How Not to Shorten Pants

  Hooray it’s time for a failed experiment!

  Don’t worry…I know how to do it the right way and will walk you through that as well, but man I’m a space cadet lately…so I of course did it wrong.

  I’ve been continuing my ongoing battle against the piles of stuff we don’t need, and have been focusing on my closet.  I’m trying to make sure that the things I keep are flattering and fit me properly, which means I’ve been doing a lot of alterations.
  These pants were a great deal I found years ago…nice brand, good general fit, good quality, cotton…perfect for working out.  Only problem was, they were supposed to be capris and they hit mid-ankle on me.  Have I mentioned that I have really short legs?  They functioned perfectly fine being longer, but where they hit was really unflattering, so I decided that rather than grimacing every time I saw myself in the mirror in them I’d shorten them.
  Unfortunately, because there was a pocket detail I wanted to keep low on the leg, just hemming them wasn’t really a valid option.  I needed to take the pants up 5″ and the pocket started only 4″ above the hem.  Instead, I decided to gather 5″ of fabric out of the pant legs.
  Now, I’ve already told you this was a failed experiment.  It didn’t fail because I decided to gather the legs, it failed because I gathered them in a really dumb way.
G’s face says it all: WTF Mom?!?
  So what I did was this: I took a length of doubled over thread, used a hand needle and stitched through a 10″ portion of the leg.  I then gathered that portion down to 5″ and tied it off.  I repeated that on the opposite leg and then gathered the inside of both legs the same amount.  BAM, done!  Right?  NOPE.
  I wore these to zumba pretty much immediately after these pictures were taken and the first time I even remotely aggressively bent my knee I busted out all the gathering on the inside of that leg.  My pants were back to that unflattering, overly long length within 5 minutes.
  What I should have done was this:  Done exactly what I did, but then attached a ribbon or strip of cloth to the inside of the seam and sewn a line of stitching over everything with the fabric already gathered.  The way I had everything set up, all of the tension of any pulling on the pants was put on one, itty bitty little knot at the top of the gathering.  Stitching through the gathers into a (not gathered) ribbon would transfer that tension to all of those stitches instead of just one point.
  I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to go back and fix these pants again or if I’m just going to donate them at this point.  I’m pretty annoyed with them, but it seems like after investing the time I have I ought to just fix them and then wear them to pieces.  We’ll see.  Either way, learn from my mistake and don’t do the same thing yourself!

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