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Photobucket Tutorial Tuesday
Have you noticed how difficult it is to get modest maternity tops lately? I was at J.C. Penney’s the other day, and the only one I could find was this one. Needless to say, I bought it. But usually I don’t buy new clothes (I was using a gift card, which is why I even bothered looking). Usually I go to the thrift store. Sometimes I find really cute outfits that fit so nicely–but they are too low in the front. I don’t like showing cleavage to the world, thank you very much!

I knew that one solution was to wear an undershirt of some kind, but they are hard to find, and all the appropriate tank tops that I own are too small for me now–and would be too long for my growing belly. Besides, I don’t always want the extra layer that an undershirt will provide. So I though of getting a dickey.

My efforts were not very successful. I found one at the Goodwill, but it was pink. Not that I don’t like pink; on the contrary, it’s one of my favorite colors. But it won’t go with everything, and they wanted $3 for it. When my budget for clothes for the family for the month is $20, you can understand why I would hesitate to spend that much on something so small, especially when its usefulness would be limited.

So I decided to make my own. I figured that I could just buy a shirt at some thrift store, maybe for half off, and cut it down. Sure enough, after a recent orthodontist appointment, I found myself near Volunteers of America, which has a much nicer layout than the Goodwill. I mean, I rarely find sizes in the wrong place, and colors are grouped almost perfectly. They also tend to charge as little as half what the Goodwill charges, so even though there is only one of them in the Portland area, I find it worth my while to stop there whenever I can. I plan on doing it at least twice a month once we get moved back to Estacada, since it is on that side of Portland.

Anyhow, as I mentioned in a post last week, I found a really nice black turtleneck there for $2. It was so nice, in fact, that I decided to keep it and cut up my old one. Here are the two side by side:

The lighter one is my old one. Obviously, the newer, brighter Eddie Bauer one is going to stay in tact!

The first step was to mark the cutting lines. My nice white and red tailor chalk are in a storage unit somewhere, so I opted for a yellow highlighter. It made a line that was just barely visible, but good enough for me. By changing the exposure settings, I got a picture that actually shows the line:

Basically what I did was mark the shoulder points and the depth and then just free hand it from there. In hindsight, I could have made it wider, but this will work just fine for V-necks. Scoop necks would require a wider dickey. But I don’t own any scoop necks.

I pinned the front and back together, cut it out, then drew on the back side to make it shorter, then cut out the back. Here is the result:

Then I got out my sewing machine and stitched it with a stretchy zigzag. That was it. It was done. Couldn’t have been easier.

Here’s a close-up of the edge:

And here’s me wearing it with a very nice, not-too-thick sweater. Can you see the baby bump? My husband was too busy to take the picture, and I didn’t feel like getting out the tripod (it was almost bedtime), so I just took it in the bathroom with the mirror on the medicine cabinet. Sorry for the vertical lines, but the mirror has 3 sections.

To summarize, I just laid the shirt out flat, drew the lines, pinned it so the back wouldn’t slide around, and cut. Then I drew the back line and cut. Then I stitched the edge, and voila! It was done!

My goal is to do this with several more shirts (as I find them). It could work just as well on a button-up-the-front shirt as with a knit shirt, though with woven fabric I might use my rolled foot hem to hem the edge instead of relying on zigzag. In fact, I think this sweater would look best with a pointed collar shirt underneath, perhaps with vertical stripes (if the color is right). I would like to get one with a regular neck that I could use for summer, but I don’t want the t-shirt edge on it, so I’m biding my time. Spring hasn’t even started, and besides, I’ll be able to use these after the baby is born, so there’s no big rush to make more before my maternity clothes become useless again.

I think one could also achieve a similar result by simply cutting the bottom half of a tank top off, leaving sleeve holes in tact. Also, making the front wider could be helpful. I didn’t really have much problem, but for a deeper cut or a wider neck, it could have been problematic. I toyed with the idea of putting the dickey on before putting on my bra, so that the straps could hold it down a little, but by keeping an eye on it, I didn’t have any problems. For ordinary wear, it was fine; lying down for an ultrasound, it did get a little rumpled and had to be adjusted before I left the room. I don’t think a woven one would have this problem.

What projects have you been working on lately?


7 Responses

  1. #1
    Christi 

    What a neat idea. Thanks!

  2. #2
    marci 

    Just catching up on a few of your latest posts. I admire your do it yourself thoughts~and actions!

  3. #3
    Deborah 

    This is so weird. I have been looking on line for dickies, didn’t want to pay shipping. I suddenly realized I could make my own, so immediately (yesterday) got a few damaged t-shirts from my rag bag, but I’m not a seamstress. I barely started cutting one, but something said, “Wait.”

    I found your blog only hours later! Using your instructions, I won’t mangle them; then I’ll have what I need to keep my upper chest warm when I have to wear light clothing for summer. (If I don’t, I tend to catch colds.)

    Teach a woman to make her own, And she’ll have dickies for a lifetime. Thank You!

  4. #4
    Lisa 

    I’m so glad you found the tutorial helpful! :) I plan on making more myself… once I can get more old shirts that will work. I don’t know that I have any. But thrift stores are full of them! :)

  5. #5
    Sarah 

    Very cool!

  6. Very creative – I think JCP has some great maternity tops…there again, I often add a tank under my shirts (or my bra looks like a tank).

  7. #7
    Kaylene 

    What a great idea, I have some shirts that could be reused. Great photographs.

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