Wearing the Pants

Hubby was about to give his pants away.

IMG_3139He had absolutely no idea that plaid pants are quite in vogue. Even his ….


Have you ever taken apart a pair of men’s pants?  Releasing a single seam gets you nowhere.

It was maddening to discover interfacing, horsehair (or a similar product) AND muslin layered between the fashion fabric and the lining to prevent stretching. The front pockets  are as deep as the Pacific Ocean and neatly sewn into the fly, waistband and side seam. At times I found taking the pants apart was more difficult that putting them back together.

image   image   image
The good news is it can be done!

I thought a pair of skinny pants was the way to go and if there is a next time, I’ll provide a tutorial. However refashioning hubby’s 30-year-old slacks was strictly experimental.

Already matching plaids provided piece of mind as I carefully ripped off the waistband and split the crotch through the back of the pants, as well as the inner leg.

Based on my measurements I basted the new seams together only to find nothing fit. The abs were too tight, the waist was too big and the crotch was too high.

As I examined myself in the ill-fitting pants, sympathy flooded my soul thinking about female police officers, TSA agents and every other woman in formerly male-dominated roles. They deserve pants designed for a woman’s body!

Perhaps Project Runway will feature a female uniform challenge next season. ;)


Adjusting the seams to give more room in the abs, and sewing darts in the front provided a better fit the waist. However, I gave up on the perfectly fitting waist hoping a belt or pullover sweater would solve the issue, and forged ahead.


I also altered the existing darts above the welt pockets in the back before reattaching the waistband.


The zipper broke somewhere along the way forcing me to sew my first fly zip. That meant unstitching part of the pockets…… can you take anymore?


I whittled the inner leg inch by inch trying to achieve a narrow fit. While studying a pair of plaid skinnies on Polyvore, I read the pants featured a 13” inch leg opening. At last I knew what to do and then tapered from the outer leg to tweak the fit.


And now, aside from cooking I’m ready for Thanksgiving :)

www.goodbyevalentino.com   Refashioned Men's Pants

While hubby dressed up the pants with a camel hair blazer, I’m kicking them up a notch with a mink collared sweater (blogged here) and suede booties.

Hubby went casual by pairing the pants with a crew neck sweater and I am dressing them down by detaching the collar and wearing flats.

www.goodbyevalentino.com   Refashioned Men's Pants

I’m also loving the pants with a favorite pair of boots.

www.goodbyevalentino.com   Refashioned Men's Pants

So now it’s time to move from the sewing room to the kitchen for a few days where experimenting takes on a whole new meaning!

Our Thanksgiving traditions are changing and so is the food. After a family run in the annual Turkey Trot, Hubby is cooking his first turkey to serve with lots of new recipes I’m preparing.

Looks like we’ll both wear the pants this holiday :)


Sending my best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating!

www.goodbyevalentino.com   Refashioned Men's Pants

Until soon :)

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112 Responses to Wearing the Pants

  1. Myra says:

    Too funny and what a great idea! You’ve come a VERY long way with your sewing skills and should be EXTREMELY proud of your accomplishments!

  2. Jillian says:

    That’s just fab. Totally awesome :-)

  3. ewellons says:

    You are fearless — and tireless. I would have tossed those bad boys by step 2! However, you’ve got a great pair of stylish pants now!

  4. LLADYBIRD says:

    Wow, I can’t believe how great that fit turned out AND YOU MATCHED THE PLAID LINES? You are amazing, my hero. Love your new/old pants! :)

  5. David says:

    I’ve done this once on a pair of jeans and I just about managed. You’ve done a really great job matching the plaids on top of that!

  6. Very nice! I admire your “no challenge is too daunting” spirit and your skills as a seamstress! I’m looking in my husband’s closet with a new eye! Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Many thanks, Linda! I’ve eyed lots of goodies in hubby’s closet. He has a passion for well made traditional clothes that can be refashioned into just about anything. The problem is his clothes last f o r e v e r . ;)

  7. Congratulations! Amazing pants!
    Well, I promised myseld I will never do such things after I took apart a men’s jacket…. it was very long ago.

  8. Love them! They look fantastic on you. You did an amazing job, as always.

  9. Julie Starr says:

    Sarah, you never, EVER, cease to amaze and have the patience of a saint to not have given up on those early on. What a workout for your seam ripper. They look stylish and the fit is wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your gang.

    • Thank you, dear Julie! I took a vow to always finish my sewing projects when I started sewing again. I’ve found it’s too easy to throw away in the middle of chaos, and so I kept at it, although I didn’t know if these things would turn out or not. Fortunately I think I’ll get some wear out of them!

  10. I’m so impressed! You tackled those aging plaid pants, wrestled them to the proverbial ground and gave them a chic new life. LOVE it! You’re not afraid to tackle any challenge, which inspires all of us! Job well done – enjoy your new pants :)

  11. Barb Barna says:

    Awesome. What great ideas you have! I used to do this as a teenager. No one’s closet was safe. I remember taking a plaid pleated skirt of my mom’s and picking it apart to make a cape. This brings back memories. I have only done quilts for the last 15 yrs. I think it is time to get back to some clothes sewing. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas.

  12. Lynnie says:

    Wow! Your talent is definitely showing. I would have tossed them out during the deconstruction phase.

    • Thank you, Lynnie! When I started sewing again I took a vow to always finish my projects since it’s too easy to toss troublesome projects. I didn’t know if these things would turn out or not :)

  13. gingermakes says:

    So cute! Looking at the finished garment, it’s hard to believe these are a refashion! Hubs just took off for the week, so I’m terribly tempted to go digging through his closet for possible refashions– think he’ll notice if I do? ;)

  14. Sam says:

    Wow, these are simply amazing. One of the best refashions I’ve ever seen.

  15. Lauren says:

    Owwwww Gawwwd this reminds me of when I first started working and needed nice office clothes. I bought second hand men’s pants and remade them for myself. The fabric was great and worth making over but the process a nightmare until I got the hang of it. I saved a fortune – but I thought the nightmare was over until I read this blog post today! Totally enjoyed it.

  16. sharon says:

    LOVE IT! I’d confiscate my hubby’s pants but alas, he wears a uniform. Hmmmm – maybe I can change the manly uniforms into a more feminine fit. Great job on your project.

  17. Karen says:

    You are a very brave woman!! I would have given up when the zipper broke – and consoled myself with a fabric purchase instead! So you deserve “hats off” for this successful remake – or maybe I should say “pants on” instead.

    • Thank you, Karen! I took a vow to always finish my sewing projects when I started sewing again. I’ve found it’s too easy to throw away troublesome projects and kept at it, although I didn’t know if these things would turn out or not :)

  18. Graca says:

    Wow, what a great job you did on those pants. I admire your patience! The pants are just lovely each way you styled it too. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  19. Denise says:

    This is such an awesome idea!

  20. Laura Casey says:

    Interesting…BUT what I find more interesting is the length of your slacks….I feel as though my own slacks are too long….please tell me your opinion on the correct “in look” length…..I see your current plaid slacks look good in flats and your booties…..opinions please!
    LAURA @ Waechter’s

    • Funny you’d mention the length of my slacks, Laura……… I had to eliminate a moth hole and so they are about an inch too short. However, they work well enough I suppose. The hem of slacks worn with booties needs to just clear the top of the booty, but I’ve seen cropped pants with booties everywhere. Who knows?!

  21. Patti says:

    Wondering how you accomplished this … guess you just took up the seams that were already there? Since I have never refashioned a pair of pants, I was thinking more of cutting the fabric apart and laying a pattern that I knew fit on it and recutting. In other words, the plain pants become fabric in my head. So that leads to what else can become fabric??? Ah… nothing is safe now!! Great job and great inspiration for the rest of us.

    • Thank you, Patti!
      I took off the waistband and opened the inner seam and crotch and reduced the size of each area. For the finishing touch I tapered the outer leg from the upper thigh on the serger. It was a mess for a while!

  22. Amanda S. says:

    NO! You did not just take a pair of mens’ pants and cut them down to fit your female frame!!! You are amazing! These are so cute and sassy! Enjoy your Thanksgiving and your new pants.

  23. Wendy says:

    They look great on you! Looks like a “fun” and frustrating project. If the waist is still a problem, you could take the waistband off and add a facing instead. Great job! You are so creative!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  24. Vicki says:

    Wow, I will be scouring the thrift shops now for old men’s plaid pants! Great job. Happy Thanksgiving.

  25. sewbusylizzy says:

    Wow – I’m so pleased you got through all the trials & tribulations as they look fantastic.

  26. Jean says:

    You have such vision Sarah. I would never have thought to make these into women’s pants. Congratulations on your perseverance in overcoming all the obstacles you encountered along the way. The result is stunning.

    • Thank you, Jean! I took a vow to always finish my sewing projects when I started sewing again. I’ve found it’s too easy to throw away frustrating projects and now I’m glad when I stayed the course :)

  27. onedabbles says:

    Such patience! What a brilliant result. I love that sometimes you follow the rules and work hard to master something like the Shanel jacket and other times you use your skills and do your own thing and work it out as you go along.

  28. Cindy C. says:

    OMG, too funny! Hubby better lock away his faves, or he might find one of them remade into a Shanel suit one of these days! Hilariously creative idea, beautiful slacks! This is definitely one for the record books. ;=D

    • LOL! I could never do that to my hubs even though his closet is loaded with possibilities!
      But you’re right, Cindy – this is one for the record books. It may be my one and only! Many thanks for the comment :)

  29. Angela says:

    They look great (and I love them with those suede booties)! I think your example of perseverance is calling us all to work a little bit harder;)

    • Thank you, Angela! When I started sewing again, I took a vow to always finish my sewing projects. It’s way too easy to walk away from a frustrating project and I’m almost always glad I stuck it out :)

  30. Let me just say it . . .Wow! Amazing job!

  31. Victoria says:

    Such a great challenge and now something I must try. Thanks. BTW, In the Austin Scarlett season, PR did redesign the US post office uniform for women. Austin modeled his own and looked fabulous, darling.

  32. Suzanne Parker says:

    Oh, my gosh you’ve done it again!

  33. Wow, even I haven’t tackled a pair of men’s pants. Great job and they are a perfect fall pant!

  34. Almeda says:

    Holy Heavens!!!!! I am still laughing over that first picture but I knew you would work your magic!
    What will you do next???!!!! We will all look forward to it! :)
    Have fun in the Turkey Trot and Happy Thanksgiving.

  35. Alethia says:

    What an incredible job, you never cease to amaze me. .. beautifully done!!

  36. Elle says:

    A+ for determination! And they look great–

  37. Love it! You look amazing!

  38. That is an amazing transformation, great job.

  39. Kleintjie says:

    Amazing work! I have often replaced the zipper in husband’s pants and know the work that goes into doing only that. You have achieved a brilliant outcome. Will we see you next Thanksgiving in the corduroys?!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  40. Sharon says:

    Fantastic pants and they look amazing on you. Mens’ pants are a work of art!

  41. Miriam says:

    Now that is very impressive! Wow, they look great on you!

  42. poppykettle says:

    hehe! So very cool. I’d never have thought they would turn out as lovely as they have. And such a fabulous plaid!

  43. Diane Doherty says:

    I’m new to your blog, and I like what you are doing. I too, like to reuse and recycle. great ideas, and you look great!

  44. Jenny says:

    Your pants look awesome! They truly look fabulous :)

  45. Treva Putsche says:

    Wow what a job refashioning those pants! Happy thanksgiving to you as well.

  46. sewexhausted says:

    Fantastic refashion!! I actually have an old sewing book from the 40’s and it has several things you can make from a mens pair of slacks – like a skirt! Love what you did and yes- plaid is ALL over the latest Burda magazine!

  47. -N- says:

    I am always amazed by your taste, sewing skills, and creativity. You are one classy lady!

  48. kathy says:

    Amazing refashion! How do you decide how long to hem pants? I usually like mine a big longer in length. Trends seen on the street, catalogs, blogs?

  49. Alex Carr says:

    Another triumph! When I first starting sewing I cut down several plaid pants of my own to fit my young niece. I enjoyed being able to recyle my ’70’s pants. You’ve styled your trousers so many great ways. The ensemble I like best is the simplest one: sweater, ivory blouse, belt and flats – very chic.

    • Thank you, Alex! I like that ensemble too and would you believe I have owned that shirt for over 10 years and NEVER worn it because it never looked good with anything? I can’t explain it but am delighted I kept it :)

  50. Jjc says:

    A great job indeed!

  51. Pat says:

    You are so talented! I have wanted to do this but don’t know where to start!

  52. Sarah Liz says:

    What a lovely refashion. I have to admit I am going to have to vicariously enjoy sewing for a while, and give up the make everything idea – I’ve been accepted into a fourth year honours program in psychology. Sigh, one can’t do everything, so keep going Sarah Beth so the rest of us can enjoy your work:)

    • Congratulations, Sarah Liz on being accepted into the psychology program! One must make choices and your choice is a sound investment of your time and talent. Good luck to you and I loved reading your blog ;)

      • Sarah Liz says:

        Thank you Sarah Beth. I’ve decided to take the middle road approach – I don’t start until early next year. I’ve checked my wardrobe and have plenty of clothes to get me through, so I am going to keep sewing, just a bit everyday – I’ve posted a comment on your RTW fast post. I’ve so enjoyed meeting other sewing bloggers, and I really have got my sewing skills back, so I think 20 minutes of sewing a day is achievable – after study, as a reward :) . In the meantime, life is getting hectic – my husband has to move his medical practice – and I will help him :). Thank goodness I had a sewing year this year. I’m glad you are going to have a good sewing year next year.

  53. Kelly says:

    I just love your posts! The plaid pants were adorable! And your shoes are fantastic. Are those flats Torry Birch?
    You are just adorable too!
    I used to sew everything in the 90’s but gave it up when Target got cute clothes. You are making me want to start up again. I am excited for this year of seeing you have planned. Keep up the good work! I will be following your progress.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Kelly! I had fun refashioning hubby’s pants – The shoes are Tory Burch.
      Target does have very cute clothes. Have you read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline? It is quite the eye opener. ;)

  54. You are a magician! Those pants look fantastic and you now have quite the score! I love the brown of the plaid – it looks so rich!

  55. Great idea, I’m searching through my husbands cast off’s from now on! You are an amazing sewer.

  56. Pingback: Can’t be sad when you’re wearing mad rad plaid | Cuckoo Chanel

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