How to Make Jeans One Size Smaller: Expert Tips for 2023

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how to make jeans one size smaller

Effective Methods to Shrink Jeans by One Size

1. Hot Water Soak Method

The hot water soak method is a common technique used to shrink jeans and make them one size smaller. To do this, fill a bathtub or large basin with hot water, making sure it is not boiling. Submerge the jeans in the hot water for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even soaking.

After soaking, drain the water and rinse the jeans with cold water. Squeeze out any excess water and hang them up to air dry. As they dry, the fabric will shrink, resulting in a smaller size.

2. Washing Machine and Dryer Method

If you prefer using your washing machine and dryer to shrink your jeans, this method can also be effective. Start by turning your jeans inside out to protect the color and finish of the fabric.

Place the jeans in the washing machine on a hot water setting. Add a small amount of detergent and run a regular wash cycle. Once the cycle is complete, transfer the jeans to the dryer on high heat.

Keep an eye on the jeans as they dry, checking their size periodically. Once they have reached your desired level of shrinkage, remove them from the dryer and let them cool before trying them on.


  • Always read and follow care instructions on your jeans before attempting any shrinking methods.
  • Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals when shrinking jeans as they can damage the fabric.
  • If you want additional shrinkage after one round of shrinking, repeat the process until you achieve your desired size.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Making Jeans Smaller

Gather the necessary tools and materials:

To make jeans smaller, you will need a sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, a measuring tape, and a seam ripper. Additionally, you may need a fabric marker or chalk to mark your alterations.

Measure and mark the desired size:

Start by trying on the jeans and determining how much smaller you want them to be. Use a fabric marker or chalk to mark the new measurements on both sides of each leg. Make sure to measure from the waistband down to ensure an even alteration.

Remove excess fabric:

Using a seam ripper, carefully remove the stitching along the inner leg seams and outer leg seams up to the marked measurement. Be cautious not to cut into the denim itself. This will allow you to take in the jeans without creating bulk or unnecessary seams.

Sew new seams:

Fold each leg in half with right sides together and pin along the new seam line. Using a sewing machine, stitch along this line from the hem up to where you removed the original stitching. Trim any excess fabric and finish the raw edges with a zigzag stitch or serger for durability.


  • Always try on the jeans during each step of alteration to ensure they are fitting correctly.
  • If you are unsure about your sewing skills, practice on scrap denim before working on your jeans.
  • Consider tapering the legs gradually rather than making drastic alterations for a more natural look.

Materials and Tools Needed for Altering Jeans to a Smaller Size


  • Jeans to be altered
  • Thread in a matching color


  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric marker or chalk

These materials and tools are essential for successfully altering jeans to a smaller size. The jeans themselves will serve as the base for the alteration, while the thread will be used to sew new seams. A sewing machine is necessary for efficient and precise stitching. Scissors are required for cutting excess fabric, while pins help hold the fabric in place during sewing. A measuring tape ensures accurate measurements, and a seam ripper is needed to remove original stitching. Lastly, a fabric marker or chalk is useful for marking alterations on the jeans.

Typical Time Frame for Resizing Jeans and Making Them One Size Smaller

The time frame for resizing jeans and making them one size smaller can vary depending on your sewing skills, the complexity of the alterations, and the number of jeans you are working on. On average, it may take around 1-2 hours per pair of jeans.

If you are new to sewing or have limited experience with alterations, it may take longer as you familiarize yourself with the process and work more cautiously. It’s important not to rush through the steps to ensure accurate sizing and quality results.

In some cases, additional time may be required if you encounter any unexpected challenges or complications during the alteration process. It’s always recommended to allocate enough time so that you can work at a comfortable pace without feeling rushed.

Risks and Potential Damage Associated with Shrinking Jeans at Home

While shrinking jeans at home can be a cost-effective solution, there are potential risks and damages that you should be aware of:

Color fading or bleeding:

When exposing jeans to hot water or high heat during the shrinking process, there is a risk of color fading or bleeding. This can result in a less vibrant appearance or even transfer of color onto other garments if not properly handled.

Uneven shrinkage:

If the jeans are not evenly soaked or exposed to heat during the shrinking process, they may shrink unevenly. This can lead to an unbalanced fit and an altered overall look.

Weakening of fabric and seams:

The heat and agitation involved in shrinking jeans can weaken the fabric and seams over time. This may cause them to become more prone to tearing or unraveling, especially if the denim is already worn or aged.

Tips for minimizing damage:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for your specific jeans before attempting any alterations.
  • Avoid using excessively high temperatures when washing or drying your jeans.
  • Consider spot testing a small inconspicuous area of the jeans before proceeding with full-scale shrinking.
  • If unsure about the process, consult a professional alteration service for guidance.

Alternative Options for Making Jeans Smaller without Sewing or Permanent Alterations

If you prefer not to sew or make permanent alterations to your jeans, there are alternative options available:

Belt cinching:

Using a belt can help create a tighter fit around the waist without permanently altering the jeans. Simply wear a belt and adjust it to your desired tightness for a more fitted look.


If the jeans are slightly loose, you can layer them with tights or leggings underneath. This adds extra bulk and helps create a snugger fit without making any permanent changes.

Tailor’s adhesive tape:

Tailor’s adhesive tape, also known as hemming tape, can be used to temporarily alter the size of jeans. This double-sided tape allows you to fold and secure excess fabric, creating a smaller fit. However, keep in mind that this is not a long-term solution and may require readjustment throughout the day.

Easier-to-Resize Types of Denim for Altering Jeans

When choosing jeans to resize, certain types of denim are easier to work with:

Non-stretch denim:

Non-stretch denim is generally easier to resize compared to stretch denim. It holds its shape better during alterations and is less likely to warp or lose its original structure.

Straight-leg or wide-leg jeans:

Straight-leg or wide-leg jeans provide more room for alterations compared to skinny jeans or tapered styles. The wider leg openings allow for easier adjustments without compromising the overall fit and appearance.


Keep in mind that even with these types of denim, proper measurements and alterations are still necessary for achieving the desired fit.

Recommended Professional Alteration Services for Resizing Jeans

If you prefer professional assistance or lack sewing skills, there are alteration services available that specialize in resizing jeans:

Local tailors and seamstresses:

Research and visit local tailors or seamstresses in your area who offer jeans alteration services. They have the expertise and equipment to accurately resize your jeans while maintaining their original look and quality.

Denim alteration specialists:

Some alteration businesses specialize specifically in denim alterations. These specialists are experienced in working with jeans and can provide tailored resizing services to meet your specific needs.

Tips for choosing a professional alteration service:

  • Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family who have used these services before.
  • Inquire about the turnaround time, pricing, and any guarantees offered by the service provider.
  • Bring a pair of jeans you already own that fit well as a reference for the desired alterations.

Maintaining the Original Look and Quality of Resized Jeans

To maintain the original look and quality of resized jeans, follow these tips:

Proper washing and drying:

Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper washing and drying techniques. Avoid using excessively high temperatures or harsh detergents that may damage the fabric or alter its appearance.

Avoid excessive wear between washes:

To prevent unnecessary stretching or shrinking, avoid wearing resized jeans for extended periods without washing them. This allows the fabric to regain its shape naturally.

Store properly when not in use:

Fold or hang your resized jeans in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading or discoloration. Avoid storing them in cramped spaces where they may become wrinkled or misshapen.

Tips and Tricks for Preventing Future Stretching or Shrinking of Resized Jeans

To prevent future stretching or shrinking of resized jeans, consider the following tips:

Wash in cold water:

When washing your jeans, use cold water instead of hot water. Cold water helps preserve the fabric’s elasticity and minimizes the risk of shrinkage.

Air dry or tumble dry on low heat:

Avoid using high heat when drying your jeans. Instead, air dry them flat or tumble dry on a low heat setting. High heat can cause excessive shrinkage and damage the fabric over time.

Avoid overstretching:

Be mindful of how you wear and handle your jeans to avoid unnecessary stretching. Avoid pulling excessively on the waistband or seams when putting them on or taking them off.


It’s important to remember that even with these precautions, some natural stretching or shrinking may occur over time due to regular wear and tear.

In conclusion, by following the tips and techniques mentioned in this article, individuals can successfully make their jeans one size smaller.

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