Quick Fix: How to Take in Jeans

Sewphilia Studio
by Sewphilia Studio
7 Materials
15 Minutes

I know I’m not the only one with this problem: you buy a pair of jeans, and they fit perfectly around your thighs and hips, but the waist is another story. If you go a size smaller, you aren’t able to pull them past your thighs. And sometimes you just want that clean, fitted look without having to wear a belt. So today I’m going to give you a simple solution for how to take in women’s jeans. It’s a very easy fix and doesn’t even require a sewing machine.

Tools and materials:

  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Elastic band
  • Seam ripper or razor blade
  • Needle and thread
  • Safety pin
  • Measuring tape
Take in jeans

How to take in jeans waist


On the waistband above the side seams of your jeans, cut a small hole, being careful to cut through only one layer of fabric. 

Take in jeans waist


Use a seam ripper or razor blade to widen the hole enough to be able to insert the elastic band.

How do you take in jeans

Measure and cut

Measure how much elastic you need to reach around your back from one side of your waist to the other, and cut the elastic. 

How to take in women’s jeans

Remove the label

Use a seam ripper to remove the label on the inside of the jeans, so it will not obstruct the elastic from being pulled through the waistband.

Insert the elastic

Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic band, and insert it into one of the slits in the waistband. Guide the safety pin through the waistband until it comes out through the second slit. Make sure the elastic band stays flat as it gets pulled through, as it tends to start curling up. 


Sew the ends of the elastic band to the waistband with a straight stitch. If you’d like, you can sew the opening back together once the elastic is sewn in, but it’s not necessary.

The waistband should now fit nicely and snugly around your waist, with no gap. 

I hope this tutorial on how to take in jeans was helpful. Let me know in the comments if you use this method. 

Suggested materials:
  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Elastic band
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Carol Carol on May 21, 2021

    I just take in the side seams then feather out to width needed at hips/legs. I also take jeans in at middle back, if needed. I remove belt loops if in the way, like at middle back. Then I replace them after I take I. The jeans. It helps to put them on inside out to pin how much you need to take out. It's very helpful if you have a friend who can pin them for you. I take them off, adjust how much I am taking them in to be equal on both sides, then sew. This really makes them fit better!

  • Ginger Ellenwood Ginger Ellenwood on May 22, 2021

    Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely be trying this soon!