Sew Jeans – Belt Loops and Waistband

Sew Your Own Jeans - Belt Loops and Waistband -

We’re getting closer and closer to a new pair of jeans! Today let’s talk about sewing  the belt loops and waistband.

Let’s start with the belt loops. I’ve found the easiest way to sew them is to start with one long strip that you’ll cut into the loops. Because you’re working with such a thin strip of fabric, and because denim is thick, the normal method of sewing a tube and turning it right side out doesn’t work well.

So to start, finish one long edge of your belt loops with a faux overlock stitch if you have a regular machine, or with your serger if you have one. Then fold the strip into thirds, with the overlocked side on top.


Using heavy duty thread and a long stitch length, topstitch down both sides of the strip. I position my needle to the left for one line, and to the right for the other.

Belt loop stitching -

When you’re done, it will look like this, with the raw edge encased inside. You can now cut your strip into smaller pieces for your belt loops.

How to sew belt loops for jeans -

To attach the belt loops, fold the raw edges under, and sew with a bar tack (narrow, short stitch length zig-zag).

How to attach belt loops -

Alright, let’s talk waistbands for a second. There are two basic kinds of waistbands – straight and curved. If you’re one who has trouble with your pants fitting your hips but being too big on your waist, you’re going to want a curved waistband. If your pants pattern has a straight waistband, here’s how to change it.

Start by measuring the waistband length minus the seam allowances. Remember that your waistband has to overlap in the front for the button. The pattern piece corresponds to the measurement at the top of your pants when they’re all sewn together except the waistband.

Next, measure your waist where the top of the waistband is going to sit, remembering the button overlap. If you’re an hourglass shape the second measurement will be shorter than your waistband length. For example, on me it’s 1″ shorter. So that means that over the length of the waistband I have to take out 1″ on the top edge. I prefer not to take out more than 1/4″ at a time, so I cut the waistband in 4 places evenly spaced.

At each cut, overlap the top edge 1/4″, leaving the bottom edge intact, and then tape it back together. This will give your waistband a gradual curve, which will match your body better than the straight waistband.

How to alter a straight waistband to a curved one - for hourglass figures - sew your own jeans

Stop over at Sew a Straight Line where Sabra is showing us how she sews her zipper flies.

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