Pants That Fit…a Tutorial

As the mother of children with special needs, I often find myself in a predicament of one sort or another.  This past Fall, I found myself in a new sort.  Anna has grown!  As a result of her growing so much over the last year, she needed new jeans.  I have always ordered the same type of jeans for them, they snap and have adjustable elastic waists.  This year I ordered from a different place, paying no mind to the waistband. When Anna’s jeans arrived, I realized that her jeans now had a button.  Apparently this is the size where companies begin to use buttons over snaps.

We are not thick fabric button ready.

So what does a mama do to help her daughter keep autonomy?

I pull out my sewing machine and hack up some denim!

Yoga band jeans for all.

When I did this, I thought that it might be useful to post a tutorial of sorts.  Now, I’m not going for super pretty insides here.  My machine can’t handle what that would take.  What I do have is functionality…..a lot of the time, functionality trumps appearance.  Although in the end, these turned out super adorable.

*Note: You will need a sewing machine, elastic ( I wasn’t even very picky as this is just an optional reinforcement), cotton lycra (good cotton lycra with very good recovery or there will be crackage), a tape measure, thread, scissors…sewing stuff.

Step 1: Lay your pants out and measure across the waist. Write this number down.

Note that a fabric tape measure would be more useful in this situation.


Step 2: Take your waistband measurement, double it, and subtract one inch.  This is how long your cotton lycra piece needs to be.


Step 3 and 3 1/2: Cut your cotton lycra by the width you just measured and 7 inches long. In my opinion 7 inches gives a good waistband length once folded.  Also measure your child’s waist, subtract 1, and then cut elastic to that measurement.


Step 4: Fold your waistband fabric right sides together.  Sew (zigzag if not using a serger) down the short side creating a tube of fabric.  Fold this in half like the picture above and insert your elastic.

*If your cotton lycra has really great recovery, elastic isn’t necessary, I just like the extra security for Anna’s pants.


Step 5: Now you cut your waistband off.  This is where personal preference comes to play.  If you want functional pockets cut them so that you can stitch them secure before adding a waistband.


Step 6: Cut the zipper out.  The zipper is attached by little pieces of fabric, just cut that fabric out, but do not cut your actual denim.  Be careful.


Step 7: Stitch the fly closed.  Just a straight stitch down the lines that are already there.


Step 8: Now you are ready to add your waistband to your jeans.  With your waistband still folded nicely in half as a tube, put it around your denim with the right side of your jeans facing the waistband.  Line up raw edges of both.  Pin the middle seam of your waistband to the middle of your jeans.  Do the same with the front.  Then pin the sides of your waistbands to the side of your jeans.


Step 9: Now you sew! I know it’s hard to see in the photo with the light and all, but you are going to sew a zig zag stitch around the waistband and the jeans.  You will pull the waistband fabric to stretch in order to fit the jeans.  Try to pull it evenly in all four sections that you have pinned.

*Once done, go around again with a zig zag stitch to reinforce your waistband.



Flip over your waistband and VOILA! You now have jeans with a yoga waistband.

These are so great for individuals who have trouble with buttons/snaps…..although I am not gonna lie to y’all, I am so tempted to convert all of my jeans.  These are so much more comfortable, talk about elimination of the muffin top.


I bought all of these jeans on Zulily for cheap and used cotton lycra I had lying around from making shirts.  I must say, once you set them up assembly line style and get your measurements down, this goes by fairly quickly.  Although denim does seem to make my sewing machine cry a little…..ah maybe one day I will own a beast of a machine lol.

Anna doesn’t have a muffin top to worry about, but she liked the jeans anyway.


Now, I know this isn’t all professional tutorial and such, but it’s what I have to offer to my fellow moms.  It really isn’t that hard to do, I do suggest you practice on really old pants not the new ones you just ordered offline hoping that your process works.

If this isn’t enough instruction, I am willing to bet that there is a youtube video for something like this, and it’s probably better than what I’ve done here, but hey….Anna has pants on and she ain’t complaining.

Good Luck!


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