Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DIY 'Curvy' Jeans

Tell me if you have this problem, I know I'm not the only one! As I am in my late 20s now, my shape has changed. I'm no longer a little twig without a curve to my body. But when I shop for jeans, nothing fits properly. Any jeans I find are too big in the waist area. And if I find a pair of jeans that do fit my waist, they're way too tight on my behind and thighs. 

Whoever created today's size guidelines need to meet real women. I don't know who came up with the algarithm for sizing, but they must think all American women are without waists. I have a butt, and I have a waist, end of story. Neither are crazy odd proportions, yet nothing fits me. And I hate that I'd have to shop for "curvy" jeans, because I'm not "curvy" perse. I feel like that term is the delicate way of putting it that I need to lose a few pounds, and that I'm not small enough. I'm not as slim and boyish as I used to be; I'm shaped like a woman. So if you do have this problem with gapping jeans, this tutorial is for you! It will bring in your jeans to fit your waist and curve to your shape. Allow yourself at least an hour for this alteration.

You will need:
  • Jeans, obviously 
  • Razor blade or seam ripper
  • Seam gauge
  • Chalk
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Heavy duty needle on you machine
  • Matching thread
The jeans I'm altering, I got at my clothing swap on Sunday. They fit my thighs and my butt, and that was perfect for me. My goal for the night was to find a thick dark pair of skinny jeans for my fall wardrobe. The back pockets has flaps and buttons, and were bedazzled (looked something like this, add sequins.) But they were "Silver" brand jeans, a brand I've worn before. They're sold at Pac Sun and geared towards women in their early twenties. I am not really a fan of contract stitching, so I'll probably throw them in a pot of dark blue dye when I dye my next batch, but the fabric and cut were almost just right, except the waist of course. I removed the top flat of the pockets, cut out the riveted button on each pocket.

And now to start the alteration. Find the amount you want to take in the jeans by pinching the center front or sides. I found about 3" was perfect for me. The waist band will be taken in 3" and the side seams gradually taken in, starting at the hips, to 1 1/2" on each side. 1. Using pliers, remove the gromets at the side pockets and fifth pocket. These will get in the way when taking in the side seams. 2. Remove the waistband from side seam to side seam, along the back, allowing a few inches on the front to take in the side seams. Also detach the belt loops from the waistband, leaving them attached on the bottom side to the jeans. 3. Remove top stitching from the top edge of the waist band and open it up. Using your seam gauge, pin 1 1/2" folded, this will be 3" taken in. 4. Mark with pins of a marker. Sew. 5. This is what the waistband should look like after it's sewn. Be sure it measures 1 1/2" or whatever you're taking in, on both ends. 6. Trim. Press seam open.

Now time to sew the side seams. Starting at the bottom of the pockets, gradually take them in, you want this curve to be natural and smooth or it will show! 8. When you reach the top of the pants, you should have taken in 3/4", doubled that's 1 1/2", what the side seams needed to come in by. 

9. Repeat previous step on other side seam. 10. Top stitch on the back side of the side seams. This will give it a very professional look and no one will ever know you you sewed them! 11. Reattach the waistband to the jeans. Pin them before you do this (I just didn't need to because I've done this alteration before). Be sure you are catching the backside of the waistband as well. And if the jeans are stretchy, make sure one side doesn't get pulled while you sew or you will end up with too much of one at the other side of your seams. 12. Reattach belt loops.

Did you notice my "new" sewing machine!? It's a 1950s Brother my sister, Rachael got for me! She had it completely rewired, service, and refinished the desk that it sits in! Having drawers in my sewing desk is a nice change from my Kenmore's cabinet with only a door. I need storage space for all my tools and such. This machine is a tank! While it's just a straight stitch machine with reverse, it's amazing and I have had nothing but success with it so far. I'm excited to sew some knits later today. And boy does it fly!

I'm loving my "new" jeans! They don't fall down anymore, it's a miracle! Questions? Comments! I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

EDIT: I must give credit for the inspiration behind this alteration to my sister, Rachael. Thanks Rach! She first brought this to my attention when I was confused as to why my jeans were always falling off.  She has been a fan of "curvy jeans" and has encouraged me to check them out. But not buying new clothes, I was forced to sew my own! She should really be sewing more, eh Rach?! 

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  1. I will have to give this one a try. Even my husband's jeans are falling off these days.

  2. topstitching the sides is a really nice touch!

    1. Thanks! Top stitching makes most sewing look so much better! :)

  3. You are curvy. There is nothing wrong with that. It's only a euphemism for "overweight" if you make it so. Nice sewing, though.

  4. I sympathize with your conundrum. Even when I was 5'5" and 105 pounds, I had a well defined waist and hips. Fashion has indeed made it difficult for women with our body shape to dress in well fitting clothing.

  5. This is great, but I am too lazy to do this, I think. Plus I couldn't make out the pictures too well, and you need a heavy duty needle. (more effort, not good for The "Slothful")

    You should really try Levi's curve ID. I am 5'9" and 125lbs and I wear a size 2 "bold curve" (they have 4 different curve styles: from straight waisted (demi) to hourglass (supreme curve). These jeans have spandex in them and they fit great on my thighs and over the back of my butt. No more being able to put a couple of cans of beer in the space in the jeans above the butt.

    Love me some Levi's Curve IDs.