A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

Most Common Pant Alterations

I’ll admit to you right now that I’ve learned most of my info on pant fitting from Pants for Real People. With that in mind, I wanted to share this image from the book with all of you. This is a summary chart of the most common alterations for pants and it’s very informative. I’ll be referring to this again and again because it is very helpful as a visual for the things you’ll need to do for your pattern pieces. It might also start the wheels turning as you begin thinking about what types of alterations you’ll need for your pants.


Click on image for full size
from Pants for Real People, posted with permission from Pati Palmer
please visit www.palmerpletsch.com for more fitting and sewing aids

Over the next three days, I’ll be going in depth on 3 of the main alterations. They are the biggest problems, in my opinion and they take a bit to explain. Subsequently after that there will be a few more posts on some odd alterations that you may or may not need. And I wanted to let you all know that I plan to share some of the photos that you entered into the flickr pool (unless you absolutely forbid me not to) to give everyone an idea of the things they’ll need to do if they are having the same fitting issue. I promise, it will not be to humiliate you, it’s to help you and the rest of us to see the different types of problems that come with making pants.

Next week, I hope to start the construction process on the final pants. But I’ll wait to see where we are at before jumping right in and making you feel overwhelmed. Ok? Ok.

Tomorrow get ready to discuss crotch depth. It’s fun.

PS ~ Pati Palmer (a co-author of Pants for Real People) contacted me regarding the above image. I checked out her website at www.palmerpletsch.com and found even more of their products and fabulous information. Did you know there were DVDs? Hip Hip Hooray! Click over and have a peek and while you’re at it buy Pants for Real People!

  • nikole - Sunni I have a document on pants fitting. It’s a very large document but worth the time reading as it covers every possible alteration you can think of. I can send it to you if you wish
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  • CGCouture - Which three are the main alterations? I have one (well, two, but the other one isn’t for me) that I’d really like to see, so I’ll be crossing my fingers that you’ll discuss at least one of them. :-) Thanks for the diagram though, it gives me a starting point. :-)
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  • SabrinaClementine - That image looks highly informative! Now I just need to get around to putting together my muslin to find out what alterations I might need….
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  • Ashley - Hi Sunni, my trousers turned out to be really big, do you know if anyone else had this problem?
    Also after making the muslin I’m pretty sure this pattern isn’t the best for my body type (the single pleat does nothing for my thighs). ;) I’m going to shop for another pattern and rejoin the group soon. I’ll definitely use some of the refitting tips and the bias waistband. Thanks so much for all the effort you put into this!
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  • lap - Crotch Depth! How is there no band named crotch depth yet?
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  • sharon - Hi Sunni, that page is very informative and I am looking forward to your in depth alterations. Thank you for all your work.
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  • Amy L - I sewed my muslin together yesterday and I’m having serious doubts about the pattern and my style preference. I blame some of my ignorance on the picture from Burda which is dramatic and I envisioned myself looking dramatic as well; however the muslin did nothing to further that vision.
    By the time I tried the muslin on I was tired and disappointed in the look, so no photos. I’m unsure about the pattern, but there other patterns I would like to use and may make a late switch. One way or another I will sew up the beautiful wool/silk blend from Gorgeous Fabrics into pants.
    I’m interested in the discussions this week regarding fit.
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  • G - That’s a great picture! Thanky for sharing it! I don’t have the book so it kind of interesting that the length of pants is changed at the hemline. I though similar to tops, you would chop the pattern pieces horizontally at knee level to lengthen/shorten.
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  • angie.a - Great sewalong! I’m knee deep in sewalongs at the moment though. :) I wanted to add another source for your readers though. Although alot of books recommend adding to the crotch point for full thighs (as on your diagram) this messes with the fit of the crotch length and possibly you don’t need additional room there. If so, I’d suggest reading this post by Debbie, where she details a Minott book:
    http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2008/01/full-inner-thigh-alterations.html
    It’s been a lifesaver for me when making pants!
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  • LizF - does anyone have detailed instructions on how to alter a pair of pants into a skirt? Desperately needed!
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