How-To: Lengthen Kids’ Pants

Craft & Design
How-To: Lengthen Kids’ Pants

March Mending Month
Following with our March is Mending Month theme, today I’ll be showing you how to add a little length to your children’s pants so they can wear them longer. One issue I constantly face with my kids’ pants (especially my daughter’s) is that they will fit in the waist for a long time, but get too short in the length. Even on pants that have the adjustable waist, there comes a point where the length of the pants starts to reach “high-water” status and look a little funky.
Often, the pants don’t need much added — just an inch or so — to make them wearable again. Before you think of tossing them out, here are two simple and quick ways to extend their length and their life.

Option 1: For the ruffle-lover in your life
This is by far the quickest and easiest way I’ve added length to my daughter’s pants. You can pick up ruffle trim at the fabric store for under $3 a yard (and that will be plenty for this project). The trim has a bias tape-like opening on top that you can easily sandwich the hem of the jeans into. Or, if your jean hem is to bulky and won’t fit between the trim pieces, you can just tack it straight to the top of the jeans.
I picked up plain white ruffle trim and added a little rickrack embellishment (something I picked up in Jenny Ryan’s Sew Darn Cute book!) and then, using the current hem as a guide, pinned the trim all the way around the cuff. Once you pin in place, just stitch as close to the top edge as possible. When you reach the end of the trim, simply fold it over to get a clean edge and complete the stitching. Easy peasy! You can have lengthened (not to mention, “cutend”) pants in under 20 minutes.
Option 2: When is a sleeve not a sleeve?
When it’s a pant cuff! I took these cute, but too short corduroy pants and lengthened them with the sleeve of this sweet, but too small, plaid shirt. Using a sleeve cuts out some steps and makes the project come together even quicker.
First measure out and cut the width of fabric you need from the sleeve to get the desired added length on the pants. When you are cutting, be careful to hit a part of the sleeve that has little to no taper in it.
Next, turn the cut sleeve cuff inside out and, aligning seams, pin in place on the right side of the pant leg’s current cuff. I used the current hem as a guide so I wouldn’t have to measure. Stitch the cuff into place and turn right side down, then turn the entire pant leg inside out.
Now it’s time for hemming! Make sure the pants are turned inside out. Grab your seam gauge, fold the cuff up and measure 1/4 inch and press. Do this all the way around the cuff. It takes a little time and a little patience (not to mention skill in not burning your finger tips) but careful folding/measuring/pressing really pays off. Repeat this step so you have a nice, neat folded and pressed hem. If I’ve pressed well enough, I don’t even bother pinning, I just head straight to the machine. Stitch that sucker in place, turn the pants right side out, and marvel at your kid’s adorable new pants.
Once you tackle these techniques, your mind will start to race with other possibilities. For the trims, one trip down the trim aisle will leave you with countless options for lengthening pants. And for things less ruffley, try scraps of fabric for cuffs — heck, why not try some satin blanket binding? The options are endless, and the time investment is tiny compared to the added life you are giving your kids’ pants. Enjoy!

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