Jeans Alterations: How to Take in the Waist

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I bet we've all been here at one time or another; you know, great jeans, but the size is too big! I have to ask: why is it so hard to get jeans that fit the waist? Learning how to tuck in the size of your jeans can improve your comfort and style. Going to a plus size ensures a better fit, avoiding the constant need to readjust (you know, increasing them throughout the day).

This modification can be especially valuable if you've lost weight or if your jeans have stretched over time. My college-aged child struggles to find jeans that fit his thighs, butt, And size, so I always use this technique for her! Plus, modified jeans can breathe new life into your wardrobe by allowing you to reuse ill-fitting pairs, saving you money and reducing fashion waste. So whether you're looking for improved comfort, a slimmer look, or a durable fashion choice, learning that valuable skill of tucking in your jeans' waist is a super sewing skill worth tackling!

There are several ways to size jeans. What I consider the most complicated way is to bring them your seam ripper and remove the waistband, open the back seam and adjust everything to fit. This method has limitations, and it is sometimes tricky to topstitch the back seam to make it look like nothing has happened. The quick and dirty way of pinching the side seams or placing darts on the waistband can work, but it's neither pretty nor the best way to do it.

Alteration of Sadie's waist-cut jeans

The method I'm going to share with you today falls somewhere between these two techniques: it simply involves skipping the stitches only on the back waist of the jeans, inserting evenly spaced darts, and then reattaching the waistband.

I created a video tutorial to show you the process. Give him a watch, grab your seam ripper, your sewing machine, and your ill-fitting jeans, and get to work!

More Must-Have Jeans Alterations

Do you have jeans that have seen better days and you won't be wearing them anymore? Don't throw them away until you check out these awesome jeans recycling ideas!

If you've never sewn jeans, follow Meg's workshop, Demystified jeans. She will guide you on your jeans sewing journey.

Denim is a great textile and jeans are a fashion staple. You can turn old jeans into your favorite pants by learning simple tricks and alteration techniques.

Happy jeans alteration!


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