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Joined: Sep 2006
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Can anyone tell me where to go to instructions on taking in the waist line on pants? I have a pretty small waist for my "bottom" size", recently lost 50+ pounds and would like to salvage a few pair of pants I have.

Thanks for the help.

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I've made a couple attempts in the past and really botched the work. When it's a small adjustment, moving the band works. But for big things... I seek out a tailor. Most of my pants have those nips and tucks and curves... I'd have to basically take them apart and put them back together.

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I have recently lost a little weight, so what I did was take in the legs first, then I didn't want to tear out the waistline, these are jeans. I sewed a piece of 1" to 1 1/2" elastic to the inside of the back only of the jeans. I started at one inch from the sideseam and stopped one inch before the next sideseam. It doesn't show and know one can tell, they feel great and it worked great. I went down by 20 lbs, so it wasn't a big ajustment.

Last edited by azquiltdiva; 01/08/07 07:58 AM.
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Hi Joanned,My Name is Jack,I have been altering clothes for 30 years.Taking in the waist,is one of the easiest alteration there is,it takes me on average 15 minutes,The hard part is trying to tell you how to do it,Having said that I've just started selling a DVD on clothing alterations,it's a step-by-step visual guide to the basics of home sewing: shortening trousers and jeans,jacket sleeves,replacing a zip and how to take in waist on trouser,It in full colour and,because it's a DVD,you can pause,rewind and fast-forward at will.One of the things I would suggest is to get some one to pin your waist and down the back seam,before you remove the pins mark them with tailors chalk,that will tell you how much on the waist and back seam to take in.Ok have fun sewing and saving money Regards Jack Heywood, www.sew-so-easy.com One last thing my website is still under construction, but click on "where I started" and "DVD Preview" you will see me on Video. Any more problems just ask I'm here to help.

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Sometimes you can get by with taking in the seat and waist in the back, sometimes you can't. Try the pants on inside out and have a friend pick up and pin the excess in the seat and waist. Turn the pants rightside out and try them on. Does the front 'look funny'? Is there an 'apron effect' in the center front? Are the side seams in an odd place? If so, you really need to take the pants apart and rebuild. Probably not worth it. 'Free stores', Goodwill and the Salvation Army have people waiting for your old clothes. Save yourself the trouble and feel good about helping someone else.

BUT... If you feel OK about how things looked pinned up, you can renew the pants. (I've taken pants down up to 2 sizes this way)

1.Remove the center back belt loop and set aside. The lower edge is probably sewn into the waist band. Just cut it. Use a seam ripper to remove the upper edge.

2. Take the pinned up pants and turn them inside out. Now turn one leg rightside out. Put the rightside out leg into the inside out leg and shake vigorously. Now look at the center back seam from the waist to the crotch. See how you can lay it flat now?

3. Follow the original curve of the center back seam as much as possible while tracing the line of the pins. This will give you the proper rear end shaping. Make absolutely sure the pins take equal amounts out of each side. If not, you'll have an off center back seam (OUCH!!)

4. Machine baste the traced line. Try on the pants. OK? Sew on. Not OK? Repin and try again.

5. You can clip the taken up fabric or use a serger. It's a good idea to manually clip the waistband area first in either case because of the fabric thickness.

I like to use a medium serger stitch length about a 16th of an inch outside of the desired seamline, finishing with a very fine straight stitch on the actual seamline. It helps prevent future seam splitting without the bulk of a close (fine) serger stitch length.

6. Replace the center back belt loop. Sew the bottom first (right sides together) then top stitch the top end.

Congrats on your weight loss and good luck with your pants!


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Very good and informative exchange .. Thank you!

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Thank you for your posts! Very interesting!


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