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Making Jeans Fit at the Waist

I'm 'SEW' happy that the 'style' of jeans is the waist AT the natural waist once again. I find these MUCH more comfortable... UNLESS the waistline is too big. For the hourglass and pear-shaped women, it is not uncommon that in order to get jeans that fit the hip and thighs, it is too big at the waist. THEREFORE - when I 'treated' myself to a new pair of jeans recently, I decided to TAKE CONTROL! I considered the following techniques:

  1. darts above both pockets through the waistband - but for the amount I needed to make the waist smaller, this would have been very bulky - and I KNOW it would have 'bugged' me bigtime.

  2. I remember buttonhole elastic on the inside of the back waist of my little boy's pants to tighten/loosen the waist. I found this youtube video that I like - but I have never used a razor blade to rip - that seems dangerous to me. I opt for the Clover 482W Seam Ripper!

Read below for how I significantly reduced the waistline on my jeans.

I ALSO made sure - before I started, that I had available heavy thread that reasonably matched the heavy thread found in the topstitching of the jeans. In the past, I handled this thread in Topaz Gold and White on my website, but since I'm going out of the 'notions' website business...

$50 but a good selection of heavyweight thread from WaWak - a great source.

Rip the center back seam. I actually ripped the double topstitching all the way down the center back to the crotch seam. Obviously, I also had to rip the waistband off the body of the jeans, AND the stitching at the very top of the waistband. You can ALSO see in the 2nd photo below just how much I needed to take in these Size 12 jeans.

I often joked that one needs to 'sew in their undies' when making/fitting pants - and that was the case with this project. I used safety pins as you can see here to get the fit exactly as I desired it to be. When you look on below, you can see that I had to snug these up a bit more before I was happy.

And, Yes, I could tell even to begin with, that the pockets would get substantially closer at the center back - you'll see..... But, for me, the fit is more important.

Note, however, that I did take care - and was successful at matching the yoke seaming when I re-stitched this center back seam.

At this point, I realized that I would NOT be putting back the topstitching on this center back crotch seam. So what? None of the other leg seams on these jeans have topstitching, so this seemed find to me. I've concluded that the pocket size must change on different sizes of jeans....

Yes - I trimmed down the seam allowance inside the jeans, and also on the waistband.

Look closely at the picture above, and you'll likely be able to see that I did intentionally make the waistband a tad less long than the pant to which it would be attached, realizing I would be 'easing' the pant into the waistband to snug up the waist a tad more.

Below, see the finished waistline with the topstitching replaced.

Even though I have a BIG Brother sewing/embroidery expensive sewing machine, even with a 100 Jeans Stitch needle installed, it was impossible to re-attach the belt loop at the center back. Therefore, I just did it by hand - which was not easy either. And yes, I also tried leveling the presser foot with folded up fabric, but that did not work either. If I were going to go back into Alterations services, I'd surely invest in an industrial sewing machine. I don' care how much one pays for a machine, or what it says on it (JoAnn's Singer 'Heavy Duty' - yah, right.... a home sewing machine model is NOT meant to go through so many layers!!!! And yes, I went VERY slowly, and even 'hand-wheeled' it. Men would never try to repeatedly do a task without the right tool, so why should we??

All that being said, I elected to re-attach the belt loop BY HAND.

And - here 'I' am - with my little muffin top and all - in my jeans that feel really good since they hug my waist AT my waist.

Hemline Fun?

The jeans that this pair replace were ones that I'd put a fun fringe hemline on - see my Blog Post on that HERE. Gheesh, no wonder I needed to replace my favorite jeans - I did this fringy hemline in Feb. of 2022!!!

The 'old' jeans are on the left - and if you compare to the blog post as mentioned above, you can see how VERY MUCH the hemline has additionally frayed. I will say, I get compliments on this hemline frequently. However, I just un-stitched the hemline on my new jeans, and I feel I'll leave them as is for now. I truly did need the additional length.

NEXT UPCYCLE: I have the idea to utilize the legs of my old fringe-bottomed jeans as SLEEVES on a 'new' jeans jacket.

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