Refashion: Reversible Maternity Top


Several months ago, I was asked to see if I was interested in participating in a refashion swap between 10 bloggers. There was no question if I was game or not. OF COURSE I’m game! The idea being that we all took a button up shirt and refashioned something for someone else with it. Here’s my shirt before. It was one of Chris’s old shirts, too small for him now, but I was too nostalgic about it to let go of it. It was one of the shirts he wore often when we were only dating!

I was assigned to sew something for Krista of Lazy Saturdays. She’s currently 30 weeks along, so I wanted to make something maternity-friendly. Then I got to thinking, why not make it both maternity and post-partum friendly?

After seeing a really cool mom at the park, sporting a rad top with a cape-like top (the very top that inspired Penelope’s refashioned top), a lightbulb struck. It looks cool with the extra fabric in back, but that extra fabric would be useful in the front for a pregnant gal.

The maternity side is color blocked in front and longer in front to accomodate a growing belly.

The nursing side has a flat front and flowy back, perfect for hiding bulges. The button-front allow for easy nursing access.

I’m pretty excited about this top, I sure hope it fits Krista! Be sure to check out the other participating bloggers’ projects:

Grainline Studio • Lazy Saturdays • Cotton & Curls • Megan Nielsen Designs • One Little Minute • MadMim • See Kate Sew • A Fashionable Stitch • Adventures in Dressmaking

More after the jump on how to make this reversible top.


For this project you will need: one oversized button up shirt with a yoke in the back, a fat half of fabric (jersey or cotton), single-fold biased tape and your sewing materials.

Measure out and cut your neck hole. I kept the necklines about the same on either side. Discard the old collar.

Turn the shirt wrong side out, lay your favorite non-maternity top (one that has a bit of give) on top of your shirt, and mark where the shirt needs to be taken in. Align your tee to the top of your button up’s new neckline.

Turn right side out, unpick about 4-6 inches (centered) of the yoke top stitching. Cut out the fabric (as seen in the diagram. Cut out a piece that is twice the width of your yoke hole and about 3 inches longer. Make it like a pie piece, getting larger towards one end.


Baste stitch along the top part of the insert and gather so it fits. Pin insert right sides to your button-up and sew together. Repeat for the other side.

nest the insert inside the yoke and secure with a straight stitch. Cut and hem (I did a rolled hem) the sleeves to desired length. Cut the hemline to be shorter on the buttoned side and longer on the inserted side. Hem (again, I did a rolled hem).

Iron out one of the folds of your biased tape and pin right sides together along your neckline. Sew along the pressed fold line.

Fold biased tape over raw edge, iron and secure with a single stitch along the folded  edge of the biased tape (along the inside of the top). Press all seams and wear.

Click the button below to download the printer-friendly version of this tutorial. Enjoy!

This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this post, publish more than 2 photos or outright steal this idea for commercial publications. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!


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  1. That is such a CLEVER idea. I love it.

  2. David Preston says:

    Very cute!

  3. Cute, I love the colors and the yoke idea!

  4. Miranda says:

    You never cease to amaze me. This is awesome on so many levels. Glad to know ya!!

  5. Krista says:

    Oh my goodness!!! That is adorable!!! It’s my new favorite top. Seriously. I love that I can wear it after too! very clever! And it definitely looks like it will fit.

  6. michael ann says:

    this is so so fabulous! i’m about 5 months pregnant also and my current wardrobe is getting smaller and smaller… i know what i’m doing this weekend! thanks!

  7. Sunni says:

    So clever! I love the uneven hemline – a fantastic modern twist! And you can wear it when you are pregnant! So stylish! I love it!
    xoxo, Sunni

  8. Sunni says:


  9. Bronwen says:

    This is a brilliant re-fashion! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Lauren says:

    Such a great idea! I would love to see whether you could “bustle” the back somehow with a few strategically placed hidden buttons when she’s wearing the nursing front version. Just to blend the long shirt tail in a bit more smoothly? I think that could be another cool convertible addition to this shirt!

  11. kate says:

    this is so cute! i love the fabric you added!

  12. Sarah Heat says:

    This is wonderful! You did a great job!

  13. Miriam says:

    Brilliant, and I love the floral panel, hello cool. I totally swiped the arm pleat idea on my top from a cool mom at the park, so seriously who knew the park was the IT place to find fashion inspiration! Awesome!

  14. This is so dang awesome!! You are talented, my friend.

  15. Jen says:

    Love LOVE the stripes and floral combination. So clever to make it reversible too!

  16. Jen says:

    Love LOVE the stripes and floral combination. So clever to make it reversible / dual purpose too!

  17. Miriam says:

    And may I just say, (looking at your post again in my reader) that your tutorials are so clean and neat and efficient. It’s so inspiring to me, I love it, and want to find something similar that works for me, because 2078 photos for a tutorial is too much! So cool.

  18. Melissa says:

    I heart this! What a great idea. I was desperately seeking multifunctional clothes when I was prego. This is only nine months too late! Maybe for the next one…hmmm.

  19. […] 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 […]

  20. Megan O'Dea says:

    That is so fantastic!!

  21. Heidi says:

    This shirt is so pretty! I’d love to see it on Krista.

  22. kristin says:

    way cute, melissa! you’re so clever – love that it will work pre and post baby! this is such a fun idea, can’t wait to see all of the recipients modeling their partners’ creations.

  23. thu says:

    greetings from Vietnam!
    great idea. very creative. i like the nice match up of the floral patern to the stripe!!!

  24. Suzie says:

    This is GENIOUS!!!! What a brilliant idea! I absolutely love it and would love to wear this…and I’m not even pregnant!

  25. Rhianon says:

    Genious idea!! you should make up a pattern for this! Every women hates wasting money on maternity clothes they only wear a few times, so this is a great idea!

  26. Stevie says:

    Brilliant idea. Thanks for sharing.

  27. shalini says:

    Wow, that is a really amazing makeover. I love how polished it looks with the belt.

  28. phil says:

    i love stories like that !!!!!!

  29. […] so excited to see how my reversible maternity top in action! Isn’t Krista an adorable pregnant […]

  30. jen says:

    ok you’re a genius.

  31. […] I used one of Chris’s old shirts and a scrap of fabric given to me by my mom (circa 1980s). Refashion tutorial  shirt in action  What is a favorite project/s made by someone else? I’m loving the […]

  32. GERALDINE says:

    This is the best shirt/top recycle I’ve ever seen! KUDOS!

  33. […] skirt • color block leather pillow • color block v-neck tee • color block bib necklace • color block maternity/nursing top • color block shirt dress • color block […]

  34. Emily says:

    So clever! This really transforms the men’s shirt. Glad I saved a few of my husband’s dress shirts when he cleaned out his closet. I will be making one or two of these this summer!

  35. […] were perfect to help me feel cute again! The last shirt I made I used Melissa Esplin’s DIY reversible maternity shirt refashion. I’ve had my eye on this refashion since Melissa first did it, and I finally put it to use. I […]

  36. […] Reversible Maternity & Nursing Top Refashion Tutorial by ISLY […]

  37. […] were perfect to help me feel cute again! The last shirt I made I used Melissa Esplin’s DIY reversible maternity shirt refashion. I’ve had my eye on this refashion since Melissa first did it, and I finally put it to use. I […]

  38. […] Reversible Maternity & Nursing Top Refashion Tutorial by ISLY […]

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