Sewing · sewing tutorial

Altered Jeans: Adding 3 Darts to the back Waist

back waist jean adjustment

Lots of women have trouble finding a pair of jeans with a good fit, for all kinds of reasons. I think my problem is very common; in order to get jeans to fit in the butt and thighs, I often swim in fabric around the waist. I have gotten better at buying jeans that fit but I still own some old jeans that don’t. They’re too big in the waist. For me, all the extra fabric is in my back waist. I have a protruding rear. What’s the best way to alter my jeans with the least fuss?

My fastest solution is to add a bit of elastic to the back waist. It isn’t very elegant but it does the work of a belt.

back waist jean adjustment

The stitching isn’t visible from the right side, but there is some fabric bulk.

back waist jean adjustment

I can get away with this if the difference isn’t to great, say about 2″. But I have jeans that are over 6″ too big in the waist. Here is what I did to one of them recently. This wasn’t a quick fix but I’ve been able to wear them a lot since I did it.

back waist jean adjustment

I unpicked the seam between of the waistband up to the side seam. I removed the back pockets and unpicked the centre back seam until below the pockets (You can see where the topstitching changes colour from yellow to blue).

I then restitched the centre back seam, overlapping it by an extra 1 1/2″ to remove some of the width. I added two darts to remove the extra width. These taper into the pockets. They are visible but it doesn’t really matter with this kind of lived-in jean.

back waist jean adjustment

The worst part is unpicking the tacks at the top of the pockets. I ripped a little fabric there, but I just zig-zagged over it with a fabric patch on the wrong side. It’s invisible when the pockets were sewn back on.

back waist jean adjustment

They still don’t fit perfectly in the front but that would be very difficult to alter. I wear these jeans under tunics and longer items so won’t worry about the front waist much. Getting that extra fabric out of the back waist really helps them to look less bulky under clothes.

Do you alter your jeans? What tricks do you have?


6 thoughts on “Altered Jeans: Adding 3 Darts to the back Waist

  1. I never think to add darts. I usually just add elastic to the inside of the back waistband and take in the side seams. I had one pair that I just took an inch from the entire inside the leg seam. The rise was way too low in those so it worked awesome. My next project is too perfect a jean sloper so I don’t have to mess with RTW anymore.

  2. I had not thought of adding a dart before That looks like a good fix.
    Have you seen the haute curvy skinny pant pattern from wardrobe by me? I made some at craft camp out of curiosity. I needed to tweak the fit at the waist but they fit like a glove & feel like pyjamas. The side zipper is a great thing to reduce bulk at the tummy too. I love mine!

  3. I have the opposite problem – I’m more of an apple than a pear. I don’t really go in at the waist, but have small hips in comparison and skinny legs. I currently on a quest to make the perfect trouser pattern, and then I might even go ahead to make jeans. Eeek!
    By the way, I’ve spent two hours on Sunday morning, searching the internet to find who had made the fabulous velvet coat that I’d seen on a blog weeks ago. Success! I’ve saved you to my blog list now – more time-efficient.

  4. I’ve always had that problem even back in my ‘skinny’ days!…… that’s a West Indian heritage for you! Anyway I used to dart but recently I have been using elastic, however I pass it through the waistband casing. By cutting two slits on the inside (wider apart for a bigger alteration) thread your elastic through , pin to fit, zig-zag across each slit using a thread to match your jeans. et voila!……..oh and a belt will hide the stitching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *