Maternity Pants Tutorial

September 17, 2009

Check out these Trendy Maternity Clothes !

When I had my first daughter, Lily, I wore the ugliest, baggiest, frostiest maternity pants and I wore them happily because they were all I knew. I still have them....upstairs....on the hanger....never to be seen again. Next stop, consignment sale.

When I had my second daughter, Molly, I wore a few more reasonable if not slightly baggy-in-the-butt jeans but they were VERY tight around the waist, especially in the third trimester. I'm not quite sure why, I'm really not that big.

Now that I'm 20 weeks pregnant with....(insert forthcoming name here) I've come to the awful realization that comfortable, good fitting maternity pants are for the affluent and prosperous- those who can afford to spend $75 or so on a new pair. Let's just say I'm about.....$70 or so dollars shy of that number.

I said to myself NO! Not another unflattering nine months of pregnancy.
If I have to be hunched over a toilet while massaging my aching temples at least I can look smart and snappy while doing it.

So I drove to my old stoppin' grounds, also referred to as the local Salvation Army and bought a couple jeans to take home and perform sewing surgery.

A few tips, if you are also in my tightly fitting shoes, go to the Salvation Army on Wednesdays, everything except the inventory that came in the night before is half off! Go every week and eventually you'll find things you like. Get a Goodwill Shop'n'Save card. It costs less than $5, lasts for a year, and will probably pay for itself on your first purchase. Goodwill gets inventory that Target doesn't sell so you can get a lot of brand new, never worn clothing for a VERY good price. Also, not all Goodwills have the same prices. Some are A LOT cheaper than others. So if one store is charging $7 for a Liz Lange maternity top, try another Goodwill in the area. It should only cost $1-$3.

This was the result. The first and last pair I actually bought at Forever 21 for $7.99 and $12.99. They are 'skinny' jeans and before you say "NO WAY, skinny jeans and pregnancy DO NOT mix". I say, "Wait, give them a try". What do you have to lose? $8? Three sizes of extra material in your tush?
I've bought ALL of my maternity wardrobe at thrift stores this time around and I'm proud to say I haven't patroned Motherhood Maternity once. I haven't paid over $7 for a stitch and the majority of pieces I've bought were only $1-$3.

The best part about these pants are that they are COMFORTABLE since no elastic is involved. And now that I have a little bit of baby bump they stay on with no problem. And of course, they aren't saggy in my butt. As an already short person I don't need anything de-emphasizing my legs.

And in my opinion, they are quite easy. I know, I know, if you're just a beginner they AREN'T that easy. In all honesty, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would say this project has a difficulty level of 4.

When you're finished you'll have a great fitting, easy-on-the-wallet, easy-on-the-waist, pair of maternity pants that you can brag to your friends about.

In all I'd say this project takes me about 20 minutes.

Knit Fabric (that closely matches pants) 8"x45" or 12"x45"
Felt tipped marker
Straight Pins
Sewing Machine

Step 1. Find a pair of pants that you won't feel bad about ruining. I bought these at a Salvation Army for $2. Try them on and be sure they can be pulled up around your waist but NOT buttoned. This is important. At the end of my last pregnancy, to my horrid surprise, I couldn't even pull any of my jeans up to my waist let alone button them....and that was AFTER I had the baby.

Step 2. With a felt tipped marker or disappearing ink marker draw your cutting line around the waist. Start just below the zipper and curve up to the bottom of the belt loops at each side of the waist. See right pic for example. In the back continue your line just below the belt loops.

Step 3. Cut along the line. Don't worry about the pockets just cut right through everything. If it makes it easier for you, try placing a few straight pins in the pockets to keep them from coming apart later.
Also, try to cut off any metal that could get into the way of the sewing machine. For instance, in the photo to the left I cut the metal divots out. If the cut goes below the line it's really no big deal.

Step 4. This is how your finished cut should look.

Step 5. Take your knit fabric. Cut a 8"x45" piece and fold it in half. OKAY, HERE'S SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT. Remember to cut the fabric so that the stretch of the knit is width (left to right) and NOT length (up to down). Otherwise you won't have any stretch in your band, thus defeating the purpose of maternity pants, right?!

Here's another good tip, the earlier you are in your pregnancy the skinnier the waist band should be.
0-4 months= 8"
5-and up= 12"
Step 6. Take the folded band and stretch it around your belly. If you are further along you don't have to pull as hard to stretch the fabric. But still make it stretch a little. If you are less than four months along pull the fabric as tight as you can. Then cut the fabric leaving about 5/8" for seams.

I held my fabric a little too high in this picture which caused the band to be too tight later. It should be held just under your belly, the way it will fall when you are wearing them.

Step 7. Sew the two ends together. This is how it should look when you are done.

Step 8. Cut off any extra fabric that doesn't line up at the bottom. The bottom of your band needs to be exactly lined up. Otherwise when you sew the band to your pants you could sew one side and miss the other.

Step 9. Pin the band to your pants. This is probably the hardest part of the project because the band will be smaller than the opening of your pants. You'll have to stretch the band a bit.

Here's a good way to start. Slip the band over the pants so it is on the outside and the bunched up pants are on the inside. Keep the right sides together when doing this and match the cut side of the band to the cut pant. Pin the seam of the band to the back of the pants. Then find the opposite side of the band and pin that to the front of the pants. Then takes the sides and pin them so that you now have four pins in four sides and stretch the band in between the pins to fit the opening of the pants.

Remember that when you pin the band to the pants that you pin the right sides together.

Step 10. This is how the pinned band should look.

Step 11. Sew the band to the pants. The finished seam should look like this. Remove the pins.

Step 12. Voila! Pull the band up and there is the finished pant. Surprise, it's the one pictured in the second photo at the top of the page. Good enough to slip on right now! Comfy as sweat pants:) Enjoy!

Create a Linkj
j.crew, j crew, jcrew, j.crew, j crew, jcrew, j.crew, j crew, jcrew, j.crew, j crew, jcrew, ann taylor, ann taylor loft, modcloth, express, gymboree, the children's place, gap, baby gap, old navy, the limited, crewcuts, garnet hill

65 {comments}:

Just what is a Clair? said... Best Blogger Tips

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I love checking out your blog. You are so creative, and you have a lovely sense of style. Thank you for posting this tutorial. I just had my third baby and I totally agree with you that maternity clothes can be way expensive if you want to be cute. Thanks for showing us how to beat the system!:)

Petra said... Best Blogger Tips

Nice work! I did the same with a jeans skirt last year, very easy. Enjoy your pregnancy!

Jessica Rodarte said... Best Blogger Tips

The pants look great, and comfortable. I am 36 weeks pregnant, and rather than try and sweat myself into another tight pair of maternity jeans (it does nothing for the ego, you know), I've just been wearing dresses. It's sad- really...
I don't know if I have the stamina to make these jeans. I might cry if I don't get them right. You look great and so fashionable. I'm so jealous. I will save the tutorial and look at it longingly for days. ;)

julia said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm waaaayyyy past needing these for myself, but the next time one of my daughters is pregnant I will remember this and pass it along or make them for her. I am waiting as patiently as I can to hear the words, "You're going to have another grandbaby!"
BTW we wore tents with bows and puffed sleeves when I had my babies. I don't know why the manufacturers of maternity clothes thought the moms would want to look like the babies they were carrying.

Cristin said... Best Blogger Tips

Ok, I'm almost 13 weeks and I so want to try this! I've bought a few pairs of maternity pants & jeans 2nd hand which I'm very happy with... but I need more than 4 pairs... two of which are still way too big on me! I'll be checking out goodwill and maybe Forever 21... chopping into new pants might be the hard part :-) Thanks so much!!!

Heather said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm so tickled with this and can't wait to try it! I'm 25 weeks along with my 3rd and last- so I just can't bring myself to spend TONS of money on maternity clothes I'll never wear again.

Thanks for the tut!!

Today's afternoon stop? Goodwill!

Monica said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrats on you pragnancy!! Can't wait to see the little baby! I know I won't be able to use the pants considering that I am only 14 LOL, but what about he shoes :P They are really cute!

Claudia said... Best Blogger Tips

You're some hot looking MAMA! Just look at you in shot two and three and it would make me proud wearing stuff that I know didn't break the bank. What an awesome job! Wish I looked that great wwhen I was pregnant with my two girls.

Liz Wilcken said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, if only i wasn't a beginner sewer! I have less than 2 months in my 3rd pregnancy, and I'm trying to hide my baggy pants with long somewhat cute shirts. *sigh* At least this time around I learned I don't have to buy maternity shirts. I usually go to Kohl's and buy their shirts on sale in a bigger size. It's helped my self confidence a lot!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

That is SO great. I always told my husband that I looked like the Penguin with all that extra butt fabric. I HATE that with everything in me! If I ever have another (I have 4, so...) I'm so doing this!

m. said... Best Blogger Tips

you are so great.

June said... Best Blogger Tips

You look fabulous! :)

I did the same "hack" to a bunch of pants and skirts when I was pregnant in 2008. Such a relief to wear clothes that were comfortable, stylish, and did not break the bank.

If you have the problem I did of the pants sliding down, you can use mitten clips (the kind that kids use to keep their mittens attached to their coats) to attach the waistband of the pants to the bra band.

Who am I... said... Best Blogger Tips

Ha love it...I am a thrift junkie as well and got all my pregnancy stuff there!! I just bought low-rise jeans,they went under my belly and looked great with a belt!! Love the blog!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

This is fantastic!! After two pregnancies will ill-fitting pants that I constantly had to pull up, I will definitely have to try these sometime in the future! This *almost* makes me want to be preggers...but not quite. :) said... Best Blogger Tips

FABULOUS! I love the skinny jean idea. I'll be linking to this.

Deborah said... Best Blogger Tips

I had lofty ambitions of doing something similar when I was pregnant with #3, but time got away from me and it never really happened. Now that #4 is on the way (shhh! totally just found out and we're keeping it a super duper secret for now), I NEED this tute! Last time I did make some pretty funny shorts, though, that I never thought I'd get to wear again:

Ashlynn {mamabear} said... Best Blogger Tips

Love it - thanks for the tutorial - this will be coming in handy in the next few months!

Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

That is awesome! Where were you when I was preggers last year??? I have two pregnant cousins that I know would love a few pairs of modified jeans. Thanks so much for sharing!

Deborah Raymond said... Best Blogger Tips

Where were you when I was pregnant? I wore the ugliest or most uncomfortable pants when I was pregnant and hated them! I'll be making these for friends.Thanks!

Kim said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow! You are so resourceful! I am a little jealous of all of your thrift store finds, I have to go check it out.

Congrats on baby #2!

Got any tips for turning a regular bra into a nursing bra? I can't find a good one.

dana said... Best Blogger Tips

Gorgeous pictures. Love the colored lighting/background. And you are just stunning! Absolutely beautiful.
Great tutorial. I'm totally doing this next time around!
Thanks for sharing with us all Kathleen.
- dana

KristenK said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the pants you made! I'm 30 weeks pregnant with my 2nd and you should see the stuff I'm wearing! Anyway, wish I could sew......

Christina said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrats on getting this post onto Craftzine!! Great tutorial!!

Beth@The Stories of A to Z said... Best Blogger Tips

You look fabulous! Great tutorial. (BTW--who is the photographer?)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the tutorial!! My best friend just found out she is pregnant and is already eyeing her pants in the closet to change and she asked if I could do it and now I can!! Hopefully I will be pregnant next month too!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Would you like to enter the photography contest on my blog?
And would you like to PLEASE recommend it to others?

Anne said... Best Blogger Tips

Those pants are AWESOME!!! I wish I had some when I was pregnant with my daughter. I felt like I won the lottery when I found a pair of pants that weren't dorky khakis and were instead a regular bootcut jean. If only I had known then how easy it was to make my own...

I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Kristina said... Best Blogger Tips

I will be bookmarking this for when I get preggers...

I frequent Goodwill, but what's a Goodwill Shop'n'Save card? I've not heard of that before...

Lucy said... Best Blogger Tips


carmel said... Best Blogger Tips

great tutorial!
thanks alot!

My Precious Peanut Designs said... Best Blogger Tips

This is awesome!! I'm a total non sewer, although I do have a sewing machine...I just might have to try and see if I can make this work!!

The Prudent Homemaker said... Best Blogger Tips

Fantastic timing! I am pregnant with my 6th, and my last pair of maternity jeans is already sporting a mended knee from being worn through while gardening. I went to the thrift store earlier this year and bought some jeans (they all need to be hemmed) but it's too hot to wear those most of the year here. I've got about 6 weeks before it will be cool enough to even consider wearing pants again (it's supposed to be 100ยบ here this week) and a wardrobe of fall clothing to sew for my oldest, but this is quick enough that I can fit it in! I'm wearing a thrift store skirt that I already altered for pregnancy, but I didn't even think about touching those jeans until I saw your tutorial! Thanks!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the direction! I am pregnant w/baby number 2 and was at wits end looking for maternity jeans/pants in both a tall/plus size, talk about feeling miserable during the search. I'd either have to go the flood route or not wear pants. I knew there was a way to do this, but thanks for making it so simple. Good luck on your little one, can't wait to try this on a decent pair of jeans soon.

Katelyn said... Best Blogger Tips

I wish I had this tutorial four months ago....I'm due in two weeks and not putting anymore effort into my clothes! Congrats on your pregnancy

craftyantoinette said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh my word... I just remembered that one of my favorite pair of jeans has a broken zipper. Consequently it's been lost at the bottom of my closet for months now. What a perfect pair to practice on! I can not wait to get to the fabric store. Thanks so much!!!

Cindy said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, what a fantastic tute! I'm not pregnant, but if I were I would definitely be giving this a try.

Congratulations, btw! :)

Kinzie Sue said... Best Blogger Tips

Man... if only you had posted this a year or even six months ago. My babe is now a month old, but I will definately keep this in my files for the next pregnancy. What a great idea (motherhood maternity got way too much business from me for clothes I wear a few measley months!!)

Cheilita said... Best Blogger Tips

just catching up on your blog. wonderful post! i'm not even pregnant and i sort of almost wanted to try this out! hope you feel better soon! c

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

I am loving your blog!!! Great ideas. GREAT projects!! Wish I would have found it before last night. I had baby #3 in July - should have made your maternity pants. I love that you love to sew dresses - soooo fun! Love it!

Mochi Needlecraft Home said... Best Blogger Tips

This is a very clear tutorial! Love it! I did an almost same thing with my skirt last year. But i also buy bella band ^^ but hey, you can sew it your own, i didn't even have to buy new pants at all, just open the zip, hold it with the band and voila i'm ready to go in style with my usual pants/skirt.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I just new creative ways to make maternity clothes cute and stylish at the same time. I found more here maternity clothes.

Charles DIckens said... Best Blogger Tips

It’s a gorgeous Maternity Dresses collection for pregnant ladies. I am very glad to see that. for a huge collection of maternity dress jeans and more maternity wear visit us at Maternity Clothing

poppyart said... Best Blogger Tips

fab thanks so much. i have a couple of great trousers... but just spent morning 'hoiking'(!) up jeans while also trying to hold onto 2 4yr olds' hands on school excursion. i'm sure there is some knit in my cupboard... bridget

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

GREAT tutorial - thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I've found some other tutorials but I really need to *see* what I should do not just read about it. Thank you!!!!

WhenSheWasGood said... Best Blogger Tips

Lovely tutorial! Thank you! I'm anticipating needing this just a couple of short months down the road... ;)

Kate said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm so excited to try this. I just scored three pairs of name-brand jeans at Goodwill for $15! I'm just about four months along and haven't ventured into maternity tops yet, only pants. So my question is: are maternity shirts normally longer anyway, to cover the jersey band? I'm worried about cutting the zipper out completely, when on my normal shirts, half of it still shows. Any thoughts? Could I remove the zipper, sew the closure shut, and proceed? I'm relatively new at this. :-)

Post-it Note said... Best Blogger Tips

I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU! I am too short, and too skinny in the waist, too fat in the hips for maternity pants in the $0-15 and hand me down, and in the closet from previous kiddo to fit! This tutorial is not burned in my memory in flaming pink. Flaming pink sounded good just now. Well, anyway, I will make these. I will sing. Dance. Nay, frolic. It will be AWESOME!!!

Now, I just need a baby.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

This is great but I would love to see how it looks on without a shirt covering it, I am having a hard time telling how high the waistband goes in the back also?

Christina said... Best Blogger Tips

GREAT tutorial!! I have had this saved in my favorites for quite a while now, waiting for whenever we decided to have another baby. Alas, I will be mainly pregnant durring the summer, in TX, so it will be mostly dresses for me! But since it's my 3rd pregnancy, MAYBE I will be big enough to take advantage of this with one or two pairs of pants this spring before the HOT HOT of summer hits!

I'll be posting a link to this tute to my blog...AFTER we let everyone know of course! We're still keeping it a secret for now! :)

Rachel said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the tutorial, I used it as a guideline for how low to cut the pants in the front! It looked like I cut them way too low until I tried them on and they were perfect! :) I used 3" elastic inside of my knit, too. :) Thanks again! (And here are my finished pants)

Maternity clothes australia said... Best Blogger Tips

What a creative way to turn clothes you actually like into maternity clothes.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I was SO ANGRY when I found this tutorial! I'm due in just a little over a month, and just forked over 30 bucks for some awful maternity jeans from Target that I don't even like! Why couldn't I have found you sooner?! LOL

I did link you on my blog, though. Honestly, I can't believe I didn't think to try this on my own! Thanks for the tutorial!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tips on maternity clothing. Marvelous collection of maternity clothes. The pants look great and comfortable. Creative ways to make maternity clothes cute and stylish at the same time.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Bless you for leaving measurements for 0-4 months. It makes me feel a lot better about being not too far along and already really wanting to wear stretchy pants. Thanks to you, my wardrobe's life has been significantly extended. Thanks!

Stephanie said... Best Blogger Tips

Found this from Pinterest and was so relieved! Unfortunately, I didn't realize how low the zipper was on the pants I used so they didn't work out. But I will be trying this again with another pair.

Moira said... Best Blogger Tips

Found you link here:

You're a lifesaver. I am on baby #3 and I have no clothes!!! I find paying for preg-pants to be the worst, at least I can take in shirts and wear them later. I can sew, and I know I can do this. Thanks!

seo melbourne said... Best Blogger Tips

Better info on your blog than what I have seen so far elsewhere. Thanks for sharing and... Keep up the good work. I know from experience it's not always easy! :-).
Cotton Bags

seo melbourne said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you! Very helpful post! Best.
Cotton Bags

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I have been sharing this tutorial EVERYWHERE! It's so exciting. :)

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I have been sharing this EVERYWHERE! :) Thank you!

Erin said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks! Just made some:) Though I bought a lyrca t-shirt and used instead of ribbing for the band.

Eckhardt said... Best Blogger Tips

So if one store is charging $7 for a Liz Lange maternity top, try another ...

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I am loving your blog so much
good luck

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Very Nice Blog I Collect Very Relevant information About the pregnancy. and Maternity.Thanks keep it up Beautiful Girl .
best maternity jeans

fzillion said... Best Blogger Tips

What are some good brands of maternity jeans?
best maternity jeans

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...