First, a brief history. Second, a brief tutorial.
A Brief History
If you thought skinny pants were a product of the 20th century, you would be mistaken. Actually, slim-fit pants date back to the late 18th century. Not only that, they were a political statement. Radical left-wingers of the French lower class wore full-length pants tailored tightly from waist to ankle, all in response to the knee-length breeches popular among the upper class. Over the decades, the style's association has changed as often as the name, including drainpipes, stovepipes, cigarette pants, and pencil pants. Skinnies have been linked to everything from classic & subdued fashion (see Audrey Hepburn and Sandra Dee) to heavy metal and pop/rock music (see Poison and Freddie Mercury). The most recent (and current) resurgence was in response to the oversized and baggy clothing prevalent in the 1990s.
So there you go. I bet you were not expecting a history lesson today, were you?!?
A Brief Tutorial
For a while I'd been wanting to expand my skinny pant wardrobe beyond denim. Then a few weeks ago I was digging through some soon-to-be-donated clothes and noticed a pair of black bell bottoms. Inspiration struck and I was thrilled! Especially because they fit really well from the knees up, meaning the undertaking would be simple and straightforward.
If you want to skinny-fy a pair of pants, you have two options.
Option 1: Pinch and Pin
Turn your pants inside out and try them on in front of a mirror. Working your way down from hip to ankles, pin along the inside and outside of your leg, making the pant leg as tight as you prefer. After doing this on both sides, very carefully take off the pants. You can also mark along the pins for extra guidance.
Option 2: Template
Turn your pants inside out and lay them flat. Use a pair of (already-fitting) skinny pants as a template and lay them on top of your non-skinny pants. Be sure to line up the crotches (strange sentence to type, btw!) and mark where your new seams will be. Pin along those lines.
TIP: If you want to keep the "professional" seam on the outside of your pants, be sure to gather the fabric on the inside of your pant legs only!
Regardless of which option you choose, now you will sew straight seams along your markings/pins. Cut away the excess fabric, turn them right side out, and try them on. If you are unhappy with the first, repeat all of the above steps to alter as needed.
I chose the pinch and pin method and it worked great. I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy this project was. It makes me want to go through my closet and find more pants to transform!