How to Taper Pants? – Pin and Sew

Last Updated on December 13, 2023

Hi there, stitching lovers!! In today’s tutorial, Melinda is here to guide you through the process of updating an old pair of pants or achieving a more tailored fit by tapering the leg.

Tapering pants is a straightforward technique that can breathe new life into your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

How to Taper Pants


  1. Choose the width you want to lose at the hem before tapering.
  2. Pin and sew one side at a time, creating a gradual slope from the hem to the seam for a smooth transition.
  3. Try on the trousers after sewing to make adjustments before finalizing.
  4. Use an invisible herringbone stitch to secure the hem for a polished look without visible marks.

Can you taper your own pants?

Yes, you can taper your own pants. Just follow the step-by-step instructions in the provided tutorial, and with a sewing machine and basic supplies, you can achieve a more tailored fit for your trousers.

It’s an easy process that you can do at home to update your wardrobe without much expense. 

How to Taper Pants?

How to Taper Pants

Tapering pants is easy and stylish. Measure, mark, and sew a gradual slope on the inner and outer seams, then press, fit, and finish for a tailored look without breaking the bank.

So, let’s dive into the steps and transform your trousers with this easy-to-follow step by step tutorial.

Step 1: Measure and Plan

Measure and Plan
Measure and Plan

Start by trying on your trousers and determining how much width you want to lose at the hem. Here, we’re tapering the legs by 3 inches.

Ensure an even distribution by marking half of your measurement on both the inside and outside of the pant leg. If you’re adjusting the length, do it before tapering to avoid fabric warping.

Step 2: Prepare the Trousers

Prepare the Trousers
Lay your trousers inside out

Lay your trousers inside out on a flat surface. Unpick the original hem and fold it down, leaving the crease as a guide for later.

Since there’s more fabric in the back of the pant leg, use pins to flatten one side at a time for better accuracy.

Step 3: Mark the Taper

Mark the Taper
Mark the Taper

Measure a quarter of your reduction amount (e.g., 3/4 inch in my case) at the hemline and mark it. Use a ruler to create a gradual slope from this point to the seam, ensuring a smooth transition.

Repeat this process for both the inner and outer seams, aligning the taper lengths.

Step 4: Sew the Taper

Sew the Taper
Sew the Taper

Take your trousers to the sewing machine and stitch from the hem up to where it meets the original side seams. Backstitch at the beginning and end, removing pins as you go.

Use a seam ripper to undo the original side seams up to the new taper.

Step 5: Press and Fit

Press and Fit
Press and Fit

Press the seams open with a ham or rolled-up towel. Try on the trousers to assess the fit and make any necessary adjustments before proceeding. Trim the seams if needed and finish the edges with an overlocker or zigzag stitch.

Step 6: Hem and Finish

Hem and Finish
Hem and Finish

Fold the hem back under, following the original fold line, and adjust the length if necessary. Secure the hem with an invisible herringbone stitch to maintain a polished look without visible marks on the outside.

Step 7: Repeat for the Other Leg

Repeat the entire process for the other leg, ensuring symmetry and a consistent fit.


Congratulations on mastering the tapering pants technique!

With this simple technique, you can update your wardrobe, breathing new life into old garments and achieving a personalized fit. 

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