Make Jeans Waist Smaller
Bringing in the waistline on loose-fitting jeans
If the waistline on your jeans is too big you can alter them to fit you better by following these simple instructions.
If you have the good fortune to have an hourglass figure with your waist considerably smaller than your hips, you may have trouble finding jeans that fit as well as you would like. Do not despair, however. The situation can be corrected. To bring in the waistline on your loose-fitting jeans you will need:
- Large safety pins
- Regular sewing pins
- A measuring tape
- Tailor's chalk or other fabric marking tools
- A sewing machine that can handle multiple layers of heavy fabric
If you don't know how to sew, or your sewing machine isn't strong enough to sew through several layers of denim, don't despair. Many dry cleaners offer a tailoring service that can do the actual sewing for you after you have made the measurements yourself. Shoe and leather goods repair shops also have heavy-duty sewing machines and may be willing to do the actual sewing for you for a small fee. The important thing is to take accurate measurements and fit the pants properly to your figure.
The alterations you will be making are called darts. Darts are triangular tucks that are wide at one end and tapered at the other. Your darts will be wide enough at the waistband to take up all the extra looseness in your waist band, and they will taper downward toward your hips, ending at the place where the pants fit you properly. The length of your darts will depend on the shape of your hips. If you have high, square hips your darts will taper sharply, whereas if you have a long gently sloping hip line, they will taper more gradually.
Start by putting the pants on inside out. It's a little challenging to zip them up inside out, but you'll get a much better fit if you can put the measurements on the inside where they will actually be sewn. Take two big pinches of fabric out of the waistband. The waistband should feel as tight as you want it to be.
Mark these pinches with safety pins. You can use regular sewing pins, but they tend to work their way out, and they are more likely to bend. I prefer safety pins. Be careful inserting the pins so you don't poke yourself. These marks tell you how much smaller you need to make the waistband.
Next mark the point on your hips where the jeans fit properly. This point may be different in the front than in the back, so measure both front and back about 3 inches out from the fly or the center seam. Place a pin horizontally at this point. These pins mark the bottom of your darts.
Now take the jeans off. Measure the amount of fabric taken up by the pinches, making sure you include the area where the pin is in your measurements. Add the total number of inches in both pinches together. This is the total amount of material you need to take out of your waistband. Because jeans are designed with rivets in the side seams at the top outside edge of the pockets, you can't take the extra fabric out of the side seams where you measured them. You might ruin your sewing machine if the needle hit the rivets.
Instead you will take the extra material out of the center of each of the back and front sides. If you only have a couple of inches to take out of the waistband and your stomach is very flat, you may be able to make two darts in the back that take out all the extra material. Or you may want to have two darts in the front and two in the back. The two front darts will lie in the area above the jean pockets. Divide the total measurement reduction by two for two back darts, or by four for darts on the front and the back.
Mark the darts placement on the inside of your jeans using tailor's chalk or a washable fabric pen. Do this by drawing a straight line down the middle of where the dart will be and dividing the total amount of fabric to be taken up by each dart in half. Measure out from your centerline this amount, and draw two sloping lines that meet at the place where the pants already fit properly. These triangles show you where your darts should go. Using sewing pins, fold the triangles in half along the centerline and pin in place. If you wish, you can safety pin these darts in place and check for fit again. Adjust the fit if necessary. Now sew your darts in, and clip the extra threads. You're done, and your pants should fit perfectly.