Pregnancy and winter go together like … well like nothing because they don’t! You cannot get my coat to do up properly which means you’re constantly freezing and most maternity clothes are simple jersey basics and so not warm and cosy and therefore you end up having to buy sweaters 2 sizes too big and therefore terribly ill fitting and not flattering at all. So, with the onset of snow, I’ve been on a sewing mission to create a warm and cosy garment which fits well and has plenty of growing room for my bump.
I’ve sewn the Rebecca Page Comfy Cowl, available in adult and children sizes, previously. It’s a lovely semi-fitted sweater pattern with an enormous cowl hood which is both cosy and practical. I decided to use this as a basis for my maternity sweater. The pattern isn’t specifically designed for maternity wear and as it’s semi-fitted there is some, but limited, bump space. Should you choose to make the sweater in a stretchy fabric (at least 50% four way stretch) you could probably get away without making much modification to the pattern (I would suggest lengthening it by 2 – 4 inches to prevent the sweater finishing too high when it has to go over your bump), however, as I wanted a cosy winter garment I decided to use sweatshirting (looped back French Terry) which had less stretch (still the 30% stretch required by the pattern) and certainly not equal stretch in both directions. Due to the lack of stretch it was necessary to modify the pattern to accommodate my change of shape.
For excellent advice on modifying a non-maternity pattern for maternity wear, I highly recommend the guidance offered by Melly Sews; this guidance formed the fundamental method I used to modify the Comfy Cowl. Pregnancy alters your shape in two ways, adding inches to your bust/chest measurements as well as the obvious bump. These are the alterations that I made to my pattern piece.
The guidance offered by Melly Sews sees you severing the bodice piece into four pieces and pivoting those pieces at various points to add width and length to the piece to account for the body changes.
Melly Sews then discusses ruching along the side seams to gather the bodice to the original length of the pattern piece. I choose not to ruche mine as I wanted to keep my sweater more tunic length. I simply lengthened my back bodice piece to the same length as my altered front bodice and added a band. Since I added width to my bodice, I created a new band piece which measured 90% of the bottom of the sweater – I could of made a tighter fitting band (around 80%) for a more fitted look but I didn’t want to restrict movement so kept the band relatively loose.
I was very pleased with my finished sweater tunic. Fitting snuggly across my chest but skimming over my bump with a little bit more growing room it was a very comfortable but flattering garment which will take me right through to the end of the pregnancy.
For more information and images of the Rebecca Page Comfy Cowl, see my Mummy and Me Comfy Cowl blog post.