Look what turned up

I’m recycling. A pair of worn once black lightweight wool men’s trousers turned into some pedal pushers for me. My first idea for this fabric was a dress.  In my mind’s eye there was enough material, but in fact – no.

Here’s how they looked before cutting,  a bog standard straight leg style with small waist pleat and side pockets, welt pockets in the back.

Cutting down for a similar garment turned out not to be straightforward. The crotch curves were different in relation to the fabric grain, especially on the back piece.

I wanted to keep these pockets, which added to the problem. With the pattern placed right for them, the crotch curve wouldn’t fit without cutting off grain.

Off grain trouser legs twist,  so I cut my pattern across on the back to make a yoke,  to get the main length on grain and the pockets in the yoke.

This post’s raison d’etre is the cheat method for turn ups. I first found this on a low end rtw garment that I had to take up in the length.  If you don’t know it, its worth a look. There are a few advantages – it uses slightly less fabric, the turn ups don’t collect a ton of grit and sand when you’re wearing them, (maybe that’s just me?), its simple to change the finished length by half an inch or so if you decide your garment looks better with different heels, and its easy to draft for pants with a sharply narrowing leg line.

Your trouser pattern needs this adjustment: –

at the level where the top of the ‘turn up’ will be, slash across and add in a strip about 3 cms or so wide.

Draw a line below this for the depth of the turn up, where the trouser hem will fall.

Add a hem equal to or slightly bigger than the depth of the turn up. The exact length of this bit will depend on the finish you choose for the hem. I went for straight legs, but here’s how you’d adapt a pattern with a lot of leg shaping.

Its slashed across and a space for a tuck added in, keeping the width even, then below the hem, the leg shape  reverses .

I put a trim on my turn ups, a folded binding cut in the white wool I used for my jacket project. I  decided against piping cord, but you could put a cord here. I also added a tab at the side.

You transfer your markings to the fabric. I thread tacked two and pinned one. Then I took the photo at night in poor light, and camera shake gave it that breathalyser ready look.

From the top of the trousers, the first line, pin marked, is the line the ‘turn up’ will hit. The second line is where you make a fold  bringing it up to the pin line. The thread tack line over to the right is going to be the hem line, the raw edge of the trouser leg  is at the far right.

The trim was a strip cut the width of the trousers, plus turnings, by four cms wide, seamed  into a circle and pressed it in half along its length.

The folded edge of trim is placed 5mm below that second line,  and stitched exactly on the fold line. That gives a 5mm trim, if you want it wider, same method, different measurements.

The fold is brought up to the pin line and pressed on the right and wrong side of the garment, so that you get a second fold 1.5cms down from the pin line. Stitch it enclosing the raw edges of the binding. I slipped the tab into this fold before stitching.

That’s it from the right side, from the wrong side it looks like this before pressing.

The fold of the tuck is at the right. Next to it is the line of stitching which holds the tuck, and to the left of that the line of stitching through the trim. That line has been brought up to the pin line of the first step. The turn up and hem are left of this in this photo, but get folded down on that trim stitching line.

Then there’s just the hem. If your fabric is light enough, and you feel on top of your game, you can stitch this along the line you just stitched, trimming back the excess, and pressing the fold down furiously.  My fabric was quite light, but the addition of the binding trim bulked up the fold and I didn’t want another turning under it.

You can finish the edge of the fabric, say overlocking, and stitch it over the fold you just made on the inside.

Or, you can do what I did, and stitch the fold down over the turned up hem, catching the two together. I used a herringbone stitch.

The tuck is narrow and usually doesn’t need catching down at the side seams, unlike traditional turn ups.

I made a belt with plaited rouleau in white wool. Back view below

I drafted this pattern from my size 12 Aldrich jeans block, which as luck would have it, fits me practically without any changes.

The original trousers were half lined, so I left this on the front pieces, chalking round the pattern on each side, and stitching round the new shape before cutting it out, so the lining didn’t slip around. I kept the pockets and the pleat.

The back of the originals was unlined, I cut a lining for the leg part, below the yoke. What I’d do differently next time is cut it wide enough to wrap round the turnings as a mock Hong Kong finish, but I didn’t think of this until I’d already pinked and stitched.



About jay

I design and draft patterns
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Look what turned up

  1. That’s a clever method. It looks really smart with the white binding.


  2. Wow. I’m just getting into pant making, but this is amazing. Have not even thought of tackling alterations. Great job!


  3. Thanks for posting this and I’ve bookmarked it. I reckon it would be useful for full length trou too. Could be a nice effect …. hmm will think about that as need to get on with another round of trousers one day soon.


  4. Pingback: Home again home again jiggedy jig | Calico Stretch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s