Since Spring is here and Summer is coming, I have been looking online for some cute clothes for work this summer. The company where I work has a business casual dress code, so dresses, skirts, pants, and capris are all good choices. I try to add a little to my working wardrobe each year, without going overboard on purchasing too many things at one time, and I’m always looking for a good deal! Last year I bought a few pairs of ankle pants and loved them for work. This year I wanted to update my pants to some more fun, summer colors. I had khaki, stone, and black but for summer, my favorite colors are red, white, and blue so was looking for colors like that.
I love shopping online. Partly because I am very short (5 feet tall) so the selection of petite styles is much larger online. Also, living in the small town that I do, the selections are limited anyway. Over the years, some of my favorite online stores have been Eddie Bauer, and Lands End. They have great selections of very classic looks and I know just what size fits me, so I usually don’t have to return them.
I started combing these websites for some good summer pants. I really wanted chinos. I think they look good in many colors, and are just the right style to be worn with either loafers, ballet flats, or sandals (I am not really a heel-wearing girl!). I found some chinos in multiple colors on the Lands End site that are regularly 59.00 for 19.99! They were Fit 2 (which is slightly below the waist) which was great, and a straight cut leg. Another piece of good news is they have multiple colors available in my size too!
So I ordered 3 pair; navy, royal blue, and red. I got a petite size, but also an unfinished hem, because sometimes petite is too short after a couple of washings, so I wanted to be sure I could make them as long as I needed to. When they arrived I tried them on and they fit great and were plenty long, but the width of the pant legs was too wide for my liking. I debated whether to return them, wear them as-is, or to alter the legs to a width that I liked better. I decided to alter and I am so glad I did!
The first thing I did was wash the pants. I usually do this before I hem pants. These chinos are 95% cotton so I am sure they will shrink a bit. Then, after washing, I turned them inside out and smoothed out the legs so the inseam lies flat.Then I found a pair of pants I have, that I like the width of, and laid them on top of these pants. I made sure to match the crotch seam, because the rise (length from crotch to waistband) may not be the same for both pants. Since the widths were not that different between the red pants I wanted to alter, and the black pants that I like, I thought I would just take them in at the inseam. (If there had been a big difference between them, I might have taken some from both sides of the leg.)
Then I started pinning the red pants to match the leg width of the black pants, making sure that the pins gradually tapered from the current seam line near the crotch, to the width I wanted them to be.
Then I sewed along the pin lines. If you are unsure of this step, you can baste or use a long stitch first, and try the pants on after basting, to make sure you are happy with the width. Then go ahead and stitch normally.
After sewing, I trimmed the excess fabric so that there was about 1/4″ edge. And then I finished (or serged) the cut edge on both legs.
At this point I was ready to try on the pants to hem them to the correct length. Again, you can use the black pants as a guideline, but I always want to try them on with the shoes I will wear with them, to be sure. Then, I usually have my daughter check them to make sure they are the right length. I usually err on the side of a little long because I have been burned in the past, when after a few washings, I end up with high-waters! (But I’ve altered those, “too short pants” to ankle pants before, so it’s not a total loss if that happens to you! I’ll post how I do that the next time I need to do this.)
And here they are! I am thrilled with the result, as well as the fact that I got 3 pair of summer chinos for just $60.00! (The price of one pair!)
This was such an easy alteration! And what a great buy!
Would you ever consider trying something like this? If you are unsure or have questions, I would be glad to help. Just message me with any questions you may have!