Mending Week: Waistband Adjustment Tutorial

Just a brief introduction first.

This tutorial was put together by my s-i-l, Karen. She is incredibly talented in many areas, but especially in all things sewing. She is also exceptional at "making more with less." I've picked her brain about all kinds of sewing questions and she helped me buy my serger. She also cheers me on when I try new things or finish a quilt. Did I mention that she is really good at sewing? Way back when, like about 16 (17?) years ago she made her own wedding dress. She is really, really good. And fast. She's also a wonderful Aunty to my kids and great company! Thanks Karen for a great tutorial.

Waistband Adjustment Tutorial

I love getting hand-me-downs, but they often need some kind of adjustment. I have adjusted waistbands on dozens of jeans/pants/shorts over the years. When the bottoms fit well everywhere except in the waist then I like to add an elastic in the back section of the waist band.

Here are the shorts before adjustment.

Open the seam along the bottom of the waistband on each side by the side seam. Open only about 1 1/2 inches.

Slip the elastic through, adjust to fit.

Stitch through the waist band (top to bottom) being sure to catch the elastic.

Close the opening by stitching along the bottom of the waistband.

Fits great now!


  1. Neat. I've done something similar with hand-me-downs and thrift store finds. You can add buttonhole elastic to a pair of pants that are too big in the waist also. The technique is roughly the same except the slit is usually a bit closer to the front, you have have to hand sew the buttonholes (it's easier than you think), and sew on buttons.

  2. Looks great! I use the same kind of elastic and put snaps on it to attach on the outside through the belt loops. Same effect, but yours looks much better! My kids can't stand the button hole elastic because the buttons always dig in. After having maternity clothes made the same way I have to agree with them!

  3. EXCELLENT! I have this problem with many new pants for my son since he is slim waisted. I still have a pair of 18 months pants which are huge but finally fit in length. I'll have to try this now.