Finding the perfect pair of jeans is SO HARD. Sizes vary so much brand to brand and rarely fit individual body shapes well. I use 3 easy hacks to tailor regular fit problems in my jeans – whether they be new jeans needing a tailor or old jeans needing a second life.
1. The waist is too big
When my jeans fit well in my thigh and hips, the waist is far too big. I am not a belt wearer and especially hate when a belt causes jeans to bunch around the waist. An easy fix is adding two simple darts in the back.
(1) Estimate the size of your dart by pinching the excess together when they’re on. I don’t usually measure, but you can. I judge the extra fabric by sight or by my thumb width.
(2) Cut that measurement in half and pinch two darts centered over the back packets. If I had two thumbs-worth extra when on, each dart should be about one thumb. (I’ve done this enough times to get my estimates correct, but use a ruler for a more precise measurement your first time).
(3) Sew the darts by machine or by hand. These are easy seams only a few inches long, so sometimes I do this by hand with a movie on. Your seam will create a triangle between the folded edge and top of the waistband.
(4) Turn the jeans right-side-out and check that darts don’t pucker. Your seams should blend off the bottom edge.
(5) Done right, you’ll have two smooth seams cinching the waist band for a perfect fit. No belt needed!
I don’t trim these edges. The darts lay neatly and then I don’t have any ragged edges against my skin.
2. The legs are too wide
I saved my favorite pair of old Target jeans by bringing in a flair I no longer wanted. The best tip for this one is to sew the leg larger than you think, especially if you’re trimming the knee area. The knee can end up doing some funny puckering if your seams aren’t nice and smooth.
Start bigger, try them on, and slim again with another seam as needed. Be sure to go back with a second seam (preferably zig zag) to seal in fraying before cutting the excess fabric.
Here are a few old pairs I’ve tailored:
The jeans here on the left are slimmed from the knee down. In the middle, my green pair needed slimmed from the waist all the way down (I loved the color and purchased the closest size on clearance). On the right pair I added small darts on the side, then trimmed the wide leg into a nice boot cut. These three were all experiments – they didn’t fit and would go in the donate pile anyway. But it worked and I wear all three!
3. The zipper slips
I have an old pair of second hand jeans that are perfectly worn in and so soft… but the zipper always slipped. This Pinterest tip works wonders.
Find a key ring buried in a drawer, slip it on the zipper and loop it around the button. Viola.
There you have it! Three ways to save your favorite old jeans or tailor new ones for a perfect custom fit.
Thanks for reading!