Flare to skinny


Pants alterations!! A bigger part of my life than buying Christmas presents… And since my family doesn’t do Christmas, I only buy Xmas presents for a few friends… But anyway, over the years, being short has forced me to get really good at altering pants. Long to short, wide to less wide- anything to make pants fit better and not overwhelm my small person.
I’ve had these brown corduroy pants from Loft for about 3 years that were probably a hand me down or thrift store find. Even though they fit really well in the waist and butt, I would hardly ever wear them because I wasn’t a huge fan of the cut. When I did wear them, I felt really frumpy. Cue the flare-to-skinny alteration how-to!

In addition to the pants you want to alter, it helps to have another pair of pants that fit the way you want them to- you will be using this as a pattern.

Turn pants inside out. On most pants, one seam is sewn flat. Don’t worry about doing anything along that seam- it is the seam on the other side of the pant leg you will sew.

Lay the pants on the floor with the seam you are going to work on pulled flat. It should still directly out from the side of the garment with no fabric underneath it, like this:


Do the same to the extra pair of (skinnier) pants, match up the crotches, and lay the skinny pants on top of the flare pants.
Then use chalk to mark the edge of the skinny pants on the flared pants.


Once you have done this to both pant legs, measure the width of the pant leg from the chalk line to the edge at several points to make sure the pant legs will be even. Also measure the length from the bottom hem to the top of the chalk line to make sure the seams will end at approximately the same spot on each pant leg.



Pin along the chalk line, then sew a basting stitch on the chalk line


Now, try on the pants inside out. See how it feels, if the new seam feels too tight or too loose. If it feels too tight, rip out the stitches, draw a new chalk line, and sew a new seam. If it feels too loose, mark with pins where it needs to be taken in, connect the pins with a chalk line, and then sew a new seam.

Once you are happy with the fit, cut off some of the extra fabric, turn the pants right side out, and try them on. If they still fit well, turn them inside out again and serge along the basted seam. They will look like this:


I serged with white thread so you could see what I did more easily, but I would normally use black or brown thread.

The pants may look like they are made for someone with broken knees if they had an extremely wide flare. It looks weird when they are inside out, but they usually fit fine. Few and far between are the pants that flare so much you need to take them in from both sides.

Iron down the new seam to one side. The last thing you want to do is sew a seam to hold the seam to the side. Start about 2 inches from the bottom hem, and end at the bottom hem. Sew straight down, parallel to where the fabric meets.



There you have it. Enjoy your new, skinnier pants!

This technique can be used to change the silhouette of pants almost any way, for example if you have wide leg pants you want to make into boot-cut. If you don’t have a pair of pants you want your new pants to look like, you can start by putting the pants on inside-out and pinning vertically along an imaginary seam. Just be careful taking the pants on and off with all the pins in them

And to end this post here is a picture of me getting ready to go hiking on a sunny, snowy day. Wearing my newly skinny pants, of course.


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