Jeans back gaps are the worst, so here is how to resize jeans’ waist.
Shopping for jeans is painful! You spend forever trying to find jeans that fit your legs and hips and boot in a semi-decent way. Then you try on the *perfect* pair only to have a big ole gap right at the waistband.
I don’t care if you’re a curvier girl or someone who is more petite, this is a really common problem with pants. If you can fit a sandwich in your back waistband, your pants need some help. The good news is that resizing your jeans waist is a really simple fix, and it takes very little sewing to accomplish.
So let’s say buh-bye to plumber’s boot and let me show you how to fix your jeans!
Table of Contents
Why do my jeans gap in the back?
Question of the day–why is it that jeans’ waist happen in the first place?
The answer is easy–you can’t fit a curve with a straight line. Your boot has curve and the waistband itself is too big.
The combination of the two makes for a waistband that’s screaming for some alteration help.
Better RTW jeans and pants patterns will have a contoured waistband. Contoured waistbands build in some of that curve into the back that we need. Essentially, we’re going to hack our way into getting some curve back into that straight waistband. And that will close up that hideous gap.
Now, if you make jeans yourself, you can go through these same steps and get an even better result. That’s because you can take out the excess on the pattern pieces themselves.
That being said, this quick fix is going to make any pair of jeans or denim skirt you have in your closet fit about 8,062% better. So here’s what you need.
How to resize jeans’ waist: supplies
How to resize jeans’ waist step 1: try on your jeans
The first thing you need to do to resize your jeans waistband is to try on your jeans!
I’m using a dress form here, but you don’t have to use one. Simply trying on your pants is going to give you everything you need to know.
Step 2: Pin out the excess
Next, grab some pins. If you are doing this on a dress form, first settle the jeans on the dress form’s hips. Then, anchor the side waist and center front to your dress form. This will help you pin accurately.
After that, pin out two darts on either side of center back. On a dress form, use a second pin to anchor that dart and keep it from shifting.
There might be belt loops in the way of where the darts want to be. If so, take them off with a seam ripper. We’ll need them later, so save them.
If you’re working on your own body, feel to the back and pin out the darts as best you can.
Our biggest goal here is to take out the extra circumference in the back waist. The dart does not need to be perfect at this step.
Step 3: Marking the darts
After you’re happy with how the waistband feels with the pins, grab your washable marker. Next, mark the top of the waistband on either side of the pin.
Now we double check matters.
Resize jeans waist step 4: Double check your dart placement
We need a tiny bit of math here.
Next measure the width of each of your darts from mark to mark. If they’re not even, take the total measurement and divide by two.
Example: let’s say one dart was 1″ and the other was 2″. The width of each of your darts needs to be 1.5″. Super easy!
Now check the horizontal placement of the darts. Measure from center back to the first marking on each dart. If they’re in different spots, take the total distance and divide by two.
One of my darts was 4″ from center back and the other 2.5″. Clearly I favor one side when I’m pinning LOL!
6.5/2=3.25. So I’ll mark 3.25″ from either side of center back to get to an even measurement. I changed marker colors so I wouldn’t get confused.
Finish up this step by making a second mark away from your adjusted mark you just made. The second mark needs to equal the width of the dart.
Onto finishing off these darts!
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Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.