How to Alter Jeans: 11 Tutorials

heather handmade sewing

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Learn how to alter jeans at the waist and hem, and how to fix holes and fix zippers. Save your favorite jeans and make them fit perfectly.

It’s so hard to find jeans that fit perfectly. You can go shopping and try on a bunch of jeans without finding a pair that works. In this list of sewing tutorials you can find an alteration to make the jeans you have fit better or make them the right length.

Sometimes you find that unicorn pair of jeans and you wear it so much that holes are created or the zipper breaks. In this list of sewing tutorials you’ll also find fixes for common problems with jeans.

How to Alter Jeans: 12 Tutorials

What alterations can I do to jeans?

There are lots of alterations you can do to jeans. It’s important to note that there’s a lot of topstitching to unpick that can’t always be replaced. Denim topstitching thread is thick and sewn with long stitches so it’s hard to recreate. Also, you can’t always get to certain areas with a sewing machine if the legs are too tight.

Jeans have a lot of fading or wear added to edges and seams. If you take in or let out any part of the jeans that fading will go away and to add it back you’ll have to use sandpaper to create the same look.

The alterations you can do to jeans are taking in, letting out, shortening and lengthening, cropping, turning into shorts, fixing zippers, and mending holes. You can move or remove pockets and belt loops. You could even switch the zipper to a button fly if you want the buttons to show. And none of these ideas even take into account upcycling or refashioning!

hem jeans with original hem

Love altering? Try these sewing projects:

How to Alter Jeans

tips for sewing jeans

Tips for Sewing Jeans

Learn all my tips for sewing jeans and denim fabric in my quest for the perfect handmade skinny jean with the Ash Jeans sewing pattern. I remember years ago wondering if I could ever make my own jeans and having someone comment that they would never look as good as ready-to-wear. Then I saw people

broken jeans zipper

How to Fix a Zipper on Jeans

If your jean zipper has broken on your favorite pair, then learn how to fix a zipper on jeans by replacing it with a new zipper.

jean waist too big

How to Take in the Waist of Jeans with Elastic

Learn how to take in the waist of jeans with elastic for a quick and simple fix. This alteration is great for getting the waistband of jeans to fit!

pinch center back of pants

How to Take in Waist of Pants

Learn how to take in the waist of pants for a better fit. This works best when the pants fit you everywhere except for the waist. It’s always hard to find ready to wear clothing that fits perfectly. We all have perfect non-average bodies that need special fitting. (Did you know that celebrities get all

how to mend a hole in jeans

How to Fix a Hole in Jeans

Learn how to fix a hole in jeans. It's common for jeans to get holes in the knees, so this is a strong way to close the hole and it's almost invisible.

how to hem jeans

How to Hem Jeans

Learn how to hem jeans by measuring the desired length, cutting off the excess fabric, and sewing a new hem. It's a beginner sewing project!

hem jeans with original hem

How to Hem Jeans with the Original Hem

If your jeans are too long, then you don't want to lose the unique details on the hem. Learn how to hem jeans with the original hem.

How to Crop Jeans after

How to Crop Jeans

Learn how to crop jeans to the right length to get the popular raw edge look. This is an easy project and doesn’t require a sewing machine. Do you have jeans that are too long, but you don’t have a sewing machine or the time to fix the hem? This is the best quick project

how to lengthen pants

How to Lengthen Pants

Learn how to lengthen pants by letting out the hem and rehemming with a hidden bias hem tape. This technique works well on dress pants.

cut pants into shorts

How to Cut Pants into Shorts

Learn how to cut pants into shorts for the summer heat. This easy sewing alteration is a great way to give pants or jeans new life! Whenever summer starts, I think I can get by with cropped pants and wide leg jeans. Once the full heat hits and keeps marching on relentlessly, I start to

how to cuff shorts

How to Hem Shorts with a Cuff

Learn how to hem shorts with a cuff for a casual and fun look. This sewing tutorial requires minimal sewing and can be done by hand. I love wearing shorts in the summertime. I am always anticipating when it’ll be warm enough to wear shorts. In preparation for the upcoming heat I cut some pants

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

How to Alter Jeans: 12 Tutorials
heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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