DIY Pregnancy JeansLife • Make • July 9th, 2007
Apologies to my regular readers for the recent obsessiveness with pregnancy topics, and the narrow subject matter of this post. This one is for all pregnant women in desperate search for maternity jeans, who even before getting pregnant have the hardest time finding pants that fit well. Anyone?…
I swear I tried. Last week was my first in which I realized that I really needed pregnancy clothes, and as much as I hate shopping, I had to hit the maternity stores. I was more than ready to spend what it takes to get a good pair of pregnancy jeans. However, after trying on all the selection of under-the-belly fitting jeans, and in fact, any kind of pants in the store, I realized that if it was already hard to find nice fitting pants before the belly, this would surely be mission impossible.
Last week, while taking inventory of the clothes that still fit the growing belly, I found an old pair of jeans that fit me well, but for whatever reason I had stopped using for years. At the time, I thought that if all fails I wouldn’t mind experimenting with that pair… Attempting to alter them into pregnancy jeans. So, at the maternity shop I inspected the pair I was trying on. I decided to bite the bullet and attempt a DIY alteration.
I looked online for resources on the subject but couldn’t found many, and the one I found was hard to follow and lacked detail. So I just went with my gut, trusting my sewing skills, and I must say I’m very happy with the result. Guessing that at least one more soul out there may be attempting this, I’d like to share my process in case it helps somebody else.
How to alter a pair of jeans for pregnancy
For constant reference during the project, take a measurement around the fullest part of your hips. Your jeans opening will need to expand that much in order to get them on. Also, measure loosely the circumference around your underbelly (I used my bikini panties as a guideline).
What you’ll need:
- A pair of nice fitting pre-pregnancy jeans
- A wide scrap of jersey fabric. I used two pieces sewn together, each of approximately 23×8 inches. You’ll need a total width several inches greater than your hips measurement.
- A wide piece of 2″ elastic band. You’ll need a total width several inches wider than your underbelly measurement. However, to make things easier, I worked with a 2-yard band, and only cut it to size at the end.
- Remove the belt piece off your jeans
- Flatten the pockets and keep them in place with sewing pins
- Plan what you’re going to do with the jersey band. Most pregnancy jeans I tried on had a circular contour under the belly, but I decided to go for a V shape instead. Planning ahead of time allowed me to decide how I would place the band around the existing zipper, and how I would finish the bottom of the V. Keep in mind your hip measurement as you place the band. The measurement around the bottom of the band should be close to the opening you’ll need in order to get your jeans on.
- Cut the top of your jeans according to your plan
- Try them on. Make sure that you can slip on them comfortably with that opening and the zipper closed.
- Folding the jersey band in half (so, about 4 inches tall) sew it to the top of the jeans to your desired finished height. Since my elastic band was 2″ tall, I went for a finished band height of 2.5 inches on the back, increasing it slightly towards the front to make sure I covered my panties. On the front, leave an opening around the area where the opposite side of the V will slide under.
- Slip the elastic into the jersey band. Pin the elastic to the jersey fabric on one side.
- Put the jeans on
- Pull the loose side of the elastic and adjust the jersey band as you tighten the elastic to fit your back and underbelly. When you’ve reached a comfortable fit, pin the loose end of the elastic to the jersey band.
- Take the jeans off and distribute the elastic proportionally along the band, using sewing pins to keep the elastic in place. Anticipating belly comfort, I kept the elastic at its normal tension on the front, tightening it more on the sides and the back.
- Try the jeans on. Make sure you’re happy with the fit of the band around your underbelly.
- Sew a few vertical stitches along the jersey band to keep the elastic in place. I did two on the front (one on each side of the V, getting close to the sides), and three on the back. Finish the inside seams for a polished look.
- Slip the loose end of the jersey band under the opposite side, as in a V shape. Mark the place where you’ll need to sew to attach it.
- Sew the front piece of the V to the opening of the jeans. You’ll need to flip the band and keep it flat as you sew it (see image 15).
- Sew the bottom piece of the V over the back of the front piece of the V (I know: this sounds confusing… If you’ve sewed clothes before, I trust that you’ll know what to do here.)
- You’ll need a last stitch in a place that is difficult to describe… If you reach between the two pieces making the V, you’ll see that the end of the bottom piece needs to be attached to something to keep the tension of the elastic. Image 16 is probably more explanatory.
- Ta ta! Pregnancy jeans that fit you and your belly.
So, after all this process I put on my jeans and tried them with the cute red and orange maternity tops I bought last week, and realized the reason why I stopped using this particular pair of jeans long ago. Their color is lighter than I like it. I like dark blue jeans. These are lighter, and so don’t look as fabulous with red and orange tops. They still fit me well, so not all is lost. They’ll look great with white tops, and well, I really needed comfy pants pronto… but I’m afraid I’ll have to keep looking for a darker pair of maternity jeans. Oh well… At least I saved some pesos and fulfilled the immediate need. I’d still do it all over again.