Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tutorial: How to Convert / Alter / Make Your Own Maternity Coat for Winter Pregnancy (even if you can't sew!)

So, I stumbled upon this interesting knitting pattern for a maternity sweater and, as I'll be pregnant during winter time, it got me thinking about how to make my own maternity coat or at least use my existing one, without having to spend $80+ on a new one for just a few months.

Here's how. I am including a sewing method, that includes a lining and a no-sew method.

First, let's look at the design for the sweater pattern that could be "converted" to a regular sweater later. Here is a picture, which will help you visualize:

Basically, it is just a regular button-down sweater where you add a button-down panel in the middle of your belly. One side of the panel had button holes to attach to the buttons on the sweater, and the other side had buttons to attach to the sweater's button holes.

Using the same idea:

1. Create a middle panel. It can be the width of your belly all the way down (which might be a bit bulky at the top, but would still work), or it can gradually expand from the top. So, either cut out a rectangle, or a triangle. For the triangle, you'll want it wide enough at the top to accommodate the buttons and button holes (I would say about 4" maybe more if your bust has grown significantly) and let it expand for the length of the coat you are expanding. The knitting pattern expands evenly all the way down to 24"-27.25" for sizes S-XL.

2. Sewing Method:
a. When cutting your triangle or rectangle, cut 2 pieces: one thin for the lining and one thicker for the outside. If you want, you can add an underlining or interlining for strength and warmth.
b. Be sure to add at least 1/2 inch for a seam allowance.
c. Sew the lining and outside right sides together, leaving a 4" space for turning.
d. Turn inside out and hand sew turn opening.
e. Press.
f. Add buttons and buttonholes in line with coat you are expanding.

2. No-Sew Method: Use micro fleece for your fabric (made of polyester, not the fleece you would use for sweatsuits). You can easily obtain this from Joann Fabrics or any fabric store. It's the same fabric used to make no-sew blankets or fleece coats and jackets. The thickness is up to you, but use a thicker kind for more warmth. Fleece does not unravel which means you can just cut it without having to finish the edges and buttonholes--all you do is cut.
a. Cut your fabric according to the directions in Step #1. Do not add seam allowances (you aren't sewing, so you don't need them!)
b. On one side, sew on buttons the approximate size of your coat's buttons at the placement of your existing coat's buttonholes. Sorry, this does involve sewing, but I can't think of a good way to put a button on without sewing. If you can't sew on a button, chances are a close friend or relative can probably show you how or do it for you. Or, you can find online instructions here.
c. On the other side, cut the fabric slightly smaller than the buttons on your coat to make a buttonhole. You don't need to do any other finishing, unless you want to.

3. Attach the panel to your existing coat and viola! It fits!

Tips: If the buttons are pretty big and seem like they are going to pop off your panel or if your existing coat has a big button on one side and a little button on the other side, you might want to add a smaller button on the wrong side of the panel underneath your other button (you would sew these 2 buttons together through the fabric), just for strength.

Happy money-saving!!