How to Alter the Waist of Your Pants

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Use a thicker needle to sew your pants with a sewing machine.
Use a thicker needle to sew your pants with a sewing machine. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If the waist of your pants is getting is a little baggy, there is a solution. You don't need to spend hard-earned cash with the tailor, or at the shops to buy a new pair. You can fix the pants yourself. With help from a sewing machine you can create darts, to tuck in the extra material around the waistband. If you don't have a heavy-duty machine, prepare the pants for mending and pay a small fee for a tailor to sew the seam into place.

Things You'll Need

  • Pants
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Scissors

Put on the pants, and pinch the excess material at the waistband. Use a safety pin to secure the gathered material into place. Then, take the pants off.

Measure the amount of material gathered, using a measuring tape. You need to remove this amount of fabric at the back of the pants so that it is not noticeable.

Divide the total of excess material by two. Now, draw a line of this length on each side on the back of the pants, parallel to the waistband. Use the tailor's chalk to draw the line; it will easily wash off.

Draw the position of the dart before you sew the fabric. Use the line drawn during Step 3 as the base of the dart triangle. Make sure the triangle is the same length as the width of the pants waistband, or at least 1½ inches, whichever length is greater. The triangle points downward.

Fold the triangular dart in half so that the dart comes to a point. Pinch the fabric inward, and pin the crease in this position. This creates two darts in the back of the pants.

Sew along the crease created during Step 6, using the sewing machine. Make sure that the amount of material folded inward is exactly the same length as the base length of the triangle. Since you are sewing through multiple layers of fabric, use a thicker needle or heavy-duty sewing machine.

Cut off the excess material created by sewing the dart in place. Do not cut too closely to the line of stitching, as it might unravel. Or, fold the flap of excess material against the inner side of the waistband, and sew it flat. This prevents it from irritating the skin.

Remove all the pins and check that the pants fit.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make the waistband on your pants extend, simply use an elastic band. Loop it over the button on the front of the pants and attach the other end of the band to the buttonhole to give you extra room.

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