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How to Tailor Jeans Waist – Best Way

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Do you have big jeans that need to be altered in the waist? Whether you have brand new pair of jeans, transforming old jeans or lost weight, tailoring jeans length or waist is crucial step to get the best fit. 

Nobody appreciates when the waist of their jeans no longer fits properly. Adjusting the fit is the easiest way to revive clothes by yourself at home without needing professional help. 

How do you tailor jeans waist? Wash your jeans before tailoring to eliminate shrinkage and help to get an accurate fit. Remove any belt loop at center back of jeans waist. 

Try the jeans on and pin the true waist and thread baste the new waist opening. Cut out the excessive fabric and use sewing machine to sew up the new center back seam.

By creating a narrow waist opening, you will also need to remove the same amount on the hip part and smooth out the center back seam of the jeans. It will help the overall fit of waist and hips to fit correctly. 

If the waist is too loose, opt for a belt, but that will be a temporary solution. Having your waist tailored is a better route. 

Getting your jeans taken in by a tailor is a delicate and expensive process. Also, there is more room for error since jeans are not made with waists that you can alter very quickly.

It is easy to cut jeans waist, but you can’t put any length back once they have been taken in, so ensure that your jeans waist is too big before beginning the process. Both the belt loop and center seam are simultaneous, which needs an experienced hand to undo, cut, and sew denim back correctly. 

However, if it’s done properly, the center back seam will appear the same, and the cut done at the waistband will be covered by the belt loop. 

In this article, we are going to share sewing tips for the best way to make your jeans waist smaller and fit your perfectly. Answered below are frequently asked questions about altering the waist on your jeans so that you can achieve a perfect fit with a professional looking finish.

Can I Alter Waist of My Jeans?

Yes, if your jeans waist is too big and there is a gap in the back of the waist, consider altering to get a perfect fit with a natural look. Depending on your sewing skills, there are various ways to adjust the waist on your jeans. 

Here are ways to take in the waist of a pair of jeans:

  • Use ¾” width elastic band to slide through the waistband to snug the waist opening to fit.
  • Add the length of the darts on both sides and do some alterations to the waistband. This method helps to shape the hip curve and works well with high waisted jeans.
  • Consider altering the waist on the back seam when adjusting jeans waist to get the best results, similar to the original look.
  • Take in on both side seams to adjust the waist and hip measurement.
  • For any smaller gap around the waist, use shoe lace to weave through the belt loops on both side. Pull the string tightly to fit around the waist and tie them together at center back. Tuck n the string inside of the jeans for a discrete perfect fit.

From sewing to non-sewing, there are variety of method to alter the waist of denim jeans. Select the most comfortable way to take in the waist on your jeans. 

Be aware, some cutting and sewing method may not increase waist later on. These become permanent modifications that are impossible to undue.

How Can I Make My Jeans Waist Smaller

For most people, jeans usually fit in the leg and hip area, but the waist tends to be too large or shows a gap when worn. Sometimes, using a belt may not help if you have too much room around the waist. 

However, you can tailor the core to fit you perfectly using the side seam waist altering method.

Wear your jeans and pin them at the waist the way you want them to fit you in the end. Ensure you pinch an equal amount on either side, then pin your jeans while wearing them inside out.

Measure the amount you pinched on either side of your waist and unpick the seam down from the waistband.

Mark the new side seam with a pen while turning your jeans inside out. Ensure the metal studs are not directly on your stitching line because you can’t sew over them, and may not be able to remove them easily without the right tools.

After you are satisfied with the new line, add a little seam allowance about ½” or ⅜” (1.27 or 0.95cm) and get rid of excess material on both sides of the jeans.

Overlock the raw edges, then pin the seams on the side, sew with a straight stitch and press to set the stitches in place. Try on your jeans and check if the fit is perfect while keeping the waistband loose.

If you are happy with the fitting, finish the waistband. Simply unfold your unpicked waistband and put it together rights side facing each other. 

Ensure to make the raw edges line up and the waistband top match while pinning. 

Make a line using a fabric pen where you want to pass your stitching line. Unpick the belt loops and sew them back together.

Tips to Tailor Jeans Waist

It’s pretty challenging to find a pair of jeans that fits you perfectly. 

Tailoring jeans waist is lot easier to alter around the hip area. No matter what sewing level you are currently, here are my best tips to guide you on your jeans alteration journey to nail the fitting for the waist opening.

  • Know your exact body measurements, carry a measuring tape when shopping, or try your jeans in the dressing room. This will help you understand the specific places that need to be adjusted.
  • Always buy clothes that fit your most expansive area. Avoid buying clothes that work well at the waist but are too tight for your hips or thighs. For example, make sure the jeans fit your hips as you can easily adjust waist opening, but highs and thighs are challenging.
  • Use old jeans to experiment until you are more comfortable to adjust a new pair to avoid damaging them.
  • Test before cutting your jeans. Consider measuring and previewing your jeans before cutting. Then, try the jeans before getting rid of excess fabric to ensure the adjustments are correct.
  • Consider using the correct thread color when sewing, since the thread should blend well into the material. For example, use a blue line to adjust blue jeans. Selecting the right color thread will ensure your adjustments are more discrete.

Best Way to Tailor Jeans Waist

If you are looking to tailor jeans waist without elastic or hand sewing method, then consider altering the jeans by adjusting the back of the jeans waistband. This method is the most efficient and widely used among sewers and beginner tailors. 

Here are step by step instructions to tailor jeans waist to fit you properly:

Pinning at Your Jeans Waist

Start by carefully removing the belt loop at the center back of your jeans. Then, set it aside because you will need to replace it after adjusting.

Flip the jeans inside out so the seam allowances are facing outside. Put on your jeans and pinch the waist to pin with regular or safety pins, indicating how much width you need to remove. 

Pin them and ensure you don’t lose any pins while getting them off. Then, mark it using thread. 

To avoid making the waist too tight, move the jeans around your waist and try sitting down before pinning.

Thread Baste Alteration

With the help of a contrasting thread, trace the amount you want to cut from the waist of your jeans using a hand baste stitch. 

Usually, this is a wedge occupying 3-4 inches down the middle back seam. However, adjustments vary depending on how much length you are removing from the waistline.

Measuring Adjustment Amount

Fold the back of your jeans at the center mark, then measure how much you are removing from either side of the middle back waist.

Unstitch and Cut the Waistband At The Center

Take out the topstitching to acquire the actual seam of the center back and then press it flat, away from the cloth. 

Undo the topstitching around 2-3 inches below the lower part where the wedge is marked. This will help you acquire more room to make a tapering line that joins with the original seam stitching. 

When matching the thread trace lines on either side of the seam, sew up the new middle back seam. Now, cut the waistband at the center back.

Check the rest of the topstitching and adjust your stitching length before redoing the topstitch at the middle back.

Adjust Waistband Size

Follow the measurement of the jeans, the amount you are taking in to apply to the waistband. 

Trim the center back waistband seam and sew along the seam allowance. Press seam open, sandwich the jeans into waistband and pin.

Double topstitch to reattach the jeans yoke to the waistband. Replace the belt loop at the center back that you previously removed.

When taking in the inseam on the center back, make sure to pin as far down as the widest part of the jeans or hip area. The further you pin down, the altered new seam line is unnoticeable and the seams transition from original to new thread becomes flawless.

How to tailor jeans waist

Altering Jeans Waist: Final Thoughts

Finding a pair of jeans that will perfectly fit your body can be challenging. Even through design, color, and fit is exactly what you are looking for, but they may hold your hips while leaving space or gap at the waistline. 

However, these minor issue can be tailored to fit you perfectly. Altering your jeans waist requires you to take precautions and remain more careful since proper technique and steps are required. 

There are various sewing or non-sewing methods to make your jeans waist smaller. Taking in along the center back or side seam are common, but so is inserting an elastic band or using shoe lace to eliminate the gap, the choice is up to your sewing skills and confidence level.

The best way to tailor jeans waist is by taking it in the center back of the pants. It is most efficient and correct way to adjust the fit for the longterm.

Wash your jeans and try them on flipped inside out. Pinch the center back around the waist to find out how much to take in. 

Try to sit down and do a few full body motions to ensure the amount to remove is comfortable for you.

Use hand baste to indicate the amount to cutout equally on both sides of the center back. Remove the belt loop and take out the center back seam with seam ripper to create the new stitch line.

Try them on to evaluate the fit to make sure it is perfect, then continue to adjust the waistband corresponding to the jeans. Reattach the waistband and the belt loops to finish tailoring jeans waist to make them fit like a glove.

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