Can Jeans Be Altered?

can jeans be altered

Can jeans be altered and why would you want to alter a jeans outfit? Denim jeans are undeniably a staple in the closets of people all over the world. In many styles, sizes, cuts, and patterns, they are likely the most versatile piece of any wardrobe. 

Despite their versatility, jeans are definitely not one size fits all. Even with different sizes, styles, and lengths, it can be difficult to find a pair of jeans that fits your body specifically. This is because all of our bodies are vastly different and unique while denim is a thicker fabric that is difficult to mold to a specific prototype. 

Fortunately, jeans can be altered in many different ways in order to fit your needs. Whether you need length removed from the bottom, need the waist taken in or out, or other changes, jeans are one of the easiest and likely pieces to be altered at home or by tailors. 

There are a few different ways jeans can be altered, and all of them should be able to be done at your local tailor no matter the brand of pants. It is important to keep in mind jeans are easiest to hem when they already fit you well in the waist and crotch.

Some jeans could potentially be fixed in these areas, but it is easiest to alter the legs of jeans rather than the tops due to the pockets, buttons, belt loops, etc. 

Types of Jeans Alterations

Generic Andongnywell Women's Stretchy Ripped Hole Skinny Jeans Butt Lifting Distressed Denim Pants with Pockets Trousers (Blue,Medium)
Source: Amazon

The easiest alteration to make to jeans is hemming. This is when jeans are too long and are simply shortened at the bottom by cutting or folding excess fabric and creating a new seam. This is only beneficial if your jeans are too long or you want them to be cropped. This means it may be beneficial to size up in jeans if you need an alteration as you can cut the excess fabric off but it’s difficult to add excess fabric. 

Another type of alteration is tapering. Tapering is when baggy jeans are taken in for a tighter look. This applies when the waist of jeans fit well but the thighs or lower leg are too wide. Tailors and seamstresses can taper jeans by removing the side hems and taking them in tighter. 

The last common type of alteration is waist altering. Many people, especially women, come across the issue of a gap in the waist when they wear jeans. This is sometimes more apparent when sitting.

This happens when jeans fit well in the crotch, thighs, and leg, but are not filled out by the waist of the wearer. This alteration is slightly more difficult but can be done by taking in the waist seams slightly on the sides. This alteration works better when the jeans already fit the rest of your leg correctly. 

Why Should Jeans Be Altered?

VEZAD High Waisted Skinny Denim Jeans Women Stretch Slim Pants Calf Jeans Black, XX-Large


Jeans should be altered simply so they look better on your body! It is difficult for jean manufacturers to be able to accommodate every body shape, even if the sizes line up. Denim can be a stiff material and everyone’s leg and waist shapes are different, which makes it difficult for brands to fit everyone. 

Altering jeans can better complement your shape and elevate your outfits. Jeans do not have to be tight to be flattering, but having a well-fitting waist and length can make a big difference in appearance. 

Can Jeans Be Altered to a Smaller Size?

Jeans can be altered to a smaller size. In fact, it is a lot easier to alter jeans smaller rather than larger. To alter jeans to a smaller size, a tailor or seamstress can remove the side stitching and bring it in by folding in more fabric and restitching. This can be done in a variety of ways, including hemming, tapering, and bringing in the waist to make the jeans smaller in the right spots. 

Jeans can be altered at the waist. Many people who wear jeans experience the issue of gaping, where the jeans fit throughout the leg but are too wide at the waist. This is especially apparent when sitting and can cause the jeans to fall down. Even with a belt, this issue can be annoying or frustrating. 

How to Alter Jeans at the Waist

To solve this problem, tailors and seamstresses can take in the waist of jeans by removing the stitching in the sides and bringing it in on an angle and resewing so it fits your waist. This alteration is more complicated than other jean alterations because there are more seams involved as well as pockets and belt loops. However, many tailors and seamstresses are able to do it very well. 

Can You Get Jeans Tailored?

Not everyone feels comfortable altering their jeans themselves. Luckily, you can go to a tailor to do it for you. Most tailors are very experienced with jeans and denim and can alter your jeans for you in a reasonable amount of time. 

When getting your jeans tailored, it is important to let the tailor know in advance what you would like done, whether it is hemming, tapering, bringing the waist in, etc. You can find tailors online or by asking your friends and family for recommendations. 

When tailoring jeans, the tailor will likely ask you to try them on. Then, they will examine where they need to be altered. They may also pin them for their own reference later on. This step might involve some light touching of your leg or waist in order for the tailor to best measure where they need to alter the pants

How to Unwrinkle Jeans


Like many clothing fabrics, denim jeans can get wrinkled too. This is more likely to happen with thinner denim or a mixed denim fabric like jeggings. It may also happen when jeans air dry as they may become wrinkled in the wash. Some people prefer to air dry their jeans to avoid possible shrinkage or destruction in the dryer.

To unwrinkle jeans, there are a few things you can do. For a simple fix, you can use a classic iron or steamer to get the wrinkles out. You could also throw the jeans in the dryer for a few minutes to let the heat work the wrinkles out. Another trick you can do is hang the jeans in the bathroom while showering as the steam from the shower can help loosen wrinkles in clothing

Where Can I Get My Jeans Altered?

If you are not experienced enough to alter your own jeans, you can bring them to a tailor! A tailor nearby you can be found online by searching “Tailors near me” on a search engine. When using this method you may want to read reviews from past customers to ensure they produce quality work. 

You can also ask your friends and family for suggestions. It is likely someone you know has had a positive experience at a tailor and may recommend them.

Lastly, with higher-quality jeans and clothing companies, the store itself may offer to alter your jeans for you. Sometimes this is included free with purchase or for a small additional cost. Check the company website or ask a store associate about this service before purchasing. 


Jeans are integral to so many outfits, and that is why it is important that they fit you well! A well-fitting jeans can elevate your style and make your look put together and professional. It is also a confidence booster to have well-fitting jeans. Fortunately, if your jeans are not automatically a perfect fit at purchase, there are ways to get them altered so they are perfect for you!

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