Over the break my bump officially exploded. I’m at the point where you feel like you just can’t get any bigger, but you know you will. So I’m pretty much forced to wear leggings or maternity jeans from now on, and while I do love a good pair of maternity jeans, I really miss my regular jeans and I try to squeeze into them as often as possible. Then I had the idea to make one of my regular jeans into maternity jeans, and it’s actually really, really easy.
So today I’m sharing the simple tutorial — and the best part is that there’s no annoying giant band that goes all the way over your bump. These are so comfy and they fit perfectly because they’re a pair I already have worn and loved.
Tip: if you don’t have any non-maternity jeans you want to give up, go buy a pair from the thrift store to chop up! 
photography by rad and happy 
Click READ MORE to find the step by step tutorial

Materials needed:
– pair of standard jeans (mine are these ones)
– matching thread
step 1: start with a standard pair of jeans.
step 2. Carefully cut the pockets out of your jeans as shown above.
Step 3. Measure the width of your pocket and subtract 1/2″ (cause you’ll want the elastic to be snug), then cut a piece of 3″ elastic in that length.
Now with the edge of the elastic lined up with the edge of your pocket (as shown above), sew them together. I used a tiny zigzag stitch (1.5 width and 0.9 length stitch on my machine, if you’re wondering) and went back and forth a few times so it was super durable.
The elastic will be tucked in behind the pocket, so make sure you leave the last 1/4″ or so of elastic unattached so it can tuck behind.
Repeat for the other side, as shown above.
Step 4. Now it’s time to attach the other end of the elastic. Do the same thing as before with a small zigzag stitch, and leave the bottom 1/4″ unattached so it can tuck behind the pocket.
Note: my jeans are mid rise, so the 3″ elastic (which is the longest I could find) didn’t reach all the way from the top of the pants down to the pocket. I just left the top inch (under my thumb in the above picture) unattached, and then dog-eared it down and stitched in place so it angled from the top of the pants down to the elastic.
Step 5. Tuck the bottom of your elastic behind the pocket and use a double needle to top stitch along the pocket, securing the elastic in place. Now repeat on the other pocket and you’re done!
Note: It’s important that you do a double needle stitch or a zigzag stitch here so it allows for stretch. If you do a straight stitch, the stitches have no give and they’ll snap. 

And that’s it! So easy, and now you have a perfect pair of maternity jeans!



  1. Lindsay says:

    Which maternity jeans do you recommend if you don’t have the time/energy/talent to make your own?

  2. Kayla White says:

    This is great! It seems like such a simple DIY and I’ve got lots of jeans that have no real use in my closet anymore. Do many jeans I hardly wear! Thanks for sharing this and your cute bump!

  3. Deborah Moebes says:

    This is a brilliant idea, for reals. I’ve done a zillion upcycle projects and have had four pregnancies, and it literally never occurred to me to only remove the pocket/side portion of the pants! Genius, seriously. And aren’t you the cutest pregnant person!! Enjoy this last part–I always loved being pregnant, and you look great!

  4. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    This is such a great tutorial! Probably the best and easiest one I’ve seen on how to do this!


  5. Esraa Bassiouny says:

    wow you really look great, I love your outfit. When my sister was pregnant we suffered to find a good maternity jeans, but with this idea I don;t think we would again. Thanks for the tip.

  6. Anna Wang says:

    Wow never thought of this! Would recommend to my friend who is pregnant but struggling to find maternity jeans.

    Anna |

  7. Lauren says:

    Wow. What a great idea. I’ve had 3 pregnancies and never thought of this. Genius!

  8. Jessica says:

    You look great even when pregnant! I can use this info to help people in my family who are pregnant. Thanks, Merrick. 🙂
    Unique Geek

  9. Ronja Zigler says:

    While I love the idea, I can’t even imagine getting rid of pockets! I have this depressing feeling that my thighs will be too big for my normal jeans too.

  10. Steffanie says:

    This is fab! So glad you’re bringing back DIY Friday more regularly!

  11. Aims says:

    I love this idea! I’m going to try it with black knit ribbing instead of elastic (which I feel like will be more comfortable) and will see if I can save the pockets—maybe by stitching the bottom of the black fabric to the inside edge of the pocket?

    • Aims says:

      It worked! I ended up using elastic after all, but I was able to keep the original pockets by cutting the jeans 2.75″ down (for 3″ elastic) from the top of the waistband, sewing the elastic and back of the pocket right-sides-together at the cut edge with a .25″ seam allowance, and then sewing up the two sides.

  12. Rachel says:

    This is effing genius. Definitely going to do this- thank you!!!

  13. Nancy says:

    Thank you! What a great idea! But it’s not only good for pregnant women. It’s great for women like myself with “belly fat.”

  14. Alyssa says:

    Ive been super HESITANT to try this out but it DOESN’T seeM toO bad! This tuTorial looks pretty easy and the pics DEFINITELY help.
    This would be the same with shorts, right? Maybe not high-waisted though?


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