How to Add Elastic to the Ends of Pants to Turn Them Into Knickers

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Put some elastic in the hems of a pair of pants and create an entirely new look. Making knickers out of pants is an ideal way to add extra life to pants that are a bit too short. This is a particularly good idea for kids' clothes, which are often outgrown before they show much wear. If you can sew a straight seam with a sewing machine, you'll have no trouble with this simple fashion project.

Things You'll Need

  • Pants
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match the pants
  • Package of 1/2-inch elastic
  • Safety pin

Measure and Cut

  • Try on the pants to determine the length of the knickers. You'll want them to fall several inches below the knee. Place a straight pin in the fabric to mark the desired length.

  • Measure from the bottom of the pants to the pin. You may need to move the pin slightly higher or lower to get a convenient measurement to work with. Measure down 1-1/2 inches from the pin, toward the hem of the pants. Place a straight pin to mark the placement of your cutting line.

  • Measure from the bottom of the pants to the lower straight pin. That is the measurement you'll use to place pins on the cutting line. Place pins about 2 inches apart all around each pant leg. Cut the fabric just below the pins.

Create the Elastic Casing

  • Turn the pants right side out. Fold the fabric up 1/4 inch all around on each pant leg. Press. Stitch the pant legs, using the sewing machine, all the way around, as close to the fold as possible.

  • Fold up 7/8 inch from the stitching line on one pant leg. Begin sewing near the inside leg seam and sew all around the pant leg, stopping about an inch from the beginning of your stitching. Take a couple of back stitches to secure the stitching. Repeat this step on the second pant leg.

  • Cut two pieces of elastic, each to a comfortable measurement for the person's leg plus 1/2 inch. Secure the safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread the elastic through the casing, taking care not to pull the elastic through. You may want to anchor the opposite end of elastic with a straight pin.

  • When the elastic is pulled through, return to your sewing machine and stitch the ends of the elastic together, forming a circle. Sew the 1 inch opening closed. You can sew the opening by hand if you like.

  • Turn the pants right side out, and they're ready to wear.

Tips & Warnings

  • The thicker the fabric, the more difficult it will be to create a smooth gathered effect with the elastic. Cotton and lightweight wool both work well. If you want to make knickers out of blue jeans, you will need a heavy-duty needle, such as a 90/14, and heavyweight thread.

References

  • Photo Credit Dougal Waters/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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