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Reset a Side Zipper in Pants for a Better Fit

How to mark and stabilize the fabric for better results

Many people buy skirts or pants with curved side seams, but their bodies are not shaped the same way. Most folks just leave the garment as is; they decide that no one will notice if a top or jacket covers the area. Others want a more customized look, and this technique achieves that. Find out how to reshape side seams over the hips and reset a side zipper. It is not difficult, but there are some challenges.

Fit the garment

I did this alteration recently for a client on ankle-length, straight-legged pants with a contour waist and an invisible zip in the left side. The steps below show this process; it is the same for a skirt with a side invisible zipper.

I’ll walk through how I complete this type of alteration. First, I fit the garment on the client to determine the amount that needs to be taken in at the side seams for a better fit. I pin areas where needed and, after the client removes the garment, I turn the garment inside out to chalk-mark at the pin locations.

Mark and follow the chalk lines

1. Chalk-mark the garment’s interior to indicate the new stitching lines for both outer side seams.

Chalk-mark to show the contoured right side
Chalk marking indicate where to put new stitching lines on the outer seam of the pants’ right leg.

2. Thread-trace the new seam allowance and zipper location for the left side. Do this in case the chalk marks fade or disappear from the heat or steam of the iron.

3. Machine-stitch the pants’ outer right leg seam on the chalk line.

If the contoured seam allowance is not wide, leave it. In other words, don’t trim. Simply press the seam toward the back of the garment. If my client decides to donate the garment at a later…

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Fit and Sew Pants

Fit and Sew Pants

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