Soft Surroundings Pleated Pant Knock-Off Sewing Steps

I absolutely love to look at fashion catalogs and websites – looking for unique and new ideas to inspire and challenge my own fashion sewing.  I had torn out these pleated hemline pants from one of my favorite sources:  Soft Surroundings.  For us ‘mature’ women, I feel their catalog is wonderful reasonable yet fashionable clothing.

Inspirational Catalog Pant


Note in the inspirational photos above, that the corner where the pleats turn from the side seam to the hem…it is a square corner, which is what I first did.  However, ultimately, I ended up deciding to curve that edge – and found it far easier.

My Pant Version

Below you can see how my Ralph Lauren jeans turned out.

These Ralph Lauren Jeans have been in my wardrobe a minimum of 8 years.  I rarely buy designer garments, but for some reason, remember exactly where I purchased these white jeans, and that my grandson was with me…odd what our minds remember!  They are still in pretty darned good shape, with the exception of the zipper detail at the lower outseams as you can see below.  As you can see from the threads, I had ripped the zippers out already, but set them here so that I could snap a picture.

Length Adjustment

I knew I wanted the pant to be shorter, and that I’d need to take into account the added length of the pleated addition.

The red-headed pin indicates the desired finished length.  I laid the folded edge of the fabric strip at that level.  To allow for a 1/4″ seam, the white-headed pin indicates the seam LINE, so you can see where I’ve marked 1/4″ below that for where I’d need to cut off the pant hem.  I did that on one leg, then used that piece laid on the other leg as a template to cut off the same amount. Next, I took a ‘dive’ into my white fabric stash to find some white yardage that matched the white of the jeans.

Noting that the trim was pleated, I remembered my ‘Easy Pleating Method’ that worked out while making a wedding dress.  Here’s a quick video I filmed while making this knock-of pant.

1st Square Version

Since the Soft Surroundings pant showed the trim attached with a square corner, that is how I started out.  It became obvious pretty early that inserting the pleated piece of trim into the outseam and then hanging DOWN at the hemline would take a bit of ‘fanaglin’.  Whenever a trim goes around a corner, it is necessary to clip the trim at the corner as I show in this picture.


Here is how it looked with the square corner…and I really just didn’t like it.  Besides, I couldn’t envision how the other edge would join in.  At this point, I decided to un-stitch it and round the outer, upper corner.

Rounded Version

I rounded the top layer of the side vent, then took that cut off piece – using it as a template – to cut the same curve on the othe leg.  One just has to remember to FLIP the template, laying the same ‘sides’ (outside of fabric or inside of fabric) together.

The side seam slit goes about 8″ up, and the trim tapers in at the uppermost point of that slit as shown below.  After stitching the pleated trim on, I did finish the edge with a 3 thread serged edge.

The inspirational pant appears to have a rhinestone button at the top of the slit, but I haven’t decided if I want to add that yet – likely not.  Topstitching holds everything in place, as you can see in this close-up pic.  In order for everything to lay correctly, it is necessary to clip into the side seam allowance of the back leg at the point where the back hemline separates from the side slit.  When you do this – it will become obvious, I’m sure.  I’m looking forward to wearing these cropped, pleated hem pants.

Comment below to let me know if you like this type of post – a decorative detail with complete directions.

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2 Responses

  1. Mary E Ortiz says:

    Londa, I love the rounded pleated hem on your pant. So feminine! I intend to duplicate this on a couple pants of mine. Thank you for the tutorial.

  2. Sandy Davis says:

    This is such a cute idea! I have been wanting to make some new cropped pants for summer, as I don’t wear shorts out in public anymore. (My calves are much more attractive than my knees these days.) This is a great way to personalize and get something that is uniquely ours! You are such an inspiration, Londa!

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