no more saggy jeans {easy waistband fix}

It took me a while to jump on the skinny jeans bandwagon. I’m just not sure they actually look good on me, seeing as it’s been a reaaaaally long time since my pants size saw single digits. But I love the look of skinnies with boots, so I finally decided to break down and buy a pair (‘cuz I look how I look, and that’s just fine, right?). PROBLEM: Due to a generous backside, skinny jeans that fit fine in the waist are way too tight in the hips and thighs, and skinny jeans that fit in the hips and thighs are too big in the waist. The smaller ones are uncomfortable and the larger ones look and feel like they are about to fall off, which makes for a saggy backside. Plus the back waistband gapes away from my body. Ick and ick. Anyone else ever had this problem?

Here’s the easy solution: buy the larger (more comfortable) pair and slip a little elastic into the waistband in the back of the jeans. I know, we’re supposed to hate elastic waist pants, but I’ve reached the point in life where elastic’s ok if it means I can get through a day without constantly tugging the waist of my jeans back up. Plus, I never tuck shirts into jeans anyway, so no one’s ever going to know the elastic’s there.

It’s super, super easy. And so very worth it. All you need is 10 inches of so of 1 inch elastic and two colors of thread – one that matches your jeans, and one that matches the topstitching on your jeans. (And a denim or heavyweight needle! Never try to sew on jeans without one unless you like breaking things.)

Start by grabbing a seam ripper and unpicking the lower line of stitching on your jean’s waistband in the areas shown below:

Thread a safety pin through one end of your elastic…

…and thread the elastic up into the waistband and back down the other unpicked spot, like you see below. Try on your jeans and pull the elastic to tighten until the back of the jeans sit flat against you and the waist feels comfy (remember to sit down to make sure you aren’t pulling it too tight).

Once the elastic is as tight as you’d like, sew a line up and down three or four times at each end to secure the elastic. Use the thread that matches your jeans for this. As you can see in the photo below, you can barely see the stitching, and it’s even less noticeable once the jeans are on.

Once the elastic is secure, you can trim of the excess of each side, switch out to the thread that matches the topstitching you unpicked, and sew back over that part to close the waistband back up. If you look really closely you’ll probably be able to tell that your stitching is a little smaller than the rest of the topstitching, but no one else will every notice.

Now my skinny jeans stay where they’re supposed to! Here’s to fall weather and boot season!

Linking to some of these parties:

Monday: Skip to My Lou | Brassy Apple | Craft-o-Maniac

Tuesday: Tip Junkie | Ladybug Blessings | Sugar Bee Crafts | The Blackberry Vine | Hope Studios | Funky Polkadot Giraffe | Not JUST a Housewife | Homework Today’s Assignment: Be Inspired | Shwin and Shwin

Wednesday: Handy Man, Crafty Woman | Southern Lovely | Sew Much Ado | SNAP | Someday Crafts | The NY Melrose Family | Printabelle

Thursday: Somewhat Simple | House of Hepworths | Momnivore’s Dilemma | The Shabby Creek Cottage | Yesterday on Tuesday | Fireflies and Jellybeans | The Taylor House

Friday: Chic on a Shoestring Decorating | The Shabby Nest | Stuff and Nonsense | Naptime Crafters | It’s a Hodgepodge Life | At The Picket Fence | 504 Main | Blissful Bucket List

Weekend: Tatertots and Jello


  1. 6

    Kelly at Smart! School {House} says

    There is nothing more frustrating than BAGGY PANTS! Great tutorial:) Thanks for linking up To Whimsy Wednesday!
    Smart! School {House}

  2. 7

    Debi @ Adorned From Above says

    You did a great job with this. I have a link party on Wednesdays, and I would love it if you would link this and any other posts. It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party. It runs from Wednesday to Sundays.
    I hope to see you there. I am your newest follower, and I would love for your to follow me also. Have a great Day.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  3. 8

    T. Ruth says

    Thanks for this great tutorial. Much easier than the method I was gearing up to try. Now I’ll do this. I’m switching from pregnancy pants back to regular and, well, things fit just a little differently after baby!

  4. 9

    [email protected] says

    What a great idea. Looking forward to seeing you at MDC 🙂

  5. 10

    Casandra says

    Brilliant idea! I’m ready to try out skinny jeans now with just a bit of tweaking. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  6. 12

    Kai Naconi says

    OMG! We are jeans sisters! I JUST bought my first pair of jeans since I was a TEEN. I’m 62! I’ve gone from a size 28/30 to a size 18 so far (still going) and – like you – if the jeans go past my legs & butt, they WILL be big in the waist! Sigh. I wish I’d read this BEFORE I made my own belt loops & bought a belt. Your way is EASIER! Thanks for the tutorial. Next jeans? I’ll do it YOUR way! Smiles! Kai

  7. 15

    brook says

    I personally just say no to crack, which is what I always get with skinny jeans! I may have to try this; they are so much easier with boots! Thanks!

  8. 16

    Justine says

    Awesome post!!!
    Any pair of jeans that fits my thighs and butt is huge in the waist. At last a solution to my jean troubles.

  9. 17

    Anne says

    Just read this and tried it immediately. It was fast, easy and effective! How liberating! I will never fear waistband gap again. Thanks so much for this fantastic tute!

  10. 18

    kelly says

    i have the same exact problem with skinnies! (I think our body shape is very similar so i get your point completely!) love your fix ideas … have many pants to try them out on. 🙂 Btw, you look fab in your skinnies and boots… really!

  11. 19

    Helene says

    I always have this problem and now so does my daughter who is starting to grow curves. Thanks so much for sharing this great tip!

  12. 20

    Linda says

    Is there a general rule as to the length of the elastic? For instance, if I measure 10 inches on the waistband, how much shorter should the cut elastic be?

    • 21

      autumn says

      Hi Linda! The length of the elastic will vary based on how the pants fit you. It’s easiest just to start with a longer piece (in your example, I’d just start with 10 inches of elastic), then thread it through the waistband. Pin it on one side, then try on the pants and pull the elastic from the other side until it feels comfortable and doesn’t gape open anymore. Good luck!

  13. 22

    BeeFees says

    Just did this! Amazing!!! Next time though I think I will try it on the inside of the jeans instead of outside, not sure if it will make a difference, but worth a shot. THANK YOU!!

  14. 24

    anastasia says

    It’s a good thing you jumped on the skinny jean band wagon because they look great on you 🙂

  15. 26

    Joan says

    I fixed a pair of jeans today using your tutorial. I haven’t worn these for many months as they have the ‘invisible elastic’ in the waistband that is just too loose.

    My elastic ‘got away from me’ once and I could feel the end but just couldn’t grasp it in that enclosed waistband. Jewelry needle nose pliers to the rescue (and I made sure I used a safety pin to secure that end once I retrieved it)! What difference the back elastic makes in the fit and feel of these pants. I was either going to donate these jeans to Goodwill or resort to wearing suspenders. Hahaha!

    On another site I had seen someone use buttonhole elastic and buttons but since I only had regular elastic and was eager to get these wearable I tried your method. FABULOUS, FABULOUS, FABULOUS and T H A N K Y O U!!!

    • 27

      Amy cook says

      Guess what- a small topsey tail is perfect for threading elastic. I use the safety pin, but then I pin the elastic to the loop of the topsey tail and thread they skinny end through.

  16. 28

    Kelly says

    Now THIS is a tutorial! The one that came up first when I googled “how to alter jeans too big in the hip” was useless and I almost gave up. I’m glad I scrolled down a bit and found this amazing tutorial, thanks! I’m going to go fix my favorite “constantly falling down pants” right now!

  17. 29

    Nancy says

    Love your tips and patterns!! Just another idea on sewing the elastic in. I have used gray thread instead of the blue jean thread, and it blends right into the material. Not sure why, but if you don’t have the blue thread, give gray a try!!

  18. 31


    Genius! Way better than the way I have been altering mine; I have been making a casing for the elastic on the inside of the waistband. Can’t wait to try this method!

  19. 32

    Christina McGinley says

    brilliant! I need to do these on a few pairs, I have the same problem you do. Thanks for writing this up.


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