When buying clothing second-hand, you don’t always get the best fit, especially if you can’t try the pants on first. This applies to hand-me-downs as well . Clothing can be almost but not quite the right size and you still want it to work. Knowing how to do a few basic alterations is really helpful and especially how to make a waistband smaller on pants (or shorts) or altering clothing around the middle. This is not hard but you’ll need a couple of supplies from your office supply drawer before getting started. First, you’ll need to determine the all important question: How much should you alter the waistband?
How to make a Waistband Smaller
How do you know how much should you alter the waistband?
I’m glad you asked. It’s a good question. Ask yourself these questions to determine the right amount to alter your waistband.
- Test how pants feel on your waist by sitting down. Pants feel different when you’re sitting. (This is actually a good way to see if any pair of pants fits well. Sit down and try them out.)
- How about after a meal? Will the pants still feel comfortable then?
- Will you wear a belt? If so, you may not want additional seams and will want to consider another approach like adding elastic into the waist-band instead.
I always begin a waist altering project with these: clips. See how they’re all different sizes? You can test how the waist will feel on you while using these clips.
Taking in a waistband isn’t just for new to you pants. What if you’ve been working out and you’ve lost weight around the middle? (Good job – virtual high five coming your way!)
It’s also a good technique to know for growing kids. This especially true for my daughter – tall, thin, no hips, no longer in kid sizes, and not quite adult sizes. I had my daughter test the pants with the clips and then I marked where to sew.
Then I stitched a seam by setting my machine to the correct seam allowance based on the clip measurement. See what I mean about so easy?
That cardboard piece is a trick of mine that I used when mending some pillowcases.
There are other temporary tricks to use on a waist band. Add a rubber band to the button and gain an inch or two around the waist. This was my trick and very helpful for when I was pregnant and a mama-to-be.
This was another take-in the waist band I did on a pair of my shorts. These fit well everywhere except sat too low on my hips. (I’m waiting for the waistbands to go back up where they belong, around the middle of your waist, ones that you can wear a belt with.)
I just measured and pinned these pleats, and stitched. I always wear a shirt to cover this little secret waist alteration.
Sometimes Many times I don’t get an alteration quite right and then I get out my seam ripper, take out the seam, and start again. It happens to me all the time.
My motto is: If I’m not rippin’ then I’m not sewin’!
And the little holes from all of my mistakes? They disappear quickly when pressed with a hot iron.
How do you alter a waistband? Any secret tricks to share?
Go Gingham related links:
How to turn jeans into capris – easier than you think!
How to make skinny jeans from wide leg jeans – make your own “jeggings”
How to mend pillow cases to improve your sleeping – hah!
Easy steps to remove pesky tags from clothing
Want to learn to sew? Start here with easy cloth napkins
How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!
Mitered cloth napkins made from an old skirt
Sew your own homemade lunch sack
How to sew a Harry Potter cape complete with wand pocket