Expandable Belly Sewingx

One of the reasons I’ve been quiet on here is that earlier this year, I discovered I was pregnant. This wasn’t unexpected but for the life of me I could not work out why I was (a) exhausted every evening and (b) getting little niggly colds. I was either too tired or just a wee bit too poorly to sew, let alone blog about it.

Then I peed on a stick (just the first of many indignities pregnancy imposes upon one) and paid a visit to my doctor. At which point, I lost motivation to sew because I had no idea how my body would be during pregnancy or its aftermath. I thought the best approach was wait and see.  In any event, I had lots of knit dresses which saw me through the first trimester quite nicely.

Aside from the all consuming exhaustion of the first trimester, pregnancy has treated me well and I’ve found the changes to my body fascinating and amusing.  I quite enjoy sticking my belly out and saying, “Look at mah belly!” now that I have a bump (I’m presently nearing the end of the second trimester.) I’m finding it hard to imagine how my skin can accommodate any more expansion but it seems to know better than me what it’s supposed to do.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m pregnant, and you’ll also know that I recently travelled to Japan because I annoyingly filled your feed with bragging photos of fabulous food we ate and gorgeous places we visited. About a month before we left, I had a panic about what I would wear. I googled ‘bump photos’ of women from 20 weeks to 23 weeks to work out the possibilities for my own bump.  My only conclusion was that everyone is really quite different.  I’d already begun ‘to show’ (or I was just using the pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted, and as much of it as I wanted. (Hoo boy, can I eat!))

I ended up making the following items:

  • Megan Nielsen ruched maternity tees;
  • Belly bands sort of (but not really) following a tutorial on Megan Nielsen’s maternity blog; and
  • Clover trousers with yoga waistbands.

I made, and took with me, all 3 ruched maternity tees that I made. I made a practise one out of double knit I picked up from Clear It, with 3/4 length sleeves.  That and leggings was my plane outfit on the way oover but I could not comfortably wear the leggings on the way back! I blame too many onigiri.

I also made two short sleeved maternity tees out of wicking fabric (royal blue and silvery grey) that I bought from Stretchtex. I wore these almost every single day, and I could wash and rinse them at night and they’d be dry by the morning.

The ruched maternity tee is a great pattern. The end.

Belly bands wise, I made lots, trying to get it right. In effect, you’re just making a wide rectangular belt thing out of knit fabric. I would modify Megan Nielsen’s tutorial to say that you should use your waist measurement, rather than your hip measurement.  I don’t know that it will work for everyone, but using hip measurement did not work for me to end up with a thing that would hold my unzipped pants up.  Also, you wil need to adjust how much or how little ‘give’ you provide yourself with (the number of inches you subtract from your waist measurement to make the length of the band) based on the give that is in your knit fabric.  I used double knit, which was very stretchy, plus one of the wicking fabrics, which was stretchy but not super stretchy, and some black ponte left over from my preggified clover trousers, which was somewhere between the two.

Also, I did not bother hand sewing the band closed as per instructions. You all know how I feel about hand sewing! Instead, I just overlocked that part, and had an exposed seam. Like I care, I’m pregnant. I am excused everything.

I took with me the wicking belly band because it was grey and therefore almost matched my hiking trousers, and the black belly band because it was black.

The two belly bands saved me! Basically, I could no longer comfortably do up any of the bottoms that I brought along (hiking trousers, wide legged cotton trousers and a hiking skirt) after a mere day in Japan (too much delicious onigiri!) With the aid of the bands, I could keep wearing the bottoms, undone, but with the bands holding everything up.  It kinda tickled me (because I’m very easily amused) that I was walking around with my fly undone.

The clover trousers I actually made for work, and I’ve rabbited on for long enough, so that will be another post.



  1. Well! I’m obviously not hip to your instagramming life because your pregnancy is news! My favorite line in your rabbitting is “I’m pregnant. I am excused everything.” I wonder, is there a non-pregnant version all-purpose excuse? And will you share your favorite brag photos of Japan here?!


    1. We do need an all purpose excuse…

      Hopefully, yes. But I’ve been very rubbish with photos since getting an iPhone … haven’t even sorted out pics from December holiday! And I used to have such a good photo workflow.


    1. Thanks! It is, except that the whole exhaustion thing gets in the way of sewing, but my mojo is coming back and I’ve got SO MANY PLANS.


  2. Congratulations!!! I did love my belly-bands and have thought wistfully of them at times when I want to pair hipster jeans with a too-short Tee… I also travelled to Japan while half-way pregnant, it was having swollen feet that didn’t let me buy ALL THE SHOES that was most disappointing 😉
    All the very best for growing your SHB, I’ve enjoying seeing you brag about all the ace Japan bits, feel free post more to keep reminding us over on IG 😉 x


  3. Woot woot for onigiri! Glad everything is progressing well 😀 And it was tops to see the Count and Totoro adventuring again!


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