tailor your pants already.

You know, those pants you bought because they were on sale even though they don’t fit quite right. God bless Old Navy for their cheap pants, but dang it’s frustrating when you aren’t shaped like one of their mannequins.

I bought this pair of pants from Old Navy back in the fall but probably only wore them 2 or 3 times. They fit in the bum and thighs, but the waist and ankles were big and wonky. You know how it is when your pants’ waist is too big, you bend to pick something up or to just sit down in a chair and all of a sudden your coin slot announces you’re open for business.

pants beforeHere they are before. You can’t see the waist, my shirts conveniently cover the awkward belt popping up over the waist band in the back. The calf portion of the pants drove me crazy because they would sneak their way up my leg and get stuck, bunching at my knees and leaving me ready for high waters. I think it’s something with the fabric, they’re more like treggings than jeggings (trousers vs. jeans) so they stretch quite a bit as you wear them.

To tailor the ankles

I put them on inside out, stood on a chair, and had a friend (read: someone patient and honest) pinch them on the outer seam until they felt more snug, but not too tight. She marked them with chalk at the ankle and around mid-calf, giving me a point to aim for as I tapered them. That’s the most important thing, tapering them just right.

inside leg2 copyinside leg2

You can see it took me a couple of tries to get the tapering right, starting at the ankle and sewing up towards the knee. If it’s too sharp of a taper, it will give your pants an angle where you want a straight line. After I got the new seam right, I sewed a wide zigzag stitch about 1/4 inch away from the new seam, starting at the knee and working back down. You’ll want to overlap the new zigzag with the old serged edge so they don’t fray, then trim close to the outer edge of the new zigzag to get rid of the bulk.

pants afterNow they’re nice and snug around the ankle!

bootiesAnd when they’re rolled you can’t even tell there is a new seam.

To tailor the waist

While they were inside out, I also had my friend pinch in the waist until they felt snug and comfortable. She marked it with chalk right in the middle and initially I took them in there, in the middle of the waist, but the tapering didn’t look right (so important!) — it made the seam in the back come to a point. No one wants a pointy coccyx.

So I measured how much they were pinched in and split the difference mid-way between the back and side belt loops. That is, I needed to take them in 2 inches, so I took in 1 inch over each pocket.

inside bumOriginally I tapered them just past the waist band, but (again) it made a point where there shouldn’t be one. So I tapered it all the way down to the diagonal seam just above the pockets.

seam2Thankfully, I think it’s only really noticeable on the waistband and not as much in the free space below.

seam1Not the best picture, I know, but here’s a closeup. You can see in the profile of the right side that it doesn’t stand out in a point because the new seam is tapered to the old, sturdy seam.

bum2Et voilà! No more coin slot! Also, I’m convinced that if these pants didn’t have a pattern they would look horrendous. Dots cover a multitude of sins.

bum1 One more for good measure. I don’t usually wear my shirts tucked in (too many high school mems feeling like a Walmart employee in my uniform), but I think I like it. Gah what’s wrong with me? What’s old is new again…