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Making an attempt to DIY Skilled Wanting Tailoring For My Son's Pants

December 16, 2023
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My sons care about looking good and having stylish clothing. While I'm happy to take them clothing shopping to find something that suits their taste and my budget, they don't have the most typical body shape, which makes it harder to find clothes that have the right fit. They're tall and thin, with their height mainly in their legs, which means that even with slim fit pants, the waist can often end up being far too big if the legs are long enough. Yes, a belt helps, but sometimes because the waist is just so much bigger, the belt ends up bunching up the waistband and it looks weird.

Recently when I was shopping with my boys, my sons were trying to decide if they wanted to keep looking for pants with a better fit, even if they were more expensive (which meant less money on other clothes). My son had a pair of pants he'd bought a few days before that were big enough on him that when cinched with a belt, they bunched up weirdly, something that he didn't like since he wanted to be able to wear them with his shirt tucked in, but he wouldn't with the waist like that. 

I examined the seams on it and told him that I could tailor the pants to make the waistband the right size, and he agreed that I could do that. It was a little intimidating for me to offer to do that for my son, since it wouldn't just entail ripping open the seams, but actually cutting the fabric of the waistband. Additionally, since my sons care about how their clothing looks, I couldn't just simply take it in in the easiest way possible; I'd have to open up the seams all the way down, far down enough that I could adjust it without making a pleat or other bend within the seam. I needed to do it as perfectly as possible, so it looked unaltered, just fresh from the factory.

I couldn't open and adjust the seam in the back because that would make the seat of the pants look funny, so it would entail opening up each side of the pants and adjusting the seams there.

I made the first cut along the waistband, and knew that there was no turning back from there.

Of course, then I went to find my seam rippers... and couldn't find them. So I ended up using nail scissors instead. 

Once it was opened enough, I pinned the waistband of the pants on one side as tight as I wanted that side to be (keeping in mind that I was taking in both sides) and tried folding over the seam on the side each time I opened it a bit more to see if it was opened enough that the new seam would lay smoothly down and the tailoring wouldnt be visible. I ended up needing to go down about 1/3 of the way on the first leg in order to be able to do that.

 

I then stitched it up by hand using both threads of the needle, and doing a full backstitch, also to keep it strongest, but also so it wouldn't look hand stitched.

I think I did a pretty good job stitching this- I don't think you can tell where the initial stitching ended and my stitching began- I certainly can't when looking from this side.

At this point in time, my son had returned home from school and I needed to see exactly how small I needed to make the pants... and this was much more challenging than the previous side. The previous side I didn't have a very specific spot that I needed to take it in by, but with the second side I didn't have any wiggle room and needed to do it precisely... so I had my son wear the pants and I tried pinning it up that way... 

First I pinned the seam going the wrong direction (I'm not sure how there was a right and wrong, but there was, since the inner seam wasn't sewn down to one side) and it made it impossible to get the seam to lay flat going all the way down... Then one time I pinned it to his underwear... and then once that was fixed, when he took off the pants the pins moved and I had to have him put them on again and again until I got the exact location rightI finally got it but each time he did that, the pins moved slightly, as pins can... and I had to do it over and over again, maybe 3 times total. I had to rip open the seam on the second pant leg nearly down to the knee to get the seams to line up properly so the tailoring wasn't visible.

And it came out mostly good.

Because of the exact location where I took in the pants, though, there's a slight fold in the inside of the pocket, probably because of the rivet reinforcing the pocket. I also made a mistake misalighning the top of the waistband by about 1-2 milimeters or so, but my son said that was fine with him, since he either would wear it with a belt when tucked in, or untucked if it was without a belt, so it's totally unnoticeable. (I had offered to fix that but he said no need.)

Here's take two of the same picture,
so you don't have to scroll up to see the finished product. 

I would overall give my tailoring job a 9.5 out of 10 in terms of professionality.

And my son is very happy with these pants.

So that is what counts, after all. He's been wearing them for about 3 weeks now and has only gotten compliments on them, and no one has noticed the slight mistakes on the second side, even my son doesn't notice them.

So I'll pat myself on the back for a job well done.

Do you tailor your own clothing, take it to a professional, or something else? Do you make sure the alterations are "seamless" like I tried to do, or are your alterations more obvious? Anyone else have kids that don't fit the standard body shape for clothes?


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