First, a sneak peak:
8 months into my third pregnancy, I have finally mastered the art of making my maternity pants more comfortable for the expanding belly. It never fails that by the time the last trimester hits, pants that fit in the butt and thighs have uncomfortably tight waistbands, or the waistbands twist in about 17 different places. If I wear pants that don't squash the growing fetus, I'm constantly pulling them up and/or look like I'm carrying a load of pebbles in my rear end they are so saggy. I wish I had discovered this quick fix about two kids ago!
I should also give credit to the following places for the inspiration for the recon:
Without further ado, how to make your maternity pants more comfortable using $3 worth of elastic and a thrifted t-shirt.
You will need: a pair of pants, a t-shirt that fits snugly around your waist (I used a cotton/spandex blend), 3-inch wide elastic (enough to fit comfortably under the belly)
I found these GAP jeans at a secondhand store for less than $10, but the only thing holding the pants up was this blue knit tube of fabric. After about an hour of hiking the pants (and my underwear ) back up, I decided they were good candidates for a custom waistband.
To begin, use a seam ripper or scissors to remove the old waistband.
You should get something that looks like this:
Then, take your t-shirt and cut it straight across under the armpits to make a tube of stretchy knit fabric.
Cut your elastic to size, leaving an extra inch of seam allowance for sewing it into a band. For this particular pair of pants, I ended up with a band that was about 38 inches around. I used 3-inch elastic, it seems to lay flatter than narrower widths for me. Not all elastics are created equal as it turns out. Some elastics are very stiff, this particular elastic is quite soft and doesn't have quite as aggressive of a stretch as other wide elastics. I'm not sure what purpose the little ruffles serve, I think they are supposed to be decorative?
Sew the ends of the elastic together to form the band.
Open the seam, then sew along each raw edge so that the seam lays completely flat.
I don't have a photo of this step, but mark both the elastic band and your tube of knit fabric in four places - center front, center back, each side seam. Then, pin the elastic to the INSIDE of the knit fabric (about 1/4" from the raw edge of the fabric), matching your markings on the sides, front and back. Use a straight stitch to secure the elastic to the knit tube on each mark.
Pin the knit tube with the attached elastic to the inside of the jeans, the OUTSIDE of the knit tube should be next to the jeans, the elastic should be the innermost part. Be sure to match up the marks on the elastic to the center front and back seams and side seams. Pin in these locations, then stretch the elastic and band to fit and add more pins to secure it to the pants.
Use a zigzag stitch to secure the elastic and knit tube to the jeans. Again, you may need to stretch the elastic and the knit tube as you go.
Reach inside the pants and pull the knit tube up like this:
Fold down the top of the knitted tube and pin it to the pants, hiding the elastic band in the process. You'll want to make sure that the serged edge of the jeans isn't folded down as you pin. If necessary, stretch the knit fabric so that it is even along the edge of the pants.
Use a zigzag stitch to carefully secure the finished edge of the knit tube to the jeans. Watch out for any rivets and use extra care when going over thicker seams.
Here is a close up of the finished outer portion of the pants:
And a close up of the finished inner portion:
And finally, some pictures of the pants in action! The band can be worn up or down, depending on how much material you want over your belly. So far, this style of waistband has worked really well for me for the past few months. It passes both the sitting down and standing up test, plus the bending over to pick stuff up test with hardly an adjustment needed.
Thanks for looking and I hope this tutorial helps another momma-to-be from suffering the discomfort of bunchy or too tight elastic waistbands.