diy: how to take in pants at the waist


One problem with going back to work 12 weeks (13 in my case because I streeeeeeeeetched it as far as I possibly could) after baby was born was my ill-fitting old work clothes on my new momma shape. I got away with wearing yoga pants the last 11 months of my pregnancy (tee hee) because seriously, are you gonna tell a pregnant woman that what she’s wearing is too casual / too comfy / inappropriate for the office? Didn’t think so. So while I got away with them before my leave, I was pretty sure I’d be called out if I tried to sneak into the office wearing elastic pants upon my return. And while I still had my trusty pair of basic black work pants that were hemmed with safety pins and threadbare in the butt because I’d been wearing them for the last 6 years, I figured it was maybe just maybe time for a new pair for my new body. So I went out and I bought myself 3 pairs of pants that fit me.

Four months ago.

And now, while I’m very happy to report that they’re all slightly too big because I’ve dropped the last of the baby weight since then, I unfortunately find myself every morning not deciding which pair of pants look the best but rather which ones look the least bad. And the last thing I wanted to do was go out and buy more pants when I had these 3 pairs that had barely been worn, so I decided to try my hand at altering. And it totally worked. This works best on thinner pants like dress pants, yoga pants, etc. And it was super easy. Promise. (for my tutorial on how to take in jeans at the waist, click here)

P.S. I am a hairstylist. I am an office worker. I am not a seamstress.


1) If there is a tag and/or belt loop in the center back of the waistband, remove it/them using a seam ripper, cuticle scissors, or if you can’t find anything sharp you could just, you know, gnaw them off with your teeth.

2) Put on your pants inside out and zip any zippers, button any buttons. Have fun with that.

3) Give yourself a reach around and, starting down by your nether regions and working your way up, pinch the excess fabric at the seam that runs up along your booty and pin, pin, pin. Place straight pins all the way up the seam to the top of the waistband.

Be careful not to pin your underwear to your pants like I did or else you’ll have a hell of a time with the next step.

4) Close the blinds, then carefully take your pants off, trying not to disturb the straight pins.

5) Lay the pants flat, still inside-out, folded at the butt seam and if necessary, reposition any of your pins that you may have put in a little cockeyed when you stabbed yourself in the butt crack.

What, just me?

5) With the pants still inside-out, use a basic straight stitch and sew along your pinned line starting at the crotch and working your way up to the waist.

6) I actually went back over my entire stitched line again for a second time because I’d rather not find out the hard way if one stitch line is strong enough for the seat of a pair of pants, especially at work. Seriously, these people see enough of my underroos when I forget to zip up my fly.

7) Try on the pants the right way to check the fit.

8 – optional but a lot more comfortable than having a bunch of fabric all smooshed up in your bum) If everything fits well, cut the excess fabric off on the inside.

9) Reattach your belt loop if you had one; reattaching tags isn’t necessary.

View from the inside:

View from the outside:

Tada! I’m happy to report that I took about 1 1/2″ off of 2 different pairs, taking them in probably about one size each, and they both fit very well again.


  • I ended up letting the hem out a little on the legs after altering the waist/butt because even though I didn’t take in a ton, bringing the seat in actually made the legs a little shorter. I like my pants long enough to trip myself and the guy behind me.
  • The pants pictured are from Sears, I think they’re Stooshy brand and I’m pretty sure they’re these in charcoal but I’m not positive because you know, I took the darn tag off.
  • I’m not sure how much you could actually take in pants before they start to look weird or the butt pockets get frighteningly close together, so if a lot needs to go I would probably try taking equal amounts from each side instead of the back.
  • I don’t think I would recommend this with jeans given the bulky material and the different stitching necessary, though I haven’t tried to know for sure.

Happy altering!

My other pants post: How to take in jeans at the waist



Filed under DIY

35 responses to “diy: how to take in pants at the waist

  1. I love this, it’s such a great idea! Definitely bookmarking this! 🙂

  2. Awesome work, and I could totally use this tutorial! Thanks!

  3. Mandy S

    Totally just bookmarked, hoping that I will be able to take in some of my dress pants soon!

  4. Mandy S

    Oh, and I really hope you do jeans soon, I really want to know if this will work the same way with them

  5. so cool! although i completely lost you on the straight stitch or whatever it was called. actually the seam ripper did me in, if we’re being honest here. and hooray for losing the baby weight–how awesome!

  6. Love this! I’ve got some pants that are a little roomy from the 20 I dropped this summer (or 15 if you are counting the 5 I gained back… I like 20 better) YAY for losing the baby weight!

  7. Congrats on dropping that baby weight! I am continually in awe of how awesome you look. Great tutorial if I ever get the courage to buy a sewing machine (which…i totally will…but not now since I’m in spain and the plugs would be weird and I couldn’t bring it back to the states and…i’m out of excuses).

  8. Congrats on losing the baby weight so fast! I love this tutorial and I love how brave you are for trying this!

  9. KKgirl

    Does the new seam in the waistband bother you? It looks like it would be scratchy or annoying.

    • Actually not at all. I cut the excess fabric off pretty close to the new seam so the part that looks like it could be annoying is just a little bit of fabric that I don’t notice at all when I’m wearing them.

  10. Manda

    Love this! It was super easy to follow and the pictures are perfect! Bravo to you 🙂

  11. Betty

    Thank you for making this so effortless. I won’t be making any more trips to the alteration shop for a simple waistline modification.

  12. Rdhdstpchld

    LOVE the tutorial and sense of humor!! I have a 12yr old stick skinny boy who needs the 12 length (well, sort of, hemming isn’t hard tho) but the waist is a good 1.5″ too big — used your technique and he thinks I’m the shiznet! Also, because I’m a mom, with resources at hand, I used a white crayon to mark the stich line where I planned to go. It’s the inside, after all, and they’re washable!!

  13. Stephanie

    I never laughed so much! Your tutorial is great and I’m sure it will be as much fun to alter my pants than it was to read your tutorial!

  14. Shaun K

    You’re hilarious and have instructions that are easy to follow… Win Win Win! Thanks a million!

  15. Elaine

    Never thought googling adjusting pants from waist to seat would be so amusing. Thanks for making my reading hilarious. I will definately be trying this asap.

  16. Thanks for the good idea – I just did this with a pair of shorts, and they fit SO much better now! I cut off the excess to leave a seam allowance of about 1/2″ and zig-zag stitched the raw edge so it wouldn’t unravel. Then I ironed the seam allowance to the side and did a line of topstitching 1/8″ from the seam to hold the seam allowance to the side. I used the same color of thread as the original, and it looks great on the outside!
    Thanks again for the tutorial!

  17. melissa

    Exactly what I was looking for after just losing some weight. Great tutorial, and love the humor. Thank you for adding the bit about the length, I was wondering about that. Thanks again:)

  18. Can’t wait to try this on a couple of my work pants. Love your writing style too 🙂

  19. Wendy

    I don’t know which I enjoyed most; your humorous approach or easy to understand instructions!

  20. J

    This is great thanks. In my experience if the pants have a thick waistband you can remove the band – alter it separately – and then sew it back on the top after you alter the ‘seat’.

  21. Thanks for the DIY! I just tried this on my a pair of colored denim and it worked great! Though it was kind of thick at the waistband, I just made sure to go carefully at that part, and used a needle for heavyweight fabric!

  22. Pingback: diy: how to take in jeans at the waist | rabit stew

  23. Blair

    Hey! Great tutorial! Just another quick tip: Once you’ve cut the excess, do a zigzag stitch on the edge of the fabric. It’ll prevent it from fraying, and most likely make the seam more comfortable!

  24. Jessica

    Thank you! Your tutorial just saved me $ for alterations and saved my favorite pants from Goodwill! Have lost an inch in waist due to preparing for my black belt in taekwondo and unfortunately that belt can’t be worn to hold up my pants! Super easy to follow and I am by no means a seamstress! Took me about 20 min from start to finish and I took your advice and cut excess fabric and triple sewed the seam (I am a high school teacher..don’t want any embarrassing moments in front of teens!). Thank you again!

  25. there is also a liquid at most walmart’s and craft stores for those without a machine that stop’s fray’s i believe it’s like 7$ i used it before i got a machine that zig zagged it will save some headache

  26. Pat

    I laughed out loud, enjoying this tutorial so much. And with that being said, you totally rock!

  27. Gwen

    can I make A size50x30men slacks into a size 32×30. How

  28. Pingback: At The Waist Jeans For Women | Insurance

  29. Mick

    Ok I’m a guy – geologist at that – and this really helped. Best I’ve read.

  30. Rochelle

    Thanks for this. I’m very new to sewing, but now I want to sew and fix all the things. I love your sense of humor. Definitely saving your blog.

  31. Sam

    Love your instructions. I’ve been sewing quite a while but haven’t yet taken in any trousers and your post made me chuckle and want to get straight on with it. I shall whip off the ones I’m wearing right now (the crotch is keeping my knees company because the waist is so loose).

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