How to tighten pants legs: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to tighten pants legs: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to tighten pants legs: 15 steps (with pictures)

Tapered pants are stylish and will instantly dress up any outfit. However, the pants are often too loose and hiring a professional tailor can be expensive. Touching up the lower legs yourself is actually a very easy way to get a better fit and save money. You will just have to determine at which level to take the pants back, cut and pin the fabric, then sew a new seam.


Part 1 of 3: determining how much to tighten your pants

Step 1. Turn the pants inside out

Then put on the garment if you want to touch it up for yourself. If you're editing it for someone else, have them wear it. Make sure it is on the wrong side, as you will need to draw a line which should not be visible after you have sewn the seam.

Turning the piece inside out will expose the original seam. This will make it easier for you to remove the stitches, cut the fabric and sew the new seam

Step 2. Pinch the garment where you want to tighten it

Pinch the fabric on the inner and outer edges of the leg, to locate the level where you want to tighten it. Depending on the effect you want, you may need to remove a significant portion of the tissue or just a little. Grasp the fabric between your fingers, until you find the best fit.

For example, if you want the leg to start to tighten at the knee, pinch the fabric over the inner seam and outer seam of the leg at the knee to determine where the new seam will go

Step 3. Ask a friend to draw a line

It will be very difficult to draw this line yourself while you are wearing the pants. To do this, ask a friend to help you during this step. The person will draw a line along your fingers, where you are holding the fabric.

You can try scoring the fabric yourself, but keep in mind that you will need to continually pinch it as you draw the line

Step 4. If you don't have anyone to help you, use pins

If no one can assist you, insert pins where you want to tighten the legs. Space the pins 2 to 5 cm apart. Then draw a line with chalk, along the inner edges of the pins, after removing the pants.

The pins should be placed vertically (parallel to the seam). This will make it easier for you to draw the line after you remove the garment

Step 5. Layer tapered pants over the pants to retouch

Another way to touch up the garment is to lay it out flat and then place it over tapered pants. Trace the outline of this second part on the one to retouch.

Choose tapered pants that fit you well. You will reproduce its cut on your pants

Step 6. Check the lines drawn with a ruler

Hold the ruler against the line and go over the winding areas with chalk. The ruler can also help you check the distance between the edge of the piece and the chalk line. This will ensure that both legs are the same size.

For example, if the path is 4 cm from the edges on the bottom of one leg, it should be the same distance on the edge of the second leg

Part 2 of 3: remove the old seam

Step 1. Remove the original seam

Leave the pants inside out and use an uncovered cutout to cut the stitches along the area to be retouched. Pass the small hook of the tool along the stitches to cut them, then gently pull on the fabric at the seams to undo them. Gently pull out the cut threads with your fingers.

You won't have to undo all the stitches if you don't touch up the entire leg. Only undo those in the area where you will resume sewing

Step 2. Draw a second line 1.5 cm from the first

Once you have undone the original seam, flatten the fabric and overlap the raw edges. Then draw a second line with chalk 1.5 cm from the first.

If the fabric does not lie flat, you will need to iron it

Step 3. Cut on the second path

The second line drawn on the fabric will be the new raw edge of that part of the fabric. Cut the fabric on this path.

Use a sharp pair of scissors and cut along the line

Step 4. Pin the fabric along the first row

Once you have cut the fabric, insert the pins along the first line drawn on the fabric. This will be where you will make the new seam of the garment. Space the pins 8cm apart along the pattern to hold the fabric in place as you sew.

  • Insert the pins perpendicular to the edge of the fabric. This will make it easier to remove as you sew.
  • Repeat the operation with the other lines.

Part 3 of 3: Making the new seam

Step 1. Choose a thread of the correct color

To sew the pants, you will need a strong thread. These seams should indeed be solid, especially if you are looking for a slim or skinny fit. Choose a thread the same color as the pants, like black thread for a black garment.

Denim yarn, for example, is a suitable option

Step 2. Set the machine for straight stitch

The straight stitch is best suited to the leg seams of trousers. It is an easy point to use. This is usually the first time setting up the machine, but check your machine's manual to make sure.

Make sure your sewing machine is set to the recommended tension and stitch length for straight stitching

Step 3. Sew on the first row

Sew straight on, along the line marked on the fabric. Start from the bottom of the leg and work upwards. If the line meets the edge of the pants, sew to the edge. If the line goes up to the crotch, sew up to the crotch.

Remember to remove the pins as you go. Do not sew over or you may damage your machine

Step 4. Work backstitch when you reach the end of the row

To do this, hold the machine side lever down and gently press the pedal. This will reverse the direction of the feed dogs (the part under the needle, which moves the fabric) and you will then sew in the opposite direction. Work in reverse stitch for 2 to 5 cm. Then release the handle and sew again to the end of the line.

The back stitch reinforces the end of the seam

Step 5. Repeat on the second leg

Once you have finished the new seams on the first leg, move on to the second. Repeat the same steps, so that the two legs are identical.

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