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Taking in legs!!

tricone | Posted in General Discussion on


I know i probably shouldn’t do this, but when i see some trousers I like , i buy them , only thing is , the legs usually are to wide! Especially from the knee to the bottom of the leg.

I would like to take them in. Should i take them in from the inside of the leg or the outside of the leg?
Has anyone else done this before?

Many thanks


  1. starzoe | | #1

    Take them in on both seams, inseam and outseam. Take the hem down first, you probably will have to adjust it after the alteration.

    1. tricone | | #2

      Thanks a million starzoe, that makes sense.
      Have you tried it yourself??

      1. starzoe | | #3

        Yes, of course, all the time. Iron the seams flat. Decide how much you want to take off, use a ruler and draw a straight line from the knee (if it is from the knee you want to narrow the pants), or from the hip if you need fabric taken off the thighs.Hand baste or machine baste on the line, then try on the pants inside out. Inside out because the extra fabric inside will distort the fit. You can probably tell if it is what you want. Machine stitch, don't forget to allow for a hem. Trim off the extra, leaving a good seam allowance, try on again and adjust hem.

  2. damascusannie | | #4

    I have a pants altering dilemma, too. Not exactly the same problem, but I lost 40 pounds last spring, and replaced all my jeans then. Now this fall everything is skinny legs! How frustrating is that? I can't afford to buy a whole new set of jeans again.

    I'm planning to take in the legs on my flare-leg jeans. I can't take them in to point of the most extreme skinnies, because of the felled seam on one edge, which I don't dare fiddle with but I figure I can take out some of the excess on the unfelled seam. They won't be exactly like the new jeans, but at least it will be a cleaner profile than I have now.

    So, what do you all think? Will this work, or will the jeans just look weird?


    P.S. Sorry about the "To:" mixup, I don't know how that happened!

    Edited 1/12/2008 3:27 pm ET by damascusannie

    1. Josefly | | #5

      I think if you take in the pants-legs only on the inseam side, you will throw the pants off-grain, and they will probably wrinkle in a funny way and maybe feel irritating, too. I've always thought the same amount should be taken from each seam, to avoid the grain line being pulled in one direction or the other.

      1. damascusannie | | #6

        Nuts. That's what I was afraid of.Annie

      2. jjgg | | #7

        I have seen pants taken in just on the inseam of the front leg only. (nothing was taken off the back leg at the inseam) and they came out beautifully. You need to just try pinning it out and see how they look

        1. starzoe | | #8

          Do you mean that the inseam was opened up, and only the front part was decreased? I can't see this as being a solution unless maybe the pants were the patio/full leg type.

          1. jjgg | | #12

            Yes. It was pretty amazing, it was during a fitting class I was in recently. One lady had a pair of pants that she felt the legs were too wide. They were made of Dupioni silk. there was a correction made to the back, but it was a small angled horizontal pleat taken from the outer hip to the inner thigh at the crotch point. This pleat took care of a buckling of fabric under her seat. No fabric was narrowed off the back pant leg at the side seams. She was able to take them apart, and recut the legs. I was totally amazed at how this changed the fit and improved it! The pants looked fantastic afterwards.This was a class I just got back from given by Claire Schaeffer, and the guy teaching it was a couturier from London.

          2. starzoe | | #13

            Thank you for the explanation.

    2. Teaf5 | | #9

      You can turn your flares into straight jeans if they are big enough to allow you to re-sew the entire outside seam at least a 1/8" deeper than they are now.  Most jeans aren't truly felled seams; they're just topstitched along the outside seam. 

      With a seam ripper, you take out the topstitching from just below the front pocket rivet (and the hems), press the seam flat, then re-stitch.  Press again, trim the seam allowance to the samesize  as the original, and then topstitch with the same color thread that you just took out.  There's a new topstitching thread in a "Jeans" color, but even regular thread in a long stitch will look fine.  Redefine the inside seam from the knees down, too.

      To make the new seam look like the old one, scuff it slightly with an emory board or small piece of sandpaper before laundering.  This will make lighter areas appear where wear usually occurs--along the seamline.

      Try this method on your least favorite pair first; if you don't like the results, you can be like most of the rest of us--still wearing flares!

      1. damascusannie | | #10

        On my jeans, the outside seam isn't even topstitched to look felled, so it's easy to alter them on that side. The inseams are definitely fully-felled. I know I could take alter the inseams all the way by ripping them completely out, but frankly, that's a lot more work than I want to go to. I'd like to be a little more fashionable, but not that much more! 8^) Thanks for all the great advice. I think I will take my least favorite pair and see how they look if I just slightly alter the one seam. They won't be true skinny jeans, but at least they'll have less flare. That might be just as well since I wear "lacers" (an ankle boot made for riding) quite a lot and I wouldn't be able to get the hem over the top of the boot if I go too far with the alterations. The suggestion about distressing the seam line with an emery board is excellent--I was wondering how to mimic the existing wear pattern.Annie

        1. Ralphetta | | #11

          I've taken in the legs many times. After you do one pair, the others will be a snap. All the books say to take in both seams the same amount at the hem.  I stretch them out on the ironing board or a table. You just decide what measurement you want around the bottom, mark each side seam and then, I use my yardstick, mark from that point upward to wherever needed.  I always baste first and then sometimes need to change the point where the tapering begins.  If you have a pair that fit the way you like, you can lay them on top of the ones you're working on and use them as a pattern.  It's amazing how much better even an inch decrease at the hem at the hem can make.  (Remember that you need to divide by 4, not 2, for the correct amount to take in the seams.) I would think that one problem you might watch out for when taking in jeans very much, would be the color might look strange if they are the kind that have been faded or distressed.  You know what I mean? 

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