I must say, getting back into blogging is hard once you’ve stepped off of that train for a while. We are such creatures of habit, that when you’re used to posting 5-7 times a week, 3 seems child’s play, but once you stop for a month or two, putting even one post a week up seems like a lot. All of this to say “Long time, no see!”
Today I’ll be sharing some tips on altering pant leg width for a better fit. I know, it’s not the most exciting refashion, but it’s a necessary one. And, let’s be honest, the basic refashioning fixes come in handy way more often than those fancy and surprising makeovers.
I loved the overall look of these pants right off the bat, but they were a tad too wide and that made them look baggy. I wore them a few times as they were, but it still bothered me, so I knew I had to do something about it.
Before we dive into the alteration process, I have to say, I don’t like mending and altering clothing. It’s annoying and I keep that to-be-mended pile hidden in the bottom drawer. But sometimes, it’s the smallest little modification that can give a garment a new lease on life, and that’s worth getting over boredom, or the craving for a surprise total makeover. Sometimes, the simplest fix is the best.
STEP 1 – Fitting
I recommend turning the pants inside out before trying them on. This way, you don’t have to move any pins you put into place.
When taking in pant legs, always take in from both sides of the leg. I’ve seen tutorials where you’re instructed to only take in from the one side, and although the results seem to look fine on photos, I haven’t seen a pair of pants where this type of take-in wouldn’t result in a twisted leg. When you narrow from both sides, you’re keeping the straight grain straight, which will make the fit so much better. Unless you don’t mind the side seems twisting to the front of your leg when you walk. In which case, to what you want.
You only need to pin one leg, because you can then transfer those marking to the other leg. It’s more precise this way as well.
STEP 2 – Cutting and sewing
Next comes the time to sew new pant leg seams and cut away any extra length . I actually recommend cutting the right length (plus hem allowance!) first, and the sewing the seams.
If you don’t need to make your pants shorter, you need to unpick your hem before sewing the leg sides. This way you’ll get a nice clean finish once you re-hem, and it’s also pretty tricky to get the hem to line up perfectly.
I used my serger to trim down the seam allowances for the side seams, but you could use the zig-zag stitch for that just as well.
Before you go cutting away that extra fabric, though, make sure to put the pants on and see if everything fits ok. There’s no getting that extra width back once you’ve cut it off. Measure twice, cut once, you know?
STEP 3 – (Re-)hemming
All there’s left to do now, is to hem or re-hem the pants. This is by far the easiest part for me, since I’ve hemmed like a bajillion pairs of pants (everyone in my family has really short legs). Side note: If you ever need your pants hemmed, I can get it done in less than 15 minutes.
If you’re unfamiliar with hemming, it the simple act of folding the unfinished hem twice and securing that fold into place. I usually to a 1.5cm hem on pants, which means the folded hem is 1.5cm wide/high. I always press all hems before sewing because this secures them into place and the fabric won’t move as much during sewing (or unfold), plus it let’s me skip pins.
I really contemplated whether to write this post or not. On the one hand, this seems basic sewing knowledge to me. Something I’m sure anyone can do. But, then I remembered that I didn’t consider this basic when I was first starting out. Then everything seemed new, and, most of times, confusing. So, I hope that this helped someone gain more confidence in tackling their first simple refashion.
For more basic refashioning techniques check out my tips for dying clothes, how to add ankle zippers to skinny jeans, make a granny blouse fit better, lengthen a blouse with color blocks, and how to fix a ripped sleeve by going sleeveless.