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Button Up Refashion Swap | How to Make a Maternity Shirt from a Men’s Button Shirt

You guys i have such a fun project to share with you today!

Two of my favourite crafty ladies, Miranda and Melissa came up with the fun idea a little while ago of doing a button up shirt refashion swap. The basic idea being that a group of bloggers get together, take a boring button up shirt, and remake it into something super cute for another lady. I was super excited when I was allocated Lizzie to create something for – she’s adorably pregnant, and with my line of maternity patterns and my other blog DIY Maternity, I obviously have a real passion for designing things for baby bumps – it was kind of a match made in heaven! I was also really excited to find out that Mim would be making something for me (spoiler alert, i’ve already seen the top and it’s freaking awesome, can’t wait to share it with you!) – we’ve worked together before on a tutorial for DIY Maternity (back when she was preggers) and she is a really talented seamstress. Honestly this whole thing was so fun – i just wish it hadn’t all fallen over my move, but such is life!!

Want to see what I made??


I honestly cannot wait to see how it looks on Lizzie! It took all of my self control to refrain from adding a peter pan collar hehehe. I wanted to make something comfortable and practical but still a bit tailored – and obviously i wanted something that would suit Liz. I included a lot of my favourite maternity details – and the great news is there is a tutorial at the end of this post so you can make one of your own!

There are some really amazing ladies involved in this!!

Jennifer of Grainline Studio (see the top Jen made!)
Krista of Lazy Saturdays (see the skirt Krista made!)
Liz of Cotton & Curls (See the top Lizzie made!)
Megan of Megan Nielsen Designs (that’s me!)
Melissa of I Still Love You (See the maternity top Melissa made!)
Miranda of One Little Minute (see the dress Miranda made)
Miriam of MadMim (see the top Mim made for me!)
Kate of See Kate Sew (see the jumper dress Kate made)
Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch (see the top Sunni made!)
Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking (see the dress Suzannah made!)

Today we are all sharing tutorials for how to make the item we made for another lady – and then next we’ll be having a “blog hop” to share the tops that were made for us! So don’t forget to follow the links above to see the tutorials for all the other tops that were made! Then next week i’ll share with you the top that Mim made for me. So fun right?

Here is the blog hop schedule for next week:

Monday, May 21st: Lizzie of Cotton & Curls, Krista of Lazy Saturdays
Tuesday, May 22nd: Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch, Kate of See Kate Sew
Wednesday, May 23rd: Suzannah of Adventures in Dressmaking, Miranda of One Little
Thursday, May 24th:Miriam of MadMim, Melissa of I Still Love You
Friday, May 25th: Megan of Megan Nielsen Design, Jennifer of Grainline Studio

Okie dokie – that was a mouthful!! Ready to see how i made Lizzies maternity top? Instructions below!

You’ll need:

  • A button up shirt. I used a size L mens shirt and Lizzie is between an XS and S size in womens clothing – so that should be a good guide for how much larger your shirt should be
  • A guide shirt that fits (or fitted) you well across the bust, shoulders and arms.
  • elastic thread
  • ruler, scissors, thread etc (you know, all the usual suspects)

What to do:

First things first – cut off the sleeves and the collar. I cut the sleeves right along the seamline – and I cut the collar off about 1/2″ from the edge of the collar stand, all the way round. Also don’t forget to carefully unpick the pocket if your shirt has one!

Now it’s time to plan out our pintucks! To make things easy, I made 1/4″ pintucks, 1/2″ apart – so what that means is that i had to draw lines 1/2″ apart – easy! I made 5 tucks on each side, but how many you do is really up to you. Keep in mind that the more you do the narrower the front of your top will be, so you’ll probably have to tailor how many you have or their width to get the right width of top. I made the pintucks go all the way up to the shoulder seam, and end just under the bust, so that there would be lots of room below for the baby bump!


Now to form the pleats. For me, i find the easiest way to do this is to lay the top out on my ironing board – then place pins at the end point of each line, and further towards the top along the lines. Then match up the pins for each pintuck. Lines 1 and 2 will form the first pintuck. Lines 3 and 4 will form the second pintuck. Lines 5 and 6 will form the third pintuck. Lines 7 and 8 will form the fourth pintuck. Lines 9 and 10 will form the fifth pintuck.

Sew the pleats one by one. I find it easiest to start from the centre pleat and move outwards. Make sure you sew along the chalk lines and keep the folds even. Once you’ve sewn them all press the pintucks. I pressed mine towards the centre, but you can press them outwards if you like.

One of my favourite techniques to use when making maternity wear is elastic shirring. I love it because it can make a garment fitted without sacrificing comfort – and it allows your clothing to grow with you. Your bust and ribcage all expand throughout pregnancy, so something that is perfectly fitted in the early stages probably won’t fit at all in the last trimester. Which is why shirring is so great! I just sewed lines of elastic shirring along the back of the top starting at the the same line as the pintucks ended and extending all the way up to the neckline and shoulders. My lines are roughly 1/2″ apart. For full instructions on how to shir with elastic thread please check out this tutorial i wrote last year. It will take you through all the steps in detail.

Sew the shoulders back together and neaten the raw edges. (don’t worry about the fact that the neckline looks so small remember we shirred the back of the top and part of the front placket will become the collar)

Recut your sleeves using the guide shirt as a guide. Make sure to add on seam allowance. Then reattach them to your shirt.

Now I traced a facing for the collar and attached it to the neckline.

Press with the iron – and you’re done! 

I’m so thrilled with how this top turned out and i really can’t wait to see how it looks on Lizzie! The beauty of this top is that because of the elastic shirring it will work for all stages of pregnancy, and the pintucks creating really flattering fabric flow over the baby bump.

I really love using men’s button shirts for maternity wear – there are just so many things you can do! If you’d like to try another tutorial for making a mens shirt into maternity wear, check out these tutorials from DIYMaternity:

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Cirque Du Bebe
12 years ago

So clever Megan!I bet your lady will be super happy to receive this. Beautiful colour too.

12 years ago

what a fun project you all participated in! I’m so jealous! I love how you refashioned the top and I loved your tutorial on sewing with elastic thread. Thanks lady!

12 years ago

That’s amazing! I love the details: the pleats, the shirred back, and that awesome collar! For sure making one of these. Maybe even before I’m pregnant again!


Pippa @ Beads and Barnacles

This is so cute, I would love to try something like this. But not being pregnant and having a distinct forward curve in my spine I think this would def make me look pregnant. Might have to change the style up slightly…

12 years ago

That is so totally adorable! I esp love the collar :)

No baby bumps for me in the foreseeable future but I’ll have to bookmark this!

Adventures in Dressmaking

Wow, how cute and flattering! I love the little pleats!

Michael Ann
12 years ago

oh i am definitely bookmarking this one! i’ve got quite the baby bump going on right now and a whole pile of oversized shirts i’ve been meaning to make a bit cuter. thanks for sharing!

12 years ago

I love this top, Megan! It turned out perfectly! I can’t wait to see how it fits on Liz!

12 years ago

Megan you sly little fox you! This is just the bee’s knees! This is so darling and what a great refashion for maternity! Totally brilliant and you’ve totally outdone yourself!
xoxo, Sunni

12 years ago

this is adorable! love the pintucks and the shirring!

12 years ago

Beautiful! Love the pintucks and shape of the shirt.

12 years ago

Oh Megan, this is so lovely! SEriously, that shirring in the back—-brilliant! Love it, and love the peachy color too. Perfect.I’m sure Liz is going to rock it.

Elle Croft
12 years ago

I love this redesign! Amazing!

12 years ago

Love the pintuck detail and zomg all that smocking in the back! Girl, when do you find the time!! Love everything about this top, color, shape, details… Lizzie is going to be one stylin’ momma to be!

12 years ago

Oh! It’s gorgeous!! I love the color and I am a BIG fan of pintucks!

12 years ago

I love this top Megan! Elastic shirring for maternity? Of course! I’m going to have to make one of these for myself very soon :) Great job! I can’t wait to see it on Liz!

12 years ago

SOOOOOOO beautiful. Fits me perfectly. I mean perfectly. I had to try hard not to wear it last weekend. I feel like I’m sporting a vintage top from the 60s. Love it! Thanks again!!

Natasha Bi
12 years ago

Very, very cute! I like it so much

12 years ago

This is so, so cute! I’m so impressed by this clever refashion!


[…] I was so thrilled today when i woke up to see Lizzie sporting the top i made for her during the Button up Refashion Swap! […]

Stephanie Hillberry
12 years ago

Wow–that’s impressive. You’ve taken refashioning to a whole new level. I almost wish that I wish that I was pregnant just to try it out! I’m sharing these patterns with all the crafty preggo girls I know!

12 years ago

Love it, now if only I could find the time or energy to make it. Anyone want to make me one LOL


[…] were a lot of really fantastic creations made during the button up refashion swap – but i must tell you all – I absolutely got the best one. Sorry everyone else, but Mim […]

12 years ago

Cute, cute, cute!! Fabulously clever!!

12 years ago

Thank you for posting this! This is the cutest maternity top I have ever seen & I love to sew!! I’m going to go out & buy a men’s shirt & elastic thread a.s.a.p. as we are just expecting again!

10 years ago

I’ve had this on my list for over a year and I’m so excite to finally make one. But I just have a quick question. How did you deal with the yoke on the back of the shirt? All the men’s shirts I can find have a horizontal seam across the back. Some are higher up than others but I haven’t ever seen one without. Did you just cut the top of the shirt off at that point? Or does the seam just get hidden in the shirring?