Sunday, July 29, 2012

Add Side Seam Splits To Your Trousers Too!

The other day I was asked how I did the side split hem on my black stretch capris, and as quite a few of you liked this design feature I've done a quick tutorial.  This is for you Liza Jane!  It is a handy trick to know, because you can also use it on the hems of sleeves and tops too.

  The first step is to establish the following:
  • your finished hemline
  • depth of the split (mine was 4cm)
  • hem allowance (this must be 1-2cm greater than the depth of the split, mine was about 6cm)

To the side seam of your pattern, add three notches:
  • one on the hem fold
  • one above the hem fold and one below the hem fold, to mark the depth of the split, ie 4cm

Sew the side seam, but leave it open between the upper and lower notches, backtacking at the ends of your stitching:

Press the seam allowances open either side of the notches...

...then fold the hem up along the hemline (don't press the hem until you've finished):

Now reach into the hem and pinch together the seam allowances inside, and pull them out ready to sew them together:

You should have one seam allowance folded at the hem notch with right sides together. Ensure the hem notch is on the foldline, and the split notches match:

Sew the seam allowances together on this side of the split, between the notches:

Turn this side of the split through, and repeat for the other side:

If you've done everything accurately, both sides of the split should be the same length (if you look closely at the very first photo, mine is about 1mm out!).

This is the inside:

And this is the outside:

Now you sew the hem as per normal - I machined the hem on my trousers, but you can do it by hand for a more tailored look.

Happy sewing!


  1. Thank-you for such a clear and detailed tutorial on adding side splits (and thanks to Liza Jane for putting in the request)...
    ✿ Judy
    made by J

  2. Great tutorial Sherry, than you so much for sharing :) ! I've Pinned it for future ref here: Sewing - Tutorials and How To's

  3. Thank you for this - it's very helpful!!

  4. Oh, wow- you have made that fabulous detail so easy to understand! Thank you so much for this!

  5. Yes!!! Thank you! I am gearing up to make some trousers here again, and they will have side seam splits! And I also like the idea of adding splits to a shirt sleeves. Awesome tutorial! You always give the best instructions.

    1. Hey Sherry! I just did this on a pair of shorts. I love it! Although my split ended up being more of a v. I think it probably had to do with the thickness of my fabric (it was a home decor weight). I wasn't sure if I was supposed to trim the seam allowances after I stitched them, so I didn't. That may have helped. Next time!

  6. Ooh, will have to try this. I recognize this a bit from how you tacked the hem in the rtw tailoring sew-along. I've used that idea a couple times now! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Another super tip! Thank you...again!

  8. Thank you for this tutorial. I always wanted to try this and now I can.

  9. I've pinned this also. Really clear photos and instructions. Thanks so much.

    Ruth B.

  10. This is about a billion times easier than I thought it would be. Love it, and will definitely be trying this out, hopefully sooner rather than later!

  11. Great tutorial! Thanks for taking time to post this.

  12. Thanks once more for such a useful tute. I appreciate your time and sharing of technique.
    Anne K.

  13. Outstanding tutorial! Now I know how to give myself that little bit of extra room I need at the bottom of my shirts. I think this might also help with some shorts that I don't like because they pull when I sit down.

  14. Thanks so much Sherry, great for summer clothing - you make it look so easy

  15. Thank you for this. Capris are on my radar for spring so this will come in handy. Very simple when you know how!

  16. Just to let you know I mentioned you in a post over on my blog if you want to have a look! Thanks for taking the time to post such wonderful tutorials!
    Kay from LittleRubyRobin

  17. Super cute. I love the tutorial. Thanks!

  18. Thanks you for this.Great tutorial. I like it too much.

  19. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I finally "get it" and can complete my Willow Style Arc pants!

    Lynda in LV

  20. Lovely detailed explanation. Thank you!

  21. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again..........Septorinoplasti

  22. Great photo tutorial! Very clear instructions for a tricky move. :)

  23. Your tutorials a great! Thanks so much!

  24. thankyou for this. I have been googling for ages to find out how. Lovely clear instructions

  25. aaaaaaaah! did mine the other way around (not knowing how to do them at all), sewing the bagged out vent first and the shorter stitch line near the hem last! :P


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