Thursday, February 3, 2011

Another Jeans Makeover: Resizing the waist (and booty)

Remember back to this post about making jeans smaller in the waist? Well. I'm back with another one. Don't be disturbed by the fact that these jeans have almost the same color wash as the last ones....what can I say...I like dark jeans! (Believe me, they are different). My last tutorial was not quite as inclusive and detailed as I would have liked. I hope that these instructions are more clear.
Let me qualify that statement with this:

Which jeans can I resize to make a better fit for me?
Okay, here's how it's gonna go... just like most everything else (in sewing, AND in life)there's a simple rule: bigger to smaller. Most jeans are serged and then stitched down (like a flat fell seam) This leaves a small seam allowance. Plus, you won't have any excess to take from the waist band. Basically what I'm saying is don't try it. It just doesn't work out the same way.

My jeans are a 98% cotton/2% spandex blend. I bought them about a year ago and I've hardly worn then since. After I wash/dry then (and, coincidentally after I bought them) they fit great. BUTT then! And this is a big BUTT, they would stretch out and be all baggy and saggy around the waist and bum area. Not pretty.

The Basic Steps

1. Unpick and seam rip open some seams
2. Baste it smaller and try on (repeat where necessary)
3. Sew it back together with a center back seam.

I'm going to level with you: steps one and two are not that hard or time consuming. Step three is where it begins to get tricky. But without further ado, lets begin making some bootylicious jeans.

Don't be intimidated by the amount of steps. I know it seems like a lot, but I wanted to be thorough.

1. Try on pants (duh) to see how they fit and where your problems areas are (don't get me started on the "problem areas"....) and mark roughly or keep a mental note how much needs to come out to get rid of that saggy nastiness
(this is just to show you how loose my pants are, we'll be adjusting through the center back seam)
Also take a picture or mental image of the back. You want to remember how i went together to get it as close as possibly as the before

2. Unpick your belt loops. Also remove the top stitching down the center back seam.

3. Start to unpick the waist band. You'll notice that I did not seam rip a lot of mine. I didn't want to lose the original stitching as much as possible. But, the less you unpick, the more difficult it will be later because you'll have to maneuver in some small sewing areas.

(I've seam ripped the top stitching on the center back and started on the waist band)

(this is how it looks without the top stitching. The seam is serged and still intact)

4. You'll notice that the waist band is not attached but merely top stitched together with the back yoke. That's okay. Later we'll baste it. Now turn pants inside out to baste the new back seam.

 When you turn it inside out you should see something that looks like this, minus the scissors or red stitching. I forgot to take a picture of what it will look like, but  you should be able to separate the waist band and facing from the yoke and seat of the pants. Don't cut it like it looks like in this picture. (Okay, you probably can. If you are, just cut through both layers of the waistband)

(apologies for the blurriness)

I put them on again inside out to mark an idea of where it needed to come in, then basted (in red) the new seam.

5. Try on pants after you've sewn the back seam and adjust fit. be careful with the amount of stretch your jeans may or may not have and how much wearing ease they will need. I had to sew mine several different times to get rid of the problem areas. Ugh.

Grade the new seam into the old one where it meets the crotch. You don't want to unpick all of the crotch- that's going to be a whole mess of trouble. Just undo the top stitching as far as possible and curve your new seam into the existing one. Trim off the excess fabric to apx. 1/2" inch. I carefully serged over the edge at this point, although it's not necessary since you'll be top stitching it later.

6. The waist band will still be big at this point. Cut it in half if you didn't already. I find it easier to get a better fit in the seat of the pants while the waistband is intact, and then cut it afterwards.

  (We're looking at the back from the inside. The layer my finger is holding up is the waistband facing, and then below that is the waistband. )

7. On outside, baste down where the original top stitching was to the back yoke. Don't go through the facing layer though.
(see the red on the left? that's the basting.)

 8. Now baste together (by hand) the top parts together. Mine had top stitching originally but when we sew the center waistband back together,we'll need those to be attached to get something cleaner.


 9. Open the waistband and facing out flat. Then put right sides together, matching the top seams (the ones you just basted) It should look something like this(below). The far left is the center back seam, the left part is the waist band and the right is the facing. The facing will flip down and cover the inside of the waistband and keep it looking neat.

10. Stitch through these layers matching up with the new center back seam you created. Flip the facing down and it will look like the below picture. It will probably be really lumpy, too.

11. Open it back out and trim off the extra seam allowances. This is when you will stitch (or double stitch) the back seam if you didn't already. You'll need to topstitch the center back seam (non waistband) with a thread that matches the original. Choose the side that corresponds to how to seam originally lay (on mine from the inside the seam allowance went to the right. Open out on right side and topstitch close to the seam. Then topstitch 1/4" inch away from that through the seam allowance (you're basically doing a flat felled seam, except that you're not grading the two allowances).

12. Once you're topstiched and trimmed, it's time to A.) start pressing that waist band and B.) fold it over and sew it down.
Oh, what's that, you don't usually iron jeans? ...

 (above you can see that I've topstitched my center back seam next to the seam in a gray thread. I haven't top stitched the other topstitching or  the waist band yet.)
 (now you can see that the waist band has been stitched both top and bottom in gray. I can stitch over the waistband and the center back seam again in a matching gold thread... when I get one.)

I noticed that my new seam in the waistband didn't quite match up to the center back seam. I could have fixed it but I was getting tired and have no excuse. BUT[T],  I can put the belt loop over it and cover it up. So easy.

 Try on, admire your new, non-saggy jeans butt and enjoy!!
Okay. I hope you made it to the end. I know that was a lot to take in, but my goal is that it is helpful and informative. If you follow this tutorial, I'd love to see pictures!

1 comment:

Katie said...

You are seriously my hero, Dana. I just got a new sewing machine and am excited to dive back into sewing. I'm thinking this tutorial is gold. Thanks!