Unhemming and Beyond

This post is about how to make a pair of pants longer.  For years I have considered myself disadvantaged when it comes to buying pants.  At 5′ 11″ (180.3 cm), finding pants long enough is a headache.  It also limits bargain opportunities – for example, the profusion of jeans at thrift stores have been pretty much out of the question.  It occurred to me a while back that I could extend the legs of pants by adding more fabric.  I finally got around to trying just that.  (After I thought of this idea I looked online and I did find some other people who have done similar things, mostly for kids, and much frillier.)

Check out my two “new” pairs of maternity pants.  They were $5.99 and $6.99 at Thrift.  They are a little on the short side!

Cut off the hems and rip the seams a couple inches up each side.

Cut off the bottoms from another pair of jeans that have seen better days.  First, make sure the pant leg is wide enough to match the pants you are extending.  (These particular jeans had holes in the knees and the heels were ripped up from being worn too long.  The remainder will be turned into capris. Otherwise, the thigh portion of the pants would have worked well for extending my second pair of maternity pants.)

Open the seams on both sides of the pant leg bottoms. 

Sew the pant leg extensions onto the pants.

Re-sew side seams and hem to desired length. 

Voila!  Pants with a nice long inseam!

Another shot with better lighting.  (Also, gives a good view of the bursitis by my right big toe.)

I decided to try something a little more conspicuous for the second pair. I cut off the hems, as with the first, serged the edges of them, and then sewed on denim extensions leaving the frayed edge on the right side of the pants.

In these shots I was considering creating a hem with a frayed edge as well.  In the end I decided to just hem them normally, but maybe another time I’ll get a little wilder. 

Again….. extended pant legs… nice and long.  This pair will take me a little more getting used to, but I think I like them.  Anyway, they will get me through the next couple of months until I don’t need them anymore……. for now……..


For some other pant extension project I’d like to add a fun trim where the fabrics join.   Now, to start watching for trims that catch my eye….. like this one found on Flickr. 

Trim – Decorative
Originally uploaded by glumpire.

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7 Responses to Unhemming and Beyond

  1. Paisley says:

    i LOVE it! Come home so we can sew together! I went through a phase where a lot of my pants had decorative trimming on their ends like that! Amazing!
    PS … I like the ‘for now …. ‘ comment!

  2. akentuckycreation says:

    Why not add a decorative Ruffle or something Funky like that. Did that last comment just date me???? I grew up in the 60’s. Great way to recycle.


  3. Bec says:

    Cool! Even us short gals (I’m 5’2″) sometimes struggle to find jeans that are long enough–I couldn’t imagine being 5’11”! I think another cool way to lengthen them would be to take a contrasting fabric and make an extension with it. 🙂

  4. Andrea says:

    Being only 164, I do not have *this* problem… (I have been known to shorten my clothing, though…).

    But I do do this for one tall daughter’s clothing — jeans, skirts and dresses! You can turn your jeans into super-wide bottoms (bell bottoms?) with a completely different material (not jean or different coloured jean)…

    And with the boys who tend to go through the knees so darned quickly, I have taken to cutting the knees out and resewing two pairs together: so that the “new” material makes a cool knee patch around the knee and back to the original material for the rest of the leg — this can also be used to “extend” the pants for boys. You do end up sacrificing at least ONE pair of jeans in the process.

    And those sacrificed pants get turnded into patch material for patching other holes when I am too lazy to do loads of sewing… double sided iron-on vlies (sorry, don’t remember the English word… it is the thin material you put between two layers of material to allow it to be more stable).

    You amaze me, though. Time to do all you do and *then* to blog about it… pfew. I get exhausted just by reading it!

  5. Robyn says:

    Nice! In case you want a fashion vote, I like the second pair better (with the contrasting material). Very cool.

  6. roya says:

    very nice.
    i’ve found that the fancy dancy jeans stores hemmed a pair for my much shorter step-daughter. they cut the extra off from just above the existing hem sem (leaving about 1/2 in for the seam allowance) and then re-attached the old hem. you can’t see the work unless you inspect it closely. the matching golden jean thread intact) so if you
    want to add from an older pair to lengthen – you could leave the recycled hem intact. and have the expensive worn hem look immed.
    (i am amazed that folks pay extra for the frayed look.)
    p.s. your pic of the 4 armed kids is wonderful. what a hoot. they made me laugh outloud.

  7. Marie says:

    You don’t have to be exceptionally tall to have this problem. At 5’4″ , regular length pants are way too long–and often so is the rise. Petite pants fit me much better in the rise, but wind up being 1-3 inches too short. Thanks so much for your suggestions! I have been thinking of adding some wide lace at the hems of a few pants.

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