Trousers Waistband Stretcher

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About: When I was a boy, I was amazed how my grandfather could make flotsam and jetsam into useful things. I am proud that I have inherited some of his skill.

Pants too tight? Here's help.

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Step 1: My Problem...

... is that over the last several years, the waistbands on my trousers have inexplicably gotten tighter. I guess they don't make material like they used to.

At any rate, once I had determined the problem, the solution was simple: stretch the waistbands. I had two or three thoughts, but the best one proved to be the simplest - make a waistband stretcher. I don't know if such a thing existed to begin with but it does now.

The heart of my Instructable - indeed the whole thing - is a '24" Ratcheting Bar Clamp / Spreader from Harbor Freight, which cost me about five bucks.

Step 2: A Slight Modification

Once you have obtained your clamp, you need to grind off the little dimple that keeps the moving clamp assembly from falling off the bar.

(jmhjr had a better idea than grinding off the metal dimple. See comments)

Step 3: Turn Things Around

The stationary part of the clamp is held in place by a bolt (with a plastic wing) and a nut. That's the part to the left in the photo. Just undo the bolt, reverse everything, and put it back together.

Next, while holding the spring release in, remove the moving assembly, turn it around, and put it back on the bar. I am not sure what will happen if you let the spring release go, but I didn't want to take a chance on having springs flying all over the place. I didn't have any problem.

I painted the ground portion of the bar, which I think is a good idea as there is a possibility of it rusting otherwise.

Step 4: Put It to Use

Find a pair of pants - jeans work well because of the strong button - and wet the waistband. Zip up the zipper, button the button, and insert the stretcher as shown. Squeeze the handle until the waistband is quite tight, but not so tight you pop the button (dress pants might be inclined to lose buttons because they aren't as firmly attached.) As they dry, they will stretch the fabric and give you a little breathing room.

In practice, I have been able to stretch jeans that I couldn't button to where I had no problem doing it.

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    8 Discussions

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    zipties

    1 year ago

    what a great, simple idea! I am going to make one this week. Only change is, I may take off the plastic jaw bumpers and replace with wood or metal pieces, 2-3 inches long, that will fit on the jaw spot. I think it will make a larger area for the stretching.

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    RangerJ

    2 years ago

    I didn't realize when I published this Instructable that Dustin Rogers had published a similar one. Sorry about that, but mine is different. He was right about using a safety pin to reinforce the waistband button.

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    RangerJRangerJ

    Reply 1 year ago

    BTW, I am still using my pants stretcher, after nearly a year. I always use it with jeans, and have resurrected some dress pants, too.

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    Bruce Dana

    1 year ago

    I have used an old bumper jack as a waist band stretcher with great results too.

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    flstc99

    2 years ago

    I wear size 36 and have to stretch them. Followed above and it works. I've maxed out the ability to stretch because of the little nibs. Might have to grind off to get that last final 1/2 inch.

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    jmhjr

    2 years ago

    Great idea for stretching out pants! But instead of taking off the dimple and ruining a good Clamp, just take off the nut on the non-sliding side of the Clamp first. Then slide it, and then the movable Clamp off that same side, reverse them and slide them both back on. This way you do not have to damage the Clamp and you can use it as a stretcher or Clamp and not have to worry about the movable side ever coming off or taking the extra step of painting it so it doesn't rust. Again, great use of the Clamp!

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    RangerJjmhjr

    Reply 2 years ago

    Wish I'd thought of that. Thanks.

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    rafununu

    2 years ago

    Sure this is easier than running 20km per day, eating only vegetables or chicken without grease, forgetting salt and sugar for half a year. I'll definitely adopt this !

    Similar things exist or shoes but are more complex cos acting in two directions.