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How to Stretch Jeans Waistband

Updated April 17, 2017

Sometimes you need an extra inch or two in the waistband of your favourite pair of jeans, especially if they've accidentally gone through the dryer cycle or you've put on a few extra pounds. Consider a few simple steps to take to give yourself the breathing room you need.

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  1. Make sure your jeans are wet. Run them through the wash cycle and remove them when complete. Although the washing machine method works best, you could just use a spray bottle of water and soak the jeans just on the waistband for quicker results.

  2. If you're very careful and disciplined, you could put your jeans in the dryer for just 5 or 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out, then proceed to step 3. You may want to skip this step altogether if there's a chance you'll forget about your jeans being in the dryer. Also, don't leave wet clothes in the dryer or they'll become mouldy.

  3. Fasten your jeans. Stretch the waistband by pulling as hard as you can without ripping the jeans. You could place a holder like a large hanger, piece of wood or a plastic pipe in the stretched waistband while drying, or simply hang the stretched jeans.

  4. Let your jeans air dry on a hanger or drying rack. Smooth the legs out (front and back) with your hand to minimise wrinkles. Stretch the hems out to keep the original shape.

  5. Tip

    You could spend around $13 purchasing an official waistband stretcher that will give jeans and other trousers up to an extra 5 inches in the waist. Consider purchasing a trousers button extender at your local fabric store. Make your own button extender with a thick rubber band, but make sure your shirt covers the evidence.


    Make sure the jeans are fastened before stretching the waistband, or you'll break the zipper. Don't completely dry your jeans in the dryer. They'll likely shrink a size and stretching the waistband to fit will become a more difficult task. Use the stretching method every time you wash your jeans, and wear them several times before washing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Jeans
  • Washing machine or spray bottle with water
  • Hanger
  • Holder or stretcher
  • Clothes line or drying place

About the Author

Lisa Love has been a published writer since 1995. Love is a retired banker, former educator, business owner and craftsman with a business degree from Barry University.

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