Early Empire Cinch from Handmade Beginnings

I have been wanting to make the “Early Empire Cinch” from Anna Maria Horner’s book, Handmade Beginnings – 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby since before I was even pregnant.  I purchased this book because it had some projects that I wanted to make for Matilda and had some really great baby gift ideas.

There is an entire chapter in this book dedicated for “Mama Sewing” and that’s where you will find the “Early Empire Cinch” plus tons of other great projects for anyone who is expecting.

I had my husband snap a few pictures of me before I went out to run some errands so you could see the cinch in action.  I really made these with the intention of wearing them with some t-shirts or to wear with dresses.  But alas, the Chicago weather is still pretty chilly, so I paired it with one of my lose fitting sweaters and I think it looks pretty cute.  I love how much it accentuates the baby bump.  Oh, and by the way…….that’s my 20 week baby bump in these pictures.

You can wear the cinch with the large part to the back or in front.  I tend to carry my babies pretty high, so it worked better for me in the back.  But if you carry low, it would look adorable with the large part in front.

I made two different cinch’s for myself and both of them are reversible.  So that’s four looks for the price of two!

I made this first cinch with a lot of scraps from my fabric stash and a little bit of yardage.  I have A LOT of scraps, so I love projects that cause me to use them up.  I made sure that the scraps were all in the same color family – mostly pinks, blues and greens.

I made the outside of the cinch with the thoughts that I would pair it with a black maxi-dress that I have for summer.  And as you can see, I made the inside brown, so I can pair this with more neutral clothing or create a more casual look.

I made the blue and orange cinch to go with a rather boxy maternity dress that I recently purchased from Old Navy.  This cinch really helps to give the dress more shape and again, emphasize the baby bump.

For some reason the dress looks a little red in these pictures, but I promise it’s deep orange and it ties in with the deepest shade of orange in the teal fabric.

The inside of the above cinch is blue and orange polka dots and can be reversed to reveal and entirely new look.  Not sure what I will pair with this one, but I think it would look cute with jeans and a tee.

I don’t usually take a lot of time to sew for myself, so I’ve been having a lot of fun creating some new outfits and accessories for my expanding figure.  I think pregnancy is such a beautiful time and should truly be celebrated.  So if you are expecting, take a little time out and make something pretty for yourself – it will make you feel great!

Like this post? Want even more?
Sign up below and receive all my tutorials, recipes and updates directly in your email inbox.


  1. I love this belt, and the colors you chose are so fabulous! What a great preggo accessory!!!

  2. I love those! The perfect baby-belly project! I agree, pregnancy is so beautiful, definitely a time to look and feel fab. Why not, since you’re doing something fab (that doesn’t necessarily feel so super while you’re doing it, haha.)

  3. Lindsay,
    Those are really, really cute….I don’t think i’ve ever told you before but you are an amazing seamstress and an adorable pregnant momma!
    So happy for you and your family 🙂
    Have a great week!

  4. You are adorable pregnant! I’m going to have to remember that book if I’m ever expecting again.

  5. Beautiful! Your baby bump is so adorable. Those belts are perfect 🙂

  6. Those are beautiful! And you look GREAT!

  7. You look adorable! So fabulous, really!

  8. That is the cutest thing I have ever seen! It makes me want to have a baby simply so I can make and wear one! You make a very beautiful expecting mother by the way! I love baby bumps! Ive been following your blog for sometime now and I just LOVE it! You and others have inspired me to start my own. Its nowhere near yours, and I don’t have a lot of posts yet, but you should check it out if you get a chance!

  9. what a cute idea and accessory! Too bad I’m WAY past the years of being pregnant…if I weren’t, I would definitely try these. LOL

  10. Lindsay, I just came across these but wow! They are so cute they make me want to have another baby! (almost ha!)

  11. Jennifer says

    I love this! I am definitely making one or two for the next time I am pregnant! It would also be super cute sized down a bit and made into a head band.