usual. I definitely don’t have space for another machine right now (my sewing area is a small table in the corner of our living room!) But we are moving in the fall and I am really hoping for my own sewing room 🙂

        1. Thanks, I’m going to get some of this! And I really hope you get a sewing room! Having one has made a huge difference in how much I’m able to accomplish.

    1. Thanks so much! I was determined to make the fabric work since I didn’t have enough to cut new pieces and a black pencil skirt is such a great office staple.

    1. You’ll love them when you finally get to use them! Quick and pleasant to sew with such great results. Well-fitting pencil skirts and t-shirts can almost make an entire maternity wardrobe!

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