Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tutorial: How to Convert Jeans into Maternity

Let me start of by saying that there is an awesome tutorial on craftster for maternity jeans, and I'm not trying to copy it. While I really liked that tutorial, and it was the basis for my inspiration to make these jeans, I wanted something a bit different.

First, I wanted the wide elastic band in my jeans rather then just solely using a t-shirt for the knit fabric to hold the jeans up. I've found that some knit fabrics tend to bag and sag pretty badly after one wearing, and I wanted something stronger holding up my jeans!

Also, I wanted to have the option of being able to have more coverage and support then just a wide elastic band. Many of the rtw maternity jeans just have that, and sometimes they don't stay up well. I've actually patterned these after a pair of jeans I had my last pregnancy from Old Navy. The elastic band is there, but there is additional knit fabric that goes up higher for more support, but it can also be folded down if desired.

One thing that's really great about converting non-maternity pants, is that they fit normally through the hips, thighs, and bottom. Most of the rtw maternity pants I've tried on sag and bag funny right under the front waistband. I hate that! These capris I've converted feel just like they used to...only more comfortable now. =) I plan to go thrift store shopping and hopefully convert some more as I need them.

Materials needed:
Jeans that fit well though the thighs and bottom
Wide elastic for waistband
Knit fabric
Heavy duty needle (size 100) and thread
chalk marker to mark on fabric

Here's what I did

Put the jeans (in my case, capris) on and make a mark to where they will comfortably zip up to. The pair you pick should fit comfortably through the thighs and bottom. Take them off and mark a line from your zipper mark curving up and around to the back of the pants to just under the back belt loops.

Stitch, using heavy thread on this line. You may need to stitch several time over the zipper and fly area to make it really secure. I had trouble getting my machine to sew well through some of the thick layers of denim. Using a jeans needle (size 100) and jeans thread seemed to help.

Cut off excess waistband just above your stitching line, about 5/8 inch. Try them on again for fit. If they seem big, that's ok. You need extra ease, and the elastic band will bring them in. You should be able to pull them up comfortable over your hips.

Next take your wide elastic and sew a band that fits comfortable around your lower belly about where your pants will sit. I used 2inch wide elastic, but you could use wider if desired.

Take your knit fabric and make a long tube. I made mine a bit narrower then my elastic band because I wanted it to have to stretch to go over my tummy, not just loosely fit around it.

My knit tube was about 14 inches tall before I folded it in half (see picture below) If I make these again, I will make it several inches taller because the finished band didn't go up nearly as far as I would have liked on me.

Fold your tube in half wrong sides together. Next you are going to sew a casing from the elastic. Using chalk, mark a line 2 and 5/8inches up from the raw edges. (if you use wider elastic, make your chalk line up higher)

Using a narrow zig-zag stitch (or your favorite stretch stitch) to sew along the line you marked. A regular straight stitch won't work because it will break when you stretch it to pull your jeans on and off. I'm using regular navy colored thread here.

Now you can insert your elastic between the two layers and sew the lower seam to keep it in place.
Finished band should look like this. As you can see, the elastic is sewn in a casing at the lower part of my knit fabric tube. The top is just loose, stretchy knit fabric.

Mark your center front and back, and sides, on your knit tube and pin it, right sides together, to your cut off jeans. Sew together, using a narrow zig-zag, or other stretch stitch. I sewed this seam twice for strength.

It looked like this!
I also serged that final seam to prevent fraying and make it look nicer. This is optional.

I'm done!
Here they are on me with the excess knit fabric folded down over the elastic band part. It would be cute to use a print fabric and then it would look like I had a cute undershirt on if it showed!

This shows it with the knit folded up for more support. I wish I would have make it several inches taller, as the line is at a funny spot on my belly and show under my shirts. Overall though, I am very happy with these pants. Like I said above, they fit like NORMAL, non-maternity jeans. I feel like I'm wearing the same capris I always wear, and that's so nice!!

Blessings,
Jessica

PS. Most likely you found this post though a web search...well, when you search with Swagbucks, you can actually earn points and use them to get Amazon gift cards (among other things).  

I've been using all my free amazon money to buy sewing and crafty books.  =) 
Check them out!

Search & Win



49 comments:

  1. Great tutorial! I could have used this last year when I was converting my jeans into maternity. I'm hard to shop for when it comes to jeans and had to resort to using one of those pre-made panels that are TERRIBLE!! I ended up giving up and buying a couple of pair of tall jeans from Gap maternity, but my favorite pair (that cost WAYYY too much) could have definitely used the wide elastic under the belly - that's a trick I'll use next time (if there is a next time). Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the tutorial...I'm sure I'll be using this in the future!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, Jessica! I will definitely be using this tutorial sometime in the next few years.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations! Apparently I missed your post announcing you were pregnant.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOVE it, your instructions are so clear and easy to follow, and this is just the kind of pant that I loved when I was pregnant. I am bookmarking this to use in the (hopefully somewhat near) future.

    I came over from Sew Mama Sew, and I'm so glad I did.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. argh!!!!! I wish I had found this sooner -- I am due in the next 2 weeks amnd REFUSE to buy/make anything new. I will be bookmarking this one for the next baby!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you, Jessica, for a terrific tutorial. I'm sorry to say I'll never again need any maternity clothes myself, but I have a daughter and I certainly hope she will be in need of them someday. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you! I'm a little to big to fit maternity clothes (apparently if you are over a size 14 you just... don't get pregnant?) Either way! This is an excellent way to make my jeans fit again!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great tutorial! Now where were you when I was pregnant with my twins and NOTHING fit! lol You look adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I am going to the thrift store this week to find some jeans to convert.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you! I used a modified version of your tutorial to replace a too-tight, too-short panel on the top of a pair of Old Navy maternity pants, and now they fit great, and should fit for the rest of my pregnancy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oooooh my thank you for sharing!! Someday I plan on needing to this hee hee

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so glad I found this blog posting -- these are wonderfully helpful instructions! Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm so glad I found this. As one of those pregnant AND plus-size people (that apparently don't exist), I've been wondering just what I'm going to do about pants! I'm about 6 weeks right now, and my belly is just bloat, but my jeans still don't fit! I'll be in dresses most of the time, I think :)

    Any tips for a beginner?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just what I was looking for! What a great step by step. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is a great tutorial. I need to convert my daughter's nursing uniform pants to maternity friendly pants. I was going to have to wing it alone, but am now going to use your 'wide elastic at the bottom of the belly' instead of my skinny elastic at the top' Thanks again. Martha

    ReplyDelete
  18. Just wanted to say thanks! I modified your instructions a bit to make full over the belly panel and I am really happy with how these turned out. Going to make a second under the belly pair.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am soooo glad I found your tutorial. I've only got a couple of months left in my pregnancy and got a rip in the one pair of maternity jeans I had. Now I can take some pre-pregnancy pants and fix something up for two months and spend the money I would have spent and buy some new jeans afterwards. Thank you so much for saving me some $$!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I just finished using your tutorial to make a pair of my jeans into maternity pants and I LOVE them! Thank you for posting this! I did what you said you were going to do next time and made the tube longer and it's great! I'm definitely making another pair tonight! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!! I am SO excited to try this out!
    You are a fantastic person, and your jeans look awesome!! I'm going to try it on a pair of heavier dress pants.
    God bless you and your sewing machine, and your computer!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you so much for this! I just finished my first pair and I am thrilled. I can do basic sewing on my machine and this was very easy and took me about an hour to finish. My jeans look awesome and cost me next to nothing!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks so much, i have just followed your instructions and have now some really comfortable but trendy jeans ! Thank you again,

    Claire

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks so much for this post! Just finished my first preggo jeans following step-by-step instructions and they are so comfortable and fit just perfect! I found a box size of cut off jeans on the top and used it to stretch over the band&tube to pin those together and then to pin the new band to the jeans.

    Good luck and thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Totally perfect!! I also made the tube longer, I went with 24 inches, so that it will fold up over my growing belly when I do get big enough, and its perfect!! Loveeeee them!!! Its impossible to find "tiny" maternity, so using my 00s not only saved me some moula, but it saved me from the baggy butt syndrome again!

    ReplyDelete
  26. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Every pair of maternity pants I've purchased fit so funny I HATE them. I can't wait to start cutting up my favorite jeans and converting them over. You are a God-send. Peace and Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is great! Talk about a money saver. Though, I am not pregnant and won't be having any babies anytime soon (or ever again), I would use this for my baby tummy that I can't seem to get rid of :-(

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh I'm so glad I read this! In my last 2 pregnancies I was somewhat larger than I am now in the bottom half and all the (very expensive) maternity clothes I bought back then either don't fit at all or are worn out. I've been cutting up the tops and using them as patterns to make some new ones but the whole jeans issue had me completely stumped- my old ones look absolutely ridiculous they are so baggy. I was just looking at a pair of normal jeans and wondering how to go about converting them- the elastic band is a great idea. My old ones had a drawstring inside a band of ribbing and that was ok but I wanted something different this time. I'll definitely give this technique a go... so far I've been wearing normal jeans left open with a belly band over the top to hold them up but it is getting too obvious- I'm 25 weeks. Jeans that really fit would be a Godsend!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just wanted to drop back in and let you know that my jeans conversion worked wonderfully- I've done 2 pairs so far and they are far more comfortable than anything else I own at the moment. Thankyou so much!

    ReplyDelete
  30. thanks so much for this.. I just googled it.. and your tutorial makes the most sense, thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi,

    You have a nice blog. A 40-week pregnancy is really just a blip in our whole life time, but the problem with clothing during that time is very painful. Keeping this in mind, two best friends and mother of two children each started http://www.bellybundles.com. We have high quality maternity clothes there and we would like to hear your feedback on our products.

    Thanks,
    Carina - Maternity clothing

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm so glad you put this up! No one in my area sells maternity clothing. I thought I was stuck wearing my husbands sweat pants forever!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that I am linking to this post on my blog tomorrow. If you'd rather not please email me at innerhooker@yahoo.com

    The blog will be posted here! Thanks for the great maternity refashion inspiration!

    http://oxfordfam.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you sooo much for your tutorial. I am 27 weeks into my third pregnancy and previously I have just suffered with my jeans. I did buy some very expensive maternity jeans but they ended up being terribly uncomfortable. I bought some op shop jeans and have followed your brilliant tutorial using an old stretch singlet i had. They have turned out perfect and are sooooooo comfortable. Thank you thank you thank you. ps i think the elastic at the waistband makes all the difference in keeping them from feeling like they are falling down. :)Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks so much for this! I have a 35 inch inseam, and have been really worried about what I'm going to do in another month when the belly band no longer does the trick. i think I'll go ahead and try this on some old jeans first (since I'm not a great seamstress), but then I might have to convert a few of my pants. I guess you could use the same procedure for jean skirts and khaki pants too?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am so glad I found this. I actually have the opposite problem of most women. I am really petite and maternity clothes just don't fit even at the end. Now I can make me some pants and won't be so uncomfortable. Yay!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. i love this tutorial. the only downfall i see, is once you arent pregnant anymore, those favorite jeans dont fit anymore and now you are left with maternity pants. i dont fit in my prepreggo jeans anyways lol and i try to me environmentally conscious so it works out. we are trying for another child, and if i get pregnant i will def make some instead of buying them

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I am 5'10" and jeans were already hard to find, I can't imagine having to find maternity jeans, and then thinking of the cost! I made two pair using your instructions and they fit perfectly! It's amazing how much better I feel having clothes that FIT! Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you so much for the help!!! I can't stop now :) I hate shopping so this was the perfect solution....I get to avoid shopping AND re-use some clothes I have not worn in a while. So far, I have converted 3 dress slacks for work, 1 pair of jean trousers, 2 pair of jeans and 2 skirts. I LOVE my new wardrobe :) I am very thankful that my MIL let me borrow her sewing maching for all of this too!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks for the great tutorial!! You're the only one I've found after much searching on how to add the elastic right next to the pants and also have fabric continuing up higher. And now since I only have 1 pair of pants that still fit, I'm off to make a couple pair of maternity jeans! Thanks so much!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Just what I needed - cheaper and such a better fit than what was available in the shop.

    Thank you! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great tutorial! I made converted 3 pairs of pants for work, they look great and fit perfect. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love this idea for my daughters jeans actually. She is round in the middle but slim in her hips and legs so like me, it is hard to get things to fit right.. so I am thinking of using this sort of an idea to make the top of her jeans more comfortable while keeping a nicer looking fit through the legs and hips. She is only 6, but tight jeans while you are sitting on the floor are just not comfy. Legging and such work most the time, but sometimes jeans, that go with everything are just an easy option. Anyway.. great tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I used this tutorial this past weekend to fix a pair of jeans for my Son's Girlfriend, She is starting to show but still skinny. Her jeans to tight, maternity too big in the butt area. She was elated that these fit still and felt really good!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Deborah

    ReplyDelete
  45. you are amazing.... I wish I had this earlier. I will def. pass this tute onto my prego friends.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I just used it on a pair of skinny jeans and it turned out great, fits wonderfully over my 20-week belly. The elastic makes a ton of difference and keeps the pants from falling. Such a brilliant idea!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I use tank tops from Walmart or target for my panel.I cut off the top and just use the tube shape.it is all finished.they come in all colors.make sure you get the ones with spandex in them.....happy sewing

    ReplyDelete
  48. AnonymousMay 01, 2013

    Thanks for the tutorial. Due to multiple surgeries for Crohn's disease my mid-section is a mass of scars and lumps and bumps. Because I can no longer wear anything with a waistband, I had been searching for a way to adapt my favorite pants to a yoga-pant-type waistband ... and you have provided that! I did not want to grow old in sweats or "old lady" elastic waistband polyester pants, and now I don't have to!

    ReplyDelete