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50+ DIY Pants Alterations: The Ultimate Guide

Learn how to let out pants, make them smaller, alter the length, fix zippers and buttons, and much more with this bottom alteration guide.

Updated September 13, 2022
DIY Pants Alterations

If you've found yourself yelling, "My pants don't fit me anymore!" then you're in the right place. When you find that perfect pair of pants, it's rare. You want to keep wearing them for as long as possible.

This is why it's so frustrating when you gain or lose weight. Same with finding pants that fit well in the waist and hips but are too long or short. 

Then there are holes, buttons or zippers malfunctioning, and more issues. That's where 50+ DIY Pants Alterations: The Ultimate Guide comes in.

The types of clothing repair available for home tailoring are vast but this page focuses on trousers, lounge pants, and jeans specifically. No matter what you need to fix with the bottoms you own or want to buy, there is a tutorial to help you out.

A handful of the DIY pants alteration how-tos available below include how to take in pants with pockets, how to alter the seat of pants, how to fix holes in jeans and pants, and how to darn a tear.

Also, learn how to tailor pants for length, how to sew a button on pants, and ways to upcycle jeans that can't be fixed. We even have resources throughout the guide to help you discover more clothes tailoring ideas and alteration tips.

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How to Fix Pants That Are Too Big

Love the style of a pair of pants you found at your favorite store, online, or when thrifting but the waist is too large? Learn how to alter pants to a smaller size with these clever alteration tutorials. We appreciate the different options available so that you can find the tutorial that most closely matches your needs.

How to Fix Pants That Are Too Small

This problem is highly relatable for most. It's so much easier to gain weight than to lose it but you don't want to have to buy all new pants. Or perhaps you're pregnant (or know someone who is) and you want a thrifty way to use the pants already in your wardrobe.

Learn how to let out pants legs and waists with these DIY pants alterations. Plus, for even more information about extending the waist of pants, read How to Let Out Pants in 10 Steps.

How to Fix Holes in Jeans & Pants

We all know what it's like to wear your favorite jeans a little too much. Denim can weaken in certain areas and holes are almost always inevitable. Similar problems can happen with trousers, cargo, pajamas, and athletic pants as well.

Below, learn different techniques for fixing ripped seams, holes, and more. There is even a guide on how to fix a hole in pants without sewing for when you're without your needle and thread or sewing machine.

How to Alter Pants Buttons & Zippers

Once you get the fit right, you still sometimes have to adjust the zippers or buttons. These tutorials will help you out. Learn how to sew, shorten, replace, or fix broken zippers. Learn how to replace or sew buttons on your jeans and pants, too. Replace broken pieces or use these items for embellishments for a pair of pants that are just like new!

Additional DIY Pants Alterations

Wait, there's more! See what else you can learn on how to tailor pants with the tutorials in this section. Find out ways to dye pants to hide stains or change the look, add accents, embellishments, and applique, add topstitching for decoration or mending, and more.

There is even a tutorial showing you how to make a new pair of jeans from an existing pair you love. Don't miss the article that provides tips on upcycling jeans, either. It proves that mending and refashioning alterations don't have to be a hassle. So many ideas, so little time, right?

How to Turn Old Jeans & Pants into New Clothing

If none of these tutorials can help save your pants, it doesn't mean you have to toss them. Denim in particular lends itself to so many sewing projects that you should never throw out your old pants, jackets, and bags. They can be renewed with creative ideas like these.

In this section, see how you can turn old jeans and pants into slippers, aprons, skirts, shorts, tops, and even swimsuits. The projects here focus on clothing upcycles but there are so many more projects to make with jeans. Just check out the collection linked after this section to see for yourself.

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