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A Step-by-step Guide on How to Alter Jeans Perfectly

How to Alter Jeans
Losing some pounds may make your favorite jeans ill-fitting. If you don't want to part with it, you can always alter the jeans. Here are some tips for the same.
Sonia Nair
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Body dimensions vary from one person to another and for most people, it is very difficult to find a perfect pair of jeans. Even if you find one, it may be sometimes too long for your height or a little loose at the waist. The same situation arises on losing weight. One fine morning, you may find that your clothes are getting baggy. The solution for your problem is alteration, which can be easily done in ordinary clothes. But, altering jeans is considered a difficult task and most people approach a tailor, for this purpose. If you have some time to spare and the right materials, then, you can alter the jeans on your own.
Basic Alteration of Jeans
As far as alteration of jeans is concerned, the thickness of the material is the main problem. Stitching such thick material may prove difficult, if you do not have the right materials and are unaware of the right method. All you need for jeans alteration is some heavy-duty threads, denim iron-on patches and scissors. Before altering jeans, you must make sure that the measurements are perfect. If the material is new and is likely to shrink after washing, it will be better to take the measurements after that only.
How to Hem Jeans
If you have a pair of jeans that fits well, except the extra length, you can always go for alteration. You can hem the jeans and make it perfect. Hemming jeans is not a difficult task and can be easily done at home, with the following tips.
  • Take out one of your jeans with correct fittings. Measure its inseam and find the correct length.
  • Measure the length of the jeans to be altered. Compare both measurements and mark the portion to be cut off (from the jeans to be altered). Make sure to leave an extra inch for stitching the hem.
  • Now fold the hem of the jeans by half an inch, followed by another half-inch fold. Two folds are necessary to make the hem thick.
  • The next step is to stitch the hem. Make sure to fix the sewing machine with denim needle and heavy-duty thread with matching color.
  • Stitch the hem and you are done with your alteration. Always ensure that the hem is even in both legs.
  • Another method is to retain the hem, by making an inner fold, adjacent to it (hem). Fold the hem up and stitch the cuff. The stitch should be closer to the hem.
  • In case, you want to retain the original hem, the above said method will do, but the measurements must be correct. If you want to reduce two inches of length from the jeans, the cuff (made by folding up the hem) should have a length of an inch (excluding the hem).
  • If you are among those who prefer retention of the original hem, then, you may cut off the extra length from the bottom of the jeans and re-attach the original hem.
How to Alter Jeans Waistline
Another common problem with jeans fittings is bigger waistline. Altering waistline is little bit complicated. You have to do it perfectly for achieving the right fitting. Go through the following guidelines for a basic understanding about how to alter a jeans with a bigger waist.
  • First of all, wear the jeans and pull on the waistband, at the center back belt loop. Pull it, till the waistline fits you perfectly.
  • Now, hold the fold tightly and pin it (vertically) with a safety-pin. Remove the jeans and mark the fold with a pencil.
  • The marking will be a V-shaped one (that is pointed towards the bottom of the jeans) with the belt loop in the center.
  • Now, remove the center back belt loop and make two vertical cuts through the V-shaped-marking on the waistline (where the loop was attached). The V-shaped cut should not be deeper than the lower end of the belt loop (that is removed).
  • Now, match the edges (of the 'V's) perfectly and iron a denim patch onto the inner part of the waistline. It should be stuck over the joined edges of the 'V' cut.
  • Now, you can stitch the edges together with hand or with a sewing machine. If you are using a sewing machine, then it will be better to use the zigzag setting with a stitch length of around 1 mm.
  • Don't forget to attach the center back belt loop and your jeans will be ready with a perfect-fitting waistline.
  • If the waistline is so loose, that the V-shaped marking has a width of more than an inch, it will be better to make two skinny V's (½- inch each) along the belt loops on both sides of the center back belt loop (and no cuts on the back center loop). This is to make the alteration less obvious.
How to Alter Regular Jeans to Skinny Jeans
This is one of the easiest methods to alter your regular jeans to skinny ones. All you have to do is to wear the jeans inside out and sit on a flat surface with legs straight, flat and slightly apart. Now, you can decide how much narrow you want the jeans to be. Once decided, make the marking from the bottom to the thigh, on both legs of the jeans. You have to stitch through the line to make the jeans narrow.
Instead of making the line, you may pin up the whole length and mark it afterward. Ensure that once you stitch through the line, the jeans should not be too tight or too loose. Use of pins would be a better option, so that you will be able to feel the fitting, before you stitch through the line. All you have to do is to remove the jeans and stitch through the marking. Your skinny jeans is ready to wear. You may or may not cut off the excess jeans (inside) and stitch the edges to prevent fraying. Another easy method is to take the measurements of a perfect-fitting jeans and alter the regular one as per those measurements.
Now, you must have realized that altering jeans is not at all difficult. The advantage is that you know your body dimensions better than anyone else and so, you are the better person to undertake this task. You can also save the alteration charges. If you are worried about spoiling the expensive jeans, by trying your hand on it, you can practice with an old pair, before cutting the new one. You don't have to master the art of tailoring to do this simple and easy job. Moreover, the satisfaction is all yours!