Fair warning: this article will contain mysteries of geometry, photos of wedgies, really bad jokes and extremely strange vocabulary which has made me giggle all day. If any of these things are triggers for you, you might want to pass.
I want to thank from the bottom of my heart Myra, Amy, Victoria, Josephine, the absolutely hilarious Jo and all the ladies from the Refashion Clothing Facebook group who walked me through this and cheered me on! We did it, ladies!
The Raw Material
I have made a decision to buy no clothes in 2021. One corollary of this is that I must actually start wearing the things I do own. To do so, I need to alter, tailor or otherwise futz with some of the ill-fitting items in my wardrobe.
I purchased this magnificent and very well-made pair of army green wide-leg trousers at the thrift store about three years ago. They are so pretty….Well. From the front. But from the back, it is an entirely different story.
Are you ready? Steel yourselves and move the line on the photo.
What can be done?
My first thought, the simplest thing, would have been to turn them into a skirt. But you know what? I love them as pants. I used to have a favorite pair of wide leg army green pants that had long since become embarrassingly too small, and three years ago, I wanted THESE to be their reincarnation. I wanted to do anything I possibly could to keep them as pants.
So I called in the cavalry. I asked the ladies of the sewing group what they thought and within two hours learned I had four viable options: 1) transforming the pants into a skirt (not scary, doable but not desirable) 2) adding a gusset, or an extra piece of fabric in the crotch (scary and unclear how well it would work) 3) doing a harmlessly named technique called “scoop up” or “crotch scoop” to, by the magical act of scooping, make more room in pants that fit too tight in the crotch (terrifying and counter-intuitive; also hysterically funny) and 4) give the pants away to someone else (I am too stubborn for that.)
What I did
I have turned jeans into skirts with some success in the past. As I took apart the inseam through the crotch, and contemplated how very scary everything else sounded, I actually started to sew it all together like a skirt on the front side.
But, lo and behold, my sewing machine got the Gremlins, as it sometimes does (it’s a cheap little machine with tension issues). I got mad (because I am an impatient person with tension issues) and put away the project for the day. (Put away is gentle. I slammed around my machine, probably exacerbating my tension issues and the machine’s while I carried it back to my room, balling up the no longer pants/not quite a skirt and hiding the evidence of my crimes under a pile of junk in frustration.)
The ladies come to the rescue
The next day, I found that the ladies had come through with more comments and links to helpful videos…not to mention others asking where I was at in the process, because they were intrigued as to how this was going to work out. My Facebook sewing friends are about the best group of people on Earth. Crème de la crème, as we say. I couldn’t let them down. They were counting on me!
So I unstitched my aborted attempt at making it a skirt, all while watching the YouTube videos Jo and Amy sent my way. (Too bad my name isn’t Meg…)
It still made no sense how removing fabric from the crotch area was going to make it roomier, but the nice tailor ladies on the videos seemed so matter-of-fact about it.
It doesn’t line up perfectly, but you can get a feel for the change in this comparison:
Tin Foil Crotch Sausage
I didn’t necessarily go about this in the most scientific magical-mystery-making way (I am philosophically opposed to precision, as you may know.) I ended up shaving a tiny bit more off the crotch seam (sorry, I couldn’t help it), but forgot to take a picture.
If I had wanted to perfectly match my curve, I would have used the Tin Foil Crotch Curve Method to help make a pattern.
Please enjoy this exchange with the ladies:
I can present as adult, or think about crotch sausages. I cannot do both.
Now listen to me:
I had to sing at a funeral yesterday afternoon, people. I had to get up and sing, sit professionally and sincerely and compassionately like an adult.
However, I was giggling like a child every time I let my mind wander to my fantastic army green pants and the tin foil crotch sausage. Thank goodness for masks. My trembling hopefully looked like emotion from a distance.
I must digress for a moment: My sister and I, even when we lived on the same continent, could not ever sit together at church, because we would get the giggles. There is one very very specific reason, which has to do with a little tiny plastic communion cup and our father (who is not generally a funny man). Giggling at inappropriate times is genetic.
I had to giggle with someone, so I FaceTimed with my sister when I got home and it took a good ten minutes to get out why I was red as a beet. Thank goodness she gets me. No one else in my family of scalawag adventurers would ever understand!
One other unpleasant thing about these pants is that they had no pockets. What indignity we women must face!
So. I took apart a thrift store skirt languishing in the declutter pile (too tight at the waist but had pockets), and I slit open the sides of the pants, rather haphazardly (precision is a four-letter word) sewing them into my side slits.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
No, I don’t love the Look at Me! pockets. But I prefer pockets to no pockets and staunchly refuse to purchase fabric. Maybe one day I can take apart a scalawag’s army green pants and transform them into better-made pockets, but I can live with, and will wear, this!
The scoop up alteration still doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t have to. It worked!