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Maternity top changes for handknits

Jody1's picture

My Granddaughter is expecting in January.  We are so excited!  Can anyone tell me how to alter a hand knitted tunic pattern to a maternity top.  I know the front  would have to be longer than the back,  but I am sure there are other adjustments  needed.  ie: how much would you increase the front and from what point? The bust perhaps,  I dont think I have ever even seen a maternity sweater.  This is a very trendy girl, and she also needs a professional look.  Of course I have sewn maternity clothes for my daughters, (many years ago) so would I perhaps take the front pattern piece of a tunic and use it to roughly outline the pattern?  I am a fair to middlin' knitter and have no experience in altering hand knit patterns but am sure there is no mystery to it if I start thinking in the right direction.  I know I can get wonderful help from all you enthusiastic knitters out there.  Thanks in advance,  Jody1

Jean's picture

(post #29267, reply #1 of 6)

When I machine knit maternity sweaters for my DDs I did make them a little longer in the front and also did some increases along the side seam under the armholes. They were about hip length and I put a rather snug doubled over ribbing on the bottom to create a blouson effect. They fit for a long long time.


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Jody1's picture

(post #29267, reply #4 of 6)

Hi Jean, you always have an answer!  Thanks so much, I have never done any machine knitting, but  with the agreement as to lengthening the front and the increasing under the arm this kinda gets my head in order over this.  Will let you know how it goes.  Jody

Teaf's picture

(post #29267, reply #2 of 6)

What a wonderful gift for a working mom! However, sizing maternity clothes is impossible in advance, even for ourselves, as we have no idea how much or where we'll gain how many inches.

Since a tunic would be worn over a shirt or turtleneck, you might want to consider a sleeveless tabard style, with the front and back joined at the shoulders but left open under the arms. You could use buttoned tabs or ties on the sides, so that she could release them as she grows. Especially in a dark color, the long, straight lines of the front and back panels give a nice professional look, especially over crisp white shirts or with slacks or skirts.

In late pregnancy, we're often "cooking" with our own body heat, so the sleeveless sweater might be much more practical than a long sleeved one, especially in an office, and the adjustable side ties would allow her to wear it much longer.

Jody1's picture

(post #29267, reply #5 of 6)

Hi Teaf, you and Jean have great design ideas, hers to put the ribbing on the bottom for a blouson, and your idea of straight  front and back panels with button tabs at the side to release as needed.  There are any number of color  ideas from both suggestions, she will be thrilled.  How neat to have friends to bounce ideas off of.  Jody

kjp's picture

(post #29267, reply #3 of 6)

Honestly, I would hesitate to knit her a top unless she is begging for it.  If she is trendy & professional, she will probably go for more tailored maternity designs.  Also, my first thought is all that work into something that will only be used for a few months (unless she's planning a large family!)  That is irrelevant if you are using a machine, of course, but it sounds like you are a hand knitter.  There are some beautiful sweater knit fabrics available these days which might be a possibility. 


Should you decide to continue... try taking measurements off a sewing pattern to convert the increases to the knit top. 


Best wishes!!

Jody1's picture

(post #29267, reply #6 of 6)

Kip you are so right!  It is a project only for someone who is asking for it.  There will only be one made, believe me.  She can well afford to buy her clothes, but is only seeing "cutesy" tops with lots of back ties and short sleeves with ruffles.  She will be needing maternity clothes in Sept for sure, and can probably get along in buying a size or two larger in regular sizes for a while.  She just loves hand work, and asked for this.  She is a darling and I would love to be able to do this for her.  There are some gorgeous knit fabrics, and I might talk her into this unless she is just on a nostalgia kick.  Thanks so much, Jody