diy: how to take in jeans at the waist


I posted a while back about taking in pants at the waist. And I had no idea how bad of an epidemic droopy drawers were until over 21,000 people read my post and pinned, and repinned, and repinned a few hundred times.


My first post was how to take in pants from the back of the waistband which worked really well on my work pants. Last week, I decided to try a different method by taking in the waistband from the sides on a pair of jeans  that I once adored with all my heart but could no longer wear for more than an hour because they’d stretch out to the point of me flashing a little cracky every time I bent over which, let’s be real, is really only cute if you’re the Mayor of Buttcrack City. And I’m happy to report that I now have my favorite jeans back and they cling to my bunzos like a koala on a tree.

Disclaimer: By day, I am a computer technician. By night, I am a mom with a glass of wine and a sewing machine. A seamstress I am not. But I do love salvaging a good pair of pants and this worked perfectly.


Things you’ll need:


And go!

1. Turn your jeans inside out

2. Put them on, then figure out how to button them from the inside. ‘Tis an art, I tell ya.

3. Pinch the waistband at both sides to get a feel for how much you’ll be taking in (I made mine pretty snug and took in about an inch on each side)

4. Start pinning down one side with straight pins, trying not to pin your finger to the pants (if you do, it makes it very difficult to move on to the other side). Repeat on the other side. I actually ended up pinning from my waist down to about mid-thigh, tapering out slowly so my last pin ended up on the existing seam (I could have gone all the way to my knee but I like these jeans a little looser, more like a boyfriend cut). Long story short, your pins should look like this:


5. Laugh at how ridiculous you look with your new hip flaps.


6. Shimmy your way out of the jeans trying not to pull too hard for fear of the pins popping out and stabbing you in the thigh. Or so I’ve heard.

7. With your jeans still inside out, sew along your pinned line. These were my machine settings for a nice, tight straight stitch (pictures like these always help me with sewing tutorials):

machine settings1

Don’t forget to backstitch (reverse back over your stitches) at the beginning and end to make sure your thread doesn’t come undone later. I may have overcompensated but I backstitched about 4 times juuuuuuuuuuust in case.

8. Unlike with my first tutorial, I didn’t cut out the excess fabric when I was finished because they were comfortable as-is, plus you then have the option to take them back out down the road if needed. But if you wanted to, you could always cut out the excess (try them on first to make sure they look ok after sewing) or fold and sew the end of the excess fabric down so it lays flat on the inside when you’re wearing them.

excess fabric

9. Turn them right side out and put them on. As you can see my seams don’t line up perfectly but unless someone is literally trying to smell my hip bone, I don’t think they’d notice.


10. Give yourself a high five for saving the money you would have spent on a new pair of jeans!





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16 responses to “diy: how to take in jeans at the waist

  1. Pingback: diy: how to take in pants at the waist | rabit stew

  2. Mina

    you are so skilled! i would not attempt this i just want to mention that many women reading this are going to look in amazement at your post-baby body! hot mama!

  3. Logged in now, trying again.

    I totally just did this to a pair of $1 jeans from the thrift store. So easy! Thank you for helping me find the courage to just try– it might turn out Wonderful. ❤

  4. Michelle K

    I just got a pair of jeans on clearance for $6. The only kicker is that they aren’t my usual size…………they’re bigger at the waist! I love the brand and the look of them so I thought I’d try taking them in. Thanks for this post! I think I”ll give it a try!

  5. Carrie

    Just used this tutorial to take in a pair of jeans at the waist (like, five minutes ago) and can confirm that IT WORKS. And it really was easy.

    I had a lot of trouble pinning the waistband while wearing the jeans — the material was very thick and I guess my pins weren’t quite long enough. So I took a piece of chalk and just marked where I was pinching, then pinned it after I took the jeans off. Still bent several straight pins, but oh well, pins are cheap. (I tried to put on the inside-out pinned jeans to double-check the fit before sewing, but that just made half the pins bend and pop out.)

    I used my biggest, thickest denim needle (110/19) and was able to sew the doubled waistband with no problem, though the machine did slow down some. (I have a Janome 11590/Kenmore 16231, which is not super expensive, but it’s also a reasonably strong machine. I’m not sure how a less-strong machine would cope.)

    I worried that my chalk marking wasn’t very precise, but when I tried the jeans on after sewing them, they fit well. So you don’t have to do this with NASA levels of precision. Anyway, if they don’t fit right after you sew them, you can always just rip out the new seam and try again.

    Just a note of warning: On my jeans, there were rivets at the corners of the side pockets, close to the original side seam. Luckily, I needed to take in enough that the new seam ran just outside of the rivets. Otherwise, I’m not sure what I would have done — you can’t remove a rivet and put it back, and you can’t sew over it.

    However, even with all those caveats, this was really easy even for someone like me, who is very far from an experienced seamstress. I’m going to do it for all my jeans.

  6. Easy peasy! There’s a sale for $15 jeans at H&M and I didn’t want to turn away from that sale. I’m 7 months post baby and am still losing my weight. I’ll buy them at my current size and take them is as needed over time! Thank you!

  7. Pingback: New clothes without breaking the bank | Little Victory Dance

  8. Lol, my jeans were so loose, I didn’t have to figure out how to button them inside out. I just zipped ’em up, buttoned them, turned them inside-out, and pulled them on. I can’t even blame it on my babies — that was almost 9 years ago!

  9. this is amazing and so clearly explained. I ahve a sewing machine and some gorgeous soft jeans, so not hard denim, and they are a perfect fit apart from my waist 😦 Im going to do this as soon as i get home this evening, thank you so much! x

  10. Amy

    Awesome just did 4 pairs of jeans that were falling off my butt!

  11. Reblogged this on historyfantasyfiction and commented:
    I really needed this in my life right now. Maybe you do too.

  12. v Alison

    Thank you for your funny but helpful tutes…
    Sometimes we just need a bit of a confidence boost to get round to these long awaited jobs. Just bought a pair of too big trousers off the bargain rail, and about to get the machine up and running. Keep doing these tutorials and making us smile our way into action.

  13. Can I just say that obviously this is only going to work on jeans that don’t have that dreaded double stitched flat seam on the outside of the legs 😦

  14. Tracy

    Thank you so much for this! You’re awesome!

  15. Corazon Perez

    You made it sooo easy cause you explained the process in detailed. Thanks!

  16. Jill

    Help with changing high waist pants to mid rise waist…Is there a solution?

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