Here comes another sewing project. You may have read my post a couple weeks ago about jeans being impossible to fit if you’ve got an hourglassy shape on your bottom half too. Sometimes I get so fed up with the search (or I find a pair I love despite the ill fit) that I just buy whatever fits my hips and butt even if there is major gapping at the waistband. But this is actually a very easy and quick fix if you prefer not to pay for a tailor.

A couple months ago, I fell in love with some denim shorts from Express that came in a random collection of bright hues (red, dark orange, lavender, and peach), but at $59.90 decided they were waaaaaay too expensive. But this past weekend all shorts were on sale for $39.90 and I had a $15 off coupon. I went to the store to try them on and found that a size 8 was perfect in the thighs and rear, but had a massive gap in the back of the waist. Even with the price drop, I felt it wasn’t worth it. But then over the course of the last few days, I decided I absolutely loved the bright orange color; plus it’s so hard to find shorts that are mid-thigh length instead of being either way too short or knee-length. So I figured I’d just get them and sew in some darts in the back. Where else am I going to find bright orange denim shorts, much less ones that fit correctly right off the rack?

This project requires:

One pair of jeans (or really, casual shorts or pants of any variety)
Measuring tape

Here are the shorts from the front (please excuse the smudgy mirror):

And the back. There are inches of space! Why??

Start by pinching the shorts on each side, about halfway between the side and back belt loops. If you want to be really precise, measure how much fabric you’re pinching. I just eyeballed it, though. In my case, it was about a half-inch sized pinch on each side (meaning I’ll be taking in one whole inch on each side in the end).

Now turn the pants inside out and mark with your chalk about halfway from the center back seam to the side seam. This should be about the center of your pinch from the prior step.

Next, mark where you will have the dart stop. Make sure it’s high enough that you don’t sew over the pocket. In the case of traditional jeans, the horizontal seam above the pocket is a perfect spot to stop.

Now fold the jeans along an imaginary line leading from the top chalk mark to the lower one. Pin in place far enough from the marks that the pin won’t get in the way of your sewing.

If you want, you can draw a chalk line where you want to sew, but again I just eyeballed it. Starting at the waistband, at the distance from the fold where you originally measured with the pinch (so half an inch in my case), sew a straight line from the waistband to your stop point. It’s imperative that you stop sewing exactly along the edge of the fabric. If you stop even a little bit inward, you’ll end up with a little pocket at the bottom of the dart instead of a smooth finish. I always have trouble with this part. If you stop too far in, you can always sew just a tiny bit further (might be easiest to do it by hand) to smooth out the base of the dart.

You are done! Now you have a custom-fitted pair of jeans. With my sewing machine, the whole process took less than 15 minutes!