10 Easy Steps to Alter Pants at the Waist
My Pants Are Too Loose at the Waist!
This situation seems to present a quandary to many people. Most garment manufacturing companies seem to think that waist sizes jump two inches at a time. Unfortunately, this means that if you’re an in-between size, you either have to wear your pants too loose or get a tailor to take them in. Right? Well, I'm here to share with you a third option that might be more in line with the ever-shrinking closing budget. Learn how to take in or let out the waist of your dress pants yourself!
Seriously, adjusting it is not hard and will take you no more than 30-40 minutes.
Note: You'll first need to check if there is extra fabric in the back of the pants. Most men's trousers are designed so that they can be adjusted at the center back seam. You can easily take in or let out up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) without affecting the fit of the pants elsewhere.
- Unfortunately, this method of letting out pants will mainly work for men's dress pants, as only about 10% of ladies slacks have this type of sewing style and seam allowances left in the back of pants and in waistbands.
- Also, most Docker-style sports pants for men and jeans do not have extra fabric because they’re sewn with flat French seams. To be honest, this has been one of my pet peeves forever and a day.
What You'll Need
- Straight pins
- Dress maker's chalk
- Small pair of scissors or a seam ripper
- Matching color thread
- Sewing machine
- Ironing cloth
The job of taking in and letting out is the same. It is always easier to take in than to let out, mainly because there is no danger of the pants showing the seam marks. If you’ve outgrown your favorite pants (I mean, if your pants mysteriously shrunk...), you just need to be very careful when pulling out the old seam.
How to Make Your Pant Waist Smaller
1. If there is a belt loop over the center seam on the waistband, remove it carefully using the small nail scissors or seam ripper.
2. Turn your pants inside out, and try on your pants. Have someone pin them where they feel just right. Measure how much you would like to take in. Mark it with your dressmaker’s chalk.
3. Remove the stitching that holds down the inside facing of the waistband about 5-6 inches (12.5-15 centimeters) on each side of the center seam.
4. If the amount you need to take in is mainly in the waist and you need all of the fabric in the seat, you will need to make a short seam adjustment. If you have excess fabric in the butt area that you want to take in as well, then sew in the seam more gradually all the way down to the crotch. Using your chalk, mark a sewing line on the inside of the pants.
5. Place a pin joining the waistband sewing line carefully. This will help it not slip apart when you’re sewing. Pin the remainder of the seam from the edge of the waistband facing right through to where you need to sew.
6. Sew along your marked line, taking out the pins as you go.
7. Try on the pants. If they feel right, go over the seam line two more times to give it a good and solid seam. Make it safe from blow-outs.
8. Remove the old sewing line. Press the seam open and flat from the inside of the pants using your damp ironing cloth.
9. Sew the waistband, facing the stitch in the ditch. This is where the line where the waistband and pants meet.
10. Sew the belt loop back onto the center seam.
You're done! That wasn’t so hard now, was it?