How to Take in the Waist of Jeans by Hand Without a Sewing Machine

Villamor Twins
by Villamor Twins
4 Materials
10 Minutes

What’s sewing on guys? Here we’re going to teach you how to take in the waist of jeans by hand. That’s right; this is how to take in your jeans waist without using a sewing machine.

If you're like us, and you have a lot of issues finding jeans that fit you perfectly, then this hack is for you! It is a great quick fix for tightening your denim waist and easily downsizing your jeans. We hope you enjoy it!

Squeezing the waistline of the jeans

1. Mark where to alter

To start, use tailor's wax as your marker.

Squeeze the back of the jeans together, adjusting it to how tight you want it to be, and then make a mark on both sides so that you know where you will be altering it.

Drawing a V shape on the waistband

2. Connect the lines

Then draw a V shape connecting the two marks.

How to take in jeans without a sewing machine

3. Sew the jeans

Start stitching at the top of the denim just beside the belt loop. Bring the thread over the back to the line that you marked.

Then, thread it through again below the first thread you made and keep doing this until you get to the bottom of the V.

How to alter jeans

4. Pull the thread

Next, pull the thread through all the way from the top. This can be a bit hard to do, but you got this! Pulling the thread like this will cause it to disappear and be gathered by the belt loop. 

Can you alter the waist size on jeans?

5. Tie the thread

Bring the thread back through the inside of the jeans, looping it and tying a knot.

How to alter jeans tutorial

6. Repeat

Now that you have completed one side, repeat the process on the opposite side.

How to take in the waist of jeans by hand

Altered waist before and after

How to take in the waist of jeans by hand

Here we have our finished altered jeans. As you can see, they were much bigger at the beginning, with lots of extra room around the waist.

After doing the super-simple alteration using only three materials, the jeans fit perfectly.

This is an amazing hack that everyone should know! You’ll never have to worry about finding the right size jeans in a store ever again.

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized jeans
  • Tailor's wax
  • Needle
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • Tammy Clementz Wehrspann Tammy Clementz Wehrspann on Feb 25, 2022

    It is much easier to put elastic in the waist band. That way you can remove it if you have to.

  • Hope Hope on Mar 11, 2024


    I think that is a fantastic solution to loose-waisted pants!! Thank You!

    My only question is…when you get your “V” stitched up and finished, is there a slight ‘pooch’ or fold that shows the alteration in the back of your jeans..? (hope that makes sense).

    I do not have a sewing machine and really appreciate you explaining the long hand-stitches and how to tighten them, etc. That made it all come together for me.