Jeans waist, not waste

I made an executive decision last week, to ban low-rise jeans from my person.  I despise the old low-rise trend; can’t stand wearing them.  They never feel right.

Low-rise jeans are also bad for the body, I think.  They ruin posture and cause expanding waistlines.  They promote slouching and spreading, because slouching and spreading the hips is what you have to do to keep them in place.

The pair of low-rise skinny jeans that caused this epiphany, still has some wear in them, and I like the color and weight.  When I endured the misery yet again of wearing them last week, I resolved to either fix the waist or be content to ruin them trying.

Result:  Waist is fixed!

The jeans before:

  • Low waistband in front;
  • High enough in back;
  • Tiny zipper.

Jeans before--RSR

Here’s how the process went:

  • Unzip the zipper.
  • Detach the front belt loops from the body of the jeans.  (They can probably stay attached to the top of the waistband.)
  • Cut the waistband off, from the center front to the side seam.

Jeans cut waist--RSR

Important:  Do not zip up the zipper.  With the waistband out of the way, there may not be a stop to keep the zipper pull from coming off at the top.  Instead, keep the zipper pulled down, and use pins to position the fly until the insert is sewn in place.

Pin the pockets and zipper to hold them in place.

Jeans cut waist full--RSR

Put the jeans on and identify where the waistband naturally feels right.

Jeans waistband fit--RSR

Cut two pieces of denim to insert in the open space across the front.  The pieces should be roughly the same shape as the open space, but slightly larger than the space on all sides.

Jeans insert--RSR

With the waistband moved out of the way, sew each insert piece to the body of the jeans, right sides together.

Jeans seam--RSR

Flip the insert piece over, and the seam looks like this.

Jeans seam after--RSR

Put the jeans on again, to identify the waistband placement on the insert, and pin the waistband in place.

Topstitch the waistband onto the insert fabric.  (Make sure the belt loops are out of the way of the stitching)

Jeans waistband placement--RSR

Trim the insert fabric even with the top of the waistband.  Fold the center front excess to the inside and topstitch in place.  Inside out, the insert will look like this:

Jeans finished inside--RSR

You will need something to close the gap where the zipper is too short.  I used velcro.  It was easy to place and stitch, and holds the gap closed.  I first added the long velcro shown next to the zipper.  That wasn’t effective.  The short piece above the zipper worked, and was actually easier to put on.

Jeans velcro--RSR

Finished look:

Jeans modeling after--RSR

The insert has a slight indented look, for some reason that I haven’t tried to figure out.  I don’t care.  The waistband feels great.

Sound of Music Dress

So, I was making this dress, but was attacked by a months-long spell of whatever is the sewing equivalent of writer’s block.  Then came the breakthrough.  And then another breakthrough, and ta-da!  The dress is complete.

Long story short:  I was trying to make a dress of this cut and construction, worn last year by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Kate-Royal-Solomon-Islands-Mulberry-Midnight-Blue-Eyelet-Dress

[Images from WhatKateWore.com–a great blog!]

But I didn’t like the silhouette it created in my chosen fabric.  So the half-constructed dress hung on my dress form for months, with the gathered skirt held in place with straight pins.  I started adding silly things to it–beads, a belt, a jacket, etc.  I didn’t take a photo at that time, so this is a recreation of the sad ensemble.

IMG_3972a

IMG_3971a

Then I stopped seeing it in the room altogether.  Then I saw the picture of the Duchess wearing that dress again, and resolved to complete my dress, love or hate it.

I put it on and stood in front of the full length mirror.  Then I unpinned the skirt to try adjusting the waistline.  But when the skirt was off and I saw the straight portion (which I had not yet cut to length), I had my first AHA moment.  It looks better as a straight, sleeveless shift.  So, finishing it simply meant adding a back closure, armhole facings, and hem.  Done.

IMG_3970a

At that point, I mostly liked the boxy shape of the dress, but wanted to take out just a bit of the fullness.  I did not want to belt it or add darts.  I was considering back pleats.  Then came the second AHA moment.  I don’t know how this one happened, but thank goodness it did.  I took two strips of fabric and criss-crossed them on the back.

It pulled the perfect amount of fullness away from the front…,IMG_3976a

and gave the back a distinct softly gathered look.  I love the result.IMG_3975a

Here is the dress on me. IMG_3980c IMG_3982b

(And yes, that is a bit of armhole facing that I didn’t get tucked in.  Argh.)

To put the dress on and take it off, I just need to unbutton it at the neck back, and unbutton the sashes at the bottom, and slip it over my head.  IMG_3977a

I’m calling it the “Sound of Music Dress,” because the fabric is from some old curtains I never liked.Curtain moment

I’m also calling it the “five-rectangle dress,” because it is made out of rectangles of fabric. The body is all one rectangle, seamed up the back and shoulders, with armholes and a neckline cut in and faced.  The collar pieces are rectangles, and the criss-cross in the back is also of course, made of rectangles.

I still want to make a dress like the one I started out to make.  So it’s back to the drawing board for another try.