First things first, I am not a tailor. It is very likely that our friends over at Kipper Clothiers would cringe at my methods. But on my budget, I can't afford to have all my clothes tailored professionally.
So, I've made due and picked up some handy skills that have made my life a lot easier. While I am able to find "women's pants" that fit me, I don't always love their look and I try and go with more gender neutral shaped-apparel. Just recently I found a pair of men's pants on sale for 47 cents at Old Navy (a store I never went to but now frequent) and I had an idea. They fit me in the waist and hips but the legs were simply atrocious. I don't have meaty man legs apparently, or maybe they were made to look that way regardless. Either way, I wondered if I could transform them into my dreams pants... and you know what, I did!
The pants now fit in everywhere to the degree that I prefer. Yes, they are more fitted than "men's pants" but I'm no man and they are my pants so there's that. The response to this post was quite lovely and I wanted to share with you how you can do the same. I'm not a great seamster, in fact, the only training I've had in working with a sewing machine was in the 6th grade in Mrs. Lee's home economics class (Hi Mrs. Lee!- who am I kidding, she'll never see this.) There's about 8 steps, the last being that you cut the excess fabric off unless you like having your legs looking more lumpy than usual.
Because all of my existing pants are women's fitted pants, I've been buying loads of sales pants from Old Navy & Goodwill and tailored them myself. To date, I've done 2 pairs of dress pants and 5 pairs of chino-like pants. Old Navy's clearance section is a gold mine for these kinds of pants for an extremely reasonable price. I should say that this is not a sponsored post... they would probably say something like "You should try our regularly priced items as well!"
1. Buy a pair of pants that you like everything about except for the fit of the legs
The waist is going to stay the same, but the leg width and length can all change!
2) Put them on inside out & mark where on the pant leg they become too baggy.
For me it's usually at the bottom of the pocket.
3) Find a pair of pants that fits you at the ankle how you like & measure the length of one side.
I use a 5 1/2 inch ankle length for a fitted look.
It's important to note here that you will be cutting of material on your outermost seams so do your measurements and lines accordingly. The inseam is a bit too intimidating to me and I'm not about to go and mess up the crotch area. I'm sorry if you hate that word, "groin" is worse to me.
4. Draw a straight line from the side to your desired ankle width mark.
It helps to use a large ruler or yard stick.
You'll want to pin along the line you've drawn so that the material does not bunch and make it clearly visible that you've been messing around with a sewing machine. Use the outermost seam to lay the fabric flat, you're basically just mimicking it.
Never pinned fabric before? Don't worry, this will show you how!
Once you have it pinned, I usually sew it from pocket to ankle as that has been the most successful way to make sure that the fabric stays flat.
If you have access to a sewing machine, great! If not, you can sew by hand. There are 3 main types of stitches, which you can find directions to here. For this project you'll want to use the strongest stitch, called the Backstitch.
You'll start sewing along the original seam and then divert your direction so that it will look as if that's how the pants were originally made.
7) Try on.
CUT LAST. This is a trial & error process.
It's a good idea to try on the pants at the point at which you've diverted the direction to make sure you're getting the fit you want. If you don't like it, rip out the seam and move your lines to a place that will give you the desired look. When it's all said and done, you won't be able to tell that any kind of tailoring had ever taken place.
If you think you have the fit down, go ahead and make a parallel seam a few centimetres outside of the one just made to reinforce your handiwork.
8) Cut off extra fabric.
You'll end up with a triangle of extra fabric in the pant leg that you will want to cut off unless you're into making your calves look unusually large and lumpy. Then again, do what you want you just tailored your own pants. If you do cut it off, make sure you're a couple of centimeters away from the seam as to not damage or tempting your sewing from betraying you in a time of need.
*This is a complete trial and error process and you may have to alter my steps to fit your body shape our style preference but it's a pretty good starting place if you ask me... which you didn't*
Ashleigh Bingham better known as “Bing, ”creator of I Dream of Dapper, is a dapperwear Tumblr style icon. She contributed to popularizing the long-haired "queer pomp" and is known for her daring pattern mixing, complimentary rich colors, lapel pins, wild thrift finds, variety in neckwear (featured in her "50 Days of Dapper" project), & ability to write about Harry Styles. In the past, Bing has contributed to Autostraddle, and has been featured on DapperQ, S Moda, Hudson, Buzzfeed, and included in the top 10 of a national menswear online competition. With a tendency to mix fashion with satire, Bing aims to explore fashion as a tool for self-expression rather than an industry.