Friday, June 22, 2012

Trousertastic - Trouser Refashioning Tips

It's fair to say I'm developing a bit of an obsession with refashioning thrifted jeans and trousers. The light tan and baby blue pairs below were used in heavy rotation during Me Made May, and it made me realise that a few more pairs of narrow cropped jeans would be a welcome addition to my arsenal of wardrobe basics. Enter stage left the dove grey pair (my current faves!) and second from right, the softest pair of khaki jeans I've ever found. (The hems are actually even I promise. It's just the weird way I have of standing in photos!)
I managed to refashion both pairs one afternoon last week whilst Elliott was at pre school, and both pairs have been worn and laundered 2 or 3 times already......

As I was refashioning away, it occurred to me that although I've covered trouser refashioning here and here before, there are a few details of how I go about it that I hadn't quite covered in previous posts. So I thought I'd share a few tips that I've developed that make this type of refashion (narrowing and cropping jeans or trousers that already fit in the waist/hips) super quick and hassle free.

Firstly, establishing where to take jeans in is worthy of some consideration. Jeans in particular will often have a Flat Fell Seam on either the inner or outer leg seams, and sometimes (though rarely) on both. Taking jeans in along a flat fell seam, in my humble opinion, is one of those "life is just to short for that kinda faff" situations. In order to blend the new seam with the old, you'd have to unpick and press flat the entire flat fell seam and re-sew it once you've finished. (Unless someone has some stroke of genius to share then I'm all ears and would be very happy to be proven wrong!) I always take mine in along the standard straight seam. Whether that be on the inner or outer seam, I let the existing construction dictate to me which will be the simplest seam to sew....

In order to sew and blend the new seam cleanly, I like to press it completely flat. The existing hem prevents me from doing that....

So I lop it off....

I mark where I want my new seam allowance to be, (see here and here for how to establish that) and sew a straight stitch along my chalk line....

Followed by a zig zag stitch right next to it....

This part is pretty important in ensuring the new seam blends seamlessly with the old once you turn the jeans/trousers right side out again. As I approach the point where the new seam is about to intersect with the old,  I gradually reduce the angle between the two as I am sewing. Once my new line of stitching meets the old seam line, I'll continue sewing completely in line with the old seam for a fraction of an inch, before gradually running my new line of stitching off into the seam allowance. Exactly the same principle applies when sewing the zig zag too  (you can just about make out the new zig zag where it meets the original overlocked seam finish)...

Then simply trim off the excess close to the new zig zag line...

Turn right side out, press the length of the new seam line on a sleeve board or pressing mitt (I find the pressing mitt works best, with my arm up inside the trouser leg, gradually working my way along the seam). Then all that remains to be done is hem them to the desired length.
This type of refashion usually takes me about 40 mins per pair. So, easy to squeeze in between toddler taming sessions as a means of staying sane!


4 comments :

  1. great tip - i would never have thought of this - thanks! that is definitely a great style of trouser on you.

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  2. This is so helpful! Thanks! I have a pair of trousers I pinned and was going to refashion, then set them aside after I saw the felled seam. I'll crack into them this weekend!

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  3. Ahhhh, you only adjust one seam to avoid the flat fell seam......I too agree lifes too short for unpicking esp flat felled seams but did rather a clumsy 'blend' on the offending f.f seam as well as taking in the more straightforward standard seam. Thanks for enlightening me too x

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  4. Great post. I have recently done the same to a couple of pairs of jeans which had been destined for the charity shop until I decided to re-fashion them. The jeans were bootcut but they had shrunk slightly in the length so they sort of hung half mast and looked rather strange! They have now had a new lease of life as cropped narrow jeans for brighter days. I couldn't agree more about only taking them in on the one seam.

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