Sunday, 16 December 2012

How to: Make your trousers smaller

[Also called: If you're going to do it, do it properly!]

This is a lesson I learnt the hard way, and one that took me a year (and a bit) to get round to fixing – mainly due to my busy/laziness!

There is no quick way to make your trousers smaller at the waistband. I made the mistake of thinking that to make the tops of my trousers about 2” narrower, all I needed to do was put them on inside out, pinch where I wanted it smaller, pin/tack it and run it through a sewing machine.   

Unfortunately, this does not work.  Due to the thickness of a waistband, you end up with a massive bulge on your side seams which digs in like anything.  It got to a stage where I had to wear a leotard under my trousers to stop them from rubbing.  Then a year and a bit later (yes, I am that lazy/busy) I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous!”

Let me show you the problem:

And what it looked like after I fixed it:

How did I do it? Well it’s not really that hard, and it’s how I should have done it in the first place really!

  • Unpick the waistband where you want to alter it
  • Cut the waistband in half, allowing access to the seam
  • Take the seam in and cut the seam allowance
  • Hem one side of the waistband, to hide its raw edges
  • Poke the raw side into the hemmed side so all the raw edges are enclosed and tack
  • Sew it all down really securely and you're done!

The reason I ended up fixing my trousers is because my dad had asked me to alter a pair of his to make them smaller, so here’s some pictures of how I did it:

The original trousers
With belt loops unpicked at the top and pinned out of the way
Unpick the waistband from the inside.
Cut the waistband in half
Fold the trousers in half, down the seam you’re working on, re-sew and trim.
After unpicking and re-seaming and cutting, before re-attaching the binding. (Sorry about the trakkie bums, it was cold!)
After seam binding. Then press your seam open and flat.
 Positioning the shortened waistband to hide raw edges
I re-attached one belt loop then tacked it to death inside and out
Then all you do is machine sew it. To do this I sewed it with the inside up, using white top thread and a matching beige bobbin thread so it wasn’t visible on the outside. 

For the finishing touch, I sewed on the top of the belt loop by hand (also because it was too thick to go through my machine!) and then hand sewed on the label over the inside seam.

And ta-dah!  A pair of professionally tailored trousers to fit your new svelte waistline!

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