Fashions change many times over the years and someone who sews can wrap up plenty of money in patterns from year to year. But, you can use the same patterns again and again if you just learn how to make small adjustments in the original design. Adjustments to leg and arm areas are particularly easy to do. Take flare legged pants, for instance. Some people try to do the job themselves and end up with pant legs that twist and hang wrong.
You can have perfect flares if you follow a few simple tips for cutting and sewing the pants. Lay the fabric out on a table and place the pattern pieces as normal, but allow extra cloth down by the ankles of each pant leg area. Pin pattern pieces in place.
Decide how much wider you would like the pants to be. This number will be how many inches you want the flare to be on one side, while the leg of the pants is flat. For instance, if you want the pants to flare out four inches from the regular pattern, you’ll cut two inches extra on the front side of the pant leg and two inches on the backside.
Mark the new measurements on the cloth. Now you’ll need to locate the knee of the pants. To do this, fold the hem of the pants up to the crotch line of the pants. Mark a position, on each side of each leg, that is two inches above the knee. Do this before any adjustments are made to the length of the pants.
Draw a new cut line from the knee area to the hem. As you cut the pant legs, cut on the new line then taper towards the original pant leg pattern, just above the knee. This will give you the perfect flare and will allow the pant legs to hang properly.
To add a flare to existing pants: It’s possible to make straight leg pants into flare, after they’ve already been sewn, but you’ll likely have to use a different color or type of fabric, unless you have extra on hand of the original.
Take out the hem, then rip the seam out, from bottom edge to knee area. Cut a triangle of fabric but make it slightly taller than the opening you’ve just cut on the pant leg. Begin putting the hem back into the pants, and hem the new piece of cloth right along with it, making sure to turn the edge of the original seam under a half-inch on each side.
Top stitch the new fabric into the triangular opening of the pant leg. When finished, turn pants inside-out and trim the excess new fabric. Instead of top stitching you can also sew the new piece in from the point, downward, on each side. Hem and you’re finished.
To make flare leg patterns into straight leg designs, do the opposite. So, if you want to take four inches off the total flare amount, you’ll take two inches off of each side, on each leg. There’s no reason to be intimidated by making pattern adjustments if you’re careful to follow a few easy tips.