Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

April Upcycle – Slimmer Purple Trousers

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Purple Trousers (Before and After)

I nearly didn’t write this post, because I’m not sure that this upcycle is a success. After all, I’m upcycling to bring an item of clothing back into use again and I’m not convinced I’ve manage it with this pair of trousers. But I think it’s just as worth-while to write about the things that don’t go so well as the successes. Looking at the photos above, I’m not even sure whether the “after” is an improvement on the “before”.

I bought this pair of purple trousers for all the wrong reasons. In fact, I shamefully confess that I can’t think of a worse purchasing decision for an item of clothing. I bought them for a “Wear Purple to Work for Charity” day a few years ago. I didn’t have any existing purple clothing at the time and instead of making a sensible decision and buying something I liked, I went out and bought the cheapest purple item I could lay my hands on at the supermarket. What’s more I didn’t even try them on. Needless to say, after the infamous day they have languished at the back of the drawer. What’s more, hanging my head in shame, I spent more money on the purchase, than I donated to charity. I can’t even remember the name of the charity we supported.

So, to appease for my sins, I have decided to try to get a bit more wear out of these trousers. I must admit this is going to be a fairly simple upcycle, just making them fit a little better by slimming them.


Matching thread

Measuring tape

1. First of all, wear the trousers inside-out and get a handsome assistant to place a few pins parallel to the inside leg seam according to the fit required.

An added complication for my trousers was that they have a decorative seam running down the centre front and back. We just placed the pins parallel to the original inside leg seam so as to not make this centre seam twist to the inside and look odd on the trousers. This may also be also be an issue with trousers that have a vertical striped pattern. In this case, it may be neceassry to take excess fabric from both the inside and outside leg seams to compensate. Fortunately I noticed that the distance between the centre front and inside leg seam seemed to be several centimetres more than the distance between the centre front and the outside leg seam so taking aware excess fabric from the inside leg seam still meant that the centre seam ran down the centre.

2. Unpick the hem on the trousers just enough so you can sew the whole length of the trouser leg seam.

Inside Leg Seam

3. Next, tack along the new seam line, making sure that the distance from the original seam to the new seam is the same for the entire length of the trousers. Repeat this step for the other trouser leg, making sure that the same distance from the original seam to the new seam is used. At this stage, try the trousers on again to make sure you’re happy with the fit.

Unpicked hem

4. Then, machine stitch the new seams.

5. Cut away the excess fabric from the inside leg seam and then finish the raw edges.

Also note that taking the inside leg seams in also shortens the crotch.

In the case of these trousers this wasn’t a problem, since being generally too big in all dimensions, the waistband sat above my waist anyway. Shortening the crotch seam where they meet the inside leg seams did benefit the fit.

6. Finally sew the hems back up again, using the same method used in the original construction

For these trousers I used a double row of stitching.

Finished Hem

After trying the trousers on again, I do feel that they are a better fit. I’m no longer trying to hitch them up or feel there is too much excess fabric generally.

But do I love these trousers anymore than I did? I don’t think so. I’m still considering their colour. Aren’t they just a bit too purple? Don’t get me wrong, I actually like purple. I have been contemplating making a top of a similar hue. It’s just on trousers, I just can’t seem to like it. I’m also not sure about those huge front and back decorative seams, they just seem too large. Perhaps they just don’t work on my skinny legs.

I’ll give them the rest of the summer and if I still don’t wear them, they’ll be getting a dyeing too.



Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

One thought on “April Upcycle – Slimmer Purple Trousers

  1. Pingback: My Patch | Steely Seamstress

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