Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How I altered jeans to fit over a prosthetic leg

A friend's other half has a new leg.  This is good news.  However, he has favorite jeans, and they don't fit.  That is bad news.  

The LEE jeans arrived in the mail from my friend Linda, along with some extra denim and a 24 inch zipper.   Linda tells me that the left leg of the jeans needs to be 23 inches around  at a point 9 inches below the crotch, and 24 1/2 inches around at a point 13 1/2 inches from the crotch.

 So the first thing I did was to open both the inseam and the sideseam.  These jeans had a lapped seam on the sideseam, and the inseam was a seamed, pressed to one side, and the seam allowance was stitched again.  In both cases, rip the lines of stitches in the reverse order in which they were constructed.  There will be a lot of thread particles.  Press the front and back of the leg flat.  I took out the hem completely as well, and when I was putting these pants back together, it was easier to redo the whole hem,

 Now here is the great thing about denim:  It does not mind being curved.  I used the steam iron to curve both seams so that I could see what I needed for a gusset in both seams,  The rulers are laid out so that I can be sure I get the leg diameter that I need.

I traced the opening -

 to make a pattern for the gussets.

I added an inch all the way around this shape-.  Go oversize- you may have to make it bigger, and then you will be glad you have the material to work with.  Also, add a couple inches length to each end of the gusset, so you have some flexibility on where to begin and end the zipper. Now the sideseam gusset is a solid piece of denim, but the inseam gusset is made up of two strips of denim joined by a 24"zipper.  My gussets had to add 7 inches to the leg- so each one had to be at least 3 1/2 inches plus two seam allowances, at it's widest.  The two strips for the inseam gusset each had to be 2 inches plus two seam allowances.  I made the strips 29 inches long.

Here is the zipper gusset for the inseam side.  I have laid the gusset flat, and pinned the front and back of the leg to it, folding under the original seam allowance on the original jeans.

Open the zipper to sew the halves of this gusset.  I did this one first,  Then, when you do the second gusset, you can leave the zipper open.

Here are both gussets, and the bottom hem has been redone, too.

Ready to put on.

More miscellaneous:  I used a 3-step zigzag on most raw edges. I Used FrayCheck on raw edges that I could not reach to zigzag. This is denim, it is going to fray if you don't put up a positive defense.  How I found matching denim:  I took the pants with me to the thrift store.  I found a pair of jeans that were the same weight and manufacturer and a nearly exact color match.  One pair of thrift store jeans  will gusset four pairs of jeans.

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