Basic Pants Alterations

Do you have pants in your closet that you love but don’t wear because the fit is “meh”. Are there weird lines in places that lines do not belong – aka. “cat whiskers” or the dreaded “camel toe”? (Cue my hand raised) This is me and almost every other woman. Every woman has a different hip and crotch shape, posture and hip angel. Basic Pant Alterations can seem scary at first but they will make your pants fit perfectly. Hallelujah! We can all have a pair of pants we love AND wear.
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Basic Pants Alterations
Before getting started sewing your new pair of pants you need to plan on making a muslin. Unfortunately, there is no great way to tell exactly what alterations you’ll need to make without it. It is the only real way to identify what alterations you need to make.

“Editors Note: What to learn about the importance of a muslin? Check out how and why you should make one.”

Ok so you have your muslin sewn up, let’s get try trying it on and see what needs to be fixed. Those draglines I was talking about earlier can and will help you get the best fit in your pants. Now take a look in the mirror and give your beautiful self a high five. Then look at your pants, what do you see? Let’s compare what you see and how we can alter them.

Need a good pattern to start with? Check out some of our favorite pant patterns for women:

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Crotch Depth Too Long

This is indicated by lines radiating downward away from your crotch. The line often accompanies excess fabric in the upper thigh. To fix this, take a little off at the front crotch and gently grade it into the thigh on your front leg pattern piece. Don’t take off more than 1/4” at a time. You will be surprised how much of a difference a little alteration can make!

Basic Pants Alterations

Crotch Depth Too Short

Whiskers sweeping upward across your hips with creasing at the crotch indicates the need to extend the depth of the front crotch. This fit issue can be accompanied with tightness at the upper thigh. Making the illustrated adjustment will alleviate pulling. Do this a little bit at a time. Start with letting out the front (only) crotch seam allowance 1/4” and go from there to give your pubic bone a little more space.

Basic Pants Alterations

Round Pubis (It’s a Camel Toe!)

If your lady bits are getting smashed and you have lines radiating upward away from your crotch an adjustment is needed. To fix this you can deepen the rise of your front crotch. Gently grade it into the rise just below your zipper. Don’t take off more than 1/4” at a time. You will be surprised how much a difference a little alteration can make! This adjustment increases the length of the vertical rise, giving more room for the length of your pubic bone.

Basic Pants Alterations

The Crotch “Click”

This is a fit issue that is most commonly diagnosed after wearing your pants around for a day. The physical signs of this one aren’t overtly apparent but are obnoxiously obvious when you’re out and about and you hear that awful click or pop noise with every step.
This is from a pubic bone that is set in farther than the pattern is drafted for. To fix it, let out your crotch curve a little bit. If altering post construction, reduce
the seam allowance in that area. You may also need to reduce the crotch depth to resolve this issue.

Basic Pants Alterations

Full Derrière

If you were blessed with a larger than average booty for your size you may commonly have issues with pants developing stress lines radiating outward from the center of the butt.

Basic Pants Alterations

Tiny Hiney

This is a common alteration that apple shape hips need. If the pant is saggy in the bottom, we need to reduce the vertical rise length and take in the
crotch depth a little bit. Start with taking increments of about 1/4” off the back leg and take in these areas more as necessary.

Basic Pants Alterations

Full Tummy

If you have a full lower tummy and develop lines radiating downward away from your zipper, an adjustment is needed. You can help alleviate this by increasing the rise. Cut straight down the middle of the front rise and pivot the top piece to add a bit of extra length. Don’t add more than 1/2” at a time.

Basic Pants Alterations

Sway Back

If there is excess fabric pooling near the top of your butt a swayback adjustment could solve your issue. To correct this simply scoop a little bit off your back
leg rise. Start with 1/4” and increase from there. Do not make any adjustments to the back yoke piece.

Basic Pants Alterations

Wedgie/ Low Derrière

Is the back rise uncomfortable tight? If your bum is hanging below the rise and you develop horizontal lines just under each cheek you can resolve this issue by scooping the back rise a little deeper. This will give the bum a little more wiggle room. Follow the illustration, adjusting only 1/4” at a time.

Basic Pants Alterations

Full Thighs

Are the thighs uncomfortably tight? If there are lines radiating down diagonally from the upper thigh area you can give yourself a little more room.
Simply let out the crotch depth a little bit at a time until they fit comfortably. Do this by extending the crotch depth out 1/4” at a time. A little adjustment can go a long way. Be aware that adjusting the pattern this way will add a little room to the back rise of your pant.

Basic Pants Alterations

Thin Thighs

Do you have excess fabric at the thighs? If so, take a little more seam allowance off the front and back legs from the crotch down through mid thigh.
This will reduce your crotch length. If you are happy with how the crotch is currently fitting you can contour your thigh shape to blend into the existing crotch depth at the top. Make this adjustment 1/8” at a time to ensure the legs aren’t over tightened.

Basic Pants Alterations

Lines on Outseam

This is another issue that is very easy to spot. If there are lines (horizontal or diagonal) spanning across the outseam at your sides, the pant needs to be taken in at those locations. Turn your pant inside out and shave off 1/4” at a time until they fit just right.

Basic Pants Alterations

Plumbers Crack

Ok we all know what a plumber’s crack is. That dreaded cool breeze you feel floating around your behind because your pants aren’t high enough in the back. To correct this simply raise your back leg rise. Have someone help you measure how much you’ll want to adjust while wearing your test version. Do not make any adjustments to the back yoke piece.

Basic Pants Alterations

These alterations can be daunting. Start small and simple. Check them one by one.  Patterns are drafted for a specific body, and you might have to alter them. But you will love them, and believe me you will be screaming for joy when your pants fit your body perfectly.

8 thoughts on “Basic Pants Alterations”

  1. Patricia Holleran

    This was very helpful, MY problem is just below pocket area, it is stickingout ,excess material. like a pouch. I like a straight leg type of pants so this makes it difficult to correct.

  2. This is by far the most informative, datailed and helpful article I have found. I have been searching for quite some time on how to tailor your own clothes. Thank you so much for sharing. Life changing!!

  3. This is an awesome article. Does anyone know what adjustment is needed when your pant inseam pulls up between your crotch when you walk?

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