Today we're going to learn how to turn your Bronte Top into a maternity top!
This tutorial could be used for any number of 'fitted' knit t-shirt patterns, so you don't necessarily need to have the Bronte Top pattern if you don't already own it. For example, if you have the Renfrew or Nettie patterns, you can easily translate this tutorial for them.
A quick note for choosing your maternity Bronte size - I recommend grading up a size at the bust, waist and hips but keeping your standard size for the shoulders and neckline. I did this for mine because it was much more comfortable to have a looser top as my pregnancy progressed rather than have it end up too tight when I needed maternity clothes the most.
Bronte Top pattern (or other fitted knit t-shirt pattern)
1. Lengthen your front and back bodice pieces by 7.5cm (3 inches) or however much you think you'd like or need for extra comfort - you can find details on how to do this to your Bronte Top here.
While you can skip this first step if you want to, what I noticed with my non-maternity Bronte Tops and RTW knit tops was that they were all too short when you included a bump and when I wore them (especially towards the end) I'd end up with a wedge of belly showing - not quite what I was after, especially in winter!
7.5cm (3 inches) is based off what was comfortable for me, but you may prefer more or less. It's really a trial and error situation and totally depends on how big your bump is, how much bigger you've gotten and where you're carrying your bump. Also note that frustratingly, these will all change over the course of your pregnancy, so if you're making your maternity Bronte early on, for a garment that will grow with you, go bigger/longer rather than the other way around. At least you can shorten and take it in if it's a little too big.
2. Next you'll want to mark on your pattern your where you under bust and under belly (?) are on your front pattern piece as this is where your gathering will go, providing the extra room for your bump to grow into your top. This is not an exact science since everyone has different body shapes, but I worked out mine by using the highly accurate method of holding the pattern piece up to me.
Since this is a knit pattern, it's all rather forgiving if you're a tiny bit off with where you think your under bust and belly are, and you're pregnant, so don't worry too much :)
Below is where on your body you want to roughly find... pretty much directly under your bust and around where a pair of hipster pants would normally sit.
3. Next you want to add the extra length to the front pattern piece only for that all important gathering. I added an extra 10cm (4 inches) to mine, but you can add more or less depending on your preference and your fabric - to do this, use the exact same lengthen/shorten technique as in Step 1 but to the front pattern piece only.
Below is where I've added my 10cm (4 inches) - it's the extra brown paper above the extra length I added at the start and the arrows are indicating where my under bust and belly sit.
4. Now you can cut out your pattern pieces making sure to mark where your under bust and under belly are on your fashion fabric (I like to mark these by snipping into the seam allowance).
5. Between your marked under bust/belly notches and within the seam allowance, stitch a line of basting stitches down the side, leaving long tails at either end.
6. Stitch up your Bronte as per the instructions until you get to the step where you stitch the sides together.
Match up your sleeve and under arm seam exactly to the back piece until you hit your under bust notch, place a pin at a parallel angle to mark this spot. Then starting from the bottom hem, match your side seam up exactly to the back pattern piece until you hit your under belly notch, mark this again with a parallel pin.
You'll now have excess fabric in between your under bust and under belly notches.
7. Secure one end of your basting stitch thread with a knot and pull the other end, gathering the excess fabric between your under bust and under belly so that it fits evenly into the back pattern piece. Pin in place.
8. Stitch your side seams together and finish your Bronte Top as per the instructions.
Are you going to try giving a Maternity Bronte a go? I'd love to see them if you do!