Expanding Denim Jeans

Let’s enter the world of stretch denim jeans. You know the type that young women want to wear that are made in the USA and cost $175 or more.

But what happens when one of these young married women gets pregnant and she has 4 pair of ultra-cool ultra skin tight jeans and she wants to continue wearing them? She went around town to 4 other seamstresses and no one wanted to tangle with them…until she found me. Here is what I did to make her favorite jeans wearable for the next few months.

First, I removed the waistbands and belt loops: These were brand new and never worn.

Then after measuring for the size and shape of the panel to be made out of swimsuit knit, cut the shape: The front section , the folded edge next to the measuring tape would dip down 2 inches lower since the jeans dropped down in front too. Then a plan was needed to insert 3/4 inch elastic so that it could be added to later if needed. I chose to use my Janome Coverpro coverstitch machine to keep things very flat and stretchy and to make the tunnel first. Then the center back seam, the only seam, would be done last instead of in a circle first and elastic added later.

The fly fronts had their bulk removed by cutting out 2 of the zippers and zipper guards. The two newest jeans were kept in tact and just stitched down flat so the waistband could be added back on later after the baby fat was gone.

The knit panels were double stitched onto the jean top edges and then serged. The center back seams were stitched, serged and then stitched flat across the elastic top to stay flat. I also stitched through the elastic at the side seam areas to keep it from ever flipping over on itself…who needs twisted elastic on a bulging tummy! The finished project with two-way stretch panels and a very happy customer: Since my client is only at the 4 month stage she will be able to wear these almost up until the end as she is over 6 feet tall and very thin and will wear longer blouses and t-shirts to cover the knit sections.

Another denim project came in too but this from a tiny little old lady who can never find jeans small enough or narrow enough in the legs. She has recently found NYDJ brand jeans and bought the size OP without trying them on. Bad news, Mama! What happens when you need 2.5 extra inches? Add a gusset! Let’s open the center back seam. Draw out the dimensions you need…2.5 by 4 inches in dark non-stretch denim from JoAnn’s. The jeans are very stretchy but the gusset will not be for stabilization in the waistband area.

Pin it in place. Stitch it down flattening the patch and topstitching with real jeans thread which will darken once the jeans are washed and the dye runs. The final photo of the inside. I used the original belt loop, opened up to make a narrow facing at the top edge. This way it also helps to keep from stretching and bagging out when she sits for hours playing bridge. All the edges are pressed flat and serged and the label is flipped back into position.

So now we have two happy ladies…one 30, one 80 and I can get back to the brides.

Next time more bridesmaids dresses bought way too big again!

P.S. Good News for the US Thread producers…President Obama has signed legislation to protect our interests in that area:  http://blog.trade.gov/2012/10/09/how-new-legislation-will-support-our-textile-industry/

This entry was posted in challenges and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Expanding Denim Jeans

  1. theresa says:

    Brilliant! But good grief, who can afford almost $800 in 4 pairs of jeans? At least they are U.S. made. Am I missing something with BM dresses, why don’t more brides go with say well tailored suits for their maids. They would be able to get plenty more wear from them and I have yet to see any bridesmaid dress that doesn’t look like a cheap costume or prom dress.

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Theresa,there is no shortage of high end brands available in boutiques and online and while I gasp at the price tags hanging from the belt loops I have to think at least some of our own seamstresses in factories are making a decent wage. Same goes for some bridesmaids dresses made in NY. If we pay US wages for US production, then this is the full value staring us in the face. The stitching details and finishing on the inside is very nice and a step up from mass produced overseas. I think even the NYDJ jeans are US made.

  2. Cindy Wille says:

    People with more money than sense, but thank goodness for them, they keep us in business!

  3. Erica mejia says:

    I have jeans that need waist adjusted a bit bigger. Where are you located and how much do you charge?

  4. Suzie Smejkal says:

    Thanks for the great info on expanding expensive jeans in such a way that also works when weight is lost. Also for listing where to buy stretch panels. I’m in a rural area so your info will save time when I get to the city.

  5. Elize says:

    I have a bernina serger and I can’t seem to use it on denim when the seams are too thick. What are you using?

    • mrsmole says:

      I have 3 very old (circa 1980) Bernette sergers 334D that don’t mind anything I throw at them. I only use 3-thread set-up. When I see one of them on craigslist I buy them for parts or to give away to family. I have one that I keep just for parts as the gears do wear out after 40 years. Try hammering the seams flat before stitching.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s