Altering Tactical Pants

TacticalPants.com gave me a pair of tactical pants to try out and review. I have been washing, wearing and torturing the pair I currently have looking for any flaws or problems. So for, I’ve got nothing. But before I tell you all about my recent tactical escapades, and after I’ve told you about all of my ordering tactical pants experiences, I want to tell you about hemming tactical pants.

When you purchase tactical pants, many of the brands you can choose from offer their pants in one unfinished length only. There are advantages to this: tall people can finally buy pants that don’t look like high-waters and short people don’t have to worry about walking the ends of the pant legs off into a ragged mess because they’ll be forced to hem the pants. Disadvantages however are that when your pants arrive, they will not immediately be available to put into commission and there is an added cost to the purchase of the pants beyond the usual tax and shipping because you’ll probably have to hire a seamstress to alter the pants. Here in Reno, Nevada the going rate for hemming of tactical pants seems to be about $10 per pair.

Unhemmed Tactical Pants

I took my tactical pants to a shop called Fabric Care Specialists that was recommended to me by the local bridal shop Swoon when I asked them about where to take my wedding dress. I figure if it’s good enough of a shop to handle intricate bead work and layers of tulle, it can handle tactical black. And they did; everything worked out smoothly with them. I dropped the pants off on a Saturday and they were ready on the following Thursday for pickup. I didn’t have to make an appointment with a seamstress, nor did I have to be measured. I simply brought in with the tactical pants a pair of regular pants from my closet that fit me perfectly length-wise when wearing the shoes I planned to wear with thetactical pants.

If you go the tactical pants unhemmed route like I did, here are a few things to think about when hemming your pants:

  • Wash the pants first as you are going to wash them after you wear them. If you know you’re not the kind of person who usually reads the tags and follows special care instructions, now is the time to shrink the pants if they’re going to shrink at all. Any natural shrinking that happens when the pants are treated according to wear instructions also must be done now. Altering a brand new, unwashed pair of pants can end in disaster when shrinking fabric can turn a once perfect length pant into a pair of capris.
  • Decide which pair of shoes you are going to wear most frequently with the pants in question. Combat boots, sneakers, heels, clogs, whatever shoes you’re going to most wear with the pants is the shoes you need to be wearing when the seamstress measures you for alterations to give you a perfect fit.
  • If you’re unavailable during the times the seamstress is in the shop, ask if they’ll hem off of a sample pair of pants. My seamstress is available 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. I am not getting up that early because I work full time and go to school at night, getting home after 10 p.m. I need sleep! I’m still at my desk at 5 p.m. making an afternoon appointment as equally unworkable as a morning. Luckily, my seamstress was flexible and was able to make the alterations needed from a sample pair of pants that I made sure fit perfectly with the shoes I intended on wearing with my tactical pants.
  • Shop around for a good seamstress. Tactical pants don’t come cheap and they are a bit harder to hem than pants of other materials because they are made from stiff, unique durable fabric. Additionally, if you require the side seams brought in because you have slim thighs and calves, the job becomes even more of a challenge. Be sure you pick someone who can do it right. Ask friends and family members for recommendations and check sites like yelp.com for customer reviews.

3 Comments

  • Jenny Teague via Facebook says:

    You can use a heavy duty needle like you would for canvas or denim on the stiff materials. Also go with a heavier thread. Sometimes you can find kevlar thread (I’d suggest that, why not, they use it for bullet proof vests, why not tactical pants?)

  • Jeanette K. says:

    This is really great information. Glad the pants are working out so far. Hemming pants always seems like a pain at first, but there’s nothing like that tailored fit!

  • Jeanie says:

    It comes in really handy to have a sewing machine. I bought one years ago and it never fails to “take care of business”. I’m very petite, so even pants marked “Short” are still too long. I typically just deal with it, but when I want a perfect fit, I get it out.

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