A maternity plantain renfrew hack

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Maybe this post should be called the Rentain? Or the Planfrew? To me they both sound like brands of weedkiller, so I decided not to go with it. So let’s have a look at this “maternity plantain renfrew hack”.

On the face of it, this looks like quite a boring thing to make (or write about. Or read about). And it probably is. But I see many many more of them in my near future!


It’s a cross between the Deer & Doe Plantain and the Sewaholic Renfrew. I think just about everyone in the sewing world has made one or both of these, and rightly so – they’re both excellent patterns. I’ve made quite a few of each and wear them loads. However, recent events mean that I can’t wear any of those any more, and so urgent action was called for. I decided I would nab my favourite bits from each pattern, and see what happened. Since they’re both t-shirt patterns nothing very drastic was likely to happen, and I’m pleased to say that it didn’t.

From the bust up, this is all plantain. I really like the neckline from the plantain, and I’ve re-traced it to fit my slightly larger self. It’s drafted for a C cup (unlike the Renfrew, which I think is a B) and so it just fits me better. But I didn’t want the flare of the plantain towards the bottom, since I wanted it to fit snugly over my bump. So from there down it’s all Renfrew. This was simple to do, I just laid the two pattern pieces over one another, traced the Plantain around the top, and then when the lines crossed one another just below the bust I switched to tracing the Renfrew.


The business of the print means you can’t really see, but the Renfrew’s hem band is there, and that helps it sit nicely in place. Speaking of the print, this jersey is lovely. It’s cotton with some lycra, it’s lovely to sew and wear, and I like the pattern. Sadly I don’t have any more. I almost ruined it too, because in a moment of idiotic-ness I traced it all onto the fabric with the stretch going vertically. Maybe this is the notorious “baby-brain”. Maybe this idiotic tendency was always there. But I’m extremely glad I noticed as I was about to start snipping away!  Have you had any near-misses recently?

One very important feature of this top is: BELLY GATHERS!

Shameful lack of pattern matching here – I didn’t even try. Please excuse me.

The front is 4″ longer than the back, and that extra length is then gathered up (with some clear elastic) to make them fit together. This means it has lots of room to traverse the ever-growing bump, and it makes it so much comfier. The hem band means it sits firmly under-bump, so I’m not forever pulling it down, as I am with a lot of my tops. The belly gathers mean it’s not strained and stretched. Hurrah! In fact at the moment it’s still a little loose, but then I’m hoping it will last me until the end.

There are  some great tutorials for adding belly gathers like this to a t-shirt pattern: Jennifer Lauren’s (I am determined to do this with the Bronte pattern soon) and So Zo’s to name but two. If you’ve already got a t-shirt pattern you like, then I would recommend this over buying a separate maternity t-shirt pattern – it’s a really simple change.

If you’re thinking “My, what a fine bag she has!”, that’s my new Walden Cooper, which you can read about in this post. Almost a week in and I’m still in love with it.


Do you have a couple of favourite patterns that you’ve merged together? Would you recommend any other interesting t-shirt patterns that might work well with the belly gathers?


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4 thoughts on “A maternity plantain renfrew hack

  1. The Ann T top from Style Arc has gathers across the front as a design feature. ( Not designed as a maternity top) It would work for early pregnancy belly but you could add a few more inches to the front for larger bellies.
    I actually like the fit so much that I altered it to make without the gathers.

    1. Ooo I hadn’t seen that before. Seems kind of strange to put the gathers there for non-maternity, could easily lead to misunderstandings! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

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