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Monday, March 29, 2010

Alteration Secrets I don't Like Tellin

Second Update: 4/20/12
A have this alteration now in video, available for purchase. Go to LearningAlterations to see the preview. It is on special until May 1 for $5.00. After that the price returns to $29.00.

Update: The full set of instructions for taking in the waist by splitting the waistband are now on my website, here at

And now, I no longer turn this alteration down. 
Thanks to two ladies who brought me several pairs of jeans and slacks needing this alteration, I am now quite comfortable taking on the work! Whew!

There aren't many alterations I don't like doing, but this is one job I usually turn down. It's not that I don't enjoy the work, well, ok, it's not my favorite, but it's just so involved. Taking in the waist of a pair of jeans is tedious and time-consuming and almost always leaves a scar.
I'll just summarize, here, because the steps are so numerous. Maybe someday I'll put the directions on the
the main part of my website.
1. I have to remove enough of the waistband stitching to take it in, then take in the back of the pants where the two will meet. This is usually in the form of a small dart.
2. Next I take in the waistband, slit the seam and press it open.
3. After putting it right sides out again, matching it with the darted part of the pants, I need to sew the top and bottom edges with jean thread.
If I'm lucky, I have removed a belt loop that can now be replaced, covering the new seam.


  1. OOOh! That's almost painful ,isn't it. Alterations on already made garments are my nemesis!

  2. How much would you charge a customer to take in the waist on a pair of jeans? Sandy

  3. I would charge in the neighborhood of $18.00. Talk to your customer first to make sure she knows how extensive this operation ... ooops, I mean alteration is!! Same difference :)

  4. AnonymousMay 02, 2013

    Any suggestions for decreasing the circumference/eliminating the gap at the front of an armhole on a RTW garment?

  5. It sounds like you need a dart there, running from armhole to bust. If you pinch out the gapping part and taper it into the point of a dart (around the apex of the bust, or before) you will see it lie flat. That means you've solved the problem. Sounds llike something I need to write about :)