Adjustable Elastic Breathable Waist Band (pt. 1/2 - intro)
Elastic waist on almost any garment is better than non-elastic. For two reasons. First one is clear - the garment can be pulled on and off without undoing buttons/zippers/buckles. Second advantage is also obvious - it’s more comfortable when the waist is soft and can give in.
However let me go in some details about the reason of this comfort. Our bellies are soft, there is no bones between ribs and hips. Actually soft abdomen is common among almost all the vertebrates: birds, fishes, armadillos, even snakes, let alone mammals. It seems that soft bellies are universally needed for flexibility. To support them we have a vertically rigid spine and set of strong back muscles. Soft, organ-filled sack resides in abdominal cavity and is topped with core muscles. This kind of assembly is capable of stretching, twisting and compressing in many directions and allows great range of movement between upper and lower body.
Back to waist belts. The very ability of the belly to stretch and compress leads to the lack of dimensional stability in this area, in other words there is actually no fixed waist circumference, therefore if, say, pants fit well when you are standing, it’s likely will feel tighter when you sit down.
The garment’s patterns were, and still largely are, built based on measurements taken form the body in anatomical position, meaning standing upright with arms down. Well, we do spend some time of the day standing upright, but way more often our bodies are found in other positions, predominantly sitting or walking. Clothing for certain professional occupations, where main body position is far from anatomical, do account for that other ’working’ body position and is build accordingly. However regular clothing largely still ignores this.
In my humble opinion almost all the clothing should be build to accommodate most extreme bodily positions that regular people (not gymnasts etc.) can take, like, say, squatting. Wrap measurement tape around your waist (or hips) and squat - by how much you had to relax the tape in order to keep feeling comfortable?? For me it is at least 3-4 cm, you might say that it’s not that much, however in this region there are more forces at play.
Two more body regions and their dynamic dimensions affect how the waist belt of pants behaves: butt and knees. Do the same thing: put measurement tape vertically over the knee or butt while standing, anchor one end of the tape firmly and then squat and see by how much the measured area increased in size. The length increased by about 40% for the knee and 37% for the butt. What does that mean for the waist of the pants? Unless we are talking about one of the extremes: tight fitting pants made of extremely stretchy fabric or pants that are loose all the way down to the ankles, that increase in length across the knee and butt will inevitably result in a strong pull on the pants’ back waist. You know what I’m talking about, pants waist always goes down when you squat.
That means that waist belt of the pants in order to stay being comfortable on your body needs to accommodate increase is size not only of 3 cm, due to soft belly, but about 7-8 cm, with added pull of the fabrics down by the butt and knees (even though the knees are actually pulling on the front of the pants, indirectly they add some pulling tenth back of the garment too by locking the fabric on the front and not allowing it to glide upwards to accommodate the increase of the butt length). And this 7-8 cm are noticeably affecting the range of positions in which you will feel comfortable.
This issue was haunting me for a very long time, I never could wear a pair of mid-rise jeans, they would strangle me when I simply sit. As always the problem led to the search for better waist belts and after many a try I have developed a unique system that solves the main problem and a few secondary ones. And I will share this solution with you, because this system is too good to keep for my own products and it can be applied to any lower body garment.
Let me introduce you to the Adjustable Elastic Breathable Waist Band:
Adjustable - giving 12 cm between minimum and maximum waist measurements of the garment;
Elastic - allows the garment to be pulled on and off;
Breathable - around sides and back it uses elastic cords instead of flat band elastic, which leads to superior breathability and faster drying time;
Plus additional feature of this system is that the elastic cord can be easily replaced, when worn out, with no sewing required.
Read on part 2/2 - https://www.functionalclothinglab.com/post/aebwb-part2
Or if you are ready to dive deep right away - purchase a set of detailed sewing instructions.
Along with it you will get access to a private online whiteboard, where more nerdy details can be found and where you can leave comments with questions about any operation which I'll personally answer to.