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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > changing RTW pants from wide leg to skinny ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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changing RTW pants from wide leg to skinny
take in from one side or both?
threaddy
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Date: 1/25/14 4:57 PM

I need to alter my RTW wide leg pants/jeans to skinny(straight leg). I have my proper skinny pant/jean turned inside out as a "pattern" and am laying out my wide leg pant inside out. many tutorials show altering from just one seam (the outside) but I think this would alter the grain line and thus cause twisting. (They are using the skinny pant/jean as a pattern and lining it up along the inside leg of the wide pant/jean and just cutting the excess from the outside ) A post at artisans square said to take the same amount from each side so as to not alter the grain line. this would seem to be VERY important as you do not want the pant leg to twist once the alteration is made Am I being too fiddly ? To just do it from one side is obviously really easy!!! Any and all input would be appreciated. I am re-doing ALL my jeans and pants as I can't stand the wide leg! I will take it in from both sides and do the extra work as grain line is extremely important in the pants/jeans I have made from scratch...but I was just curious on hearing input. I was actually a bit shocked to see the multiple tutorials just altering from one side.

Edited to add:
I think the altering from just one side is on jeans where the sewist did not want to have to deal with the distressing and matching topstitching needed for the inside seam on jeans. This is a valid concern as to re-sew the inside seam is a real time sucker. Perhaps for jeans to take it from one side is OK. (I still wonder if you would not have major twisting from this alteration).
Fortunately my pants re-do project are for cords and pants that just need the topstitching and not the seam distressing. (I love Angela Wolf's technique of using 220 sandpaper!)


Maybe this question should have gone under fitting woes? I wasn't sure.
-- Edited on 1/25/14 7:16 PM --

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"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

jenleeC
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In reply to threaddy <<
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Date: 1/25/14 7:59 PM

In my pattern making class we were taught to alter the width by adjusting the same amount from the inside and outside leg. This was to maintain the grainline and prevent the legs twisting. I would be following the artisan square advice.

I have successfully altered wide leg pants to skinny pants. I am not sure what the artisan square instructions say but this is how we were taught:
- decide your desired hem width (using your RTW skinny pants if you are happy with the width)
- mark the hem line with the same reduction off each side to achieve your desired hem width
- for alterations you will need to unpick the hem; to alter a pattern you just redraw on the pattern
- rule up from the hemline, finding the place on your pants where the new line wants to naturally merge up with your existing seamline. Do this on both sides. The adjustment for the inside and outside leg don't need to finish at the same point - just try and find where they blend in nicely. HTHs

------
Jenny, Perth, WA

threaddy
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In reply to jenleeC <<


Date: 1/25/14 8:47 PM

Awesome! thank you!!!
Obviously ripping out the leg seams is essential because the backs of pant legs are wider than fronts. Then taking out the amount you need equally from each side front and back. This method would not only retain the proper grain line straight down the leg but also maintain the original shape of the back being wider than the front....(by 2" on my straight leg RTW pants!) Thus there will be four cuts on each leg (inside front, outside front, inside back, outside back). Since the bell bottom shape is at an angle usually from the knee there will be an angle cut back to make it straight.

I thought this business of just whacking off from one side was goofy. Even looking at the pants so carelessly hacked at looked awful. I could tell they were hanging wrong and must be uncomfortable as well. Having made enough pants from scratch it just looked wrong.
Your answer is exactly what I needed!!!!
For jeans I think the same would apply no matter how fiddly it will be to get the flat felled top stitched distressed seam right on the inside leg.
Thank you again!!!

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

SewLibra
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Date: 1/26/14 0:42 AM

I have thin legs but a protruding belly, so I always alter RTW pants for myself and my mom. I always taper on both the outside and inseam. However, and maybe this is just the way mom and I are built, but I start further up on the side seam than I do on the inseam. The outside starts at the bottom-ish of the hip. The inseam starts at around the knee. I almost always taper than make a straight leg, though. Bottom line, yes do both sides! :-)

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SewLibra
Brother SB4138, Bernina 1008, Brother 1034D, Janome Harmony 9102D

wendyrb
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In reply to threaddy <<
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Date: 1/26/14 1:28 AM

Quote:
I am re-doing ALL my jeans and pants . . . I will take it in from both sides and do the extra work as grain line is extremely important in the pants/jeans I have made from scratch...but I was just curious on hearing input. I was actually a bit shocked to see the multiple tutorials just altering from one side.
From your detailed post, it's obvious you can anticipate the problems of the 1-seam alteration. I'm trying to not judge or discourage anyone from enthusiastically converting pants they don't wear into ones they love to wear. Who knows? Maybe these seat-of-the-pants methods will inspire some to learn more about sewing and get better results. Maybe if pants are skinny enough and have plenty of lycra, the legs don't twist. Trying so hard to be nice here. My inner voice is failing miserably folks. I'll go crawl into my know-it-all cave now. It's safe for everyone to come out and sew as they please.
-- Edited on 1/26/14 5:20 AM --

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Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. Andy Rooney

Pfonzie- my honey Pfaff Creative Performance, Bernina 930 and 830, Evolution serger.

jenleeC
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In reply to threaddy <<


Date: 1/26/14 3:19 AM

Thready, glad this info was useful! I'm not sure if I am understanding you correctly, but are you intending to unpick the inside and outside leg seams? This would definitely work but it is probably only necessary if you are making a very significant change to the width or shape of the pant legs.

Where you are just narrowing the legs a little, say from a boot cut to straight or skinny, then just unpick the hem and any top-stitching so you can smooth the existing seams flat. (and yes, the back leg will usually be wider than the front leg and this difference should be maintained to allow room for the calf muscle). I would use some tailors chalk (or old bar of soap!) to draw in the new seam line, starting from the hem and merging into the existing seamline somewhere between the knee and mid thigh, sew your new seam with a large machine basting stitch, check you are happy with the adjustment, then resew and chop off the extra fabric and finish the new seams.

Oops, just realised, if you have flat felled seams, yes, you will need to unpick these seams in order to do any alterations!

------
Jenny, Perth, WA

threaddy
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In reply to wendyrb <<


Date: 1/26/14 10:29 AM

I have been sewing for a long time and have tackled most everything from men"s custom shirts to close fitting jeans. Now with the internet I am having fun re-checking techniques and am finding some really cool ways to do things I had never thought of. (Really had fun watching Angela Wolf's Craftsy class on tailoring RTW) When I went to my closet and decided I just hate the boot cut look I grabbed them all to re-do. I then decided to check the internet and see if there were any neat suggestions. When I saw these you tube tutorials just taking in from one side I was shocked and almost fell off my chair. Obviously young girls who have no clue. Then I thought I'd check my sanity here. You guys have confirmed my reasoning powers. Thank you.
Wendy your comment is great. It would be so nice to just cut from the outside. But when the pants look badly and are uncomfortable from the twisting wouldn't that end up discouraging these young people more? Nothing worse than an unsuccessful alteration. HOWEVER to have to re-do the inside seam on jeans is probably more advanced than a young seamstress could manage. Perhaps those who have done the one sided method on jeans could chime in as to their results.
I was thinking of linking the "tutorials" (There were more than one!) but then decided against it.

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

threaddy
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In reply to SewLibra <<


Date: 1/26/14 10:31 AM

Great suggestion to go further up on the outside side seam than the inseam. Thanks.

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

threaddy
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In reply to jenleeC <<


Date: 1/26/14 10:49 AM

You are right. To "unsew" all the seams is perhaps more than is needed but being so futzy, I like to lay the whole leg out flat when I am cutting. It lets me really see and measure my angle back to the knee front and back. IF front and back were exactly the same size this would be the way to do it. There might be some pants that are equal...hmmm I just found one that IS equal. OK !!! If the front and back are equal don't unpick, just cut off the extra on each side . YIPPPEEE ...
Yes you are correct in your method though. Measure from the well fitting pants...draw a chalk line , baste, try on...then cut and sew. Thanks again. Really helpful in that it confirms my method.
In the dark ages I would just do it. With this resource it is so wonderful to check with you guys to make sure I am not missing something.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!!!!

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

threaddy
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Date: 1/26/14 11:01 AM

Angela has a pdf tutorial class on altering pants right here on PR! It is perfect!!!!

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

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