How to Make Jeans Tighter: 10 Smart Ways

Learn how to make your jeans tighter

How to Make Jeans Tighter

Skinnier Jeans

Make your jeans tighter by shrinking them with heat or get them tailored. Shrinking your jeans will do the trick; all you need to apply is hot water or hot air (sometimes both.) You will get more say on how tight your jeans become if you take them to a professional tailor.

This is How to Make Jeans Tighter: 10 Smart Ways.

Let me help you make your jeans tighter. 

If you need to tighten a specific area like the hem, waist or bum, we have you covered. If you want your jeans to fit tighter overall, then keep reading past these to the list below.

Another option may be to find a new pair of jeans that fits perfectly. Learn more about jeans sizing with our articles how to measure jeans & how to measure inseam.

How to Make Jeans Tighter at the Ankle

You can make your jeans tighter at the ankle in two different ways. The first way is to take your jeans to a tailor and hem them. This is a more permanent way to alter your ankle size. You can also try your local dry cleaner if you don’t have a tailor.

The second way is to cuff your jeans with the The Pinroll:

  1. Pull the fabric from the inside hem straight out from your leg.
  2. Wrap the excess fabric you’ve pulled around to the back of your leg.
  3. Start rolling where you have the jean wrapped and work your way around the leg.
  4. Roll 1-2 times until the roll is tight (but not too tight).
  5. Cuff should sit around one inch.

How to Make Jeans Tighter in the Waist

To make your jeans tighter at the waist, you will need to take them to a tailor or alter them yourself. There is no way to quickly change your waist to last a day of wearing them.

When you tailor your jeans waistband to make it smaller, you or the tailor will have these options to choose from.

Before you try any of these options below… have you tried putting on a belt?

1.Adjusting the Back of the Jeans

  1. Pull the waistband snug from the back and pin it in place.
  2. Mark the inside of the jeans along the pinned seam and take out the pins.
  3. Cut out the waistline stitching between your markings, plus 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) on each side.
  4. Remove the belt loops.
  5. Take out the stitching from the top edge of the waistband and from the center of the seat.
  6. Fold the inner layer of the waistband and sew across it with a straight stitch.
  7. Repeat the alteration with the outer waistband.
  8. Sew the seat of the jeans back together with a single straight stitch.
  9. Sew topstitching with a single straight stitch on the outside of your jeans.
  10. Sew the belt loop back on with a single straight stitch.

2. Taking in the Sides of the Jeans

  1. Put your jeans on inside out and pinch the waist at the sides until it fits.
  2. Secure the excess fabric on both sides with straight pins.
  3. Sew next to your pins with a single straight stitch.
  4. Turn your jeans right side out and try them on.

3. Using an Elastic Band

  1. Pinch the extra fabric at the center back of the waistband.
  2. Mark each side of the pinched fabric on the inside of the jeans.
  3. Cut two slits in the inner waistband to allow the elastic through.
  4. Prepare a 3⁄4 inch (1.9 cm) elastic band.
  5. Slip the elastic band through the slits and attach it to the jeans.

How to Make Jeans Tighter around the Bum

To make your jeans tighter around the bum, you can shrink them at the risk of shrinking every other part. Or you can get them tailored and let a professional take in the bum of your jeans without ruining the different parts of your jeans.

How to Make Jeans Tighter

Here are ten ways to make your jeans tighter. Some are very quick, some are long-lasting, and some will take months. Pick and choose what option(s) are best for you.

If your jeans have shrunk to your liking after using a hot water method you should then dry your jeans without a dryer. Choosing to dry flat or line dry are safe options.

Once they are dry you should fold your jeans them or hang your jeans up until the next time you want to wear them.

Let our other guides help you create the perfect pieces of clothing for you to style for any occasion.

1. Take Your Jeans to a Tailor

The most efficient and effective way to tighten any part of your jeans is to take them to a tailor. It will be the most expensive option since every other option is free. However, a tailor will ensure you get the exact results you want.

If your still unsure, can you tailor jeans? Yes.

2. Tailor Your Jeans Yourself

Altering your jeans can be the second most effective way to tighten your jeans if you know what you are doing with a sewing machine and scissors. To tailor the jeans yourself, you will need these tools:

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing tape
  • Chalk
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Flat surface
  • Thread

You will also want to open up new tabs on each of these guides on how to measure specific areas of your jeans:

3. Shrink Your Jeans

Shrinking your jeans will 100% make them tighter, yet you will have far less control over what areas get tighter and how much shrinking occurs. There are many ways to shrink your jeans or shrink jean shorts, which will also shrink most other clothes. A sure fire way to shrink your jeans is putting them in the dryer.

Learn how how long a dryer takes & how hot does a dryer get to see how long your shrinking process will take.

Check out our two guides on how to shrink jeans & how to shrink jeans in the wash.

4. Wash in Hot Water to Shrink

Washing your jeans in hot water will make your jeans tighter. The heat from the hot water will contract the denim fibres, which will make your overall jeans smaller. 

This is also a great way to break in your jeans.

5. Steam Iron to Shrink

Using a steam iron will make the denim fibres react the same way as putting them in the washer on the “hot water” setting. With the steam iron, you will focus on single areas to tighten and shrink. This will allow you to pick and choose the issue areas.

6. Put in Dryer to Shrink

Putting your jeans into the dryer (tumble dry setting) is another form of applying heat to the denim fabric to shrink those fibres. You can use this hot dryer method with wet jeans (after washing your jeans) or put them into the dryer when they are completely dry. I do not suggest choosing the dry jeans in a dryer option too often, as that will weaken and break down the denim over time.

Drying when not wet will also soften your jeans. And may distress your jeans.

Learn how to use a dyer properly to make sure you do option properly.

7. Boil them to Shrink

Boil your jeans in water on your kitchen stove for a quick shrinking of your jeans. Although boiling your jeans will only take 5-15 minutes, it is the most dangerous of all these options, so please be careful. 

Tools needed to boil your jeans:

  • 15-20L Stockpot
  • Tongs (to remove the jeans)
  • Stove-top
  • Drying rack

8. Wear in Bathtub to Shrink

You can wear your jeans in the bathtub and submerge yourself in lukewarm water to tighten them. After 10-15 minutes submerged, you need to get out of the tub and keep your jeans on until they are dry, perhaps 60+ minutes. If you are to try this, I suggest you do it on a hot summer’s day to dry as fast as possible.

9. Hair dryer to Shrink

A second way to spot shrink your jeans is to use your hairdryer. This is the least effective way to tighten your jeans out of this list. Only do this if none of the other options are available or very short on time. 

10. Workout

This bonus tip on tightening your jeans comes from thinking outside the box. Instead of looking at your jeans, think about your body, mainly your legs. 

Working out while eating healthy foods will put some muscle on and fill out your quads, hamstrings and butt. This can take 3-6 months to get desired affect.

Written and reviewed by:
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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