So, I Cut These Jeans Apart…

How many pairs of jeans have been a disappointment, often just because of one feature that you can’t get past? Sometimes you keep them and hate them every time you wear them; sometimes you let them sit in a drawer, wasting space, but you can’t bear to put them on again. If you were smart, you returned them right away to try a different style or size.

These jeans have just the legs I want—boot cut with a thigh that fits just right, not too loose, not too tight.

But the feature I can’t live with is a rise that doesn’t fit. These jeans are called “favorite fit,” but they are not my favorite. They are supposed to sit below the waist, but even though I am proportionally normal, I’m short, and these don’t come in a petite size that would fit me correctly. I would order this company’s “modern fit,” which is supposed to have an even lower rise, but it doesn’t come in a style with a boot cut leg. (Note: I got the Modern Fit in a straight leg and they fit me like the Favorite Fit should, just below the waist.)

So, I’m going to rework these jeans by taking them apart at the waist and zipper to make them as low as I can given the placement of the back yoke seam. I’ll be doing these things:

  1. removing the waistband and belt loops
    • piecing the waistband at the back center seam to make up for moving the waistband lower on the hip
  2. removing the zipper
    • putting in a shorter zipper (I decided making buttons and buttonholes was too much work)
  3. removing the tiny 5th pocket that I have never used, anyway, to make room for the lower waistband

In all this, I’m taking my time so I end up with a pair of jeans I will be happy to wear any day, and maybe I wouldn’t be trying it on a more fashionable pair, but these are for t-shirt days. The tricky part will be extending the waistband in the back so it fits lower on the hip, and since I can’t match the fabric, I think I’ll just put in a piece of navy waistband elastic, but not so that it gathers the back fabric of the pants, just so it fits. I think it will look better than mismatched denim, but you could certainly use a wild print or a plaid flannel, just something to connect the two parts of the waistband.

I ordered some 3″ zippers  from ZipperShipper, because none of the stores in my area have ones that small. I was surprised about that. The first part of the reconstruction is putting in that new zipper. Don’t forget to pick up jeans topstitching thread—yes they make that thread to match jeans stitching fairly closely—and some denim/jeans needles for your machine. Only put the topstitching thread in the top and regular thread in the bobbin. If you have jeans that use an odd topstitching color, just try to match your denim color.

I tried a variety of ways to put that piece of elastic in—it’s surprising how much more you need in the waistband when you move it lower. The easiest thing to do was just to stitch it in place and then attach the ends of the waistband, encasing the elastic ends in it. It’s not pretty, especially since the elastic is a bit narrower than the waistband, but it works. Maybe it will give you some ideas.

I was going to say they aren’t perfect, but actually they are for my purposes of wearing them in casual situations with sweatshirts and t-shirts, etc. as everyday jeans where I won’t be tucking in shirts. I’m wearing them right now, and they don’t gouge my waist when sitting, because they sit where they should. This was a good test of what I can do in the future instead of sending jeans back. Jeans are complicated, but not impossible to edit.

P.S. I did not put the belt loops back on, which I will only miss as handles to pull up the jeans.




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