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REMOVING TROUSER PLEATS

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by a tailor, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Senior member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    Hello everyone. This thread was probably my first result when looking into removing trouser pleats. I'm an alterations tailor in the Lehigh Valley, PA, US. I saw a tailor's drawing and decided to get to work. This alteration is now easy for me to perform, but the challenges were taking everything step by step as once you get the pants ripped apart there is material everywhere. Also, managing the distribution of fullness from the waist down thru the leg took me a few tries to do correctly. Here are pics from start to finish with description per step.
    These trousers are double pleated Canali RTW with a ticket pocket. I decided to remove the pleats and keep the ticket pocket even though it's a pointless feature to me. I also have fuller front thighs so when I remove pleats from my own trousers, I add a front dart. These trousers are part of a DB suit. If there were ever a chance for me to wear them with out the jacket, I'd have dropped the front rise as well because I have anterior pelvic tilt which causes a collapse in the front of the cloth. Instead, I just wear them with suspenders under the suit jacket thus saving me even more labor. Total job time is about 3 hours. Once I removed the pleats, I also drastically slimmed the leg so I can achieve a more modern look.
    Lastly, I remove all the belt loops and add suspender buttons to the outside of the waistband. It's just my personal preference. I add waist snugs to the waistband to keep my shirt tucked in and maybe I'll make a single pull strap for the back of the trouser out of pocketing or something similar (I'd make side tabs if I had the material to match). When I wear a suit, I almost rarely remove my jacket so I don't care if I have a strap made out of pocketing. Wouldn't care even if I removed my jacket because I'm a tailor and do what it takes to make my clothes fit. If someone sees it, they'll probably ask why it's there and end up with my business card.

    [​IMG]
    From start


    [​IMG]
    ticket pocket

    [​IMG]
    Slicing the pocket away from the pocket facing.

    [​IMG]
    pocket from pocket facing.

    [​IMG]
    front panel from the wrong side ripped from waistband. Outseam is ripped from the knee up.

    [​IMG]
    Ticket pocket removed

    [​IMG]
    Fullness spread out to the side.

    [​IMG]
    A mark is made on the waistband to show position of original pocket line. When the pocket is remade, it will fall at the same spot

    [​IMG]
    front panel pulled back showing pocket bag/facing

    [​IMG]
    Lines drawn to show how fullness will be taken out.
    The extreme bias line drawn near the pocket is calculated by adding up total width of unfolded pleats then measuring over from the edge of the pocket.
    This fullness isn't taken out of the leg proportionately all the way down the total length. It is taken out only at the top of the waist area where the pleats are the deepest. The fullness that comes out of the leg is about 1" tapered from the bottom of the pocket down to the knee.

    [​IMG]
    The dart added is roughly the size of the smaller pleat. If no dart was added, the bias line drawn for the pocket is a steeper angle.

    [​IMG]
    2nd view

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    3rd view

    [​IMG]
    Preparing to sew dart and new pockets. The bias line has to be stabilized because it is so extreme. If it isn't stabilized, the material stretches during re-sewing and looks ugly. To stabilize it, I sew strips of pocketing on the straight grain (seen laying) to the wrong side of the front panel. Then I sew up the dart.








    [​IMG]
    This is the wrong side of the front panel after the pocketing strip was sewn on, the dart sewn up, cut down the center, and pressed open. The next step is sewing the pocket facing to the front panel to remake the pocket.


    [​IMG]
    Front panel after sewing dart and pocket. One step you don't see is attaching the pocket back to the pocket facing to fully recreate the pocket. Also, the top of the pocket bag is sewn to the front panel in order to easily re-insert the front panel to the waistband.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    After the front panel is attached to the waistband, the trouser is turned inside out. What you're seeing here is the fullness of the front panel extending past the seam allowance of the back panel. The white line is where the sewing line will be. It will taper to nothing at the knee.

    [​IMG]
    Sewing the new outseam. This start around midpoint of the pocket facing seam continuing down to the knee. Here is where the bottom edge of the pocket is reattached to the outseam of the leg.

    [​IMG]
    This is the outseam sewn and pressed open. The slit in the seam allowance is where the bottom edge of the pocket is.

    [​IMG]
    Turned right side out, here the finished result.

    [​IMG]
    closer picture.

    [​IMG]
    now we go to the ticket pocket side. The position of the ticket pocket is determined. The pocket is then re-sewn to the waistband first then to the top edge of the front panel

    [​IMG]
    The front panel is sewn to the waistband. Outseam sewing is done as well.

    [​IMG]
    Finished result

    [​IMG]
    Pleats removed

    [​IMG]
    nicer picture...look closely you can see the darts

    [​IMG]
    not an easy picture to take by yourself

    [​IMG]\
    finished result when worn.

    Not many clients request this to be done. If I did this specific job to a client's trouser including keeping the ticket pocket, I'd probably charge close to $85 as it is quite a job.
     
    5 people like this.
  2. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

    Messages:
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    Mar 11, 2006
    

    Cool, thanks for the detailed description and photos; didn't quite follow it all, but very interesting.

    Noticed this thread after having had a good friend tell me just recently about a tailor he found in lower Manhattan who has been recutting all of his suits from his heftier days, slimming them down and even removing pleats, which I hadn't thought could be done successfully...
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  3. Winendine

    Winendine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    had pleats removed from a pair of pants. The pleats disappeared but now the pockets seem to appear "open" or not flush. Would this imply that the trouser seat needs adjustments as well?
     
  4. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Senior member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    probably not. In my experience, to remove pleats correctly, you need to figure out a way to leave a little bit of fullness up in the front. I personally do it by leaving a dart there. It's easy to remove too much fullness from the front (which is why pockets gape) when removing pleats.
     
  5. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Senior member

    Messages:
    530
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    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    It's super easy to see and understand when you're doing it.
     
  6. a tailor

    a tailor Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    chicago suburbs
    OTC, Good work and a great demonstration.
     
  7. applky

    applky Senior member

    Messages:
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    Oct 14, 2011
    There were some people wondering a while back what my experience was like getting pleats taken out of a pair of trousers at Stanton Street Tailors in NYC. Their work was flawless -- highly recommended. I paid $40 or $45 for it, but this was several years ago, and their prices have come up slightly since then, so I'd expect to pay more than that now.
     
  8. nn2016

    nn2016 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Hallo
    I have beautiful ladies trousers from Zara. They became a little too tight at waistband ( about an inch). The trousers are pleated. I thought it would be quite easy to just let out the pleats to add to the waistband width. And for the waist band , I can adda new one out of a printed Fabric. I have oppend the waist band on the front side already. But now it looks that the pleats were quite 'deeper` as compared to what I had guessed, thus making it about 2 inches coming out. I have now enough margin of fabric to adjust The problem is if it would affect the shape of the trousers. How should I reattach it. In short the problem is not the available margin or the fabric for waistband, but keep it in shape. Thanks in advance
     
  9. a tailor

    a tailor Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    2,852
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Location:
    chicago suburbs
    Hallo
    I have beautiful ladies trousers from Zara. They became a little too tight at waistband ( about an inch). The trousers are pleated. I thought it would be quite easy to just let out the pleats to add to the waistband width. And for the waist band , I can adda new one out of a printed Fabric. I have oppend the waist band on the front side already. But now it looks that the pleats were quite 'deeper` as compared to what I had guessed, thus making it about 2 inches coming out. I have now enough margin of fabric to adjust  The problem is if it would affect the shape of the trousers. How should I reattach it. In short the problem is not the available margin or the fabric for waistband, but keep it in shape. Thanks in advance


    Most better trousers have an allowance of fabric at the back to be used increasing the waist measure.
    If not, then the pleats can be used as you are doing.
    Just because the pleats are deep does not mean that you must use all of the cloth in the pleats.
    If the pleats are deep, you can use just a half inch of the cloth inside each pleat.
    Then you will still have pleats.
    the waistband should be cut and pieced at the center back. Not at the sides.
    trouser waistbands are cut straight. When sewn on, the band must follow the line at the top of the trouser.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  10. toxicchill

    toxicchill Member

    Messages:
    19
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    Feb 27, 2012
    I've read through this thread and is very informative. Does anyone have any input on removing pleats from a pair of trouser with offset besom pocket? I bought an E. Zegna suit on ebay and the suit jacket fits great but the trouser is double pleated. Is it even possible to unpleat this? If not, I might just list it and try to recoup my cost. Thanks.

    The pocket looks similiar to this
    http://henrydavidsen.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/IMG_3294.jpg
     
  11. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Mar 16, 2006
    The cloth used for the pleats can be removed at the center front/fly of the front panels and then remake the fly.

    Other option is cut the fronts on the side, cutting the pocket off. This isn't a good idea because you need more cloth to make new pockets
     
  12. toxicchill

    toxicchill Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 27, 2012
    Wondering if its even worth it. I called a few midtown tailors and was quoted around 120-150 to do this. Can anyone recommend a nyc tailor that can do this?
     
  13. applky

    applky Senior member

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    Oct 14, 2011
    Didn't see this until months later, but if you're still looking for a tailor to do this, I've had excellent and less expensive results at Stanton Street Tailors on the LES. See my post up the page in this thread for details.
     

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