Let’s be real for a moment.
If you are a woman, you have undoubtedly experienced the dreaded waist gap (or back gap). Today, I’m going to show you the simple method I use to fix waist gap.
This method takes very little skill.
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Denim sewing machine needles
1 1/2 inch waistband elastic
Thread to match the seams on your blue jeans (Gutermann 870)
While it may be true that buying a higher-end product may give a better fit, it seems after only a few hours of wear my jeans start sliding down the hips.
This easy trick will minimize this situation once and for all.
Measuring your waist gap
Start with putting on your jeans.
I told you this was easy!
I recommend doing this step when your jeans are in their relaxed state. In other words, wear your jeans for a few hours before you start.
After a little bit of wear, you can see how much your waistband has stretched. First, make sure your side seams are on your hips.
Next, gather the front of your jeans at the button. It’s easiest to do this step with your jeans unzipped and not buttoned.
You don’t need to have a precise measurement to make this process work, but you do want to get a good approximation of the gap.
Use your measuring tape to get an approximation of the points where your right and left sides met when you gathered them. For this tutorial, let’s say you get 2 inches.
Now take your measurement around the back of your waist. Simply hold the measuring tape on your waist where your side seam sits and measure to the side seam on the right.
Now, we simply take the back measurement and subtract the gap measurement to arrive at the measurement of needed elastic. So, 16 inches across the back – 2-inch gap = 14 inches of elastic needed.
Preparing your Jeans and Sewing Machine
Most blue jean manufacturers use goldenrod colored thread. Gutermann 870 is a perfect match for most brands.
Prepare your sewing machine by loading the bobbin with your thread of choice and then threading the machine with the same thread color.
If you have a blind hem foot for your machine, now is a great time to place that on the machine and move your needle to the furthest position to the left.
Turn your jeans inside out and place them on a flat surface.
I like to use a 1 ½ inch heavy stretch waistband elastic as it tends to remain flat after the process and feels more natural than other elastics.
Cut your elastic to the length we calculated earlier.
Fold the elastic in half and mark the center with a straight pin.
You will then place the center of the elastic (marked with the straight pin) in the center back of the jeans. This should line up with the back, center belt loop.
You then wait to pin the right side of the elastic to the right side-seam on the waistband and repeat this process of the left side of the elastic to the left side-seam.
We are next going to stretch the elastic slightly to alleviate any gathering and pin both the top and bottom of the elastic working from the middle towards the side-seam in both directions.
My best tip is to stretch more towards the center and less as you work outward.
Now, you will have a bit of gathering happening here. That is okay!
Beginning to Sew
I love using the blind hem foot so that I don’t have to think about placement as we are going to be sewing on the elastic and unable to see the original stitching on the waistband.
You will start on one end of the fabric and sew completely across the top edge of the waistband using your machine’s stretch stitch. The elastic will be on the left side of the stitch.
Now slightly pull on the elastic so that the elastic is as flat as possible as you sew. This will alleviate any bunching or gathering you noticed as you pinned the elastic in place.
As you sew, you may want to use a hump jumper as you approach the belt loops. The thickness of the belt loops drives your presser foot up at an angle that could put enough pressure on the needle to cause it to snap.
So as you see the pressure foot start to rise, simply stop. Insert the hump jumper under the back of the presser foot, and continue to sew. Often times, the hump jumper will simply fall out when you’ve passed the thickness.
Once you have completed the top seam, it’s time to move on to the bottom seam. This can be a little more challenging to a newbie as you will have the bulk of the fabric towards the center of your machine.
Like before, we are placing our blind hem foot so that the elastic is towards the left.
When stitching the bottom, you will want to be conscious of where your belt loops are since most belt loops go below the bottom waistband. If you sew a straight line, you will stitch right over the belt loops rendering them pointless.
As you are sewing and approaching a belt loop, simply reverse for a second and go forward to lock in the stitch. Then stop.
Place your needle back down into the fabric on the other side of the belt loop as close to the belt loop as possible. Your hump jumper will come in handy again here. To alleviate the bulk, slide the hump jumper under the back of the presser foot for 4 to 6 stitches, and then remove.
Repeat this process until you get to the end of the bottom waistband seam.
Simply wash and dry your jeans as usual.
Next time you wear your jeans you should be able to wear them comfortably without reaching to pull them back up over and over.
The elastic gives the jeans that extra foundation to conform to your body. See the finished product below!