Thursday, January 22, 2015

Belly Bands are Thrifty

When I was pregnant with my first two babies, I thought you had to wear maternity clothes throughout pregnancy. Makes sense, right?  In the years since, I have seen tidbits here and there about women who make do with non-maternity clothes for a large part of their pregnancy.  I couldn't quite figure out how they did that because wouldn't normal shirts and dresses ride up in the front and did you have to wear stretchy everything?

Well, I'm wearing lots of my own non-maternity clothes this pregnancy because I found tutorials online for making belly bands.

These belly bands look like a cowl or an infinity scarf made of knit fabric (because it has that elastic stretch that woven fabric does not).  It would be possible to make them by sewing a strip of knit fabric into a circle with one seam, but I chose to follow this tutorial and make them double-thickness. I bought small cuts of knit at my fabric outlet using a coupon very early in my pregnancy with this exact project in mind.  I think I paid less than $5 for all three; by way of comparison, a single band is currently $17 at Motherhood Maternity.

I flipped the grey one inside out so you could see the seams - and yes, they are wrinkled from their shove-in-the-drawer-state.
I have a dark gray one, shown on me in the photos, plus light gray ribbed, and white.  I was thinking of how a camisole would look peeking out from under my shirt when I chose these colors.  The colors and the bands themselves are working great for me.

I'm not wearing any maternity clothes in these photos, taken when I was 21 weeks pregnant (I'm showing much more now at 25 weeks).  The magenta shirt rides up slightly, so the belly band keeps the bottom of my belly covered and also hides the occasional rubber band at my jeans button.  I'm still wearing my regular jeans and most of the time buttoning them without a rubber band - does that mean I wear baggy jeans normally, or that I'm carrying this baby really high, or that I'm just stretching my jeans beyond the point of no return?  Don't know, but I'm comfortable and covered, so I'm happy.


jenny_o said...

I saw belly bands for the first time recently when looking for maternity clothing for my daughter. Could they also be made from an old T-shirt, I wonder? Anyway, I think it's a wonderful idea, and I love the colours you chose - very versatile.

Polly said...

You look great!! I am SO impressed that you are still in your jeans at 25 weeks. I wore my jeans until something like month 6-7 with my first child (without a rubber band, even! I gained all of about 18 lbs somehow) but was in maternity clothes by something like the 4th month with #2...maybe even earlier. And I did not have belly bands or even rubber bands--I LOVE the idea! Maternity clothes are just so expensive and you don't wear them for long...and I always wanted to burn them by the time the baby was born!

Margo said...

Jenny_o, I'm sure you could use any knit fabric - tee shirts, etc. In fact, thanks to your question, I have a vague memory that my white belly band is from an old white tee-shirt sheet I had in my stash. Just be careful to figure out which way the scavenged knit stretches - you want the stretchiest part to be horizontal on the belly band, not vertical (does that make sense?).

Zoë said...

So glad they work for you! I found they didn't stay in place for me so I was constantly yanking them around. And I even had borrowed a boughten pair from a friend so it was the "real deal". Perhaps homemade ones are better!

This pregnancy I made do with the rubber band trick and just wore all of my shirts that are typically extra long. But alas, that didn't last the entire way and now I'm wearing maternity jeans that fall down or else sweat pants. I have two knit maternity dresses that I wear leggings under but they are even getting too short.

Hopefully only two more weeks... :)

And you are looking great! Just a nice baby belly!

AmyK said...

I've used belly bands for my pregnancies as well - but only up until mid-way. I think they are a great way to "make it through" the in between stage. I just made the switch from regular jeans and belly band to maternity jeans about two weeks ago, and I'm only at 18 weeks with my 3rd. I have a few non-maternity shirts and sweaters that I can still wear, but my bust grows so much during pregnancy, that most of my shirts feel indecently tight. So for the first time ever, I took the plunge and went to a regular store and bought a few items that I plan to wear over and over and over (and over!) again until warm weather.(I had given away all my maternity things thinking we were done - go figure!)Thankfully, I have some friends who've said they've got warm weather maternity items I can have! It was hard to go and buy new maternity clothes, but I just decided that I'd get only a few, and I'd make do with them. So far I'm really glad I did! I've always wanted to pare down my wardrobe, so I'm kind of excited about this forced opportunity.

Jennifer Jo said...

The big belly makes me feel all sorts of happy. You look great!

Nancy po said...

Great idea, I'll pass that on!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea..

Lorin said...

I also found belly bands to be helpful during the dreaded 4th trimester when absolutely nothing for me.

Sarah Barry said...

So smart. Ideas for maternity wear have come so far - thank goodness! You look great, BTW.


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