Did you buy a pair of sweatpants online that said they would fit your measurements perfectly, but when they arrived, you looked like you were joining an MC Hammer convention? 

You are not the first person to have this happen, and luckily there are ways to fix this without having to ship them back and wait for a new pair.

Before diving into ways to fix your tall sweatpants, here are two tips to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

  1. Learn how to measure your inseam properly.
  2. Check Reddit for the most honest reviews you will find online.

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How To Make Sweatpants Tighter

How To Make Sweatpants Tighter

Can You Tighten Sweatpants?

Yes, you can tighten sweatpants without knowing how to sew, alter, or use a sewing machine. A simple way to do this is to choose one of these five methods that will teach you how to shrink sweatpants. 

However, when you use warm water, stretching and drying to tighten your sweats, you won’t have much control over the amount of shrinking that will occur.

Alternatively, you can alter the sweatpants by tailoring them at home. Depending on your skill with a needle, thread and scissors, this may be the right choice for you (or not!)

Read: How to Tailor Sweatpants: At a Tailors or at Home

Lastly, taking your baggy sweats to a tailor near you will give you the best fitting result, leaving you with the exact tightness you want. However, this will be an additional cost on top of the purchase of the pants.

Most dry cleaning services have alteration options available as well.

How to make sweatpants tighter around the ankles

When it comes to getting a tighter fit around your ankles, you will be working with the part called a “cuff.”

Most clothing brands will make a cuff that hugs your ankle, leaving a snug fit that will move when you do while, in general, staying in a comfortable place.

If you are finding the sweatpants you own are not filling your needs for a tight cuff, we suggest looking at buying a pair of joggers instead. Joggers are made to have a tighter fit and more prominent cuff than sweatpants.

this is a photo of sweatpants ankles folded up to get tighter

There are two ways to make your sweatpant cuff tighter.

1. Use an elastic band

For a quick fix that will only last per wear, find an elastic band and place it an inch above the natural cuff. Roll the original cuff above the elastic band and tuck it behind it. Then sinch the new cuff down to your preferred height.

2. Replace original cuff 

First, you will need to remove the elastic band from the clothing. To do this:

  1. Make a slit around ½” on the back of the pant leg. If the elastic is sewn into the seam, you’ll have to cut the seam the size of the elastic.
  2. Use scissors to go through your slit.
  3. Cut the elastic.

Next you need to add the new elastic to the cuff. Follow these steps to add a tighter elastic band to your ankle cuffs.

  1. Attach a safety pin to the new strip of elastic.
  2. Work the elastic into the hem.
  3. Cinch the elastic all the way around back to the opening.
  4. Sew the elastic ends together and close the gap.

How to make sweatpants tighter around the waist

The easiest way to make your baggy sweatpants tighter around the waist is to wash them then put them in the dryer till fully dry. Washing and drying them will take your sweatpants down a size, making the waist not as loose. 

However, this will shorten all parts of your sweatpants by a full size.

If you only want the waist to be tighter, so your pants don’t sag, you can head to your favourite tailor or follow these steps to do it yourself.

  1. Try on your sweatpants inside out & bunch up the loose fabric at either side of your waist. Make sure you gather up equal amounts on each side.
  2. Use sewing pins/clips to hold the loose fabric at the sides.
  3. Take your sweats off and draw the line you want to sew on each side with a piece of chalk. You need to start at the new point you pinned at the waistband and taper the line toward the old side seam until your chalk line meets the side seam. Do this for each side.
  4. Set up your sewing machine with matching thread. Then sew down the chalk lines you drew, creating two new side seams!
  5. Use your scissors to snip off any hanging threads.
this is a photo of sweatpants waist

How Can I Make My Joggers Tighter?

Making baggy joggers tighter can be done the same way as your sweatpants if they are also made of mainly cotton (shrinking cotton joggers is simple.) But the wide range of fabric used in joggers won’t allow you to do this the same way to each one. 

Before you go altering your joggers I would first be sure you understand how joggers are supposed to fit. The fit of a sweatpant and jogger are not alike.

Once you have confirmed the fit you want, the safest way to alter the cut of your joggers is to go to a tailor and get them to make your joggers tighter, exactly how you want it done. 

Unsure of the difference between joggers vs sweatpants?

How To Make Sweatpants Tighter Without Sewing 

Here are a few ways to make sweatpants tighter without sewing them. One is to wash them in hot water and dry the entire pant (learn how long a dryer takes & how long does a washer take), the second is to take them to your tailor. 

If you find that washing the sweatpants in hot water has shrunk them enough, then do not add to the shrinkage by putting them in the dryer.

Instead you will want to line dry, dry flat and learn more about how to dry clothes without a dryer.

These articles will help you tighten your sweatpants without sewing them, pick whichever one works best for you.

  • How to Shrink Clothes
How To Make Sweatpants Tighter Without Sewing

And be sure to check out our other guides on how to tighten your clothes, no matter what they are, we have you covered!


To make your big sweatpants tighter you can do one of three things. You can take your sweatpants to a tailor to get them altered, alter them yourself with a sewing machine or shrink them in one of the multiple ways to shrink clothes using heat.

To make your sweatpants waistband smaller you can replace the drawstring to make it shorter, allowing you to tighten the waistband closer to your stomach. Also, you can shrink your sweatpants waistband using boiling water or washing them in hot water and using hot air in the drying machine.

To make your sweatpants tighter on your leg you can tailor your sweatpants and take in the fabric from the inseam. Or you can shrink your sweatpants using hot water, to shrink the cotton fabric.