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How to Let Out a Waistband on Jeans

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Inside: How to Let Out a Waistband on Jeans

Do you own a pair of jeans that are a little snug through the waist? Me too! Worry not, my friends, because today I’m going to show you How to Let Out a Waistband on Jeans.

How to Let Out a Waistband on Jeans Pin

This is so easy I almost feel like it doesn’t need any words because photos will do the trick. While this method isn’t polished, it is very effective. And, it only takes a few minutes.

I don’t know about you, but unpicking a million stitches, adding a new waistband, etc. just doesn’t work for me. This way of altering a waistband, while unpolished, is very effective; and it allows you to keep wearing a favorite pair of jeans. And, best of all, it will save you a few dollars.

How to Let Out a Waistband on Jeans

Basic Sewing Supplies Needed


Step 1: Making the Cut

I measured my waist to determine exactly how much additional fabric I needed. In this case it was a little under 2″ – which means approximately 1″ at each side seam.

At the side seams I cut down to the bottom of the back yoke. I did this because pants that are snug in the waist (on me) are usually a little snug through he tummy, too.

How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans


Step 2: Make Insert

These were pants I had previously made, so I had matching fabric on hand. However, if you are altering a pair of jeans you own, pop into your local fabric store and pick up a small piece of denim to use as your expansion fabric.

Fold the denim in half and be sure it is long enough to fill the opening.

How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans


Step 3: Mark the Insert

I used a water soluble fabric marker, but any fabric marker would work. Mark the opening onto the expansion fabric. Repeat on the other side.

How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans


Step 4: Finish Insert Edges

Cut down the size of the expansion fabric and finish the raw edges. I used my serger, but folding it under and top stitching works, too. What you want are clean edges. Make one of these for each side of your jeans.

How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans


Step 5: Pin Insert to Waistband

Your marking lines should still be visible. Line up the side seam opening with expansion fabric markings. Pin in place to hold.

How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans


Step 6: Stitch Down Insert

Zigzag stitch the two pieces of fabric together. I increased the width of my zigzag and lowered the stitch number. It’s almost like an appliqué stitch ~ very dense. Repeat on the other side.

How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans


Step 7: Finished!

That’s all there is to it. How easy is that. I wear these jeans (actually capris) with a loose peasant-style top, so the side seam expansion never shows.

waistband insert
How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans

This is a very fast alteration that almost anyone can accomplish. There are ways to make the expansion a little more fancy, but I thought I’d show you a quick way to Let Out the Waistband on a pair of jeans that may otherwise have been sent to the thrift shop.

One word of caution, it is easy to ‘over-size’ your waist here. When your expansion pieces are pinned in place, it is a good idea to machine baste them and then wear the pants for a few minutes. You wouldn’t want to have to rip this out those zigzag stitches because the waist is now too big.


How to Let Out the Waistband on Jeans pin

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