Ok…Ok… maybe 2020 wasn’t the best year for fitting into pre global pandemic clothing. With the holiday season right around the corner, let’s just focus on ways to alter pants/trouser/jeans/skirts – which every bottom clothing article you choose. Making them fit again can be as simple as this trick from Beth Huntingon on eHow. This is also a great trick for early pregnancy and post pregnancy clothing fit!

The author is using a material that is made to be hidden, but I say: “If you are going to be giving your bottoms a makeover you may as well go all out!” Use elastic if you think you will need a little more give than jean material will allow. Or use a print with some color for a more bold makeover. Find ways to incorporate the print in other places of your bottoms to pull it all together an an upcycled project.

If you are not ready to make this project yet, save it here on Pinterest:

By Beth Huntington

If your favorite pair of jeans have become too small in the waist, don’t despair and definitely don’t get rid of them. Instead, be a smarty pants and alter the waistband to fit again (even without advanced sewing skills).

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Things You’ll Need

  • Seam ripper
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Piece of matching denim
  • Sewing machine with a 18/110 needle
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Washable marker
  • Pins


materials needed
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

If your denim patch doesn’t match exactly, err on the side of slightly darker than lighter. It’ll be somewhat hidden by the center belt loop, so slightly darker will draw less attention to it.

Let’s get started…

Step 1

Remove the center back belt loop with a seam ripper.

remove belt loop
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 2

cut waistband
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Use a measuring tape to determine the circumference of the waistband on your jeans. Write that number down and save it for later.

Use fabric scissors to cut directly down the center back of your jeans to the back yolk. You can cut down farther if you need more room in the hips as well.

Step 3

cut denim
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Now measure around your waist or hips where the waistband of your jeans sits. Subtract the circumference of the waistband from the circumference of your waist/hip measurement to determine the width of the denim piece you’ll need to insert into your jeans. Then add 1 inch to that number for a seam allowance.

For example, if your waist circumference is 30 inches and your jeans waistband is 28 inches: 30-28=2+1=3. Your denim insertion piece will need to be 3 inches wide.

To determine the length of the denim insertion piece, measure the raw edge of the cut you made in the center back and add 1 inch.

Step 4

If you don’t have a serger to finish the raw edges of your denim piece, simply adjust your sewing machine to be a short stitch length and a long zigzag stitch.

short stitch length
Image Credit: Beth Huntington
wide zigzag
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 5

Sew across the top of the denim piece.

finish edge
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 6

Fold 1/2 inch of the top of the denim piece toward the wrong side of the denim and press.

press top edge
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 7

Topstitch the top edge of the fold.

top stitch top edge
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 8

Place the denim piece under the cut in the back of the jeans and mark the opening onto the insertion piece with a washable marker or tailor’s chalk.

mark the opening
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 9

Cut 1/2 inch away from the marks you made.

Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 10

Finish the raw edges of the insertion piece using the wide zigzag stitch that you used on the top edge.

finish edges
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 11

Pin the denim insertion piece into the opening.

pin denim piece
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 12

Change the thread in your machine to match your jeans and use the same wide zigzag stitch to sew the denim piece into the opening. Go slow and make sure you are catching the raw edge of the jeans. Remove the pins as you sew.

sew denim piece
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Step 13

Change your machine to a narrow zigzag stitch, but keep it on a short stitch length. Use this stitch to reattach the belt loop to the center back of your jeans.

reattach belt loop
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Now you can enjoy your favorite jeans again without having to hold your breath.

before and after
Image Credit: Beth Huntington

Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created www.beginner-sewing.com. An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!

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