Comfortable AND Fashionable Adapted Jeans

Back-to-school means new clothes. Jeans are the fashion choice for most kids. But for kids in wheelchairs or with feeding tubes, the waistbands on many jeans can be uncomfortable. How do we help our kids go back to school in style AND comfort?

A couple years ago, Junior’s mom posted this great tutorial on adapting jeans on her blog, Adaptions4Kidz. She has so many fantastic ideas there! If you haven’t bookmarked her site, I highly recommend that.

But there are decorative features on jeans that my daughter wanted preserved, so we came up with a slight variation to adapting jeans that made her happier and feeling very stylish. This variation also works well with junior girls’ tops that are shorter in length than boys’ t-shirts. Let’s celebrate back to school with some comfortable and fashion-forward (sh-h-h-h...pull-on) jeans!

Three pairs of adapted jeans
 You’ll need:

·        1 pair jeans

·        1 pair worn pull-on stretch pants or yoga pants (okay if they show wear in the knees or crotch, as these will be discarded. We recycled last year’s stretch pants)

·        Thread, seam ripper, sewing machine, serger (optional but nice)

1) Prepare the jeans.

·        Pick out the lower end of any belt loops using a seam ripper, being careful not to nick holes in the fabric. Cut off the remainder of the belt loop/s and discard.
·        Cut out the zipper, snipping away the zipper tape. Be sure to remove all teeth, the zipper stops at both ends, and the pull. This decreases bulk and increases comfort.

·        Stay-stitch (stitch straight through all layers to hold together) the front half of the jeans about ¼” below the waistband stitching to secure the fly and pockets.

Stay-stitch 1/4" below waistband seam
·        Cut off the waistband where it attaches to the pants. Cut above your stay-stitching.

2) Sew jeans openings closed.

·        (Optional, to simplify dressing) Pin pockets closed and stitch just next to the decorative topstitching on the pocket, through all layers. Your stitching will be hidden in the shadows of the commercial topstitching, especially if you use thread that matches the color of the denim. Stitching the pockets closed keeps them smooth and flat when dressing.

Stitch just beside the decorative stitching. Here, the
presser foot is removed so you can see the needle position.
·        Fuse pocket bag to inside of front leg. Use a permanent fusible adhesive web, such as Heat N Bond, following the manufacturer’s directions. This keeps the pocket bag from riding up inside the pants.
Add the fusible webbing between the pocket bag
and front leg. Fuse with an iron according to
manufacturer's direction.
·        Pin fly closed and stitch. Follow beside the decorative stitching on both the right and left sides of the fly to secure it completely flat.

3) Attach knit waistband.

·        From discarded pull-on pants, cut down 2” to 2 ½” from top of waistband. This will add about 1” in height from the original jean's waistband, helping prevent exposure of undergarments. Enough said. If your original jeans are cut very low, you might choose an even deeper portion of the stretch fabric. Smaller children may require smaller depths.

For a teen, 2-2.5" of knit waistband and fabric
will probably be appropriate. Feel free to vary the width
for your child's needs.
·        Right sides together, match knit waistband to jeans at back, front, and sides. Pin as needed and sew with a 3/8” seam. Be careful not to sew over any decorative rivets in the jeans so you don’t break a needle.

·        (Optional) If you own a serger, overcast the seam for strength and comfort. Otherwise, overcast with a triple zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.
My daughter's service-dog-in-training, Mercer, holds down
the waistband so you can see the overcasting inside.
There you have it. In 15-20 minutes, you have converted a pair of fashionable but restrictive jeans into fashionable and comfortable ones. All the decorative pockets and stitching are preserved, with the exception of the waistband. You’ve put those outgrown stretch pants to good use for another year as well.



Junior said...

love it, perfect for the fancy girl jeans. We adapt jeans as gifts for Junior's friends so I will have to give this a try for our next girl pair.

Jen said...

Love the adapted jeans, I've been looking for a way to adapt my girl's jeans. She's either in her wheelchair or down on the floor crawling. When crawling her jeans sometimes don't cover her whole booty, exposing her diaper.

Wanted to tell you that I've sewn pockets closed on sweats, and jeans, you can just cut the pocket bag out,to decrease bulkiness. I use pinking shears to cut the fabric of the pocket bag close to my stitching, leave about a 1/4" and iron it open like a seam allowance.