Resizing Jeans

Chickie W.U.
by Chickie W.U.
2 Materials
1 Hour

Jeans that fit well are difficult to find. At least for me. I wanted to show how to make jeans bigger or smaller depending what you need.

In these crazy Covid virus times I have been snacking my way to a larger size. That would be fine but denim does not let that kind of thing go without getting tighter. I got the baggy jeans as hand-me-downs. I can't wear them like this. Let's get to work.

When I say these jeans are tight, I am not playing around. They hurt me. It's OK I have an easy way to fix this.

I started by cutting the jeans open on the sides. I just cut along the seam and open the jeans from the waist to the ankle.

The next step is to get some grosgrain ribbon. That's right. Cloth ribbon is the perfect thing to make your jeans larger. This ribbon was almost 4 inches wide. You could use a more narrow ribbon. It is up to you and it depends how much bigger you want your jeans to be.

The ribbon is straight and the open sides of the jeans are straight. This is an easy sewing project to do even for a beginner. The grosgrain ribbon doesn't have any stretch so it is easy to work with as you are sewing as well.

My new fancy jeans are so much more comfortable now. I like the pop of gold color too.

Let's move to my second pair of jeans. The waist wasn't that baggy but the legs are ridiculous.

When I am going to make jeans smaller I like to try them on inside out and mark them with a pencil. The pencil marks help me get a very customized fit. I made marks along the side seams where I wanted to make new side seams. I used my sewing machine to sew along those marks from the waist to the ankle. Just lay the jeans flat and stitch slowly. Denim is thick and if you sew too fast you will probably break your needle.

You can see here how I cut off the extra fabric after I sewed down the sides of the jeans making them more narrow. I tried the jeans on again and went back a few times to make the jeans just right. I used a small stitch and then also went over each side with a zigzag stitch to keep the seams strong and keep them neat.

I tried to get a close up of the new side seam to help you understand what I did. I sewed a straight stitch first. I left a quarter inch of fabric on the outside of that new straight seam. At the very outer edge of the fabric i used a zigzag stitch to keep the seam neat over time. Denim will fray in the wash but the zigzag will keep it from fraying.

If your new side seam is going to disturb the belt loop just remove it with a seam ripper and then sew it back on when you are done making your new side seams.

When the fit is just right you can hem the jeans if you need to. I am short so I always need to hem my jeans. I like to use the same thick gold thread the jeans usually have. It just looks better to me at the hem.

When I use this thick gold thread I use thinner thread in my bobbin. The thick gold thread does not work well when I use it in the bobbin and in the needle.

My baggy jeans fit so much better. I didn't want then too tight, I was going for a looser straight leg jean. I hope these ideas help you work with the clothes you have.


Suggested materials:
  • Jeans   (The closet)
  • Grosgrain Ribbon   (Craft/Sewing Store)

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
3 of 42 comments