February 26, 2012

A good deed

In the past few months, I've made no less than four pairs of these:

I know the photograph is horribly over-lit which makes this pair of trousers look a bit nasty, but bear with me please.
These are for my mother. (And I haven't posted about this before out of respect for her privacy. However she insisted I'd get the word about these trousers, as a good option for anyone dealing with similar issues, out on the internet.)
She's had hip replacement surgery about three years ago. A style of implant which can handle more activity than the more usual style. Perfect for the active fifty-something lady she is.
That was then. Unfortunately, this is a 'metal in metal' implant which, through use, sort of grinds itself down, releasing cobalt metal in the host's bloodstream. This causes swelling around the implant.
Obviously, she is seeing all the appropriate medical professionals and she's already booked for another round of surgery. However, that still left her having to walk around with swolen hips, abdomen and lower back for several months. Which happened to be the only department where a loving daughter could be of any real help. She asked me for trouser which could be adapted to the swelling. She was thinking about buttonhole elastic at first, but I talked her out of that. Elastic waistbands still create a pressure line which has to be unpleasant with swelling on one's lower back. Instead, I made trousers with a wide waistband made out of jersey.

What I did is very simple indeed and could work well or be adapted for anyone with any kind of size and shape issues (in fact, I've made this kind of waistband once before: for a pregnant friend. only then, I used a much higher piece of rib knit).

I drafted a pair of straight legged trousers to her current hip measurement. Of course, you could also use an existing pattern. Summer issues of Burda often include wide legged styles like this.
Take off all detail like the fly extention and pockets.

Then, take a bit off the top. The trousers I drafted were fitted to the natural waist and I took off 10 cm. Extend the legline upwards, making what is now the top of the pattern piece as wide as the hipline. Do this at front and back.
For the waistband, use the subject's current waist measurement and cut a waistband out of solid but stretchy jersey which is 10% smaller than that and 20 cm high, plus seam allowances. If you're using rib knit, go for about 20% smaller to compensate for the greater stretch of the material.

For the legs, I bought woven fabric with stretch. In fact, with so much stretch that I would never by it for anything for myself. That was a good choice, because the swelling actually keeps increasing slowly.
To sew the trousers, assemble the legs as usual, and sew the short end of the waistband together. Then you fold the waistband in half wrong sides together and pin it to the trousers, equaly distributing the excess fabric. Sew it on while stretching the waistband to fit the top of the trousers.

My mother is quite pleased with these. In fact, they're the only bottoms she is wearing at the moment and as long as she wears them with long-ish tops, a lot of people don't even notice anything wrong.
I'm posting this in the hope that it might help anyone struggling with different-but-similar issues (and I guess this method would also make very comfortable trousers for lounging about). So please, feel free to spread the word and if anything isn't clear, just ask.


  1. What a great solution. I hope you're mum is feeling much better very soon.

  2. Very nice of you to make these for your mom. Also a good tutorial for yoga/lounge pants, so they can be double duty. Thank your mom for being willing to let you share that online! I hope she feels better soon!

  3. Thanks for this post. It's very useful to know and it will certainly be of use for others. Well done Lauriana.

  4. Great solution for your mum's problem. Lovely pants. Hope your mum is feeling better soon.

  5. What a good deed for all, especially to your mum! I hope that her doctors help her recover quickly.

  6. I made a skirt waistband similar to this out of an old t-shirt. It seems to work pretty well.

  7. Great idea, thanks for the drafting tips. I'm sorry your mom's implant went bad and hope she can find help soon. Chronic pain is no fun.

  8. These trousers are pretty cool, and look super comfortable - I find elastic waistbands uncomfortable, so god knows what it would feel like if you had inflammation in the area too. This is a great solution and thanks for the clear drafting explanation.

    I hope your mum's hip is sorted out as quickly as possible and she recovers well - I have a lot of sympathy for you and your family: my mum has had both hips replaced and a hip revision in the last three years, at quite a young age (mid-60s), and we're currently trying to confirm whether or not any of them were the metal on metal ones. All the best to your mum.

  9. I am the mum. It feels good that I can wear the trousers of Aicha. They fit me well and it looks good. So, thank you my daugther for making them. I hope that others can be helped with the pattern too.