So, this is my first time being pregnant, and one thing I have learned so far is that there is SO much more stuff to figure out than I would have ever imagined! Aside from all the parenting methods and baby gear selections that I’m learning about, there’s also the teeny tiny issue of what on earth am I supposed to wear over the coming months?? Shopping is normally one of my favorite things, but lately it’s been way more confusing/frustrating than anything else. Everything I see I have to think, “Can I wear that in a month? Can I wear it in 3 months??” I know that some preggos like to stick with the flowy dress route because it’s easier to fit into them the whole pregnancy, and the dresses help keep the summer preggos on the cool side. I’m much more of a jeans girl for everyday life, and since I’ll be doing the majority of my pregnancy in winter (when I’m always, always cold), I wanted to make sure I had some good pregnancy jean options to fit my style.
I have found a few pairs of maternity jeans that I like, but the styles can be more limited for sure, and they always seem to be so much more expensive too. With that in mind, I wanted to try out this maternity jean DIY that I saw to see if I could hack the system and make my own jeans from a “regular” pair that I already know I like. Turns out it’s pretty easy and you end up with useable front pockets which can be hard to find in maternity jeans. So that’s a bonus too!
-pair of jeans that fit from the thigh down
-1/2 yard of knit ribbing*
*You’ll see at the fabric store that there are different weights of knit ribbing, and I would suggest pairing a thicker jean with a medium knit and thinner jeans with a thinner knit (don’t use the really thick stuff). If you have a pretty heavy weight knit with a thin jegging type jean, you may end up with a noticeable line of pocket bulge with all the layers. So thinner is better with a thin jean.
Turn your pants inside out and use fabric scissors to cut out the back side of your pocket, leaving at least 1/4″ of a seam allowance. This will also include cutting through the top of the waistband as you can see, but just make sure when you get to the start of the pocket that you are only cutting out the back layer of the pocket and keep the front pocket line as is. Most jeans have those tiny metal rivets at each side of the pocket, so you’ll want to cut some extra room around those so you can still get your sewing machine around them.
This is what your cut will look like from the front of your jeans. The waistband above the pocket is removed but the front layer of the pocket is still in tact.
Cut a long rectangle of your knit rib 1″ wider than the width of your pocket and twice as long as the height of your pocket (make sure the lines of the knit are running the long way of your rectangle and not the short way). Fold the long rectangle in half and line up the folded edge with the waistband of your jeans. Pin the outside edge of your jean and pocket to the side of the knit rib and sew that side in place. Repeat process on the other side as well.
Line up the top of the other side of your knit rib with the top of your waistband and pin that side in place. When lining up the second side, take a minute to think about how tight or loose you want the panels to be. If you had a pretty big gap to close the jeans when you tried them on, you might want more width of fabric in the pockets, and if they almost buttoned, you may want to pull them a little tighter so they aren’t too loose. Best case scenario would be to sew the outside edge of each pocket, pin the two inside edges, and then try the pants on to see if you need more or less room (it may be a bit pokey, but it’s usually worth it to get the fit right). Also, you might want to take into account how far along you are in your pregnancy and if you have a lot more room to grow or not that much more. Once you get your tightness adjusted, sew the two inside edges in place.
To close up our pockets, simply pin the pockets shut along the bottom line of the pocket and sew in place. Trim any extra fabric around the pocket, and your pants are ready to wear!
Once you turn them back around, you should have “regular” looking pants with stretchy pockets that you can actually use—nice!
It’s nice to have a few pairs of pants that have workable zippers, buttons, and pockets like my pants would normally have, and knowing that I can do this to just about any pair of jeans I like is also a great option to have in my arsenal. Since these are very subtle in their secret stretch pockets (normally I would wear a shirt that goes over the pockets and not tucked in), these would also be good post-baby jeans as well. If you’ve been on the hunt for good maternity options but are a total “jeans girl” like me, then I hope this is the perfect solution for you as well! xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Todd Gummerman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.
I love this idea but worry that the ribbing wont have enough recovery to keep my pants up. Any thoughts on this? I was thinking about using 6″ wide elastic, but then of course there’s the risk that’s too tight and will pinch. So I’m feeling paralyzed. Can you give any more thoughts on how well these stay up with the ribbing? And I guess also how long they worked for you?
I’m 22 weeks and just did this DIY today– rescuing a pair of my favorite black skinnies that, let’s be honest, likely won’t fit for a while after baby comes anyway 🙂 I added about 4″ of ribbing in each insert and will have room in them for a little while. It was a bit fiddly for me to get everything put together in the right way, so while I wouldn’t want a seamstress to look at the inside, on the outside everything works! Thanks for the hack.
Hi! These are really cool-looking prego-jeans 🙂 I’m not sure if someone already mentioned it, but Liz from cotton+curls got lots of maternity clothes DIYs, that are easy to sew and look pretty stylish! http://www.cottonandcurls.com/maternity/
This is a great idea! Congrats on the pregnancy http://www.likehanna.com
That’s a great idea. I love the blog, and I’ve been following along for a while.
Hopefully, I’m not being too obnoxious sharing a tip from a company I work at, but another option (if you want to be able to wear the jeans again) is to use a Bellaband: https://www.ingridandisabel.com/bellaband-how-to-wear/
You can just unbutton or unzip the jeans and wear the Bellaband over it, and it holds them up. Works well later for holding up any maternity pants that are slipping and for coverage (and holding up pre-preggo jeans) when nursing after baby if you’re lifting from below.
Yeah, maternity has been hard enough, I haven’t even started thinking about nursing clothes yet!!
Aw, thank you!!
Yeah, that’s not too bad! They do have some that are closer to $70 for the “nicer” ones but I like that you can do this DIY on any pair that fits so you aren’t at the mercy of which colors and styles are in their maternity lines. I do think they have the best maternity jeans for sure though!
Yes, that’s why I like bodycon dresses too, I look actually pregnant in them 🙂
Nice!! Great tip!
I am totally making these for my next pregnancy! Maternity clothes can be unnecessarily expensive!
That whole awkward pregnancy shopping situation totally bummed me out while I was pregnant. And I was so disappointed when I realized that since I was breastfeeding and basically needed to have my boobs readily available at all times, I couldn’t just wear whatever I wanted once my kiddo was born either! It’s not until now (he’s 8 months old and is no longer interested in breast milk) I’ve been able to start wearing whatever I like! So January sales, watch out!
Such a nice blog as handicrafts maker we know the importance of DIY products and how it can be a best low cost business option
I am so happy to see you pregnant, Laura! <3
Great hack for jeans!
H&M Maternity Jeans are the exact same thing (working buttons and zippers included) and I got mine for $35 which is not expensive, right?
This is an amazing idea! x
Jessica — NinetyCo
Now that will definitely come in handy in the future! Thanks for sharing!
Love this DIY! I did the same thing with the target vnecks (usually like $5) and thought the same thing about nursing. Still wearing them 4 years later through my second pregnancy/baby
They also make great Thanksgiving jeans!
This was my favorite style of maternity jeans to wear while prego. I too am totally a Jeans girl.
For inexpensive maternity clothes check out Old Navy. This is a great idea too, nothing beats a comfy pair of maternity jeans 🙂
I’m not a jeans girl at all, in fact, I don’t even own trousers, but I’m amazed at how many of my dresses (not flowy, most are pencil dresses) still fit at 33 weeks. Maybe it’s because it’s winter and winter clothes have more space for Christmas dinners and layering?
I do wear maternity dresses, because they make my bump look like a bump, and my regular clothes look more like I gained a few pounds.