How to alter Tight Pants/Jeans?

Different ways to loosen and create ease in too tight pants or jeans and make them wearable again with some stitching.

Pants being too tight along the hips or abdomen – this is inevitable for some body shapes than others when they gain a little extra weight. The pant gets uncomfortably tight across the abdomen and/or hips and there are wrinkles across the body which can look awkward. Or worse, the waistband would not close! 

You now have some extra work to do. I may be rubbing salt on the wound but fact is fact. Altering pants to fit is not a very easy task. There are some easy solutions and some not so easy solutions.  

What to do if the pant is too tight along the waistline?

Loosen darts

If there are darts, let them out from the waistband- this will release some extra fabric over the high hips and give some space there.

But usually the darts are not included in the waistband and you will have to alter the waistband too.

Let out extra seam allowance.

how to alter tight pants and jeans

Check out if there is extra fabric to let out at the seam allowance. Usually this is at the back. (As there are pockets on the side seams)

Some manufacturers thoughtfully leave some extra, especially for kids’ pants and jeans. You can release the side seams and let out the fabric there to increase the ease there. There will be a corresponding allowance to increase the waistband too.

seam ripper to be used to let out extra seam allowance
Use a seam ripper to let out extra seam allowance at the back


Use your trusted sharp seam ripper to carefully take out the stitches all the way up the waistband. Now stitch it back, maintaining the folds. 

Some kids’ pants will have elastic inside which can be let out – the elastic will have buttonholes and they can be loosened easily and then re-fastened.

Let out any darts / pleats completely at the waistline

This will create more fabric near the hips but now you will have to add extra fabric to the back of the waistband. You will have to open the waistband and alter it accordingly.

Add a gusset at the back of the pants/jeans

This is a very effective way to loosen the waist and hip area of tight pants and jeans. You will need a matching weight and color fabric for this to be completely effective.

If you are doing the alteration with a different fabric, you can still wear it with long tops. Better than discarding good pants or jeans.

loosen up tight pants or jeans

Take your pants and cut through the waistband at the back and loosen the back crotch seam at the top till where you want the ease.

how to alter tight pants or jeans

Here you have to add a triangular piece of fabric increasing the waistline and at the same time giving some ease at the hips. 

add a gusset in the back to add width to too tight pants or jeans

Here, I want to increase the top edge by 1 inch. So I will cut a triangular shape which is 2 inches at the top. The length of the gusset depends on whether you need ease near the hips or just at the waist. If you need ease around hips too you will need to cut a triangle of 6 inches or so (measure your seam to know the exact length)

You will need to increase the waistband also to correspond to the increase you made in the top edge.

Finish the edges of this triangle with a serger or a zig-zag stitch. When this is done keep it under the seam you have opened. The crotch seam is a flat felled seam so you will have the edges turned under already. Use this as it is – for one seam you will have to press the edge to the inside. Keep the triangular piece underneath and topstitch in place. (I would suggest you to first baste stitch this in place and then finally stitch it – for better control).

altering very tight pants or jeans

Cut 2 fabric pieces to match the waistband (leave enough allowances at the long edges and side edges). Sew them together at one long edge. Press and keep.

Using a hand sewing needle and thread sew the extra fabric to the two short edges of the pant waistband – this new piece is the bridge between the waistband edges and will be attached over the gusset you have added. Now sew the same with the machine. Topstitch the waistband in place over the gusset. Use thick thread if you are sewing thick fabrics or jeans.

altering tight pants 

Add a knit waistband

If you cannot be bothered to do all these, an easy way out is to cut off the tight waistband and add a knit fabric as the waistband. This fabric will stretch and make you feel super comfortable. But you may want to wear this under long tops.

What to do if the pant or jeans is tight near the hips or near the crotch line?

This tightness can result in prominant wrinkles that frame the crotch area very unflatteringly. This can only be solved by adding extra fabric. You can add extra fabric as a panel at the side seams. 

You will have to add a piece of fabric which is as wide as the ease you want to add, plus seam allowances for both the edges. You will have to add the panel till the hem. Remember to add enough hem allowance and finish it the same way that the pant hem is done. 

Related posts :How to alter loose pant and make it  fit; Alterations – 17 scenarios and solutions; How to alter tight clothes. 

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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