Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Refashion: How to add a waistband to a top.

So I'm not one of those people that fits into their old jeans 2 weeks after having their baby. The truth is, I'm a normal person who has a pretty good second-baby-jelly-belly going on, and I will struggle this whole summer in half-assed attempts to lose it. (And if you are one of those other kinds of people, the rest of us hate you. Just sayin.) Right now, I'm putting more energy into dressing to hide the belly. 

I finally went shopping last week since I had absolutely no clothing that fit me and was suitable to leave the house in. Time to stop dressing in pajamas. I went to Nordstrom Rack (awesome) and bought several loose fitting racer-backs. This is because I don't wear nursing bras, which suck, I just wear sports bras. Maybe you didn't care to know that, but it's my nursing tip of the day I guess. 

For some reason, I bought this one without trying it on and without noticing that it was really more dress-length than top-length. It was like something that would look cute over leggings on a 12 year old. Hm, no. Rather than take it back, I took the risk and fixed it myself by adding a low fitted waistband. Now it says, "Yes there is a blouse-y pooch here, but it's totally on purpose. Duh." 

The process was pretty simple:

First I tried it on and figured out where I wanted the finished product to end on me. (Remember to cut that top layer lower than you think since it will blouse up some.) I stuck a pin there and then cut it all the way around, using a stripe as my guide. Then I cut again a few inched up from the bottom hem. This will be the waistband and it's already hemmed for you. 

The middle strip that's leftover you can discard or use for something else, like an embellishment around the top. I'm not huge into embellishments though. (What? Can you even be a craft blogger without sticking fabric flowers on everything?)

Next I put that bottom strip back on around my hips and pinned it up to be more fitted. Take it off and turn it inside out, draw a line where you want the fabric taken in to, and sew along that line. I made sure to keep the stripes and hem lined up. Then cut off that excess and finish the seam. 

Here is what the waistband looks like right side out at this point. 

Next, I went back to the top piece and sewed a gathering stitch all around the bottom. If you don't know how to do this, turn your stitch length up to the longest on your machine, and turn your tension up. Also, make sure to leave long thread tails on either side of this so that you can adjust how gathered it is. You will likely have to "un-gather" some. 

Turn the waistband tube inside out again and slip it over the bottom of the main piece. (See how the hem is at the top? See how I have blue toenails right now?) Now you will have to un-gather evenly to match up these two pieces and pin together all the way around.

It is helpful to use a lot of pins for this one, maybe even more than this.

Now sew, just making sure you use a big enough seam allowance to catch that gathering stitch inside. You want the needle to be to the left of the gathering stitch. Once you're done, pull out that gathering stitch and zigzag or serge the seam. Boo-yah.

So I've basically just undone all the damage the shirt does by having horizontal stripes to begin with... whatever, I like it. Time to eat ice cream for lunch :)


  1. That turned out really well. If I ever get over my fear of sewing for me I might try something similar. Gotta love hiding the belly :)

  2. What a great idea! Shirts with a band at the bottom are perfect for hiding the jelly belly (which mine is *just* now starting to shrink 3 years after the fact). I'm totally with you on the sports bra instead of nursing bra thing!They work great for hands free pumping too.

  3. You're awesome! Thanks for the isea!

  4. Thanks for telling me how to do a gathering stitch, I've been wondering, but haven't taken the time to look it up. You are awesome.

  5. freaking awesome. you're too cool. PS: i didn't fit into my human jeans for a good eternity after B. he basically chewed up my body and spit it out. ahhh pregnancy! so natural, so beautiful! so crazy.

  6. great post, great tutorial! And, yes, we love those blousy tops for figure control =) BTW, I happen to have a maternity store online that carries nursing bras... AND we have one that is a sports bra shape but with clips so you can open it. I can say (as a DD mama when nursing) that it doesn't suck. Just in case you want to know....

  7. this is so beautiful! great job. :)

  8. Great idea! I have a few tops this would be perfect for...

    ~JamieS@ Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

  9. This is super cute. I've been thinking of trying this with an oversized T-shirt, too, to make it more fitted around the bottom. Thanks for the tutorial!


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