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How to Alter a Pair of Shorts: Easy Sewing Project

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The Before Shot of My Shorts: Too Big!

The Before Shot of My Shorts: Too Big!

How Do I Make My Shorts Fit Me Best?

I have a pair of structured shorts from the Gap. They are the perfect length, and I love that the color goes with so many of my tops and shoes. They are a bit too big around the waist/hips, so I've planned on altering them. This way, I get to be "green" since I am not tossing the shorts and they are getting a new life in my wardrobe. It's a win-win situation as far as I am concerned!

As you see in the picture, the shorts need to be taken in about 1.5 to 2 inches. I think I can take in just the center back seam and that will do the trick. Let's get started!

Mark the shorts on the inside with a pencil or crayon. Then, remove the pin.

Mark the shorts on the inside with a pencil or crayon. Then, remove the pin.

1. Prep for the Alteration

Try on your shorts and pin the fabric to see how much you need to take in. Mark the spots where you pinned them.

Remove the belt loop.

Remove the belt loop.

Remove the little details that will make altering the shorts more difficult.

Remove the little details that will make altering the shorts more difficult.

2. Remove the Belt Loop

Once the shorts are marked, use a seam ripper to take off the belt loop, the top stitching for the waistband, and the labels.

Separate the waistband.

Separate the waistband.

3. Separate the Waistband

Separate the waistband from the body of the shorts. I worked within the space between the side back belt loops.

Pin the back center seam.

Pin the back center seam.

4. Begin Altering

Pin the back seam and the waistband section to match up.

  • The back seam needs to match the stitching near the crotch area and take in the amount needed at the waist.
  • It also needs to curve a little to fit the body shape.
Stretch Stitch

Stretch Stitch

5. Use a Stretch Stitch

I used a stretch stitch that also has a zigzag step that keeps the edge from fraying.

Trim the back seam.

Trim the back seam.

6. Reattach the Waistband

Once the center seam and waistband are taken in, reattach the waistband to the body of the shorts.

Reattach the label. Top stitch the waistband.

Reattach the label. Top stitch the waistband.

The belt loop is reattached.

The belt loop is reattached.

7. Add the Finishing Touches

All that was left to do was to reattach the label, topstitch the waistband, and attach the belt loop. The shorts look and fit great!

The Finished Shorts!

The finished shorts fit wonderfully!

The finished shorts fit wonderfully!

Comments

Carolyn on December 10, 2019:

Pat,

my guess would be that since the shorts are lined you will need to take them apart because you will need to alter the lining and the shorts themselves. The crotch area can always be a bit tricky so I would use a basting stitch and try them on your granddaughter so you can remove the stitches easily to make adjustments if needed.

Pat Morast on December 10, 2019:

I have my grand daughters lined, sequin dance shorts. They are too long in the crotch area, and the legs are too wide. I have pinned them but not sure if I should take them apart, cut and resew them they need about 1 1/2 inches taken in ,, in both areas, the waist seems to be fine.

RTalloni on May 03, 2011:

Helpful before and after, with step-by-by step photos.

medor from Michigan, USA on May 02, 2011:

Nice job on the hub and on the shorts... the illustrations were great... you even put the belt loop back on... great.