Maternity Sewing: Faux Cami
We’ll kick off the maternity sewing tutorials with how to make a faux cami, which can be used as an outfit accessory or to provide some necessary extra coverage. I find that I often want some extra coverage for the neckline of maternity shirts, but my existing tanks and camisoles either don’t fit during pregnancy or are too bulky and hot under my outfit. This is an easy and fast DIY solution. In fact, if you “upcycle” an existing garment that already has a hem, no sewing is needed. Here I use an old tank/cami that doesn’t fit as-is. You can make many versions in one sitting, varying the fabric type, colors, and embellishments like lace. I looked for tutorials online, but I couldn’t find one I really liked because I wanted secure attachments on the sides as well as the bottom. This is my solution, and it is working great for me!
Fabric (new fabric or from an existing garment)
Making the Faux Cami:
1. Decide how wide and long you’d like your cami to be by measuring the distance between your bra straps where the cami will be placed and the length from that horizontal line down to the bridge of the bra. Add about an inch to both of these measurements to make room for the snaps (less if your fabric is stretchy and you want to make sure it’s snug). If your fabric is not hemmed, add a hem allowance of your choosing to the length measurement.
2. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise (the hem or top edge of the fabric should be folded in half). Remember the finished edge will be at the top, so if you’re using the hem of an existing shirt or tank, the bottom edge of the shirt will be the top of the cami. Starting at the fold, measure half of your intended width and mark it on the hem. For instance, if you want your cami to be 9″ wide, measure and mark at 4.5.”
3. Starting at the hem or top, measure the full intended length of your cami down the fold and mark it on the fold.
4. Cut from the width mark straight down for about half of the cami, then taper inward sharply, then taper inward more slowly until you reach the length marker, and cut straight across to it. Your folded fabric will look similar to this (my fabric is misaligned to show mutliple layers- I actually cut two camis here since I was using an old tank top and I just cut through both sides at once)
And when you unfold the fabric, you’ll have a shape like this.
Variation and imperfection are completely okay because the edges of the cami will not be seen. You can cut it according to your preference or what fits best with your wardrobe. You want enough wide coverage on top so that the edges aren’t seen, but a narrow bottom half so there is no bulk where it attaches under or over the bra.
5. If your fabric isn’t hemmed, add the top hem now.
6. Fold one side over about an inch and make a hole for your snaps.
7. Place your snap pieces and attach with snap pliers, making sure that your fabric is wrong side up. You want the smooth caps of your snaps to be on the right side of the cami, and the stud and posts of your snaps to be on the inside. It doesn’t matter which is the stud or the post, but be sure you have one of each, because these will snap together to attach this side of the cami to the bra strap.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 on the other side of the cami.
9. Deciding where and how to add the snaps to the bottom is the tricky part, because it will depend on how large the bridge of your bra is and whether you plan to tuck the cami behind the bridge or in front of it. You can proceed with these steps and see if they work for you, or since your top snaps are in place, you can fit this to your bra and decide exactly where you want the bottom snaps to be, and in what orientation.
10. I decided to add my bottom snaps three inches apart, oriented as follows to tuck behind the bridge (note this photo shows my fabric wrong side up and the posts and studs of the top snaps are showing):
I placed the smooth cap of the higher bottom snap facing the wrong side of the fabric and the post facing the right side, since the smooth cap will be against my skin. The stud of the bottom snap is facing the wrong side so that……
11. Viola! As the bottom-most fabric folds up, around, and hides behind the bridge, the bottom-most snap will be oriented correctly to attach to the higher bottom snap. This photo shows the *RIGHT* side of the cami with top snaps fastened and with the sewing gauge representing the bra bridge.
If you’d like the cami to attach over the bridge instead of behind it, you can reverse the orientation of the bottom snaps. Keep in mind that the smooth cap of the snap will be visible on the “right” side of the cami in that design, but it should also be covered by your shirt.
The possibilities are endless for this project. Add lace to the top, try a knit, silk, satin, or lycra, or borrow fashionable necklines from any existing garment and make a less bulky, faux version to wear under other tops.