Fitted Jeans Waist-No More Gap in Back! How To Take In Waist

What happens when you get a
great-looking pair of jeans that fits well everywhere except the waist? What is
with that gap in back that every once in a while we encounter with a brand-new
pair of jeans? I mean, we’re interested in shape when it
comes to our jeans. We do everything we can to make them look just great on us,
and that includes taking in this back seam at the waist down through the rear
area so that it gaps no more. Even men are increasingly interested in this
feature of alterations because they don’t want to gap either. This is a men’s
pair of jeans, by the way. Now let’s begin by understanding the nature of jeans
seams especially at the back seam here. This would be referred to as a flat fell
seam. We can opt to copy that or not, We might just opt to make a mock flat fell
seam which would be easier, so I’ll show both ways. But first the ripping. We are
going to take off the belt loop, loosen the waistband a certain ways on each
side of the seam, and then we’ll take out both lines of stitching of the seam
quite a ways down with either method that I’m going to show you. The end
result will be either perfect or near-perfect. That’s because we don’t
have the same sewing equipment as the design houses do and so we’re satisfied
with an either perfect or near perfect result. The main idea is to get the
perfect fit. when I say near-perfect I just mean the integrity of the stitches
might be a little different as far as aesthetically pleasing even stitches.
it’s hard to go over all this thickness and so the stitches might not always end
up as even as perfectly as the design house stitching does, but it’s
going to be sewn on well and we’re going to have that perfect fit that I was
talking about. so here we go ripping razor blade to the belt loop, belt loop
off, waistband loosened. we’re going to have to make a seam in the waistband
right here, so let’s draw a straight line straight up from the seam here that
exists on up with the chalk. Use a ruler if you like. We’re going to
be cutting along that line and it’s okay because the belt loop will end up over
it again in the end. Two inches needs to come off this waistband so we’re going
to mark an inch on either side of that mid mark and then draw a steep slant
line on either side of the middle seam there you have it all this area is
coming out I’m going to cut the waistband now at that middle point right
here there it goes. Take the label off before doing so if you’re interested in
preserving that so that you can put it back on later. I myself don’t care. Now
I’m going to rip this center seam down to the bottom of the chalk line and I’ll
be right back with you. Sometimes you get lucky when you’re ripping out and you
can get the underside stitching to just rip out by pulling on the string because
this is chain stitch essentially. So if you can get that started that saves a
lot of ripping headache. You have to kind of dig at it to get it started but once
you get it, it just pulls away nicely then from the
front, it just pulls away. Well, almost – if it doesn’t work, you just
go back to what does – good old-fashioned pick ripping. Because I had success after
all with just pulling the threads back I need to eventually tie those now so they
don’t keep ripping past the point of no return. So just make a knot, make a knot
any way, a double knot would be good to keep that from going any further. You
don’t have to tie these in front just snip them. We’ll simply match the seams
together and sew them up. Now there will be a little awkward spot right down here
where the normal seam meets the flat fell seam, but because that’s pretty
much going to be under the crotch area and won’t be seen, nor will it be felt, it
won’t be uncomfortable. It just all depends on what your preference is. So we’ll go
through the motions here of the mock flat fell seam. Make certain to match
up those yoke seams. Keep the waistband free. Start at the
crotch kind of in that funny spot in the ditch of the funny spot next to the
original flat fell seam. This will be the awkward spot. Start there.
Take a half inch seam over the yoke that we’ve perfectly matched. Here’s our seam
and we should finish it further either with a serger a zig-zag stitch or at the
very least pinking shears. Now we need to figure out which way to press this seam,
it needs to go one way or the other. How do you know? In case you’ve forgotten,
look at the front side and you’ll notice that one pocket is a little further away
from the middle seam than the other, that would be this one, so you want to press
your seam towards that further away pocket because now you’re going to do
the double stitching. Now here’s what I termed the awkward spot right here. By
the time we double stitch and come on down to meet the original double stitch
it’ll probably blend in quite well. We’ll see. We’ve just accomplished one line of stitching stitching by stitching close to the
center seam really quite nicely and the awkward spot looks pretty good. Let’s go
for it on this second line of stitching. On the inside this is how your seam
looks, raw edge stitched down wit the double stitching mock flat felt, awkward spot on
up actually looks really good. This is what a flat fell seam looks like
taken apart. One side has about a half an inch pressed under the other side has
about a half an inch pressed forward. That way they’re matched up together and
stitched down and look virtually the same on each side. This is the side where the
half an inch is pressed under. I’m going to mark off a half an inch from the
original chalk line and that will be my cutting line. Once
cut, I’ll press it under. We’re leaving the waistband alone for now. See where we’ve gotten to the original
stitching line. We have a nice creased pressed half inch back for this side now
we’re on the side where the half-inch is pressed forward. We’ll mark off a half an
inch next to it exclusive of the waistband right now
and this time we’ll cut along this cutting line and press this area space
forward. These seams are ready to match, match up and pin. We’re matching up the flat fell seams at
this time. Cover one side with the other and pin. Look how there doesn’t appear to be an
awkward spot down at the bottom at the crotch. In this event we should come out
perfectly even with the original stitching. Second line of stitching, approaching the
yoke bump, over she goes. Line the edge of your presser foot up with the other line
of stitching meeting up at the awkward spot. I’m going to say I think the flat
fell method turned out better than the mock flat foul method did, looks real
good. Time to sew the waistband together. Twist and place right sides together, pin and sew. We’ll be sewing in one-inch. Checking for a match, looks like it’s
gonna match, so I will trim this bulky seam, sandwich the pants in the waistband, pin pin as best you can, it’s very bulky here and we still even have to put the
belt loop over all this bulk. Pin as best you can and will sew in a moment. Got it!
Waistband on and of course the seam in the waistband needs to line up pretty
nicely with the double back seam line. Time to put on this belt loop. Now originally that belt loop was sewn in with the waistband. Too much trouble for this gal, so I’m just going to place it on, sew across here, sew across there, call it a day. There it is complete. You now have the belt loop on. You’re not gonna gap
any more. Good job! If you have a home sewing machine that can handle the bumps and the thickness of denim, you can do this, too! Good luck!


  1. Thanks for the great tutorial!! I have a Janome with a denim needle…should I be worried or will it work okay? thank you!

  2. Thank you for your tutorial!! In Venezuela there's a yellow-gold thick thread just like the original thread used for jeans, and its a very good option for blending your alteration!

  3. I love this video but I'm wondering did you trim away the excess seam before you stitched the new seams. I didn't see that part or make be I didn't hear you if you said to cut the excess.

  4. Very good! Thanks! My only suggestion is that in the future when doing camera shots like begin around the 9:00 mark please angle the camera so we can see what your stitch is going in like on the sewing machine.

  5. Yes I agree best video too. This helped me in altering couple of my shorts and having a serger helps cutting sewing the excess away as it looks well done.

  6. pensé que el acabado era mejor del arreglo del jean en la costura trasera de ve muy feo

  7. yo hago esos arreglos pero ese quedó la costura más pegada a un bolsillo pensé que ver un tutorial sería woow pero me decepcione

  8. Home Ec was forever ago, but this reminds me of making darts in clothing items. Except that you are doing the two seams on the outside. Is that correct? Also, I do not have a machine and have tried stretching elastic and hand sewing onto the waist band in this area, then tacking down the extra fabric. My daughter has this issue with almost all pants. Do you have any other suggestions for doing it by hand? (not for jeans, but lighter weight) Thank you!

  9. I loved this video, but yes, I was wondering when you trimmed off the excess fabric & then you backtracked. That's fine. I'm going to do that to a pair I have. I have an old Kenmore I use a size 18 needle & I sew jean patches for everyone. I also just finished recovering our chiropractor's table with heavy vinyl for them! I'd like your free ebook, so I'll check out that site. Thanks for a great tutorial. I hope to be watching more.

  10. Thank you so, so much for taking the time to make and share this video! I have this chronic problem of pants not fitting properly as I have a rather large backside and small waist, and your video was so excellent I just fixed a pair of jeans in under an hour and they look fantastic (helps to lift the bootie, too, so it looks way better 😉 ). Even though my pants were constructed a little differently than the ones you used, your video was detailed enough that I felt confident finagling them, so thank you!!

  11. Thank you for taking time to make this video it's the best one I have seen on this process. I do use my hammer on the heavy seam parts to flatten them down on jeans, saw it on another video for using the original hem, it really works, Thanks again

  12. I really enjoyed this tutorial. It's similar to how I take in the waist of my jeans, but with less bulk, and looking more professional. As my jeans are growing larger (as I grow smaller–yay!) I think it's time to put your tutorial to the test! Thanks, Phyllis.
    From another Phyllis x

  13. Great video, I like all the up close detail. The only thing that could make this video better, would be if you were sew my jeans for me. lol. Thanks for the upload.

  14. I wish I had seen this before I put elastic in the back of a good pair of jeans! (it didn't work) I may rip it out & redo it!

  15. Oh wow! You're good! I don't dare try this as I know my abilities – or lack thereof will end up with me at a tailor paying way too much money to fix what I ruined. That or my favorite jeans are now garbage. Great tutorial though!

  16. Very helpful video! A question: at the beginning you marked the outside of jeans with a steep-vee and said 'this is the part we will remove'. But later on, in the mock flat-fell seam you don't show actually cutting away this material. Instead, you show matching the seam ends and sewing a half inch seam. Did I missing something? Thanks.

  17. This video was so helpful.  Made the waistband attachment so easy.  Thank you, Phyllis for your wonderful videos.

  18. Going to try this on my LAST pair of Levi's that I will ever buy! They are made of rubber, or something, and stretch so much when I wear them that they almost fall off!

  19. Hi and thank you for this very educational video. I started sewin about a month ago and I'm about to fix a pair of jean that I have following your instructions. I just have a comment; I watch the Flat Fell Seaming part of the video some where aroung time 12:57 I noticed that the seam doesn't shows in the center of the two pockets. Can you tell me if that's a optical illusion or in reality that's how is going to look at the end of the process? Once again thank you.

  20. Good job!!! Great video on remaking flat felled seams. Make sure you use a size 18 – 20 needle. Thanks a lot.

  21. Thank you so much for this video! If I am trying to remove 6 inches off a pair of jeans, which method would you say is best?

  22. I did the flat felt seam method and it worked perfectly, wouldn't even know they'd been altered. My daughter's thrilled with the results as her denim shorts now fit like a glove.
    Thank you :).

  23. Sandwich the pants! awesome video but how can we get a thicker thread or seam? I have a pretty heavy duty old Steel Bernina, I just dislike the wimpy seam.

  24. Cool video!  It's the best I've seen on resizing jeans.  I like the sewing machine.  I usually use a Singer 16-188 to hem levis; but, it goes really fast (needs a servo motor, or pulleys, to slow it down).

  25. Shouldn't you intertwine the pressed up and pressed down halves to interlock for the flat fell seam? You just sandwiched them. Partial mock flat fell?

  26. Great video!!! The instructions were super nice. I was looking for a tutorial to reduce the waist of my jeans and I’m glad I found your video, thank you very much!

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