Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Celebrate the Belly: Maternifying Non-Maternity Pants

I was going to post about binding my disappearing 9 patch baby quilt, but... well, something just became more pressing and I couldn't put this off. Perhaps my title gave it all away... that urgent business is my burgeoning belly.

There comes a point, around the start of the second trimester, when everything baby-related pops up and out of the little internal nest it was previously occupying. I reached that point last week. Even though I've done this 3 times before, once again my hopes for continuing to wear long, snug-fitting shirts over unbuttoned pants and look normal non-frumpy into the labor pains have been dashed on the rocks of the expanding nature of gestation.

But wait! What's this? A lifesaver! My fabulously crafty friend Jodi from Sew Fearless, who practically shares my due date, just blogged a tutorial for altering regular waistbands into gloriously stretchy maternity waistbands! I'm saved!! I don't have to tearfully pack away my favorite Ann Taylor pants, doomed to be outdated by the time I pull them out again anyway. Ann, meet scissors. While I stoutly refuse to cut up my favorite pair of Banana Republic dark wash jeans, most of the pants in my current rotation can handle a new waistband to get me through this winter of expectancy. So let us begin... I'm not going to rehash her tutorial (and I'm going to do it a teensy bit different because I have super awesome 3" wide elastic!!!), but her basic instructions are the perfect place to start in accommodating that blossoming baby bump. She used the technique on a skirt she was sewing from a non-maternity pattern, but the same principles apply to refashioning existing garments. She's starting a new series answering basic reader questions about sewing how-tos, and her first "Taking the Leap" post is chock full of maternity resources for sewing garments to fit your expectant body. Fabulous!!

Here we go! The pants before (I did the ones on the bottom for this since it was my first try and they were the least fabulous to begin with, although well fitting in the bum and legs)...

I cut off the waistband, leaving a nice roundish part in front. I basted the pockets and front zipper shut at the cut, and left the truncated pockets functional, if a tight squeeze for the hands.  I then forgot to photograph it.

Next I cut some of my fabulous super wide 3" elastic to a length that felt good around my waist now, but which will expand happily in the future (when I found it at the store I bought the whole 8 yd roll... it's precious stuff!). I also cut some generic tan knit fabric the same length plus 1/2" for seam allowance. The knit width was 7 inches, enough to cover the elastic band and leave a 1/2" allowance for sewing it to the pants.

I overlapped the elastic to sew it into a circular band, and sewed the knit ends together. I folded the knit band in half, tucked the elastic band inside, and did a triple zigzag near the top to ensure the elastic didn't migrate or twist (not sure of the official name of that stitch).

Then I sewed the band to the bottom, centering the knit seam in the back. Ta da! (Feel very free to be underwhelmed by the photos... I was not in the mood for modelling and, for some now-unknown reason, my kitchen floor seemed like a good background. Forgive me. It was a looong day in the non-crafty part of my life.)

The color match isn't great, I'll admit, but I do not intend to let the maternity aspect of the pants be seen, so it doesn't much matter. Now just imagine a nice round belly in there... very comfortable, stays in place, looks just like a normal pair of pants when worn with a long shirt. Ahh... sweet preggo relief! Now, onto the other pairs of pants...


Anonymous said...

They look great! I really wish I had some pants to refashion... I just went to Motherhood and spent too much on a new pair. Such is life for the long-legged woman, I guess.

Anonymous said...

They look great! I really wish I had some pants to refashion... I just went to Motherhood and spent too much on a new pair. Such is life for the long-legged woman, I guess.