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Taking pants down a size (or two) tutorial

Resolution weight loss
The problem with losing weight is having to buy new clothes. Often in sizes you don’t wish to own. So what do you do when you find yourself wearing jeans that look like this:  Jeans-6251

No, this won’t do! No worries. There is a very quick fix that doesn’t involve taking apart waistbands and hems.

1. Put your pants on inside out. Figure out how much extra in the waist and legs you need to take in. PIn the top and carefully step out of the pants.

2. Sew down each side. Make sure to sew an even amount on each side so you don’t have a wonky seam up your backside.  Jeans tailor

Notice here I made an original seam then tried the pants on and realized I wanted to take them in 1/4″ on each side so I sewed another seam.

3. Finish the seam. Use a serger, pinking sheers or a zigzag stitch.  Jeans tailor finish

4. Sew the seam down at the waist and bottom of the pant leg. The outside will look like this:  Jeans seam tuck

Can you see that stitching 1/4″ to the left of the seam? The inside will look like this:  Jeans seam inside finish

Sometimes you will want to take in the inseam as well to get a better fit. Just go for it in the same manor you did the side seams.

Jeans before and after

Now wear those pants with pride for the next 4 weeks until you go down another size!

Looking for adorable little girl patterns? Have you seen Petite Kids Boutique?


  1. Amy K. says

    I have been puzzling over how I can get pants that fit my waist but aren’t too baggy everywhere else (yes, my ‘waist’ is almost the same measurement as my hips!), and I think this just might be the perfect solution! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Trish J. says

    Thank you for this! I have several pairs of pants that are just waiting for this. I don’t quite understand what you do at the waist and (your picture with the arrow) and with the bottom of the pants. (I am rather a beginner at sewing.) Could you elaborate?

  3. Traci says

    Doesn’t sewing in at the side seams take in the front pockets as well? I’ve thought about trying this before, but I love me my pockets, so I didn’t want to make the pocket opening smaller.

  4. jacque says

    what do you do if the jeans don’t have a waistband that you can undo? I have a pair of jeans I love and need to make them smaller.

  5. says

    I didn't undo this waistband. I would have if I indented these to be worn forever but I just too the sides in, waistband and all. No unpicking involved. 
    Some pants won't lend themselves to this method. Some barriers that come to mind are elastic waistbands, cargo pockets, side zippers, etc. this is really a no frills fix to get you through. Not a true "tailor" fit. 

  6. says

    Thank you for this tutorial! Your explanation, together with some encouragement from a seamstress aunt, gave me the courage to try this with my warm, baggy flannel jeans. I just tried them on, and they fit so much better. I finally feel like a woman in them!

  7. says

    Great info! Also comes in handy for when I buy pants at the thrift store that are too big for me, but love them anyways!

  8. Sharon says

    Thanks for the great idea! I have lost some weight and have been needing to invest in some new clothes, but I’m not wanting to commit too much money to a new wardrobe just yet! I’ve still got some pounds to go! Thanks for helping me save some dough in the meantime. :)

  9. Julie says

    I suppose this would work for skirts as well? I have several denim skirts that don’t fit now that I’ve lost some weight…and I really don’t want to replace them just yet!

  10. Leah says

    I know this is an old post, but I wanted to thank you for writing it! I just took in a pair of maternity pants that were way too big! It took me less than an hour (dress pants not jeans) and while it’s not perfect (I’m still learning), it got the job done! I’ll be doing my jeans soon too. Thank you so much!

  11. Lisa Connolly says

    Another very late post but I have to say thank you for the instructions.

    I have recently gone down 3 dress sizes very quickly because of illness, not quite as exciting as doing it the hard way and as fast as I buy smaller they are baggy again! I bit the bullet this morning, dug my machine out and have altered 6 pairs of pants already. Much easier and quicker than I expected, look great and have saved me a fortune.

    Thank you so much!

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