this is one of my favorite nursing tops, i made it from the curtains that i made for the room that became ella's room (before ella, it was a catch-all room). this is one of the simplest nursing tops to make and to use. it looks like an ordinary empire waistline top, but the secret is that the upper and lower portions are separate--to nurse your child, all you do is lift the upper portion and pull down the lower portion. no slits! no snaps! nothing but easy access and great style. (click any image to see an enlargement):
even a beginning seamstress can make this top. and once you get your pattern worked out, you can make one of these in less than an hour.
start with a basic t-shirt pattern.
make two copies of the front pattern. (NOTE: copy only the pattern itself--not the seam allowances! you add those back on when you finish making your pattern).
to make the upper bodice/overlay pattern, measure from your shoulder, right where it meets your neck, down the front of your body to wherever you want your empire waistline. mark this distance on one copy of your front pattern.
slash across your pattern at this level, from side seam thru center front. the upper portion will be your overlay. discard the lower section.
on the other copy, slash the pattern from the underarm point thru the center front line. the lower portion will be the bodice underlay. discard the upper section.
you can make whatever neckline you wish. i am partial to a scoop neck for front and back, but feel free to use the shape you want.
add a casing allowance to the bottom edge of the overlay. leave the upper edge of the underlay as is (no seam allowance--mark your pattern so you'll remember!). add seam allowances to the rest of the edges.
the back pattern remains as is.
to sew your top:
you'll need stretch fabric, matching thread, and some 1/4" wide elastic.
apply elastic to the top edge of the underlay, stretching very slightly. turn up the casing on the bottom of the overlay and stitch, then insert a piece of elastic that is 1"-2" shorter. baste the ends so they don't slip. lay the overlay on top of the underlay, right sides up, matching at the underarms. baste together at the side seams and treat as one.
stitch front to back at the shoulders. set in sleeves (or finish armholes), close side seams, finish neckline and hem(s).
TADA! now go out and nurse your baby!
*all the pattern images used in this post were created with the software i use to teach patternmaking at fashion design online.