Here's How to Take in Pants That Are Too Big in the Legs

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Sometimes that new pair of skinny jeans fits fabulously, but the ankles aren't quite tight enough for your taste. Instead of taking them to a tailor to get altered, here's how you can adjust the fit yourself and save some serious money.

How to Make Pants Slimmer

Level: Easy

What You Need

Good to Know

This alteration works best for pants that already fit perfectly around your waist and hips.

Instructions

1. Mark the Legs

You have two options here. The first is to put your jeans on inside out and draw a line with tailor’s chalk where you want to slim them down. Don't use pins — you'll either stick yourself (ouch!) or they'll fall off once you take your pants off.

The second option is to take a pair of skinnies you love and place them on top of the pants you want to adjust. Line up the crotch and outside leg seams, then trace the leg of the top pair onto the bottom pair. (Pro tip: If the properly-fitting pair is stretchier than the pants you're altering, leave a little bit more room as you trace.)

Whichever way you mark the pants, make the seam on the inside of both legs, starting at about mid-thigh.

Good to Know

You want to mark the inside of the legs because they're out of sight — no one will notice the alterations.

2. Grab the Right Needle

Make sure you're using the right needle and thread for the type of fabric you're working on. For example, if you're altering a pair of denim jeans, you want a heavyweight needle and thread to take in the leg .

Use a longer stitch length as you sew. That way, if the pants are too tight you can remove the stitches as needed.

3. Try 'Em On

You should still be able to walk around and bend your legs easily. If you can’t, make the legs a little wider. Right now your changes aren't permanent, so make any necessary adjustments before grabbing your scissors to trim away excess fabric.

4. Start Cutting

When you’re ready to trim, make sure you leave at least ½" to ¾" of seam allowance so you have enough room to finish the seams. You can do this however you'd like, but pinking shears are a good option for jeans.

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Here's How to Take in Pants That Are Too Big in the Legs