Take It In

And pull your hair out while you’re at it.  That’s how I felt while trying to take in some maternity tees I was given that just didn’t fit my frame.  I had this great plan to resize all these hand-me-down pregnancy tees I was given according to the directions on how to take in a regular tee I found here via Pinterest.  Well, I hate to divulge the obvious (because apparently it wasn’t obvious to me…naive or just plain hard-headed, I don’t know) but previously worn maternity t-shirts (or maybe just maternity t-shirts in general) have more fabric in front than in back to accommodate baby, or they’re just plain stretched out in front which naturally happens…duh.  So this method of simply using a tee you like as a stencil for the tee you plan to sew in doesn’t quite work and therefore may cause you to want to poke your eyes out with pins.

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So, I finally scrapped that plan and started anew.  And, I’m alive and well, eyes and hair intact, to tell you that I finally figured it out and my wardrobe is happily expanding.
Here’s how it went down.  First things first, I hate maternity shirts with ruching on the side.  I feel like they make your widest part, already wider due to baby, appear even wider.  So, I was bound and determined to try and remove them without harming the tee I was working on.  I was happy to find out that all I really had to do was take a seam ripper to the elastic making the ruching and that was that.

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Yay!  Easy as pie.  I threw it in the wash to smooth out the wrinkles left behind, tried it on, and…
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still a little frumpy.  So, armed with a renewed motivation to try again, I tried a new approach.
Instead of using an existing fitted tee as a template, I worked on one side first, then the other.  First, I laid the tee out flat along the first side I’d be working on.
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Side Note:  See how when the right side is laid out flat, you can’t even see the left seam?  That’s what cause me so much distress in the beginning.  You can’t lay the tee out flat with both side seams perfectly aligned without having extra fabric in the middle to contend with.

Then I figured out much I wanted to take my tee in by making marks all the way up the side.  In this case, I wanted to take two inches off each side so I made marks at one inch all the way up the side of the shirt.
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When I got to the sleeve, I simply continued making my one inch marks but then connected them with my marker just so I’d have a guiding line to sew over.
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After that, I pinned the sides together to make sure they wouldn’t move while sewing.
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Foot pressed and hands guiding, I sewed a straight stitch along my dotted line guide, making sure to reinforce my stitches at the top and bottom by reversing my machine and sewing a few stitches back and then forward again.
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Then, I moved to the next side and followed the same process.  For each side, I made sure to start my sewing at the bottom of the shirt so I could make sure the sides lined up perfectly.  Next, I took a deep breath and tried the shirt on.  It worked!  After jumping for joy, I used my pinking shears to cut off the excess fabric.
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Here’s what the tee looks like now:

Happy as a gopher on a spring day, I moved on to the dreaded tee I had previously tried and failed on, used this same technique and took it from this:
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to this:
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Easy peasy, especially for a semi-beginner seamstress like me.  I’ve got a pile of maternity tees about a foot high just waiting for a similar fate.  In between tees though, I’ve explored and conquered taking in a couple of pairs of maternity shorts which I’ll share soon.

It’s such a great feeling to know that looking cute during pregnancy doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially when you’ve got great friends who gladly pass on their old maternity wear to you AND you’ve got a sewing machine and little motivation to use it.  Rest assured, as I am, that as long as I can reach the sewing machine (at least another month hopefully), that I won’t be lacking as far as maternity clothing goes.  :)

Have a great weekend!


  1. ohmygoodness I wish I had seen this when I was pregnant! They turned out great and so simple! Glad your eyes are still intact ;)

  2. That's amazing! :) And so cute! I found your blog today via your rug on Young House Love, and I'm just having a little look around. :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm interested in trying to do this to a regular t-shirt (no pregnancy here!), yet what do you do when the shoulders are droopy as well? You know, it's due to that seam that should sit right on your shoulder in line with your pit ;), yet is about 1" down on your arm.

    1. Hmmm...shoulders and arm sewing is still intimidating to me Lisa so I have no clue! I guess maybe first cut the arm hole so it's bigger and hits where you want it on your upper shoulder and then take it in?? Let me know if you figure it out!

    2. Just don't know if I'm that daring. Will have to get an old shirt to try it out on first. I'm a total novice after all.