How to Make Jeans Looser Around the Waist?

This is a situation many of us have faced at least once. You pull your favorite pair of jeans out of the dryer and realize in dismay that they have shrunk to a point where they don’t fit anymore. While you may still be able to squeeze into the legs, zipping up and buttoning them can be a real problem. The good news is, there is a solution. In fact, there are six tried and true solutions to increase the waistline by several inches. Let’s take a look at everything in turn. And find out how to make jeans looser around the waist?

How Tight Should Jeans Be Around the Waist?

In other words: when do you know that it’s time to do something about the waistband? There is no single answer to this question. It all depends on how you feel wearing tight pants. Ideally, you should be able to button the jeans without effort in a relaxed state, while standing. If you have to hold your stomach in, hold your breath or even lay down to make your jeans fit, they are probably too tight.

Another problem is very common: how to tighten jeans without belt? But first things first.

How to Expand Waistband on Jeans?

All the methods can be divided into two categories: those that require tailoring and those that do not. If you need to expand the waistline only by a couple of inches, you can use these simple techniques:

  1. Stretching by hands

Do this while the jeans are still wet. Jeans are prone to shrinking, especially when washed in hot water and dried in a tumble dryer. To avoid that you can skip the machine and let them dry in the air. For a better result, try stretching the waistline with your hands. Apply as much strength as you can. Don’t worry, you will not tear them in half, denim is a pretty strong fabric. You can even use your feet to hold one side of the waistband down while pulling another one up. Once you are done exerting your strength, just lay the pants flat to dry.

hand stretching wet jeans

  1. Stretching on a coat hanger

If you don’t feel like stretching your pants manually, you can try a coat hanger. Position the hanger in the waist line and pull the waistband over its ends. Make sure to pick the one that is wide enough to provide a constant stretch.

  1. Pant Stretcher

Using a waistband stretcher. If you want to achieve even better results, you can invest into a device called “pant (waistband) stretcher”. It consists of two half-moon parts connected by an extension spacer. All you need is position the stretcher in the waist area of your pants. Using the extension mechanism you will push the half-moon parts farther apart until the waistband is stretched to its limit. Then you can just leave your pants like that for some time. The longer they stay stretched the more permanent the stretch will be. To achieve even better result, try performing the procedure while pants are still wet.

  1. Ironing and/or steaming

If your pants are already dry you can use the power of steam to make them looser. Thoroughly iron them from both sides using a hot iron with a steamer function. Alternatively, you can use a portable steamer. High temperature and moisture will soften the fabric a little bit and make it more pliable.

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How to Make Jeans Waist Bigger?

Sometimes stretching is just not enough. If your jeans are too tight to be zipped and buttoned, you will need more radical measures. And by that, we mean cutting and sewing.

  • Adding extension patches

You can add a couple of inches to the waistline of your pants on each side. This type of extension works great for high rise jeans. Very often the waistlines of such jeans are too tight, while in other parts they might fit just fine. This is also a good solution for Mom jeans and cowboy cut jeans (read on: what is cowboy cut jeans).

Instructions (for one side):

  1. Cut a 2-3-inch slit along a side seam. Stretch the waistband a little bit so that the cut becomes V-shaped. This V-shaped gap is a place where the extension patch will be inserted.
  2. Find a matching piece of fabric and place it behind the cut. Use pins to hold the patch in place.
  3. Stitch the patch in place using a sewing machine or manually.
  4. Cut off the excess fabric, but make sure you leave enough of it to avoid tearing at the seams.

You can also insert an elastic band instead of denim patches (something like stretch waist pants). In such a way your pants will still fit you even if you lose some weight.

how to make jeans bigger at the waist

  • Making jeans with a stretch waistband

This is a perfect style of jeans for a 60-year old woman. Stretch-waist jeans are more comfortable than regular jeans, can be easily pulled on and taken off and don’t require wearing a belt. This is a great solution, but it will probably require the help of a professional tailor.

See interesting information about best white jeans for curvy figures!

  • Adding an elastic extension

If your jeans fit just fine, but the button won’t close, you can add an elastic extension at the closure. As opposed to the first two methods, you won’t have to cut your jeans. You can buy a ready-made waistband extender, or make one by yourself using a wide elastic band and a button. This is a great solution for women in the first months of pregnancy. An elastic extender won’t hurt a growing tummy while providing several extra months before switching to maternity clothes.

How to stretch jeans waist permanently?

An overly tight jeans waist can be uncomfortable. To stretch denim permanently, first dampen the waistband with water or use a stretch spray. Then, put the jeans on and use rubber bands, hair ties, or string to bind 2-3 tennis or rubber balls inside the waist, centered at your side seams. Sit and bend around for 30 minutes to stretch out the stiff fabric. Remove the balls and bindings then air dry the jeans completely. The waist should retain a relaxed fit permanently even after washing without ripping. For optimal results, repeat the ball method a few times. This expands tight jeans waists for lasting comfort.


As you can see, there is no need to throw out jeans that don’t fit around the waist anymore. There are so many ways to fix that problem that everyone will definitely find the most suitable one. Knowing how to let out the waist on a pair of pants will certainly make your life easier and help you save money on new clothes.

Hello, my name is Jennifer. I’m from the beautiful city Orlando, FL. Our favorable climate lets me wearing jeans all year round. I do it 7 days a week. However, which ones to select? Let’s try to answer the questions together. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

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