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Replace a Jeans Waistband

A quick fix for your too-tight or too-loose denim.
Threads #187, Oct./Nov. 2016
The jeans waistline edge is sandwiched between the waistband layers. Photo: Mike Yamin.

Jeans are a wardrobe staple for many, but unless you make them yourself, it is difficult to find a great-fitting pair. A common issue is that the waistband is either too tight or too loose. Letting out or taking in a waistband creates a thick, lumpy seam and disrupts the belt loop placement.

What can you do? Remove the waistband and replace it with a waistband that fits from another pair of jeans.

If the jeans waistband is too tight, replace it with a larger one. If it’s too loose, replace it with a smaller one. If possible, match the new waistband’s denim color to the jeans receiving it.

You may own jeans of different sizes from which you can salvage the waistbands. You can also find low-priced jeans at thrift stores, or perhaps you have a friend who has a different-sized waist with whom you can swap waistbands.

Remove the waistbands

Rip out the waistband stitches from the sacrificed pair of jeans and the pair receiving the graft.

A craft knife makes quick work of waistband removal. Use its blade to slice through the stitches at the waistband seam. If using a sharp craft knife makes you nervous, you may be able to remove the stitches quickly if the seam has been sewn with a chainstitch. Undo the chainstitch, and just pull the thread to remove the waistband.

craft knife to remove waistband
Use a craft knife to cut the stitches at the waistband seam. Both belt loop ends may be attached to the waistband, or one end may be attached to the jeans waistline, as shown. Photo: Mike Yamin.

Stretch the waistline to enlarge it

Remove any remaining staystitching from the jeans’ raw waistline edge. Dampen the waistline, then put on the jeans to stretch out the edge to a comfortable…

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