Archive for the ‘Trousers’ Category
Take a look at the trousers and if the back panel is too large the fabric will fall in layers, whereas the front panel will sit normally. Note where the outside seam is in proportion to the person’s legs. Is it sitting down the side of the leg? Is the inside leg seam sitting in the middle of the inside leg? Once these questions are answered, look at the back panel and notice how much excess fabric is between the inside leg seam and the outside leg seam of the back panel.
Take a hold of the excess fabric at the back panel only, at the point where it begins to flounce. This is usually at the hip area.
Place the first pin taking a small section from the back panel only and pin into the outside seam.
Place another pin under this one about 5 cm (2 in) below and take the excess from the back panel and move it over to the side seam and pin.
Repeat this all the way to where there is no more excess fabric.
Notice in the photo the difference between the right leg and the left leg. The right leg is pinned the left is not.
When preparing, measure from the band to the first pin and write this measurement down.
Repeat every 5 cm ( 2 in) down the leg.
Take the pins out and unpick the outside seam from the start pin position to the end position. Place dots on the right side of the fabric and move the front panel over. Sew through the front panel original stitch line.
No more baggy panel
Judith aka genie
Have you ever had trousers that are too tight in the crotch? The way to fix this is to lower the rise which is done in the opposite direction for taking the crotch up.
Turn the trousers inside out. To have complete access to the rise, push one leg into the other, inside out. This means you have the centre front and centre back folded.
It is always better to pin first, so begin pinning at the front with the seam on the right hand side. Line up the inside-leg seams to make sure they are together. If the trousers have a zip in the front or back, you will have to begin just below the zip area. If the zip is in the front begin to sew just below the zip and taper out slowly. Sew around to the centre back, then over lock off the excess, or zig zag if you do not have an over locker (serger).
The trick to getting a good shape is to begin on one side at the seam BEFORE it curves under so that you create a new curve lower down. When coming up the opposite side, taper into the seam slowly. If the stitching is not smooth into the seam, when turned inside out it will have a lump in the fabric.
Try the trousers on to see if they feel comfortable. I would suggest you sew a little at a time until you have let out enough.
Judith aka genie
I talked before about the Oscars and other shows where the people are dressed superbly, but the hems are too long. Trousers can fray at the bottom after half an hour of scraping on the ground. It may only be the back, but that is enough for them to look tatty after one wear. The problem with this is that usually trousers are JUST A LITTLE BIT TOO LONG. That means when they fray, you are left with no hem allowance if you cut at the fray. So your choice is a false hem, which isn’t a bad thing, or you could try this little technique. Iron the trousers so that the frayed section is sitting flat. Have the person try them on and pin at the correct length. Let’s say it is 1cm (1/2”) above the fray. You need to calculate what the hem allowance will be. For ladies I do a 4cm (1½”) hem allowance and for men I do a 5cm (2”) hem allowance.
Place the tape measure on the original hem fold, with the tape at 1cm (1/2”) at this point. Place a mark above the fold at the end of the tape measure, then come down to 1cm (1/2”) BELOW the original hem fold and place a mark, then down another 4cm (1½”) for ladies or 5cm (2”) for men.
Cut on the bottom line. If the hem has to be unpicked, then unpick the hem first.
Check to see that the hem allowance will fit up into the trousers. If it doesn’t then release at the side seams, or take in if the trousers are flared. All of this is explained in my book Clothing Alteration Secrets Revealed.
Fold the trousers at the ORIGINAL HEM and stitch around the bottom 1cm (½”) up from the original length. This means that the frayed section is encased in the stitching. Turn the trousers the right way, and under stitch around the base, joining the seam to the hem allowance. This ensures that the hem allowance and the seam will lay flat. Overlock the edge, or sew ribbon around the raw edge and stitch.
Judith aka genie
A gusset is a triangular piece of fabric that is inserted into a seam to add width to a garment. Clothes that are too tight can have a gusset inserted at the centre back, sides seams or at the inside leg in the crotch area. Some tailors will have an insert at the inside leg that is not quite triangular, but has been added because the person has a large thigh.
Judith aka genie
This is another one of those alteration areas that can create confusion. I had a lady join one of my shops, who thought the only way to open out seams was to start sewing about 15 cm (6 in) above the new hem length, slowly taper down, then once she reached the new hem length, she would tape in. Unfortunately when she showed me what she was doing, the first thing I noticed was that the inside leg “line” swerved in where she began to sew. This almost made the person look like they had a “bump” on the inside leg and the knee looked quite wide.
In all of the hems I have altered, there has only been one time where I had to taper down from the knee so that I could open out the seam, and that was because the trousers were so tapered at the new hem length, that opening out the seams on the inside and outside leg from the new hem length to the raw edge did not allow enough for the hem to sit flat.
The seam generally only needs to be opened from the new hem length to the cut raw edge. To work out how much, fold the hem allowance up, having one side even and the other side will show you how much you need to open out the seam.
The only point I would make here is that when you begin to sew OVER the existing seam on the inside leg, that you MUST be EXACTLY on top of this seam. If you are even slightly off to one side it will not sit correctly.
Some sewing machine feet are more enclosed than others, and it may be difficult to see where the needle is being placed. If this is the case, try and buy a plastic foot. One that you can see through. I use my single plastic button hole foot when doing this, because I can see exactly where my needle is being positioned.
If you are only new to sewing, practice by sewing a few rows , then try and sew over the top of them so that it still looks like one row of stitching. By practicing this, you will find that all your clothing alteration work will be excellent.
Judith aka genie
Have you ever noticed how some days you seem to look bigger in the trouser leg than other days? It’s not your legs that are changing shape, but the trousers you are wearing and how they are pressed or folded. If the trousers have been folded over a hanger with the outside seams to the outside, then you the fabric is forced out at the outside leg and out on the inside leg. So your legs look bigger. Some people iron them this way with a fold on the outside and inside legs, because they do not want cress in the middle.
This can also be true when a person buys a pair of trousers and comes to have them altered. The trousers are folded flat with outside and inside seams at the folds, and when they put them on, they say something like “Do you think they are too wide in the leg?”
After explaining the reason they look this way, I get them to take the trousers off, and either iron a cress down the centre front, or if they don’t want a cress I at least iron the outside and inside seams without a fold in them. The bagginess has gone.
If you want to have permanent cress down the front, the best method is to iron the trousers so that the cress is in the exact middle of the inside and outside legs from the crotch down to the hem. Fold the fronts so that wrong sides are together and you have the cress at the fold. Now sew down the cress as close to the ironed cress as possible, all the way from the crotch to the hem.
This will hold the cress in place on a permanent basis, and will give you a more flattering look.
Judith aka genie
I am in my 50′s so I have been around long enough to see the cycle of fashion. Hipster was in when I was a young girl, and then high waisted came in at my most informative years. Because I had a bit of excess weight on at that time, I preferred the high waisted, and have always kept my trousers and skirts at the waist. I could not be converted to the low hipster style garment. So when I find a pair of stretch pants that I like, which are low waisted, I buy them, take the old band off and replaced it with a wider band that is 5 cm (2″) wider. Plus I did a cross over at the front which looks nice.
Cut a piece of stretch fabric that is your waist measurement – less 5 cm (2″) for firmness – plus 30 cm (12″) for crossover. The cross over begins just past the side seam. This means you will have a “V” in the front and the bands at the front should overlap a good 15cm (6″).
You can cut the old band off, or unpick. By unpicking you keep a little of the fabric from the body. Measure a pair of stretch trousers you have that are comfortable. Measure the rise – crotch to top at centre front. Write this amount down and measure the crotch to the top at the centre back. Write this measurement down. If you want it to be exact at the sides, measure from the hem up to the top of the pair you like and write this measurement down. Or you can just taper the front to the back.
Now measure the new trousers in the same locations – centre front, centre back and sides from the hem. Calculate the difference and allow for seam allowance. Find yourself a good stretch fabric, making sure to have the stretch going around the body.
You may find you need the front to be higher than the back, or the other way around. The sides will be another measurement. You can make a template using paper, Vilene or calico. Once you have the band the right measurement at the front, sides and back, plus the extra for the front crossover, fold your stretch fabric in half with the fold at the top. Cut your piece out, allowing for seams. Pin into place with the fold at the top. Begin at the centre back. Pin around to the sides and lay the front crossover on top of each other. Sew the new band on and overlock excess.
If you find the fabric is not firm enough, you could attach some elastic around the top of the trousers before you put the band on. Or you could sew some elastic around the fold on the inside of the new band.
To save having to do this, I always use good firm elastic, and take the time to make sure I have the measurements right the first time.
Tip for the month – Have you got a cardigan or top that is buttoned down the front, and it gaps around the bust area? I had a blouse in my wardrobe, great style and beautiful fabric in a burgundy colour. But it never got worn because it gaped in the front. You know how a painter’s house is never painted? Same goes in my house. Anyway, you will be pleased to know that I have now stitched it down with the buttons still there, so it looks like it is buttoned up, and because it was a little square looking, I put two darts under the bust down to the hem. Now it looks great and I don’t have to worry about the gaping.
Method – Pin the front down, so that the edges are flush. Use a thread colour that is the same as the garment or the thread that is used. Stitch down the edge trying to stitch over the top of the existing stitch line. If the buttons are big, you may have to take them off and put them back on after you have stitched it down. You only need to do the one row of stitching down the edge. Make sure you have the top and bottom even before you sew. If you are stitching a knit, try using your buttonhole foot. Mine has a ridge underneath, and it helps to stop the knit from slipping.
Sewing on buttons – Instead of doing it by hand, use your sewing machine. Again I use my buttonhole foot which holds the button in place. Remember the zigzag is on the width of the holes and the straight stitch is on zero (0). If you want it really neat, you can thread the thread to the back and knot off.
Judith aka genie
Insert a “V” (Upside down) in the side seams and an extension on the bottom.
I was sent this information by a wonderful lady called Nancy who is from the USA. I thought it was a brilliant idea.
Open out the seams on the outside leg, cut out a triangle which you can insert into the opening, along with a strip for the extension on the bottom. For jeans, heavy lace would be great, or heavy curtain fabric, or something to contrast with the trousers. If you can work it out, cut the triangle and the piece to go around the bottom all in one piece.
Thank you Nancy
Idea – The triangle could be lace, with a satin ribbon gathered at intervals down the lace. Begin at the top where it would be a small section, and all the way down the triangle (4 cm (1 ½”) apart) then attach the lace or satin around the bottom for the length.
“If any of you have ideas you would like to pass on to others, I would be only too happy to include them in this newsletter. It’s all about “sharing the knowledge”.
Judith aka genie
1. If trousers are too tight at the waist, you can release the pleats or darts. It may or may not have a band. If there is no band it is easier to unpick the darts and put a panel in the facing or unpick the lining darts. For trousers (or skirts) with a band, unpick the band from the button end around to the button hole end, but not all the way. Leave the buttonhole end attached with enough room for you to get in and sew the band back on. Release the darts or pleats the amount you need, and sew the band back on, putting an extension in the end. Usually the original band will hide the extension. Try to use fabric of a similar colour and weight. I actually pin the band back on with the pins facing forward, and I sew with the band on the top so that I sew back into the original stitching. You will never know that the band has been unpicked if you do this.
2. If the trousers are too tight in the crotch area, or you have what is called a camel foot appearing around the crotch area, this is usually due to the crotch being too tight. This means you need to lower the “rise” of the trousers. The rise is the seam that runs from the centre front to the centre back. If you turn the trousers inside out, then pop one leg into the other with right sides together, you will have easy access to the rise. Lower the rise without taking in too much around the tummy or bottom area. In other words you are going to begin sewing about 6cm (2 ½”) from the crotch join front and back. This will lower the rise and give you more room. To be honest I would not lower a rise more than 4 cm (1 ½”).
3. Put a panel down each side of the trousers, but use a fabric that is a good colour match or a contrast colour that works with the trouser. Something that looks great is a heavy lace panel with a fabric behind the lace. The backing could be any colour. I have inserted lace down the sides of trousers in this way and backed it with a skin coloured “two way stretch” called peek-a-boo. It looks like you are looking at the person’s skin but in reality it is the stretch fabric. There are some fantastic fabrics out there so use your imagination.
4. What about opening out the side seams of the trousers and sewing loops on the sides like the back of the dress. Then making a long cord, or buying some and threading it through the loops. If you are concerned about exposing your skin, sew some stretch fabric underneath. Make sure that the stretch fabric is smaller than what you want, so that the fabric doesn’t bunch if the trousers become too big.
Judith aka genie
Got this email about taking in sides with pockets
how do you alter slacks in the hips that have pockets? I have several pairs that are too big since I have lost weight.
You only have two options. One is to take in the sides and take out the pockets, but this would also depend on the type of pocket. Obviously you can’t take out a pocket that has the main body at the top by the band, as this would leave you with a space. But you could sew the pockets down then take in.
The second option is that I would look at taking in the centre back and see if the side seam came around to the back too much. Sometimes it doesn’t, and taking in the centre back solves the problem. If that is not enough. You can take in the center back section through to the crotch, then take in from the thigh down in the outside let.
Let me know how you go. It will depend on each individual trouser and how they are constructed
Judith aka genie