Crotch Seam: Sewing Inseam On Pants (How To Guide And Tips)

Sewing the crotch on a new pair of pants may be difficult to do. There are so many seams to match up and the fit has to be just right or you may have to do it again. Thankfully, there are a variety of methods you can try to make sure your crotch project works out just right.

There are different ways of sewing the crotch and different top fashion organizations do not always agree. The Big 4 suggest that you sew the crotch twice while the Palmer Pletsch system says to leave an opening in the middle and sew it up last.

To learn more about sewing up this vital pants area just continue to read our article. It has the information you need and the tips should help guide you to a better result. Take a few minutes and see if this information will be beneficial for you and your sewing projects.

Sewing Inseam On Pants


There will always be tricks of the trade when it comes to sewing this vital crotch area. One of those tricks is to make the back inseam a little bit shorter than the front one. Then the back inseam is cut on a greater bias and then stretched to meet the front inseam.

But that is not the only way to handle the inseam issue. Another option you will have and if you are making old school pants for men, the back inseam will be longer than the front one.

Or if you are going to make knit pants, the two inseams are exactly the same length. What this tells you is that you will have to master different inseam strategies in order to make the crotch fit just right.

The decision to use one method over the other will come long before you start working on the crotch area. It is one of the earliest decisions and helps you move smoothly from one task to another.

Make sure to follow the pattern instructions as those will help guide you through each step of the inseam process. Adapt where you need to adapt to make sure the fit is right for the person wearing the pants.

Crotch Seam vs Inseam

In terms of fit, the inseam may be a bit easier to sew and make fit than the crotch seam. The inseam is the length of the inside seam of a pair of pants going from the ankle to the thigh.

To make that seam fit, all one usually has to do is change the length. For the crotch seam, there is a little more work involved as you have to line up several different seams and make sure they are sewn right for the crotch area to be comfortable.

Fitting the petite size may be the hardest for both types of seams as there is no real standard that is universally accepted. Some top designers do not publish inseam measurements simply because that area of the pant is different in different styles.

Then, petite brands are not the same. The measurement for the petite size changes from brand to brand. With the fact that some petite women having different lengths in their legs, it is hard to provide one standard for all women.

The length of the inseam will influence the crotch size and seam. There really is no competition between the two. Instead, you are looking for a way where both will work together and make sure you get a nice fit.

How to Sew a Seam On Pants


The first thing that you need to understand is that sewing a seam is one of the easier sewing tasks you can do. For the most part that is. Whether you do it by hand or by machine, the seam can be done quickly if you have the right color of thread on hand and a good needle.

By hand, all you need to do is thread the needle with a double thread, find the ripped area and start sewing. You will want a fine stitch pattern and make those stitches close together.

When you are using your machine, place the pant leg under the foot, select a nice fine zig-zag or straight stitch and commence sewing. You will want to start a half-inch in front of the ripped area, then close the rip and end up about a half-inch beyond the ripped area.

If you need a guide for where to sew and if you can see them, just simply follow the previous thread holes. If you are worried that the seam will rip again you can double stitch the area and add extra strength to your work.

One more thing, you should turn the pant leg inside out before you get started. if you want the stitching to be seen, which most people do not, you can use a contrasting thread color for the stitches.

How to Measure the Crotch Seam

There are only two real steps to this process and they will help you get the right measurement if you are honest with yourself. You really should not fudge on the measurements as you will be making yourself uncomfortable if you stick with those altered dimensions.

  • 1. Sit in a chair and measure from your waist to the bottom of your crotch. This is called the crotch depth and it is the first measurement you need to make. You can simply measure from your waist to the top of the chair seat. The crotch depth is also called the rise length.
  • 2. Stand up or have the person you are making the pants for stand up and measure the distance from the back of your waist to the front of your waist. This is known as the crotch length.

Don’t let the measuring tape get twisted and it is best to have someone help you measure your body when you are making the pants for yourself. Make sure the measuring tape goes through your legs and goes around the curve of your bottom.

  • Tip 1 - If you don't have a chair handy, simply sit flat on a bench or a table.
  • Tip 2 - You shouldn’t twist your torso to get this measurement. Have a friend help you.
  • Tip 3 - Don’t pull so hard on the tape that the fabric puckers on you. This will shorten the measurement.
  • Tip 4 - Do a little squat to add some flexibility to the crotch seam and area. Use the larger measurement when you get different results from your movements.

How to Stitch Crotch Seam


There are far too many different crotch styles one can sew. That makes it impossible to place them all here. the following examples of stitches are for leggings that have a lot of stretch to them.

The best stitch to use will be the one that does not bulk up the seam. For example, a 4 thread serger using an overlock stitch will add a lot of bulk to the seam area. While it will hold it cuts the stretch down, especially when you are using a short stitch length.

When you are using a regular sewing machine, an overlock stitch pattern may be the best option of all of them. This pattern is durable and works great when sewing knits together. The only problem with this style is that it might stretch the fabric a little bit.

Then if you do not have that stitch pattern on your regular sewing machine, you can turn to the trusted zig-zag pattern. This style of stitch lets you remove the thread quickly and is faster to sew.

Make sure to do a pull test to make sure the stitches will hold up under the strain of athletic-like movements.

How to Finish Crotch Seam

The first step in this task is to decide how long you want those seams to last. If you are not worried about the pants and longevity is not the goal, then you do not have to finish the seams. But if you want them to last, then finishing them is the way to go.

  • 1. One way to finish a seam is to sew the two parts together and then do a zig-zag stitch over the seam allowance. Make sure you trim off any excess material after you are done.
  • 2. Next, you can use the zig-zag pattern and sew the seam allowances apart. This works best on thick fabrics and the seam allowance has been pressed open. Also, avoid using this technique on lightweight fabrics as that material will pucker on you.
  • 3. Another option would be to use a serger. This is the fastest method but it only works on wrapped seams or seam finishes. A serger will work on knit fabrics as well.
  • 4. Pinking shears help create a nice bias look and help stop the fraying that occurs with some fabrics. The look is not that professional but it works.
  • 5. The final example to be given here would be the zig-zag overlock stitch. it is like the blind hem stitch except the zig-zag doesn't go in the same direction.

There are more options you can try. These few examples simply serve to point you in the right direction.

How to Sew Pants Crotch Seam by Hand


Like machine stitching, hand stitching the crotch is going to be the toughest part of making any pair of pants. The reason for saying that is because the issue of the 4-way intersection will always be present no matter which method you use.

One way to handle this issue is to stitch the right and left fronts together and then step two would be to sew the right and left backs together. Next, you tackle the inseams and the final step would be the outseams.

What this system does is help you make alterations when it comes to the 4-way intersection. This style should make it easier to add a gusset if you need it or to remove some material if there is a little bagging in the rear end, etc.

Also, it makes the inseam easier to alter when the fit just isn’t there yet. Don’t forget about the dominate seam which is usually the last one sewn. It is the one that influences the look of the crotch the most.

Then pick the right stitch pattern to make sure the seams hold together when the person is moving or applying stress to that area of the pants.

How do You Reinforce a Crotch Seam?


Every sewer will have its little trick and it is up to you to decide which one will work best for you. One method is to cut little fabric patches but first, you have to turn the pants inside out.

Place those patches along the straight edges of the seam and sew the patches along the outer edge to the pants. Another method you can use is to move about 1/16 of an inch inside the current stitch line and sew another line of stitches.

You can also do a third row of stitches inside that second row if you feel it is needed. Or you can use 1/4 inch twill tape instead of a fabric patch to reinforce the seams. Then some sewers serge a third line on the same seam.

Some Final Words

Mastering the crotch should be declared a badge of honor as it is one of the most difficult sewing tasks you can do. With a little practice, you should be able to do this task with ease.

The key is to find the right method or option that works best for you and your situation. Pants handle a variety of different situations thus they need different methods to hold those seams together.

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