Easy jeans alteration: More room for your butt!

No matter the brand, I always run into the same problem with jeans: When I sit, the back rise gets pulled down by my sizeable booty, and the front waistband cuts in to compensate. Then when I stand up, I have to grab the waistband and pull everything back into place!

Usually I sew my own jeans, but sometimes it’s nice to get the instant gratification of just buying them. I bought these recently, and I like the colour, fabric and overall fit, but the back rise was driving me nuts. Here’s my simple solution, which took less than 45 minutes!

Materials: 

  • Good jeans that fit but need more rise in the back
  • “Donor” jeans that are a similar colour and stretch, in any size (I got mine at the thrift store)
  • Seam ripper, sewing machine and thread the right colour for your topstitching

Steps: 

1-2-collage

1. Start with your good jeans. Try them on and get an idea how much height you would like to add to the back rise.

2. Unpick the back waistband of your good jeans. I stopped and started unpicking about 1″ in front of the side seams. (The stitching is usually chain-stitched, so cut one stitch and then you should be able to pull on the thread and it will magically undo all along the seam!)

3-4-collage

3. Now it’s time to get fabric from your donor jeans. Cut them into “Daisy Dukes” mini-shorts, and use a stripe several inches wide from the tops of the thighs where the leg is widest. (You could use one of the existing side seams as the central seam of your new extended yoke, or if you are working with smaller-sized donor jeans like mine, seam stripes from both legs together to get a longer length.)

4. Compare your strip of donor denim to your good jeans, and cut it to fit the length and width.

5-6-collage

5. Sew the donor strip to the good jeans, right sides together, making sure to align the vertical seams at the centre back of the yoke. Zigzag or serge your seam allowance so the new denim doesn’t fray. Iron the seam allowance downwards, and topstitch to make it “match” the existing seaming.

6. Pin your waistband on to the extended yoke, easing them together. The waistband should sandwich the raw edge of the yoke.

7-8-collage

7. Topstitch the waistband onto the newly extended yoke.

8. Use a narrow zigzag with short stitch length to reattach the belt loops.

-9 10 Collage.jpg

9. Try on your awesome, newly-improved jeans! On me, you can see that the new yoke is visible up close, but less obvious from a distance. I always wear shirts that come down at least to the top of my back pockets, so very few people will ever have a chance to notice.

I’m happy to report that these jeans are much more comfortable now. I don’t have to aggressively pull them up after every time I move, and the front of the waistband doesn’t dig as hard into my stomach when I sit. Hurray! In the past I’ve also tried adding darts to jeans (perfect if it’s just a back gaping issue) and adding a denim-covered elastic band all the way around the top (good when you need more rise everywhere). I’m happy to have another alteration in my repertoire!

What fit issue do you have most with RTW pants? Have you figured out a way to fix it? 


26 thoughts on “Easy jeans alteration: More room for your butt!

    1. I think that’s a big part of it! The butt is winning out over the squishy stomach and stealing all the fabric from the front. If it’s more comfortable to sit if you hike your pants up first, then you might have the same issue! 😉

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  1. Wow, that is brilliant, you would have to be looking pretty hard to notice the extension. It looks like a lovely design detail. I have problems with the back gaping and the front being a bit too tight for my Mum Tum. I am a bit scared of making trousers as a result. The fit on yours is ace. Xx

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    1. I get the back gaping too! When i make pull-on jeans, I make the elastic tighter in back so it’s fixes the gaping, and less stretched in the front so it doesn’t cut in.

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    1. It’s hard to get just the right balance, isn’t it? I bought these jeans in petite, which has a shorter rise… the regular would have fit better in the back, but totally cut in at the front! 😛

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  2. I like it, but usually I have the opposite problem ! I normally have too much rise in the back when compared to front. I think it’s also a swayback issue …. ? And usually I prefer the higher rise of the back rather than the mid rise of the front. I’ve wondered if just buying higher-waisted jeans altogether would solve the problem, since they should have more shaping.
    I know I could take out some back rise, but I’ve never been an alterations kind of sewist 😉

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    1. K-Line was noting the same thing above! You might like higher rise jeans better over all… or they might just be ridiculously high in the back on you! I could have bought these in a higher rise version (aka. not the petites) but the front would have been uncomfortably high on those… I figured it was easier to raise the back than try to somehow lower the front!

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  3. I basically did this with the last pair of ginger jeans (med rise) I made, and I agree it’s amazing! I had attached the waistband and realized they showed too much when I crouched, so I thought “why can’t I just recut the waistband, adding a big wedge to give extra back rise?” And I think I’m going to do this always and forever now (maybe even with high-rise gingers, though I’m less sure that’ll work). Have you tried it with high rise jeans?

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  4. Great idea! I saw some work pants in a Duluth Trading Company catalogue that went up higher in the center back to solve a similar problem. I’ve been turning it over in my mind ever since. I really like your solution, too, and I’m happy to add it to my mental library. Thanks for sharing!

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