Home Sewing Tutorials How To Take In Jeans Tutorial

How To Take In Jeans Tutorial

by Sarah

I personally welcome the feeling of loose jeans. However, if my favorite pants are falling off my rear end like a hip-hop mogul, something needs to be done. Instead of going out and buying new jeans, you can alter them yourself in the time it takes to drive to the mall and find a parking spot. Basically, all you need to do is pin and sew. It’s a little tricky doing yourself (but not impossible), so I suggest recruiting a close friend to ensure a perfect fit. Super easy and super cheap!

Warning: I don’t recommend doing this technique on pants with rhinestones or studs located on the side seams or waistband. Also, take note of where any rivets are located so you don’t risk sewing over them.

This technique isn’t limited to jeans. Other than pants, you can alter your shirts, dresses, and skirts using this method. For shirts, start your pinning and sewing at the armpit and pin both sides of your sleeves. Then, pin down the side seams.




•Denim needle (100/16)

•General Purpose Thread to match jean color


Step 1. Put your pants on inside out. Pinch in the inseam and secure with a safety pin. Alternate pinching and pinning the inside of your leg and the outside of your leg. You want both sides to be evenly pinned. Repeat on other leg. I stopped pinning at the knee because I want to keep the bellbottom look. You can keep pining down the leg to achieve a straight leg. Pinch in more for skinny jeans, less for a boot cut.

Step 2. Pinch and pin up along your hips stopping at the waistband, we’ll do that part later.

Step 3. Carefully take off your pants. Check to make sure all the pins are secure. You can add more pins or draw a line with chalk to follow. At this time, you want to make sure you don’t have any bunched sections or odd puckering. Adjust as needed so your jeans lay flat and all the pinning is neat.

Step 4. If you are doing bell bottoms or a slight flare, you will need to draw a tapper line in chalk from the knee down to ensure a smooth transition.

Step 5. Starting at the crouch, sew down your inseam all the way to the end of your tapper. Repeat on the other side, starting at the crotch.

Step 6. Sew a seam down the outside of pant leg.

Tip: I suggest securing your seams with an additional line of stitching on the inside and outside leg, as well as the crouch area. Maybe even 2 extra security stitches in the crotch area.

Step 7. Keeping your pants inside out, try them on to test the fit. Adjust as needed.

Step 8. You can take in the waistband at the side seams by pinching and pinning just as you did on the pant leg (watch out for rivets and any belt hoops.) If you see that you might have to sew over your belt loop, it is best to rip it out with a seam ripper first. You can sew it back in over the new seam if you like.

Step 9. Once everything is fitting as desired, press your seams and cut off excess fabric. You can either press your seams open or to one side. I decided to press to one side and sew it down,

That’s all there is to it. It almost feels like you treated yourself to a new pair! Congrats!

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Germaine Joseph March 24, 2019 - 12:11 pm

Going to try this – great directions!

jaya December 24, 2017 - 12:43 am

every single “crouch” reminded me of barty crouch jr. otherwise, this is an excellent tutorial. you do know that it is the wrong word in this context, right? what do you do when i need to adjust the waistband? My tween is suffering in that place between too tight/stretch jeans legs and too loose waist.

Sarah December 29, 2017 - 1:18 pm

Oh my goodness! Heavens – thank you so much for pointing that out. For your tween, I would make the adjustment to the back of the waistband. With your tween wearing the pants, pinch and pin the center back seam. Start at the waistband and taper down until you have a proper fit. Take the pants to your sewing area and carefully remove the belt loop with a seam ripper. Use chalk to draw a new seam line along your pins that tapers 1/2″ into the old seam. This will be your new, fitted seam. Sew this seam to match the original seam (usually a flat felled seam. Then replace the belt loop.

Dannielle November 29, 2013 - 6:25 pm

This was posted forever ago, however, I have a question. How do you manage to get the jeans to lay down flat? It seems like the back of my jeans have more fabric than the fronts. When I lay them down and try to line up the seams and pin, it just does not want to line up because there seems like more fabric on one side. Tips? Thanks!

Sarah December 2, 2013 - 1:34 pm

Hi Dannielle! Are you wearing the jeans as you pin them?


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