Friday, 9 March 2012

Quick fixes: turn long pants into cropped cuties - a tutorial

I haven't done a tutorial for a while, but I came across these stretch pants the other day at the back of a drawer. They are made from gorgeous, soft bamboo knit fabric, but I wasn't wearing them because they were just too wide and a touch on the ankle-freezery side.

As I was about to put them away again, it suddenly occurred to me that I could refashion them into something more wearable. I like the comfort and style of cropped pants with a ribbed cuff and, now I am taking hop hop classes (!!!) with Mel (the most enthusiastic dance teacher in the world), I need more work-out clothes. 

I should mention though, that this technique also works with non-jersey fabrics. Why not add a ribbed cuff to some outdated casual pants?

So, here's what I did:

To begin with I tried on the pants and did some pinning and experimenting to get the basic look I was after. Then I basted the new narrower seam in place on one leg only. The pants were still full length at this stage. I tried them on again and marked with a pin where I wanted the top of the cuff to be (it might help to roll up the pants to get the look of the cuff - just play around until you like it). My stitching started from the knee as I wanted to keep the fit the same as it was on the thigh.

Next, cut both pants legs off at the pin mark, remembering to leave some seam allowance.

Here are the pants with the bottom section cut off. There is just a bit of tapered basting stitch remaining. Mark the position of the stitching on the other leg, then stitch both legs using a serger or stretch stitch on your sewing machine. Remove basting.

OK, we are ready to make the cuffs. We will be using the cut-off pieces for these. Remove the basting stitches that you placed in one leg.

 Place the piece(s) flat and cut off any edges to make it neatly square (or rectangular). I cut off the original hem, but you could unpick it if you need the length.

My pants were so wide that one cut-off piece was enough to make both cuffs. Each of my cuff pieces was 30x23cm, the 30cm went around the leg. To determine the width of the cuffs, try the cut-off piece around your calf and pin so it is firm but comfortable. Remember to always have the greatest stretch going around the body.

Here are my two cuffs ready to sew down the long edges (each cuff is two identical pieces of fabric, each 15x23cm).

Once the long edges are sewn together, fold the seams to the inside as shown on the right below.

To attach the cuff to the pants, divide the pants leg and cuff top in quarters and mark with pins or chalk.

Pin the cuff to the right side of the pants leg matching side seams and pins. Sew together while stretching the cuff to match the pants fabric.

And you're ready to party! Now all I need are some high-top sneakers and a bad attitude. Yo!

I would love to see your version of these. Please drop me a line if you make them :)



  1. These are supercute! What a great way to update a plain pair of pants! Thanks so much for sharing at Homemaker in Heels! Featuring this tonight, so feel free to come grab a featured button! :) Have a great weekend!

    1. Wow, thanks so much. I'm so pleased you like them. Woot woot!!!

  2. I love these! I have a couple of pants that will be getting a fix like this! Found you on homemaker in heels. Congrats on the feature. :)

    Your newest follower,

  3. These are so awesome!
    Love the bottom pics too. Rock it!

  4. So cute! Now I'm trying to think if I have any pants that I can use for this. And the collage at the bottom is classic!
    Thanks for linking up with Creative Me!

  5. Great idea! They will certainly be a lot easier to hop-hop around in than the flared leg version. Nice save!

  6. Cute! Love the pics of you at the bottom - funky hip-hop moves? :-)
    Agy from Green Issues

  7. rachelcreative9 June 2015 at 02:03

    Thank you so much for your tutorial. I successfully cropped my knit trousers today :))
    Not as cute as yours but they'll do for me! Thanks again!


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