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How to make a waistband smaller

I have skinny kids and their pants are always loose. Here’s a quick and easy solution on how to make a waistband smaller.

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I have a problem- two of my kids are super skinny. Their pants are always coming down. It seems like a lot of bottoms come with the adjustable waist now and I love those. However, there are still those that are always falling down- like Pjs, athletic pants, shorts, skirts, and leggings.

Now that they are getting older, it’s a little harder to buy a smaller size because they are tall and all the smaller sized bottoms are super short. I found a solution that’s really simple and everyone should be able to do it.  Below are the instructions on how to make the pants waist smaller.

a denim pant leg

How to sew the waist on pants for skinny kids

My daughter was trying on cheerleading skirts and a lot of the parents were concerned about the sizing of the skirts and didn’t want to get them and they’d be tight, but were nervous about getting them to big.  I explained how I tighten up pants and take in the waist. They were so surprised how easy it was and hadn’t even thought of doing it.

I know how to do basic sewing and have made some simple costumes, so I’m definitely not an expert. I do own a sewing machine. My husband bought it for me years ago for Christmas. It’s very basic. You can do this by hand, but it just would take longer.   Here’s a good basic model if you’re looking for to purchase one.

Circo toddler jeans turned inside out

Are your toddler pants too big in the waist?

I’m going to show you an example on how to do this on some elastic waist jeans.

So…on to how I adjust the pants. First, you need them to try them on to see how big they are. I don’t pull out a tape measure or anything. I just estimate. You can use a safety pin to mark the excess fabric.

Second, you need to turn the pants inside out. You can even try the pants on inside out to save time.

Next, I pinch the amount I want to tighten the pants. I do this on both sides of the tag so it will look even when they are wearing it.

Hand pinching waistband of jeans waist

Now I sew a small line and then reverse to go back over it again to make it stronger.

jeans under sewing maching sewing waistband smaller

When you have completed one side, do the next.  It takes only a couple of minutes.

Showing jeans with smaller waistband

I always thought that it would bother my kids and they would complain, but they have never complained.  If I see their pants are getting a little tight, then I can go in with some scissor and slice the thread on one side to loosen it up.  You don’t really notice the adjustments you made.

That’s it!  Now you can go pull out all those pants that you thought they would never wear and make a smaller waist.

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