How to take in the waistband on a pair of shorts!

We’re steadily hitting 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) these days, so that means…seasonal closet switch! Cleaning all the sweaters, coats, etc., folding them up, and packing them away always puts me in the mood for Spring! Although it did destroy the bedroom for a day…


I could probably fit everything out all year round, but when I pack the seasons away it keeps me mindful about my wardrobe, reminding me what pieces I still love, and letting me process which ones I need to let go (with a silent KonMari thank-you!).


In all of this I uncovered a pair of navy blue twill shorts, which I tried out immediately. I love the length, the weight, the cut, the color…the HUGE waist gap? Not so much. Had I miraculously lost weight over the winter? Not very likely. I remembered that I had picked these up from a Goodwill late last fall, and hadn’t bothered to alter them at the time, just letting them ride a little low and baggy.

One of the benefits to managing a very curated wardrobe is that I take the time to find pieces I really like and alter them to fit me just the way I’d like. Since I don’t want to spend all my time on altering clothes, this helps me be VERY discerning when shopping. And when it comes to work-clothes, I’ve refined an ensemble that I really enjoy: just enough pieces to be different, but not too many that I’m swamped by options and wondering what to wear.  The other side of this “curated closet” business is that on the weekend I get real lazy. With the exception of parties or outings, I just don’t want to be bothered with with choices or options about what is going on my body.  So in each season I have a single favorite outfit that I like to wear (sometimes two)…whenever I’m not at work…and sometimes for more than one day in a row. I’m pretty sure my friends have noticed me wearing the SAME thing every time I see them and just chalk it up to my eccentricities. Bless them.

Since these twill shorts are likely going to be my not-at-work uniform, I decided it deserved a little alteration TLC, which I have turned into a tutorial below.  Enjoy!

How to take in a pair of shorts/pants in the waist.

AKA: #BigBootyProblems

Supplies: marking chalk, seam ripper and/or razor blade, shears, sewing machine, thread to match fabric.

  1. Measure how much you want to take in from the shorts. We’ll be separating a section of the waistband from the body of the shorts, taking each in separately, and rejoining the section at the end. In this case, I pinched the shorts in the very middle of the back, and pinned them when it felt like they were hitting me comfortably: 2″ total (1″ on each side of the fold).  20170423_130745_33381974824_o
  2. Using a razor or a seam ripper, remove the center back belt loop. If you’re using a razor, gently ease it between the waistband and the body of the shorts. You want to cut stitches, not the fabric! Work the razor gently between layers to the left and right of the center back seam, about 4″ to give yourself plenty of room to make a new seam.
  3. Is there extra stitches in the back of your shorts (top-stitching or a flat-felled seam)?With a seam ripper, unpick the top stitching of the center back seam, almost all the way to the middle of the shorts where the seams meet. Otherwise it may not be even when you take it in. If your garment doesn’t have top stitches, skip this step20170423_131508_34093115481_o
  4. Now fold your shorts in half along the center back seam, from the inside [pics]. The two halves should lay evenly, because you’ve removed any extra stitching.
  5. Pin the two sides together, and use chalk to mark how much you’re removing (1″ in my case). Use a hip curve (or eyeball it!) to create a smooth line from your new mark to somewhere lower down on the center back seam. The longer this line is, the more gradual the curve, and the less noticeable the alteration will be. This will be your new center back seam.
  6. Time to sew! Stitch along this new line you just drew. If you’re worried about fit, machine baste it first, then try on the shorts to test. If you like how they fit, trim away the excess fabric along the seam to a new seam allowance (follow whatever the rest of the shorts have). Press the seam flat with an iron in the same way that it was before you altered.
  7. If your shorts had top-stitching like mine, turn the shorts right-side-out and re-stitch the top-stitching.20170423_133551_33840303820_o
  8. Now to alter the waist band! With a seam ripper, remove the top-stitching from the very top of the waist band.
  9. Now you should be able to lay the waistband flat, and fold it in half along the center back. Pin the two sides together and draw a straight, even line to match the first mark you made on the shorts (1″ in my case). Stitch along this line. You might also want to baste this, and check to make sure that your center back seam on the waistband matches the one on the body of your shorts. 20170423_145845_33399782644_o
  10. Trim away the excess fabric, leaving a seam allowance, fold the waistband right side out, and press with an iron into the correct shape. Re-stitch any top-stitching.
  11. Right sides together, line up the waistband with the body of the shorts. Make sure the center back seams line up, and stitch together. Make sure you catch the edges of where you cut with a razor, so the waistband doesn’t continue to unravel!
  12. On the right side of the shorts, use pins to catch the inside of the waistband, and stitch in the ditch to catch the inside of the waistband. Trim any extra threads, press with an iron, and you’re done!

Send me a message if you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned!


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