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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / New and improved maternity jeans, with tutorial (plenty o' pics) on: July 20, 2009 12:06:22 PM
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  Undecided) 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.  Grin
2  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Birdie Birdie Sling and Baby Birdie Sling on: August 16, 2008 08:01:35 AM
I upgraded my sewing machine for my birthday this year and I broke it in with an Amy Butler pattern. My new machine handled it with ease and here are the results:

A birdie Birdie Sling!

I'm so pleased with the way that it turned out. It will be perfect as a carry-on bag for a trip I'm taking in October. I may even end up using it as a diaper bag.

My 3-year-old took one look at my new bag and immediately said that she needed one too. So....I scanned the pattern pieces, reduced them to about 65% and made a miniature version of the same bag:

I had enough fabric for the little bag, but ran out of the same interfacing that I used on my big Birdie. Rather than run to the store, I used slightly different fleece and interfacing and the bag ended up with a slightly different stiffness. Next time I will make sure to use the recommended material.

Momma Birdie and Baby Birdie:

I think that my 3-year-old and I may end up fighting over the Baby Birdie. It is a nice-sized little handbag.

And finally, a very poor quality shot of the interior and pockets. This view is of the big bag, the little one has the same pockets, except I did not divide the large pocket.

I like a lighter colored interior so that I can easily find my stuff.

I may add a magnetic snap closure to both of the bags and will probably need to make at least one zippered pouch for the Big Birdie so that I have a chance at finding my things in the bottomless pit that the bag could easily become.

Thanks for looking!
3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Flower Fun Toddler Backpack on: June 14, 2008 05:51:16 PM
I whipped up this little backpack for my 3-year-old daughter to use as a carry-on bag for our vacation last week. I used a coloring book to get the approximate measurements and then completely winged it from there. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and my 3-year-old was pretty thrilled to have a backpack that was full of fun airplane toys.

I was able to make the bag itself from 2 Fat Quarters, plus scraps for the front pockets. I used fusible fleece to give the bag some shape, then embellished with colorful buttons. The flap closes with Velcro.

Front view:

I especially like the flowers on the lower left pocket.  Grin

Back view:

The buttons are just decorative on the straps. I sewed the straps several times to make sure they were sturdy, so the buttons just hide all those extra stitches.

Thanks for looking!
4  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Messenger Style Diaper Bag on: May 26, 2008 06:03:34 AM
This is my first post to show off one of my completed projects.  Grin

I've gone through a ridiculous number of bags trying to find the perfect diaper bag. I came to the conclusion that I'd have to make it myself to get everything I wanted out of a bag. I used Butterick 4560 as the basic design and made several modifications to suit my needs. I'm really happy with the finished project - not only did I end up with a diaper bag that I really like, I also conquered my fear of zippers and sewed three of them total.

And here are the pics...

Front. The flap closes with a magnetic snap. There are pockets on each side for a sippy or water bottle. The flap lifts up to reveal a zippered pocket for all of my stuff.

Inside the zippered front pocket under the flap. I added dividers inside for my wallet, cell phone, a pen, and sunglasses. I also put a key fob in there that isn't showing up in the picture.

Back. It's hard to tell, but there is a big pocket here that holds a matching changing pad.

Inside. There is a large zippered pocket in the back, pockets on each side, and two elastic pockets in the front. I sewed a small zippered cosmetics pouch (can't see it, it's tucked inside a pocket) and I also made a small pacifier purse that can easily be removed.

To make the bag sturdy, I used the thickest fusible fleece I could find at the fabric store on the outer fabric. I also put a piece of an old political campaign sign in the bottom of the bag to help it keep the shape.

Thanks for looking!
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