Alterations Tuesday: Wool Houndstooth Trousers

As I mentioned last week, I want to start introducing posts that show off my imagination and skills. While Refashion Thursday is all about my imagination, Alterations Tuesday is here to show everyone my skills in taking ill-fitted garments and turning them into wonderful staple items in my wardrobe.  To start off this blog series I’ll be showing off the now-adorable trousers I altered from the baggy, sad and drab trousers that I brought from Goodwill a year ago in haste when something spilled on my pants at work.  These loose pants hung in my closet for a whole year. Despite them not fitting well, I adored the multicolored houndstooth pattern in black, brown, and tan.  To say the least, they had potential.

And yet….You’ll see from below how bad they were. Shapeless, sagging in places that just looked bad, and too long to wear with even the tallest high heals.  They also were somehow a size 0. Now I’m a small person, but even size 0 is typically too small. I loath flattery sizing and contribute it to one of the ways the fashion industry 1. Gets women to buy things based on our socialization that if we’re not thin we’re unattractive 2. Shames us into thinking that our size is important and not what our bodies can do. 3. Makes women and other people who wear women’s clothing believe that there is a universal sizing system that works when in actuality size is arbitrary and even if one fits into a garment, it does mean that the garment was made to fit that person well.  As a seamstress this is very, very annoying.

IMG_2793 IMG_2796

So I measured them up and dreamed of turning them into a pair of super adorable straight legged cropped at the ankle 1950’s inspired trousers.  The kinds of trousers women wore before we were actually allowed to wear trousers in offices and at school.  To accomplish this I took the pants in from the waist by about 3/4 of an inch, as well as the back seam.  I recreated the shape of the pants, starting from the top of the outer seam and inseams, as well as in the lining (which you can’t see in the picture below), and took off about 7 inches in length from the bottom once the original hem was ripped out.


Clearly from the picture above you can imagine how much fabric I had to lop off the bottom. The original pants had a cuff that I found impractical if I wanted to wear them with boots. I undid the cuff completely and chopped a good 7 inches off, but I actually had to take another inch off just to get them to a good length!

Another challenge with these pants was that no matter how much I took them in, they remained too large in the leg.  I wanted a nice even leg so I took generously from both the outer seam and inseam, moving inward 1/4″ until they fit just right.  The problem with altering your own clothes is that one does not have enough limbs to properly pin the garment against one’s own body before sewing. Sometimes it can be trial and error unless you have a friend nearby who appropriately knows how to fit clothes.


Finished it up with a blind hem (which I enjoy doing by hand, hence the picture) and voila!


As my housemate said, “That is a great pair of pants!”  When we finally took pictures the lighting was not so great, hence the weird discoloration in the first picture, but you can definitely see that these pants now have great shape!


I keep thinking of all the ways in which I want to wear these pants, and all the places.  Tonight I’ll be wearing them to my shift at a hotline where we offer peer counseling to anyone who is LGBTQ, has questions, concerns, needs resources, or just wants to talk.  It’s a little silly but dressing nice for my shift always makes me feel much more confident.





So there you have it! I think I’ll be wearing these trousers for years to come. Keep checking back for what I’ll have altered next week, and for Refashion Thursday!



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