Adventures in Alterations – Slimming Jeans

Here’s another alteration that may come in handy for petites. You may remember this photo from my “wardrobe misfits” post some time ago. I’ve been thinking about these jeans lately and how I could fix them. They never got much wear (once maybe?), and always felt a little “off”. I like the color, but the fit just wasn’t right. A few commenters noted they looked too big and that I should sell them, but I just wasn’t ready to give up on them.

After scrutinizing them in the mirror, I decided it was the fit in the knee I didn’t like. They fit fabulously in the rear, waist, rise and thigh, but once your eye falls on that knee area and below…it was kind of a baggy, saggy mess.


As a petite woman who buys regular (non-petite) jeans, and has them hemmed for my height, I find the fit sometimes still isn’t right. Knee-breaks on jeans (the area on the jean leg that is cut to fit at the knee)  is often too low on regular size jeans. My legs aren’t as long as a taller woman’s, so everything needs to be brought up higher, including the knee-break. Most of the time I can get away with it, but for this particular pair of jeans, my knee just wasn’t in the right place.

I took these to a new-to-me tailor that had high reviews on Yelp, and was much closer to me than the tailor I want to use for more difficult alterations. I crossed my fingers that 1) my estimation of what they needed was correct, and 2) the tailor would do a decent job on the alteration.

Here are the jeans post-alterations:


And a side-by-side comparison:

Cost of alteration: ~$10

It’s a subtle difference, but the alteration leaves the leg line looking slimmer and neater.

This was an alteration I had never tried before, so it was risky, but a cheaper solution to buying a new pair of jeans. Slimming the knee cost about as much as getting a hem (~$10), so isn’t terribly expensive, and a good option if you have a pair of jeans laying around that isn’t quite as flattering in the leg as you’d like.

Other ways to use this type of alteration:

– Make a boot-cut or flare narrower to better fit your body-type.
– Turn a pair of boot-cut/flare jeans into a skinny or straight leg style.
– Fix any kind of baggyness along the leg or thigh.

Have you ever slimmed your jeans?

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Christine Y Liao

    I like this entry… I realized a few weeks ago that even jeggings look like jeans on me – because it is not fitted at the calf due to the knee break problem- and hence look straight or even bootcut (don’t know  how).  After all Jeggings are supposed to hug.   Thus, I’ve got a closet full of jeans that “need” to be taken the the tailor…. for a slim and hem job. 
    Good job on this pair of jeans

  2. says: AlexanderBelle

    Where did you get the adorable shoes in the first picture? I’ve been searching everywhere for a pair that still looked cute in a size 5!  

  3. says: Rue Vogiatz

    Good job however this should be done on both sides of jeans. It’s cheaper altering one side although the Wow factor kicks in when both ‘triangles’ are slimmed down giving true balance.

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