Sunday, 11 March 2012

How to take up pants

As I am not tall, it’s very rare that I find pants that aren’t too long, and yet the petite ranges were not designed for these thighs! So, as I have to shorten my pants every time I buy a pair, I thought you might like to see how I do it.

The ‘regular’ way of taking up pants involves ‘invisible’ stitching (i.e. only catching a couple of threads of the outside fabric). This is tricky, time-consuming, and if you’re not very careful, you can still see the stitches on the outside.

My method leaves a visible hem on the outside, but I don’t see anything wrong with one neat line of stitching, and for everyday or casual pants/jeans, it can even leave a nicer finish than the hidden method. Maybe you won’t want to use this method for your best interview suit, but I use it for everything else!

  • sewing machine
  • thread that matches the colour of your pants
  • seam gauge (if you don’t have one, a measuring tape or ruler will do)
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • sewing needle
  • iron
Try on your pants so you can see how long they need to be. Note: remember to wear shoes while you do this, or your pants will look too short when you wear them with shoes!

Fold up the pants to the length you want them to be (it helps if you have a mirror so you can see where they will fall when you are standing up straight) or get someone to pin them for you. Adjust until you’re happy that they don’t scrape the floor but aren’t going to be too short either. Remember different heel heights will affect the apparent length, so keep that in mind.

pin the pants to the length you want them
Pin the back of your pants only (at the heel)- you do this because the front is too hard to tell length with. Use just one pin to stop the turn-up from falling down when you take off the pants. This is just to give you the required length, so don’t worry about being neat. I sometimes put pins right around just to hold the place. Have a final length check after pinning. Okay, now you can get changed, or sew in underpants- whatever you are comfortable in (and don’t prick yourself on the pins!).
measure the amount you are taking off

Pin the fold to the right length all the way around
Measure the length of the turn-up on each leg. They should be the same, but if they aren’t, pick a measurement midway between the two.

If they are very different, you should probably try the pants on again and check which one is right! Make a note of your measurement.
Make sure both legs are the same length!

Fold up the bottom of each leg, to the length you measured above, and pin in place. Check the two to make sure they are the same
Make the cut so you have about 3-4cm of turn up left

Iron the fold so it is pressed into a crease. You can make a mark about an 4cm all the way around but i usually just take the plunge for the next bit, because you are hiding it anyway. Be brave – this is the scary part! Cut the turn-up about 3 to 4 cm from the edge, but be careful not to cut through both layers of fabric – just the turned up part – otherwise you’ll end up with long shorts!

Pin under so that you end up with a 2cm turn up with no raw edges visible
With your remaining 4cm turn-up, begin to fold the raw edge inside, so you end up with a 2cm turn-up with no raw edges visible. Pin in place as you go.

Continue folding and pinning all around the bottoms of both legs. You can iron this fold in place before sewing (I like to, it makes the sewing part easier) or just sew it at this point.

Use the guidelines on your machine to get a nice straight line

Set up your sewing machine with a thread colour that matches the main colour in your fabric, for both the top and bobbin threads. Set it to a medium length straight stitch.

Using the 1cm guide on your sewing machine (or whichever guide is just less than the fold size) & sew around the bottom of each leg. When you get back to the start, sew over your first couple of stitches and then finish off.

Pull the loose threads to the wrong side of the fabric. You can knot them together for added security, if desired, then thread them through a sewing needle. Push the needle into the turned up fabric, and out a couple of inches further along.
Pull thread ends to the inside side of the leg and cut off
Pull the thread ends to make fabric scrunch up slightly, then snip off the threads flush with the fabric, so they disappear inside the fabric when you pull it flat.

Turn the pants right side out and admire your handiwork!

No comments:

Post a Comment