The only charity that caters for the specialist needs of limb reconstruction patients

How to alter trousers

Denim alteration, by Adrian Heathfield

Being able to wear near normal, albeit adapted, clothes is important for patients. Here Adrian Heathfield explains how he adapts jeans to wear over his frame.

You will need:

Pair of jeans or trousers
Piece of material
A zip that splits at top and bottom
Tape measure

After you have split the seam make sure you can get the frame through the gap before you start sewing.

You will probably need to nearly split the jeans all the way up.
You will need to know how wide your jeans are.
Measure the jeans at the point where the top of the frame will be.
You can buy denim for about £4 per square metre which will be enough to do about three or four pairs.
It is better to use a lightweight denim as it makes sewing easier, whether you are using a machine or sewing by hand.
Measure the frame at its widest point and add another 5cm.
Measure the length of the frame and add 10cm.
It might seam like common sense but don’t forget the half pins stick out a long way.
Mark out the denim on the reverse in a long v using the two measurements.
When cutting make sure to cut outside the lines as it is always better for it to be too big, than to small.
This piece of denim is now sewn to one of the jeans seams.
Hold the edge of your jeans and the piece of denim back to back so the inside is showing on both sides.
Keeping the two edges in line, sew together.
Once done turn the jeans back and you shouldn’t be able to see the stitching.
Then sew the zip to the back edge of both seams.
It should now look like this.
Quick recap

Split seam
Cut a long V in the new fabric
Sew together
Sew in zip

And if all this is too much like hard work or you don't have Adrian's sewing skills, you can get very useful zippable tracksuit bottoms from Next (Canterbury Black Ugly Pants, sizes S to XXL, and Canterbury Blue Ugly Pants for children, sizes 8 to 14).







What is limb reconstruction?
Limb reconstruction is a term that covers all sorts of treatments for injured or deformed limbs, many of them using external fixators. More >
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