Here’s a trick I’ve been keeping under my hat for too long, friends: how to stretch the waistband on your jeans. I mean, you know the cardinal rule about buying denim: jeans should fit in the store like they were painted on by a sadistic corset-maker – that is, so tight you can barely breathe. Because, of course, they stretch like crazy, and those perfectly-fitting jeans turn into a saggy mess after a few months if you don’t.
It’s a sound policy with one flaw: the waistband. It’s the only part of the jeans that never, ever stretches, and you’re left with something that’s uncomfortable at best, pain-inducing muffin top at worst.
I got this tip from a salesperson years ago, and to be honest, I thought she was a liar. “She’s just trying to sell me a pair of jeans that doesn’t fit,” I thought. “I’ll show her – I’ll buy them now and return them when it doesn’t work.” Well, the jeans are still in my closet, and I now use this handy little trick all the time.
Here’s the drill: get out your ironing board and iron. (If you, like me, have thrown away your ironing board in a fit of “de-cluttering” your life, you can MacGyver this by using the back of an upholstered dining chair with a towel over it, or a wood cutting board.) Fill up the steam chamber, and turn everything up to the hottest, steamiest setting. Now, do up the zipper and button on the jeans, and slide the waistband over the ironing board. Steam the bejeezus out of the waistband, then pull down hard (Really. Your arm should hurt a little as you do this.) on the bottom of the waistband to stretch them around the board. Now, iron the waistband with one hand while you’re pulling with the other. And be tough about it – the idea is to dry that damp denim while the waistband is stretched. Go around the entire waistband doing this, but don’t go south of the stitching on the bottom of the waistband, or you’ll get some interesting bunching.
Make sure you try them on after going around once – if they’re not stretched enough, do it again. But once around almost always does the trick.
Miraculously, this even seems to stick after washing (of course, you’re never, ever drying your denim all the way, right?). It really does work wonders.
Let me know if you give this one a try!