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Sewing/Pants stretchy

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Question
I have three pants that are stretchy elastic.  The pants legs are form fitting and I don't like pants to be form fitting.

Is there a way I can widen the pants to NOT hug my legs?

I sew by hand, I am not a professional sewer so when you answer please answer in laymans terms.

Answer
Hi Debbie,

Unfortunately, there's nothing that you can really do to make your pants less tight.  In order to make pants looser, you have to add more fabric. Stretchy pants don't include extra fabric at the seams (where the stitching is located), because they're finished with a serger (a type of multi-thread sewing machine that cuts off excess fabric at the same time as it closes the raw fabric edge).

Theoretically, you could try to open the side seams and add a few inches of width by sewing in a strip of similar fabric down the leg, but you definitely need a sewing machine for that. If you try to sew stretchy fabric by hand, you'll likely end up tearing holes through the fabric, because knits (any kind of stretchy fabric is considered a knit) require ball point sewing needles, which go through the fibres of the fabric without tearing, but they are only available as sewing machine needles, not hand sewing needles. Furthermore, the stretchy fabric would tear any hand sewn stitches apart the first time you stretch the fabric over a body part.

Simply put, knit fabrics are not meant to be sewn or altered by hand.

All the best,
Amie

Sewing

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Amie Scott

Expertise

I can answer many questions related to craft sewing, fashion design, pattern drafting, clothing alterations, clothing repair, and simple home decor sewing projects. I can not answer question about machine repair/maintenance, quilting, knitting, embroidery or needlepoint.

Experience

I have been designing and sewing clothing and accessories professionally since 2003. I have two years of experience teaching basic machine sewing classes for adults. I have experience altering clothing and drafting sewing patterns for women's wear. Currently I own a retail shop with a sewing studio, where I design and produce my line of women's wear, and also offer custom sewing to clients.

Education/Credentials
Although I'm mostly self taught, I have taken some advanced online pattern drafting and clothing alterations classes. Of course, nothing beats actual hands on work, and I have over ten years of experience in professional sewing and fashion design.

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