Maternity Jean Hack: Over-belly panel into under-belly waistband

I sew next to nothing for myself for years on end, and then that dang second trimester comes around and I'm all scissors and seam rippers!

The first victim of this pregnancy was a pair of stretchy over-the-belly panel maternity jeans.  I picked them up at Goodwill in the off season (that's my pet term for when I'm NOT pregnant, lol) because I have a weakness for perusing the maternity clothing rack.

Here I am sporting them at about 16 weeks preggo:

In my defense, all of my regular jeans no longer fit.

Over-the-belly style maternity pants are the smoothest fit around, but they are particularly prone to gravitational pull, are they not?  They need to be REAL SNUG to stay up there without significant maintenance on the part of the wearer and pant tugging is not a sport I enjoy.  Especially when the underpants choose to descend as well, only at a completely different level.

So, I decided to find an adjustable under-belly solution.  I bought a pair of drawstring knit shorts in a large size (for $1.99 at a thrift store) and chopped off the waistband.  Ideally, they would have been navy to match, but whatever. Cheap.

I won't attempt a how-to since I stink at them, but here's the process I used if you are good at going off of "the gist" of directions.

To start, I pinned and sewed the waistband on to the front of the jeans.  
The front pinned on.

See that triple line of stitches on the far bottom left? #9.
That's the stretch stitch on my machine.

Sewing with a denim needle.

The completed front seam.
You may have noticed, I didn't size down the grey waistband before I started.  I could have, but that would have required thought and probably even a bit of math.  I decided to forgo both and size the waistband "by eye" after sewing the front waist.

After sewing the front, I pulled the leftover waistband into a center back seam.

Center back seam sewn and trimmed

Back waistband pinned to pants

After attaching the waistband, I tried on the pants to check the fit before trimming off the over-belly panel.

Also, tacked down the top corners of the back seam on the waistband to keep them from peaking out the top

Pic before trimming off the original over-belly waistband
The pants fit reasonably well after I sewed on the new waistband, but that bump you see in the denim on the sides (just below the waistband) proved to be an issue.

When sewn at the same line as the over-belly panel, the new waistband was too high through the sides and rear.  Aka, there was too much fabric in the seat area.  Sag city!

I trimmed off the over-belly panel and then went back and lowered the waistband, thereby shortening the crotch seam and getting a better fit.

Trimming off the over-belly band

Before re-positioning the waistband 

During re-positioning the sides and back of the waistband
Unfortunately, lowering the waistline required sewing over/cutting through the coin pocket and back horizontal seam line.  This caused some additional bulkiness in the seam allowance of the new waistline.  Oh well!

They fit "good 'nuff"!

20 week picture.
Moral of this blog post?   You can certainly make over-belly maternity jeans into under-belly maternity jeans, if you so desire.  It's not that hard.  And thenceforward you can hike up your jeans and underpants in one motion instead of six.  I count that as a pregnancy win.


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