How to Reduce the Waist Size of Pants or Jeans? Update 06/2022

If your hips and waist don’t fit into the same pair of pants, it may quickly turn into a frustrating experience while shopping for jeans or formal pants. You don’t have to give up on a pair of jeans that fit your legs and hips perfectly but sag a little at the waist if you find them! Make the waist of your jeans smaller with a few simple actions, and you’ll be able to wear whatever pair of pants you want.

At the center back or both side seams, you can reduce the waistline by sewing a dart. If you don’t want to sew, there are ways to make pants smaller at the waist, such as using safety pins or folding. Using a jeans button pin or purchasing a clip-in elastic strip are two simple ways to make pants smaller around the waist.

With the help of this guide, you’ll discover 12 tried-and-true methods for reducing the size of your pants’ waistband. In addition, you’ll learn how to hem jeans without stitching. In the end, you’ll learn how to identify the ideal waist size for your body type.

How To Make Jeans Waist Smaller

Can You Alter the Waist Size on Pants?

Safety pins can be used to temporarily modify the waist size of pants. A relatively popular change is to reduce the waist size of pants by one or two sizes. The generic sizes of ready-to-wear apparel do not fit everyone’s legs, hips, and waist perfectly!

That being said, the variety of pants on the market can be overwhelming. Some people are more adaptable than others.

Your sewing machine may not be able to handle sewing through layers of denim cloth to change your pants, for example. You can possibly fix the problem by placing a smaller piece of elastic into your pants’ drawstring or elastic waistband, on the other hand.

Most tailors can alter your waist in a matter of hours. Depending on the size and complexity of the pants, professional tailors charge anywhere from $10 to $45 for this type of adjustment.

There are, of course, a dozen ways to accomplish this size change on your own if you choose.

How to Make Pants or Jeans Waist Smaller: 12 Methods

How to Make Pants Waist Smaller

There are twelve simple ways to reduce the size of the waistband on your pants or jeans. For others, you’ll need additional resources. There are some quick solutions and hacks at the bottom of this post if time is of the essence if you don’t have a lot of resources.

First, you’ll find four procedures that necessitate the use of stitching. Sewing your jeans or pants results in a more long-lasting change that also looks better on you. Using these stitching techniques, you’ll be able to make any waist smaller and it’ll appear like you bought it that way, too!

Of course, you don’t have to sew to reduce the size of your pant’s waist. While some of these methods are more appealing than others, when you’re in a pinch, it’s all about finding the best solution possible.

1. Sewing

At the center back of your pants, a professional tailor will cut out the waistband and insert a dart for a more tailored look. The excess fabric from the waist is carefully trimmed away and does not leave a mark when the waistband is sewn back on.

In terms of appearance, this is by far the most polished and professional of the methods presented here. Despite this, it is not the simplest task. This adjustment will necessitate the use of a sewing machine and a number of other sewing supplies.

You can learn this procedure and be ready to deal with any baggy pants that come your way in life if you have these tools and a little patience.

  1. To begin, wear your jeans backwards. Find the center of your waistband by reaching behind you. Use a sewing clip or pin to secure the folded fabric (but be careful not to prick yourself!).
  2. The excess fabric can be held in place by putting pins immediately below this location in the seat of the trouser. You want your triangle to meet up with the original seam in the middle of the seat of the pants at its thinnest point.
  3. Carefully remove the pants, so that the pins don’t come loose.
  4. Line up the top and bottom pins with a fabric marker or tailor’s chalk. Make sure you fold the paper in half on both sides. Excess fabric should be gathered into a triangle, with the widest part of the triangle being located on top of the waistband itself.
  5. The pants’ waistband is held together by a few stitches that may be torn off easily using a seam ripper. Start one-half inch outside of your chalk lines and work your way out to one-half inch outside of the second line until you’ve completed the task. To get started, you may need to use embroidery scissors to cut a small hole.
  6. You’ll need a seam ripper if you find a belt loop inside the chalk lines.
  7. To get the gap between your jeans’ seats and waistbands, you first need to loosen them up.
  8. Remove the top line of stitching on this section of the waistband using your seam ripper as well. Shoulder straps should disintegrate at this stage.
  9. This is where things get a little dicey.. Starting with the inner section of the waistband, sew three distinct sections. The inner waist should be poked following your chalk lines. Then, with the right sides of the denim together, sew along the chalk line.
  10. A significant fold of surplus fabric may have formed on the wrong side of denim, so reduce this to one-fourth inch.
  11. Following this same procedure, sew and pin along the chalk line to create the outside piece of the waistband, and then cut away any extra fabric in the fold to finish. The waistband’s two layers should now be the same size!
  12. Sew the seat of the pants to the tapering triangle as the final step. To sew along this line, put the right side of the denim together, which means you’ll be sewing from the inside out. Using a zig-zag stitch, sew up until where the dart meets the old seat seam.
  13. Putting the waistband back on can be a scary task at first. Using a hammer, flatten out the seams of your jeans by resting them on a hard surface. To help your sewing machine manage the thick material, use this method.
  14. For this, you’ll need to build a denim sandwich by placing the seat between the inner and outer waistband layers. Sew the waistband in place by pinning and stitching it in place.
  15. Lastly, sew the top edge of the waistband together by topstitching.
  16. Belt loops should be reattached if necessary.

Dress pants make this process far simpler than khakis or jeans would. Multiple layers of denim are a challenge for certain sewing machines to sew through. The needle may become stuck in denim and you may have to attempt a different method if your machine makes a grinding noise or the needle freezes.

Denim thread and topstitching thread are required for this method of altering your pants. Adding topstitching that matches the original design on your jeans after the alteration is the most professional touch.

2. Sideseam Sewing

The sideseam procedure can be approached in two different ways.

The first option is to remove the waistband and sew two darts, one on each side of the waist, as indicated in the preceding section. With this technique, you can achieve an elegant, slimming waistline, even if you have curved hips.

However, removing the waistline, sewing in two darts, and resewing the waistband is a lot of labor. If you like a less professional look, you can choose this method that inserts the darts and keeps the waistline!

  1. Put your pants on backwards. Take the equal amount of slack from each side of the waistline using both hands. Binder clips or hefty safety pins work well for securing a snarled-up belt.
  2. Connect the new inside edge of the waistband to the side seam using pins or safety pins. You may wish to bend the line you pin in order to better fit your physique.
  3. You’ll need a seam allowance when you remove the pants from the sewing machine. Do this on both of the side seams.
  4. Make a dart at the bottom of your dart and sew along both chalk lines, starting from where your tapered point meets the former sideseam. Trim the excess fabric from the top of the waistband if there is more than a half-inch of excess fabric.
  5. Try on the pants again with the right side out!

3. Triangle Stitch Hack

A needle and thread in the same color as your pants are all you need for the triangle stitch option! Sewing by hand is quicker and easier than using a sewing machine, but the results may not be as good.

  1. Always put your jeans on inside out to make sure there isn’t any extra fabric hanging around the waist. Make a triangle out of the loose fabric and pin it down to the old seat seam, pinning it in place at the center of your back.
  2. Right-side-up your pants This method requires you to sew on the outside of the jeans.
  3. Both sides of the pinned triangle should have a clean chalk line drawn across them. Ensure that your triangle is consistent on both sides of the former center seam.
  4. At the very end, secure your thread with a knot. Take a needle and thread it through the waistband, starting from the inside and working your way out, until you reach the right chalk line at the top (so the knot will hide inside the waist).
  5. Using a ladder stitch, you’ll now connect the two chalk lines on the top and bottom of your triangle.
  6. Sew a huge thread from the right chalk line to the left. Make sure the needle exits from the inside of the jeans by pushing it through the pants from the outside in.
  7. Stitch an eighth-inch straight down the inside of the jeans, starting at the top and working your down to the bottom. Return the needle to the outside of the jeans and sew them up again.
  8. Once you’ve reached the right chalk line, stitch across the triangle as far as you can.
  9. As you approach closer to the narrowest portion of the triangle, keep going back and forth between the larger and smaller stitches.
  10. The ladder stitches will close up and disappear until you reach the tapering point where they meet the original center seam.
  11. In the end, finish by tying a knot inside the jeans and removing the extra thread.

4. Jeans Button

To reduce the size of your pant’s waistband, simply move the button further away from the buttonhole on the pants. When you button your jeans, the waist will be a little smaller because of this.

  1. A seam ripper or small embroidery scissors can be used to remove the button.
  2. After putting the pants on, slide the buttonhole past the former button location until it is snug enough around the waist.
  3. The button side of the waistline should be marked at this point.
  4. Remove the jeans and sew the button in its new spot with a needle and thread.

How to Take In Jeans or Pants Waist Without Sewing

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to temporarily reduce the size of your pant’s waistband without sewing. Adding a fitted dart with a sewing machine is a classier option, but these solutions provide you a wide range of options to use whatever you have on hand to fix the problem of baggy pants!!

5. Safety Pins

Safety pins are used to create temporary “darts” in your pants’ side seams while using this technique.

As a quick and dirty alternative to sewing, you may usually get away with using safety pins. Of course, the final product will look and feel a little clunky. For sure, you’ll want to wear something that can be worn over your pants.

  1. To get a good, snug fit, put your jeans on inside out and pinch the waistband on both sides until it feels right.
  2. Several safety pins should be used to secure each side. Use a big pin for the inside of the waistband if you have one available. The next step is to use smaller pins to remove the excess material from the lower portion of each leg.
  3. You can do this by removing your jeans and turning them inside out.
  4. Finally, put them on and smooth down the pinned edges as much as you can with your hands.

6. Safety Pins and Elastic

Using this technique, you can effortlessly slip an elastic band into your pants’ waistband without having to do any measurement beforehand.

  1. The first step is to put on the jeans and pinch the excess cloth at the back of the waistband. Use a safety pin or clip to keep this in place, then remove the pants.
  2. The bottom of the squeezed region should be marked on both sides of the waist, indicating the point where the trousers fit you.
  3. Using a tape measure, determine the amount of extra fabric needed for the project.
  4. Allow for some wiggle room by trimming the elastic slightly shorter than this length. The more elastic you cut, the tighter your jeans will be!
  5. Turn your attention to the interior of your waistband.
  6. Cut two small openings on either side of the two marks you made on the inside of the waist. Only the inner layer of the waistband needs to be trimmed. To accomplish this, you’ll need a good pair of sewing scissors or a seam ripper.
  7. A little safety pin should be attached to one end of your elastic string. Use one incision and exit through the other. Safety-pin the elastic into place on the inside of the jeans.
  8. The last step is to secure the elastic by pinning it to the second incision.

7. Rubber Band

You can temporarily tighten your waistband with a rubber band or an elastic ponytail. If you can’t hide it behind a baggy shirt, this quick repair will keep your pants from falling down.

  1. Get your pants’ back belt loop and slip one end of the rubber band through it.
  2. Bring the rubber band all the way back through the loop on the belt to tighten it up.
  3. Now, locate a beltloop on the other side of your pants that is roughly the same distance from the center back of your pants.
  4. Make a loop in the belt loop with the other end of the rubber band, then draw the band through the loop to cinch it around the belt loop.

8. Binder Clip

This method is so simple it’s not even a technique, just a last-minute solution!

This method is so simple it’s not even a technique, just a last-minute solution!

If you’re looking for a last-minute answer, this is it!

9. Folding

The waistband can be tightened a little by turning the waistband inside out, if you don’t have any other options.

Fold two to three inches of the waistband over the buttoned waist. If you don’t mind the button poking you in the stomach all day, you can fold it to the inside of the pants for a cleaner appearance on the outside.

Although it is more comfortable, folding the waistband from the inside to the outside does not look as good.

10. Belt Loop Button

To temporarily tighten your pants, simply loop a belt loop over the original button. A sweater or coat that hangs over your waistband is ideal for this strategy since it hides the small emergency rescue mission going on down there!

  1. Unbutton your pants to give it a shot.
  2. The genuine buttonhole isn’t important. Instead, look for the nearest belt loop on the buttonhole side of the opening and then locate it.
  3. Loop this belt loop around the button like a buttonhole!
  4. The additional material will be gathered between the belt loop and the button, resulting in a slimmer waist.

Be aware that this method is not the most secure or professional, but it will work!

11. Alter Elastic Waist

Sweatpants’ elastic can stretch out with time, resulting in a baggy appearance. With a little bit of elastic, scissors, and a few safety pins, it’s easy to change an elastic waist!

  1. The elastic waistband has a seam at the center back. Cut this carefully. Don’t go all the way through the pants!
  2. Snip a piece of the old elastic with a pair of scissors. After that, remove the old elastic by yanking it out completely.
  3. At the position where you prefer the waistline to sit, take a measurement. Decide where you want the waistline to go, and take measurements there. For a more comfortable fit, take your measurements around your hips.
  4. Once you’ve done that, trim a piece of elastic to about an inch or two shorter.
  5. Attach one end of the elastic with a safety pin to the slit in the waist band. For the time being, just leave it there.
  6. Attach a second safety pin to the elastic at the opposite end. The slit can be pierced with this. Your fingers and the safety pin will now form a tube around the inside of your waistline, which you will press through.
  7. Pull the free end of the waistband a little loose when you go back to the slit.
  8. Both ends of the elastic should be securely fastened together with a safety pin. In the meantime, wriggle the pinned elastic back into place within the waistline.
  9. Finally, secure the slit in the waistband with a little safety pin!

If you prefer a more long-term fix, you can stitch the elastic in place of using safety pins.

12. Boiling Water

Boiling water can be used to shrink your pants so that they are more fitted throughout. Please keep in mind that this does not simply target the waist of the jeans; it affects the entire pant. It simply shrinks the pants in every area!

In addition, this technique works with cotton jeans and other pants. If the pants are made of polyester, it may not work out as well as expected. To avoid damaging the elastic fibers in the fabric of your leggings or stretchy pants, do not try this at home.

To reduce the size of your pants:

  1. Find a pot large enough to accommodate both your pants and a few gallons of water, and get to work. Put water in it and heat it on high in a saucepan on the stovetop.
  2. Lower your pants into the hot water with your tongues when the water is at its boiling point.
  3. Push everything into the sink with a long-handled spoon.
  4. Allow the pants to soak for twenty minutes in the simmering water.
  5. You can now remove the pot from the stove and place it in a sink in your kitchen. Drain the boiling water very carefully. There is nothing to be concerned about if you detect some color in the water!
  6. The jeans should be cooled enough to touch before being worn. In order to shrink the garments even further, you can either air dry or put them in the dryer, depending on your preference.


Many simple methods can be used to adjust the waist of your jeans, such as utilizing safety pins, binder clips, or rubber bands. To make the waistline a little more snug, simply shift the button to the side and draw the previous buttonhole over it. Insert a new, tighter strip of elastic into the waistband of elastic-waist jeans to reduce the circumference of the waist.

Alternatively, you can eliminate the waistband and put a dart at the waist in order to reduce the excess fabric. A dart at each side seam, on the other hand, will allow for more rounded hips. If everything else fails, try soaking the trousers in boiling water and then drying them on high heat to shrink them completely.

Trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans that are too big can be a frustrating experience. Do you have a specific technique in mind? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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