How To Take in Jeans at the Waist | Simple and Quick Hack

take in jeans at the waist

Jeans that don’t fit are so annoying! In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to take in a pair of jeans at the waist for a perfect and adjustable fit.

This is something you can do even if you don’t know how to sew.

This doesn’t apply to just a pair of jeans, you can do this with any pair of pants.

What I love about this method is that you can adjust it on those days when you might be a little bloated and need that extra room.

This is a quick and simple hack that I hope you find helpful. It really is a quick project. I filmed the whole process and you can watch the video below.

This method involves applying elastic inside the existing waistband to cinch up the waistband without adding a lot of bulk.

Materials & Items Needed

  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety pins (2)
  • Needle and thread
  • Elastic (3/4 inch/2cm – 1 inch/2.5 cm)
  • Sewing machine optional
  • Small button
  • Seam ripper (optional)


Measuring Waistband

  • Take the elastic and wrap it around your waist where the waistband of the pants is.
  • Mark the point where it fits snug.
  • Now subtract about 4 inches and cut the elastic. You may need to cut off more a little later.

Removing Labels

If your jeans have a label that is sewn along the waistband, like this Levis label, you will need to unpick a portion of the label so the elastic can slide through.

Simply take a seam ripper and unpick just the sides of the label where it’s blocking the waistband. (You’ll sew it back up later).

Cutting Elastic Slits in Jeans

To make the slits in the waistband where the elastic will be applied, take your seam ripper, and just outside the existing button, make a little slit.


Once you have started a little slit, take a pair of scissors and continue clipping very carefully until you have a slit that the elastic will fit through.

Do the same thing on the buttonhole side of the pants.

Inserting Elastic

Take a safety pin and apply it to one end.

Thread it through one of the slits and continue to feed the elastic through the casing until you reach the other slit.

take in jeans at the waist hem elasticSecuring Elastic End In Place

Fold the end of the elastic under ¼ inch and sew to the waistband using a sewing machine or needle and thread. (Sew through all layers using a straight stitch).


If you don’t have access to a sewing machine or a needle and thread, you can just apply two safety pins at the ends of the elastic on the inside of the waistband.

Would you like some great tips on how to sew simple stitches using a needle and thread? Check out this post?


take in jeans at the waist Finishing Elastic

Pull the elastic out the other end so there are about 8 inches of elastic exposed. Try on the pants and pull the elastic taut but not stretched. Mark this point with a pin to indicate the place where the pants are not cinched at all. Cut the elastic at this point.

take in jeans at waist hemming elasticFold the elastic end under ¼ inch and hem using the sewing machine or needle and thread.

take in jeans at waist buttonSewing On the Button

Apply a small button just outside the existing button on your pants. Double thread a needle and knot the end and then sew on the button.

take in jeans at the waist buttonholes Cutting Button Holes

Measure 2 inches from the end of elastic and mark with a pin. Mark two more places, each 2 inches apart.

Fold elastic in half lengthwise and make a little clip on the fold of elastic. Open the elastic and finish cutting a slit that will fit your button through.

take in jeans at waist buttonholesDo this for each mark until you have 3 button holes. (Be sure not to cut too close to the elastic edge or it may fray through).

Sewing Label Back On

If you unpicked a label from the waistband, re-sew the label. Using a corresponding color of thread, double thread a needle and sew the label back in place. I prefer to use a needle and thread. It’s quick and easy to do.

Take in Jeans at the Waist to Fit

Now you can adjust the waist to fit your current waist measurement. You know, there are days when you are a little bigger in the middle than others. Having this option to take in jeans at the waist and adjust the waistband in and out is a game-changer.

I hope you found this helpful!


If you have jeans that no longer fit, don’t throw them out just yet! Check out this post where you can get a few FUN ideas of what to do with UPCYCLED JEANS

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Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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