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Pattern Hackers: Turn Straight Legs into Flared Legs

Break the rules with three pattern hacks for the Dexter pants, by Chelsea Eisenberg.

Posted in: Tutorials & Techniques • September 30, 2019

Everyone knows that sewing gives you superpowers. First on that long list is the ability to break the rules and make garments that represent you and your taste. We want to encourage you to think of our patterns as a blank canvas that you can customize to truly suit your style. 

Our pattern hacks are designed to teach you hacking basics that help you customize patterns so that you can become a confident pattern hacker. Each month, we will show you how to draft and sew one new pattern hack, and we'll share links to two additional pattern hacks from our pattern hacks library.

These hacks help you give your Seamwork patterns a custom spin—all you need is paper, a ruler, and a pencil!

This month, we're teaching you how to change the legs on your Dexter pants into fun kick flares! The best part about this hack is you can make it as dramatic or as subtle as you want! You can also check out the two other hacks for the Dexter pants, one for a classic waistband and the other being a paperbag waist.

Note: For best results, be sure to make any necessary fit adjustments before hacking your pattern.

HACK ONE: Kick flares

The 70s have been really on-trend lately, so why not embrace a little flare in your Dexter pants? Kick flares are a cropped flare style that brings this trend into 2019. You can be super dramatic with your flares, or you can keep it on the smaller side, either way, give this hack a try!



Use your clear ruler to draw a horizontal line, perpendicular to the grainline, at the notches closest to the hem of the front pant piece. This will be your baseline.


Use a pencil and your clear ruler to mark your slash lines, parallel to the grainline. These lines will go up from the hem of the pant, up to the baseline.


Use your scissors to cut the pant piece in half at the baseline.


Place some paper under your pant pattern pieces and tape the top of the sleeve in place.


Use your scissors to cut up the slash lines, leaving about 1/8" uncut to create the "hinges."


Place the flare portion of the pant under the upper portion. Adjust the flare portion using the hinges to create the flare shape. You can create a very dramatic shape, or something more subtle. Try to keep a consistent amount between each segment (we did 1").


Tape the flare portion of the pant under the top portion, aligning the edges as much as you can. Use a pencil to blend where the flare meets the upper portion of the pant.


Use your clear ruler to redraw your pintuck guideline, following the guide from the upper portion of the pant.


All that's left is to redraw your hem and cut out your new flare pant. Repeat these steps for your back pant piece, making sure that the amount of flare of the back matches the amount you did for the front.


  1. Sew the pintucks on the front and back pant pieces.

  2. Sew the darts on the front and back pant pieces.

  3. Sew the rise of the front pant pieces. Repeat for the back rise.

  4. Sew the inseam of the pants.

  5. Sew the right-hand side seam.

  6. Continue sewing the pants according to the instructions.

HACK TWO: Add a Waistband

Create a waistband for your Dexter pants using this hack from issue 27.

HACK THREE: Add an Elastic Waist

Add some extra comfort to your Dexter pants with an elastic waist using this hack from issue 52.

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