How to Alter a Denim Skirt Waistband (How to Fix a Denim Skirt That's Too Big UPDATED)

UPDATED April 14, 2018

Since this was one of my most viewed posts, I decided to update this tutorial. It was about time, right? :)

This tutorial is to help you fix that denim skirt in your close that you love, but it's a bit too big. This will also help you later on when skirt shopping and you happen to find a skirt you love, but it's a size or two bigger.
This method can also be applied to jeans that fit too big in the waistband area. I actually used this tutorial for the jeans I'm wearing in this refashion.

too big denim skirt waistband before photos

I found this skirt while shopping at Burlington and I immediately fell in love with it. It was too big, but I bought it anyway, because it's hard to find a good modest denim skirt and the pearl detail is so adorable. It adds a dainty feminine touch to the classic denim skirt.


1. Measure the skirt that's too big across the waist, as shown below.

denim skirt waistband being measured with measuring tape

2. Next, take a skirt that fits you and measure it across the waist, as shown below.

Subtract this number from the measurement in Step 1.
& Divide this number by 2.
This is how much you will take off your waistband, on each side.

Example: My too big skirt measured 15" across the waist & my skirt that fit measured 13" across the waist. 
So I subtracted 15" - 13" = 2".  
2" divided by 2 is 1".
So, I will take off 1" from each side of the waistband.

denim skirt waistband being measured with measuring tape

3. Using a seam ripper, unpick the stitches from the waistband. How far you unstitch, depends on how much you're going to take off the waistband. 

I usually unstitch an inch or two on each side of the waistband.

denim skirt waistband with seam ripper

4. Flip the waistband inside out, as shown below.
Pin and sew as much as you need to.
I took off 1" from each side.

denim skirt waistband turned inside out

Here's a closer look.
After you pin and sew, trim off the excess fabric, and turn it back inside out.

denim skirt waistband turned inside out close up

5. Once you flip both sides inside out again, your waistband will look like this:

new denim skirt waistband

At this point, If your skirt is too big in the hip area too, sew off as much as you need to. Stop sewing after the hip area, unless you want to tighten the entire skirt all the way down to the hem.

I didn't mess with the hip area on the pearl denim skirt because the pearls were in the way. 
(This is a photo of the skirt I used when I first wrote this tutorial

denim skirt hip area taken in

6. I folded in the little part circled in pink.

denim skirt waistband alteration

7. Then, I pinned and sewed the waistband back in place. (As shown by the pink dots)

denim skirt waistband stitched down

That's it! You've got a new favorite denim skirt. :)

I paired my new denim skirt with feminine prints and details.

sew much love mary blog post signature


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you for the tutorial! I wanted one for this type of skirt! God bless you! Thank you also for walking with God! Christian Love, Kimberly

    1. Yay, I'm glad my tutorial was helpful! :) God bless you! :D

  3. Thank you so much for your time it was so helpful..I'm just a beginner I'm learning cause I'm a single father and have to.;-)

  4. I "accidentally" discovered your site today when I was looking for instructions on how to take in the waist of a denim skirt...yours was the only site I visited and your instructions were great--I got it done in about an hour (lined waistband) and it fits perfectly! The rest of your stuff looks terrific and I will certainly be looking at other projects you've done! I was also thrilled to see that you are also a "Christ-lover." :-D Thank you so much and God bless!! :-) Kathryn

    1. Yay! I'm glad my tutorial helped you. Thank you for visiting my blog, I also love to meet other lovers of Christ! God bless! :D

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