comment 0

Inch-Master: The shame and the glory

My name is Stephen Pierce and I use the Inch-Master.

God, it feels good to say that out loud.

For the uninitiated, the Inch-Master is not (as you might reasonably assume) some form of penile vacuum (if anything I need a reduction, etc… etc…) but rather a waistband stretcher. An appliance for coaxing trousers that are too tight into something you can tolerate sitting down in.

The thing is, by any reasonable measure, I’m not a fat man. Hardly what you’d call lithe, but miles from obese. When the breeze catches my t-shirt you can see I’m no stranger to a Battenberg, but equally I’m in no danger of having to buy two seats in Economy. I reckon I’m sort of typical(ish).

So why am I soaking the waist of my new Studio Nicholson jeans and throttling them with a contraption a Witchfinder might use to extract confessions?

Let’s start at the start. I bought these jeans.

I’d wanted them for a while, but (and I knew this going in) Studio Nicholson’s trouser sizing is a little uncharitable and this style only goes up to a large. Their extra larges I can live with, but a large in stiff raw denim was always going to be a challenge.

Enter the Inch-Master.

As you can see, the device is fairly straightforward. The thumbscrew looking bit at the bottom: that’s where you clamp the front of your (pre-dampened) trousers; you can button your fly over that bar in the middle. Once secure there won’t be any potentially perilous pressure applied to your top button.

The back of the trouser fits over that crescent moon shaped part at the top. Then in true Henry James style, thus begins the turning of the screw.

As you twist the green handle in the middle, you’ll hear your trousers creak and moan, this is to be expected. But, and it’s a big BUT, don’t over do it. Raw denim with its tough stitching will take more pressure than a pair of linen trousers  — it’s a game of skill and judgement. The key is to consider the process episodic. Dampen, stretch, leave to dry… dampen, stretch, leave to dry… repeat until your mammoth gut is comfortably accommodated.

What you don’t do, and what I did repeatedly, is leave your jeans to dry in the hot sun. I hung mine on a tree in the garden like an idiot. Stupid in two ways. Firstly my neighbours could plainly see I was Inch-Mastering my trousers, which on balance, probably isn’t that cool. And secondly, heat makes the fibres contract again. I kept trying them on after a stretching session wondering why I was still a fat pig. I now know the garment must dry slowly at room temperature to enable the expansion to take.

As you can hopefully see from the pictures the great Inch-Master experiment of Spring 2021 has been a success. I can now wear these jeans without feeling like my spine’s going to snap.

Now, let’s never speak of this again.

Leave a Reply