I know that I am not the only one to struggle to find the perfect pair of jeans. I read recently that Tommy Hilfiger doesn’t wash his jeans. I can’t imagine not washing my jeans because they are my work-a-day pants. I should probably not dry my jeans, but I do. And they shrink. I really don’t like the stretch jeans, either. I believe they shrink even more than standard jeans and I don’t need the denim to be clinging to my curves.
My goal is to sew my own jeans – trouser style. But until then, I will remain in the quest for the perfect pair of jeans. I thought I had found them in Style & Co. jeans from Macy’s. However, it didn’t take long for the jeans to become uncomfortable. I’m vain enough not to share a photo of me in the jeans. But from the photo above, you can see that the waistband is crunched down. The problem, for me, is that most current jeans have a waistband that sits well below the waistline. That point also happens to be where my belly is largest. So the waistband scrunches, falls, pinches. I am constantly fussing with it. I had been thinking about replacing the waistband for some time.
I was inspired to finally make the waistband when I bought this pair of Lee Comfort Waistband pants. They are lined with elastic – not like granny pants – gathered in, but just to give the pants a little bit of stretch. I considered using a wide elastic to do something similar with the jeans, but decided to experiment with denim first.
1. Beginning at one end, unpick the stitches. My husband removed the rivet for me. He put the jeans in a vice and used a hack saw to cut it off.
2. When you get to the belt loops, remove the stitches from the inside to minimize damage to the fabric.
3. Continue until the entire waistband is removed.
4. I purchased a quarter yard of non-stretch denim and washed and dried it on the highest temperature. I used some stash cotton to use as the waistband lining. I also wanted to keep the bulk to a minimum.
5. Cut the denim to a 3.5″ wide strip.
6. Measure the distance around the top of the jeans. (It helps to compare that to your waist measurement, also.) I wanted my waistband to overlap, so I added 5 extra inches or so. You can adjust it afterward if necessary, so start with a little longer length than you think you need.
7. Place right sides together and sew around three sides of the waistband starting on the short side.
8. Trim corners, turn inside out and press. (Note my new ironing board cover which I won from Oliso!)
9. With the jeans facing you, start pinning on the left side. Match right sides together – denim to denim and pin.
At the beginning, you will have to move the lining fabric out of the way.
Here is the waistband pinned all the way around – and with the excess hanging off the right side. If your waistband is too large, you can shorten it at this point.
10. Stitch the waistband to the pants, being careful not to stitch the lining.
11. Fold the lining under and press.
12. Pin the lining in place.
13. Stitch the lining in place. You can do this from the underside or from the top side. I chose to sew it in place from the top side using a stitch in the ditch method. It would be easiest to transfer the pins to the outside, but I just felt for the pins from the underside.
14. Edge stitch around the entire waistband on the top. You can use a denim thread if desired. I simply used a standard blue thread. I added two buttonholes and buttons.
The waistband is now higher and sits at my natural waist. I will see if it rolls like the other band. For now, however, it is much more comfortable and it has eliminated the muffin top. I haven’t tucked in my shirts for quite a while now. But even without tucking, I believe the muffin top was visible underneath my tops. This new waistband eliminates the muffin top and creates a comfortable fit. Next stop – sewing my own jeans