Alteration: Resizing jeans the easy way (from a 29 down to a 26/27)

So, if I haven’t mentioned already, I scored 8 pairs of name brand jeans on eBay recently for a total of $35! I was super excited and knew I’d need to do alterations but figured I could pull it off somehow.

4 pairs fit perfectly and I just hemmed them keeping the original hem as I blogged about here

Another pair is actually a little too tight…maybe I’ll fit into them when I can actually diet (after weaning my daughter). No rush on that…

The last 3 pairs are actually too large (size 29 and I normally wear 26/27 in 7 for all mankind and Joes jeans). First, I washed them in HOT water and dried in the dryer on HOT for 2 hours to shrink as much as I could. Then, I decided to take a pair in…several inches…from the waist all the way down to the original hem 🙂

Here’s the before pictures.


I turned them inside out and started pinning where I’d like to take them in.



I figured if I ruined this pair, I still had scored 7 pairs for $35. So, I started sewing. I decided not to take apart the whole seam but to just see down the whole side of the leg from the hip down. This worked! I took the baggy leg and made it fitted 🙂


I did this on both legs and liked the result. I then needed to take in the waist…since I washed the jeans in very HOT water and dried on a HOT temp for 2 hours, they did shrink quite a bit (in my favor)! I decided to take in 3 small areas on the waist, disguising under the belt loops.




I did this in 3 places – 1 was the the very back in between 2 belt loops and the other 2 darts are hidden behind the side belt loops.


Lastly, I needed to hem the jeans. I did this the same way as I always do; however, I actually had to take in the original hem about 1/2″ inch before since I was taking off 4″ and the hem was wider than the leg. I’ll explain in photos…all I actually did was sew a small stitch on the original hem to take it in.



Then, I just hemmed the jeans the same way I always do (see the link to my original hem blog above).


And now, I have a fabulous new pair of jeans! Remember to follow me on Twitter or Pinterest @RefashionMama.



24 thoughts on “Alteration: Resizing jeans the easy way (from a 29 down to a 26/27)

  1. Would you please do this again in a different color that stands out better so I can see the difference? I have no clue how to sew and you make great tutorials. I have some jeans that need to be redone. I am to super short im 5 foot nothing. :/..Im so happy you are helping people like me. Thanks.

    1. Christy, I’ll let you know when I do another pair with a different colored thread. All you really need to do is try them on inside out to pin where you’d like to take them in (leave a little room for stitching), then sew along the pins. I never cut before I sew, mainly because I prefer trial & error over any other method. I guess I’m just lucky I haven’t messed up a pair yet :/.

  2. I would just like it if you could post a photo of the darts from the inside as well…these are great tutorials!

    1. Sandusker21, I can take photos of the inside darts for you. Thank you…I’m glad my tutorials are helpful to some!

  3. great idea for big jeans.. i guess you could also get a pair that already fits you and use those for your guide if you didnt want to pin them while on you too.

  4. Thank you for this, you have inspired me, to take those new (used) jeans extra large flare in to make them straight legs. I think those are the best way to make them for short people like myself. Oh, also have really liked the look for jeans with a large flare leg: cut them off at capri length run a stitch all the way around them like a 1/2 inch then let them rag out, they look great!

  5. Another 5 foot nothing here! What a super helpful post. I am a bit confused because I’m not a very accomplished sewer and have never sewn a dart but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Thanks refashionmama!

  6. I have lost a lot of weight and have been taking my pants in. I am looking for a faster way to bring in the waistband. I have detached the waistband, cut it, resewed the front and back side of it, and then reattached it. How did you do it? Could you show the inside of what you did at the waistband? Thank you!

  7. I can’t find the link to hemming with the original jens hem. the link is not working.. Can you re-do it, or see if you can fix it?? I love the idea. I am loosing weight and have some jeans that are hanging on me right now… thanks

      1. Hi Refashionmama,
        I bought a pair of skinny jeans which is too big considered there is 2% elastene, it will stretch even bigger after I wear. I’m usually size 2 but for this particular jeans, 2 is too tight and short and 4 is too loose. I’m not sure whether its preshrunk jeans already, so not sure whether to soak in hot water or not. This jeans shd be fitted jeans, close to your skin. My question is : is it easier to expand(size 2) or alter to fit my body(size 4) can I alter from top to the bottom considered it is a strechy skinny jeans?

        Thanks , Vicka

  8. I, like you, am really short and hate having to always hem all my pants. Thank you for your great way of hemming, I love the original hem too and hate cutting it off and now I don’t have too. Thanks again. Happy hemming

  9. I am 4′ 11″ but do not wear a tiny size. Consequently when I buy petite pants/jeans that fit in the waist they are too big everywhere else. From right under the back pocket all the way down the leg. Do you have a suggestion on how to remedy this? I have no hips to speak of so all pants are too big there too.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

  10. Would you happen to have a you tube video?
    A lot of my pants are just way to long but tend to be boot cut so your original hem only works until a certain point. So this really helps but I get lost after the pinning down the side part.
    Anyhow, I understand where u turn the jeans inside out & pin all the way done but do you cut that part off too?

  11. I was just thinking about a pair of jeans I got off the clearance rack last year that are now way to big–I wore them the other day and was so irritated, I knew there had to be a way to take them in-and then I found your blog! I will be fixing these jeans now!

  12. Reading this has given me courage to try to resize a favorite pair of jeans that are to big since I’ve lost weight. I can’t shrink them in hot water and dry because I value the length as I am 5′ 7″. I got these jeans for a song and really want to keep them. Si there a way to move the waistband down a little?

  13. Howdy! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you have
    got right here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your site for more soon.streetdirectory *Amelie*

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