Yeah – so Dear Daughter can’t find maternity jeans that cost less than $100. Sewing Grandma-to-be to the rescue! Laying in bed thinking through this process, it came to me: Buttonhole Elastic. This great stuff is found in toddler pants for easy adjusting for tummy growth – so why not in maternity wear as well! Shazammm – and daughter agrees. We are both thinking…perhaps a maternity line of patterns is in my business future. From this Grandma’s viewpoint, the industry really needs some fashionable, cute maternity styles that do NOT reveal everything. Just sayin’….
Follow these quick & EZ steps to transform your favorite jeans into ones that will GROW with you – thanks to: BUTTONHOLE ELASTIC!!
Step 1: Cut out Panel Area from Jeans
After measuring the one pair of maternity jeans she had, I had some ‘reference measurements’ to go from. The center front crotch seam – below the zipper was left at about 3.5″. I drew an arc up to the side seams, to about 1″ below the pocket rivet. Take a deep breach and CUT this right front out, starting a generous 1/2″ towards the front of the side seam, right through the waistband, and then down to 1/2″ ABOVE the arc line drawn. Cut TO the center front.
Flip the other half under, below this half. Use what you just cut as a guideline along which to cut the other side identically. We’ll now refer to this as the ‘Crescent Hole’.
Step 2: Remove Pocket Rivets
Honestly, this is about the hardest part. From the WRONG side, dig the flat head of the screwdriver below the flat side of the rivet and bend up the edges until you can get hold of them with the needle nose pliers. PULL with all your might, and get that rivet OFF. It will take some doing, but you can do it. Check out You-Tube for more how-to’s, but that’s really what it amounts to..working from the WRONG side, and really working at it.
Step 3: Cut Maternity Panel to Fit
Mark the center of your maternity panel by folding in half. Make sure that the greatest stretch is going horizontal, across the jeans from left to right. Tuck this piece below, into the crescent ‘hole. Mark the top cut edge of the jeans ‘Crescent Hole’ with a marker. You only need to do 1/2 of it, as the next step is to fold the maternity panel in half, and cut the lower crescent and side shapes. To allow for a 1/4″ seam, cut 1/2″ BELOW the marking you just made along the lower curve of the maternity panel. At the top, allow an ADDITIONAL 1″ of height at the side seam, then as you cut across the top of the panel, arc UP towards the center as seen in the photo at the right below. In the right photo below, that is a center FOLD at the right side of the maternity panel. Cutting up higher at the top at the center will add more LENGTH at the center front. Bumps require LENGTH to go over them, so as the baby bump grows, you’ll have the additional length (plus the stretch of the 2-way stretch fabric) to accommodate the growth.
Step 4: Stabilize & Clip Side Corners, Pin & Stitch
The only tricky part of inserting the panel are those pesky lower side corners. Those are what we call in garment sewing ‘Inside to Outside Corners’. They’re EZ if you just follow these steps:
Step 5: Secure Elastic & Create Casing
Secure one end of the Buttonhole Elastic to the side seam at the back waistband height as shown in the photo below at the LEFT side seam. Stitch back and forth several times to insure that this will NOT come loose.
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Flip the excess height of the maternity stretch panel down, over the elastic. You should have about 1″ to turn down. Pin it down, over the elastic. Stitch with a very narrow width (like .5 or 1.0 width) and 3.0 long ZigZag Stitch, run just a bit inside the cut edge of the turned down raw cut edge. Do NOT stitch through the elastic, but let it just ‘be’ in the ‘casing’ you are creating. The idea is that this elastic can be pulled as tight or as loose as needed as the baby grows by just changing which buttonhole is secured to the button that comes in the next step at the RIGHT side seam.
As shown in the photo below, I stitched this button on using my sewing machine so that it is VERY secure. To create some ‘shank’ or play in it, I stitched over a fat needle laid as shown in the left photo below. Consult your machine manual on how to sew on buttons by machine. I rarely use this function, but for very SECURE stitching where it won’t be seen, this works perfectly! See how the buttonhole in the elastic can be secured around this button. LEAVE as much of the elastic as makes sense hanging free inside the jeans, so as the baby grows, it can just be adjusted to looser, according to needs.
DONE! Check this out…and smile at the $$$$ saved!