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4 Hacks to Make Your Jeans Fit Better—No Sewing Required

Several jeans buttons on a pair of jeans

Anyone who buys women’s jeans knows the struggle of finding a pair that fits perfectly. They’re often too loose in one area, too tight in another, a little too long, a little too short, and the list goes on. But what if we told you that you could fix all that with one super-affordable tweak?

One of the main issues people face with women’s jeans is finding that they fit well except for being too big or small on the waist. Fortunately, if your jeans’ waist is too big, there is an easy and affordable hack that can quickly fix your problem. You just have to know how to make jeans tighter. Doing so can help you achieve a more dressy-casual look so your jeans aren’t as baggy.

Why Is It So Hard to Find a Pair of Jeans That Fit?

A woman wearing jeans with a waist that's too loose.

There are several reasons why finding a pair of women’s jeans that fit you just right, especially around the waist, is particularly challenging.

First, in the United States, ladies’ jeans are typically sized based on waist circumference. For example, a size four usually corresponds to a 26-inch waist.

Additionally, most female adult jean sizes start at zero and go up in increments of two. The corresponding waist circumference also goes up two inches for every increasing jean size. This alone would make it difficult to find a pair that fits your waist perfectly.

A person with a 27-inch waist, for example, will either have to choose a size 4 with a 26-inch waist, or a size 6 with a 28-inch waist. In some cases, that can make the jeans’ waist too big and leave you feeling frumpy.

The task of finding a good-fitting pair of jeans becomes even harder when you take into account that body sizes vary so greatly. Some people have a small waist and bigger thighs, while others have a larger midsection, smaller legs, and so on.

Add all that to the fact that jean sizes also vary from brand to brand, and it’s no wonder that shopping for women’s jeans can be a real nightmare.

Luckily, some brands, like Levi’s, do size their jeans by waist circumference, which allows you to more easily find a pair that fits—at least around the waist.

Levi's Women's Classic Bootcut Jeans

This classic style is sold by waist size.

Levi's Women's 311 Shaping Skinny Jeans

Choose your waist and preferred length for a far more accurate fit.

If you have a pair of jeans you love that are too big around the waist, we have a few simple (and inexpensive) hacks for that!

Cinch or Shrink ‘Em!

Two women wearing a black and brown belt.

While we can’t solve the major problem of women’s inaccurate clothing sizes in a single article, we can offer some easy solutions for those who struggle to find jeans that properly fit their waist— starting with how to tighten a waistband.

Of course, the quickest way to make any pair of pants fit a little snugger is just to grab a belt! In a pinch, you can also make your waistband even tighter by looping your belt loop through your original jeans button.

While this method doesn’t look the most natural, it can be useful in a pinch. Plus, if you’re wearing a blouse that covers the top of your jeans, no one will be the wiser.

Have a pair of comfy old jeans you love, that you wish were just a size or two smaller? You can also try shrinking them. The easiest way to do this is just in the wash. First, just wash your jeans in hot water, and then toss them in the dryer on high heat until they’re completely dry.

Still not tight enough? If you really want to know how to tighten a waistband, break out the stockpot and boil your jeans in water for about 20 minutes. You can let them air dry, or toss them in the dryer on high heat to shrink them down even more. While boiling your pants might seem strange, if your jeans’ waist is too big, it’s a great solution.

Both of these methods will shrink more than just the waist on your jeans, but that might be helpful for those who have lost weight or just bought a pair that was too large all over because they liked the style and want to know how to make jeans tighter.

Buttons and Extenders

A pair of jeans' zipper is down.
Sanit Fuangnakhon/Shutterstock.com

If you don’t want to risk shrinking your jeans all over, you can, of course, always take them to a tailor and have them adjusted. However, finding someone reputable in your local area might be challenging and/or expensive.

If you’d rather adjust the waist size on your jeans yourself, just pick up a cheap pack of reusable jeans buttons. Then, just poke one end of the button into your jeans anywhere along the waistband. Because these buttons are removable, you can also experiment until you find the perfect size. If you don’t want to mess with some of the more invasive ways of how to tighten a waistband, this is a good solution.

Button Pins for Jeans

Get those jeans to fit again.

If you need to make your jeans a bit looser in the waist, opt for these no-sew jeans extenders. Just slip the button of your jeans through the hole in the extender strap and secure your now wider jeans like normal.

Denim Waist Extender Button for Jeans

Loosens jeans that are too tight.

Finding a pair of jeans that fit your waist is just one of the many struggles women have to deal with. Before you toss that ill-fitting pair in the donation box, though, one of these affordable hacks could make them your favorite pair ever, and could make them more versatile to wear everywhere from the office to brunch with friends, or even running errands.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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