And you know what that means: tons of adorable maternity outfits… if only. Actually it turns out that growing a little person is actually pretty uncomfortable, so some new stretchy shorts were a must! Because I’m staying active and the majority of my pregnancy will be during the hot and humid Texas summer, I’m pretty much living in these shorts.
I decided to give Cali Fabric’s double brushed poly spandex a try and it did not disappoint! It comes in a few colors and is VERY stretchy which is extremely important for me right now.
I’m fortunate enough to work in a sewing factory so I have access to some pretty neat tools and machines. I used a large printer to print my digital patterns, then laid them on top of my fabric and used an electric rotary cutter. At home I would recommend using a cutting mat and a rotary cutter for all of your knit projects because you wont have to worry about the scissors moving your fabric around and distorting your cuts.
For each of my shorts I used a 4 thread over lock machine (serger) for the seams, and a cover stitch machine to flatten the stitch to one side. I find that this flattening helps the seam not dig into my body which is great for tight garments on sensitive, stretching skin! You can duplicate this effect at home using a double needle on your machine. You can use this for a stretchy hem as well.
For the waistbands I used elastic to help stabilize. I cut the elastic about 1″ smaller than the waist circumference of the shorts. When I apply elastic in the round like this, I turn the garment right side out and stretch the elastic to fit the circumference. Then I grab both the fabric and stretched elastic a few inches away from my needle and hold the elastic’s tension as I feed it through the machine. This makes for perfectly eased-in elastic.
For my first pair I used light grey fabric and added a scooping belly panel in the front. This has the advantage of eliminating an uncomfortable center front seam and allowed me to add a little more fullness.
For my second pair I used my personal favorite: dusty mauve and tried an all-around belly band. I like this better because the band is doubled, allowing me to trap the elastic between the two layers so it’s not in contact with my skin.
However, I didn’t like the horizontal line that the band created around my hips, so to make the pattern for my third pair, I used safety pins to mark the new line I wanted to create. It didn’t change the fit, just the style lines.
And voila! These dark charcoal shorts are definitely my favorite (practice makes perfect, eh?). I plan to make more shorts as my pregnancy progresses and my body changes. I love making multiple iterations of a project in order to refine my pattern each time. I ordered a yard and a half of each fabric and it’s more than enough fabric for two shorts of each color! I’d highly recommend these fabrics for athletic wear – maternity or otherwise.