How to Alter Jeans in the Thighs

by M.T. Wroblewski ; Updated September 28, 2017

If you want your regular jeans to fit more like skinny jeans or you must let out your jeans and hope for skinnier days ahead, altering your jeans in the thigh region is a better choice than consigning them to a heap in your closet. Considering the price of jeans, it makes good sense to alter them yourself. Follow a few tailor’s secrets to help your jeans fit again just as well as they did the day you bought them.

First Things First

Turn the jeans inside out and put them on.

Define the area where the jeans must be taken in or let out. Mark two spots on each thigh: one at the bottom of this area and one at the top.

Take off the jeans and then remove the seam stitching from between the two chalk marks on each thigh.

Reduce the Thigh Area

Put the jeans on gently so as not to rip the thigh seams any further.

Gather the thigh fabric in your hand and place a vertical (not horizontal) tailor’s chalk mark at the greatest point, from the edge of the seam, where you wish to reduce each thigh region.

Take off the jeans and place them on a hard surface.

Place a ruler to meet these three marks on each leg of the jeans: the bottom of the reduced thigh region, the middle or narrowest point and the top point. Then draw a straight line with a black pen.

Soften this line by tapering it gently at the top and bottom points with tailor’s chalk.

Insert pins at the top and bottom points so that you can clearly see them, and sew over the chalk line on each thigh area with a sewing machine. Don’t lock the top and bottom points until you try on the jeans for a final fitting.

Try on the jeans again to ensure the thighs fit as snugly as you like. If so, lock the top and bottom points of the seams by stitching forward and backward several times on the sewing machine. If not, take off the jeans, remove the seams you have sewn and start over.

Enlarge the Thigh Area

Put the jeans on gently so as not to rip the open thigh seams any further.

Gather the thigh fabric in your hand and place a vertical (not horizontal) tailor’s chalk mark at the shortest point, from the edge of the seam, where you wish to enlarge the thigh region on each leg of the jeans. Leave at least ½ inch in the seam allowance; otherwise, you will not be able to enlarge the thigh area successfully because it may rip open.

Take off the jeans and place them on a hard surface.

Place a ruler to meet these three marks on each leg of the jeans: the bottom of the enlarged thigh region, the middle or widest point and the top point. Then draw a straight line with a black pen.

Soften this line by tapering it gently at the top and bottom points with the tailor’s chalk.

Insert pins at the top and bottom points so that you can clearly see them, and sew over each chalk line with a sewing machine. Don’t lock the top and bottom points until you try on the jeans for a final fitting.

Try on the jeans again to ensure the thighs fit as you want them to. If so, lock the top and bottom points of the seams by stitching forward and backward several times on the sewing machine. If not, take off the jeans, remove the seams you have sewn and start over.

References

  • Sewing Made Easy: Dorothy Sara
  • Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time: Deborah Moebes

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

About the Author

If you can't see the world, then you may as well try to meet (or at least talk to) everyone in it. So goes the hopeful thinking of many journalists, including Mary Wroblewski. This is why you'll see her work in a wide variety of publications, especially those in the business, education, health care and nutrition genres. Mary came of age as a reporter and editor in some of Chicago's scrappiest newsrooms but softened up long enough to write nine children's books as well as one nonfiction tome.