Downsize Jeans the Easy Way With This Fantastic Tutorial!

Kaara's style
by Kaara's style
6 Materials
90 Minutes

Whether you have thrifted a pair of baggy jeans or have a pair of jeans that are big lying in your closet, you can downsize jeans without having to discard them or pass them on! That's right, it's pretty straightforward, actually. You can easily downsize jeans with this ultimate downsize jeans tutorial! You'll be left with jeans that fit snug and won't fall off your waist with just a couple of alterations. Don't believe me? Check the before and after to see for yourself!

Tools and materials:

  • Seam ripper
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Jeans that are big at the waist
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
How to downsize jeans

downsize jeans waist

Create the dart

Ok, let's get to it. To seamlessly downsize the jeans, put on your jeans with the right sides facing inward. Grab the excess jeans at the back as shown and mark either side of where you'd like to take it in with a pencil or marker. Mark two lines on either side. 


If you have someone who could create the lines on either side, that would be even better. But it is doable on your own. 

Easily downsize jeans

I needed to take in 3 inches in total, so 1.5 inches on either side. 

Seamlessly downsize jeans

Go ahead and tweak the lines so that they're more accurate and straight. What you will be creating is a neat dart. 

downsize jeans tutorial

Seam rip, baby! 

Ok, here's the cool part. Take your seam ripper and remove the back-centered belt loop. It's going to be in the way while sewing. Once the belt loop comes undone, leave it aside to reattach afterward. 

Now, seam rip the waistband. Seam rip a few inches away from your dart line. The more stitches you rip, the easier it is to come undone. 

Then, with a pair of tweezers, pull out the ripped loose stitches. 

Time to downsize jeans! 

Take a pair of scissors, mark the center of the waistband and cut in half. 

Then, pin the waistband's loose ends on either side.

Now, sew along the dart line that you made. Once you get to the tip of the dart, backstitch a little and then sew straight up. This will ensure that it stays nice and flat. You can see how I accomplish this step from 3:22 minutes in my video. 

You can leave the dart as is or cut it open and iron it so that it won't bulge or bother you while you're wearing your newly transformed downsize jeans! I decided not to cut it and leave it because if I need to make it bigger again in the future, I can do so effortlessly as the dart and fabric will still be intact. 

Close the waistband

Snip one side of the waistband and then fold the other side inward. Use a ruler or measuring tape to see how far back you should fold it in. 

Now, take the side that's folded in and place it on top of the other side. 

Then, press both sides. 

Before sewing the waistband in place, make sure it's aligned to the center seam of the jeans. Once you are happy with the alignment, pin and sew the horizontal lines first. Then, down the center seam.


Always remember to backstitch.

Reattach the belt loop

Pin your belt loop in place, making sure to hide the center seam of the waistband.

Then, sew to secure with a straight stitch. Make sure to backstitch this area very well because there's a lot of wear and tear that goes on there, so you don't want it coming undone.

As you can see, it's a huge difference from how it was before. Nobody will notice that your jeans are altered! It's a fantastic and magic trick that makes your jeans like new again. Thank you for joining me on this downsize jeans tutorial. I hope you now know how to downsize jeans. Happy altering! 

Suggested materials:
  • Seam ripper
  • Chalk
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Carla Carla on Jul 13, 2021

    What about the back pockets?

  • Wyn51162204 Wyn51162204 on Jul 16, 2021

    I have dropped several sizes and don't want to buy new Jean's so this is very helpful! I was using safety pins but most are so cheaply made they pop open and bend beyond usefulness! My weight loss wasn't planned and not sure if the pounds will return so I don't plan on replacing the Jean's at this time!!! 😀Thanks