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You have a great pair of pants -- but they don’t look so great in the leg area. Don’t give up on your pants just yet. By tapering them, you can slim the legs of your pants for an updated look that’s custom-fitted. Exactly how you’ll taper your pants depends on your desired fit and if your sewing skills are as sharp as the needle you’ll use to sew.
Slimming your pants legs requires taking the seams out and putting them back together -- minus the extra fabric that makes your pants too wide. To accomplish this alteration, try your pants on and mark them with a piece of fabric chalk or pencil where you would like to start tapering or slimming the legs, especially at the knee line. Also mark as needed if you want to shorten your pants. Once you have these marks noted, remove the pants. To pinpoint the exact center of the knee, fold your pants in half lengthwise, making a mark with your fabric pencil.
Cutting and Sewing
After taking your pants off, mark the area you want to taper with a straight pin. Turn your pants inside out and use the pin as a guide to where you will rip out the seams so that your pants legs can be tapered. You can use a specialized tool known as a seam ripper that has a small, sharp edge you can rip the seams from. Now you can determine just how much fabric you want to take in to make your pants legs slimmer. After you mark this with straight pins, cut off the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance for sewing purposes.
Putting It Together
Once you have everything marked, you are ready to sew. If you have a sewing machine, you can sew the seams together where you made your marks, again leaving the 1/4-inch seam allowance. If you are sewing the pants by hand, thread your needle and pull it through the material. Weave the needle in and out of your marked line, creating small stitches that are as evenly spaced as possible. To ensure your sewing is strong, you may wish to hand-sew two rows of stitches. Once you have sewn both sides, press the seams so that they lie flat against your pants. Turn them inside out, and you have slimmer, sleeker pants legs.
When in Doubt
Maybe your sewing skills aren’t the best -- and that’s okay. If you aren’t certain you can taper your pants all on your own, consult an alterations professional, who can work with you to determine how much slimmer you would like your pants to be. This is an especially good idea if your pants are slightly larger to begin with, as slimming the legs will require more cutting and sewing than if your pants fit well to begin with.