How To Alter Jeans

Learning how to alter jeans yourself can be a great alternative to dropping them off at a pricey seamstress or alteration shop. These places often have long wait times, too. Your precious jeans could be sitting there for hours. You aren't the only one gaining or losing a few pounds, you know. If you want to have jeans that fit you right away without spending a fortune, learn how to alter them yourself. Even if you have never sewn before, we can teach you everything you need to know in order to make those jeans fit you just right.

In order to alter jeans, you will need the following.

  • Jeans
  • Tape measure
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Safety pin
  • Washable pencil
  • Iron for pressing
  • Straight pin

If you just want to alter the length, you can avoid sewing entirely. You can use hem tape as a no-sew alternative.

  1. Prepare your supplies. Find jeans that fit you properly. Measure the inseam from the crotch to the bottom of the jeans. Measure the waist, too. If you are going to be using a sewing machine to alter your jeans, make sure you have the proper needles. Heavy-duty needles are essential to properly formed stitches.
  2. Measure the jeans you are going to alter. Compare the measurements of the correct fitting jeans to the pair you want to alter. Mark where you need to cut, but be sure to leave an extra inch for the hem.
  3. Cut the jeans at your mark. You are now going to fold the hem over creating a half inch fold. Fold another half inch. You want to create a thick hem to ensure that it will hold. Stitch the hem using your sewing machine or needle and thread.
  4. Modify the waist. Put the jeans on. Pull the excess waist from the back, grasping it with your hands. At the belt loop in the center back, pin vertically with a large safety pin.
  5. Remove the jeans. Mark where the safety pin is located on either side of the fold you created. Remove the safety pin.
  6. Using a seam ripper, loosen the threads on the back loop and remove it. Keep the loop in-tact because it will be put back on the jeans.
  7. Remove the thread holding the waistband to the jeans. Extend about an inch or two beyond the marks you created.
  8. Cut the waistband where the belt loop originally was. Trim the excess from each side, allowing 3/8 of an inch beyond the markings.
  9. Reassemble the waist. Press the ends of the waistband where you cut in order to prepare for sewing. Turn the jeans inside out. Hold the ends together with a straight pin. Sew the waist together using your sewing machine or by hand. Turn right side out. You can then stitch the belt loop back on.
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