Every now and again we get questions into Ask The Sewcialists from members of the community seeking a solution to a sewing issue they have. Sometimes we answer if we feel like we can help; other times, it just makes sense to ask our awesome sewing community!
Today’s Ask The Sewcialists is a question that popped into our inbox a little while back:
I wear a size 18 and have chubby thighs. What fabrics and jeans/pants construction would help avoid the inner thigh holes that appear way too quickly?
I’m fed up with companies not selling clothes that last! I’ve repaired jeans and turned them into work pants. I’ve patched and reinforced them preemptively to avoid these dreaded holes. I’ve tried so many ideas. Please help – all ideas welcome!Sewcialist, July 2020
We thought about the usual—rugged construction/fabrics like on jeans, as well as more slinky fabrics to reduce friction, but that doesn’t seem like much to go on!
What tips would you offer for this issue? Anything you have particularly found works for you?
I haven’t tried this myself, but when my husband got some wool blend suits from his tailor many years ago, the tailor added a sturdy interlining fabric to the crotch area for this reason. Unfortunately for the purposes of this question, it was in the waning days of wearing suits to work, so I can’t really report back on whether it worked as he didn’t get much mileage in the slacks. I have also read a tip that spraying scotch guard on the crotch/inner thigh area after washing should help the fibers stand up to the rubbing. I think lined slacks hold up better than unlined, as well.
Even using sturdy fabrics doesn’t eliminate the problem, it just takes longer to wear through, as my many times repairing DH’s RTW jeans attest to. I think the hope is that you get tired of the slacks/jeans, or they don’t fit any more, before the thighs wear through. Since that doesn’t happen with DH’s jeans, I’m hoping for any tips that can be done before the wear starts.
No idea on how to avoid them, but I’m amazingly inspired by the repair work Indigo proof on instagram, I’d love to be as proficient in repairing as her. She gave an interview on Closet core blog some time ago on how she repaired denim (https://www.closetcorepatterns.com/master-denim-repair-jeans-restoration-indigo-proof/) and its a combo of careful darning and careful multiple thread color matching to the denim. The linings above might seam like a good idea, but I think eventually rubbing fabric will erode and pill and eventually gain holes.
Maybe if a double panel of fabric was used in the area. I have one Carhart men’s sized work pants that are constructed with a double panel in the knee area. Presumably to make that area last longer?
might the wear be lessened by wearing “shorts”, my daughter loves her chub rub shorts by Snag Tights ?
This inside thigh wear issue was a mend for a client, in her favorite stretch jeans. You know the story: the warp cotton threads are all gone, the weft lycra ones are still going strong. If I clip the stretch threads, that horizontal section of that piece will go wonky as the lycra retreats. If I don’t, she’ll catch her toe on them. If I patch on the inside, it’s going to be uncomfortable. If I go on the outside, there’s that toe catch thing again. We settled on the outside patch with no clipping lycra. I did a good match, they look great, and you can set your clock for how long that’s going to last. Or the other side wears out.
It’s a gait issue not a clothing issue. I had this problem at my thinnest and thickest but have been working on my gait for other issues and have had much less chub rub.
If you put a gusset in the crotch, that will make the entire area stronger and eliminate the center seam that wears out so fast from rubbing. It also makes it more comfortable because there is less bulk when you eliminate two seams coming together and there’s more stretch since both the pant legs and the gusset are cut on the bias.
You can reinforce the thighs by perhaps fusing (non-scratchy) interfacing to the inside, but that will not eliminate the problem entirely.
This is not the fault of the clothing company. Fabric just wears out and wherever there is constant friction, it will happen quicker. I have this problem too and it’s bummer. The rest of my jeans – handmade by me or other not – look great except for the inner thighs.
I will also add that thighs rubbing is not necessarily a function of person’s weight. My thighs have rubbed when I’m heavy and my thighs have rubbed when I’ve been thin. It’s just morphology.
I also was going to recommend a gusset at the crotch to give your legs more room to move and to keep the area from chafing and getting threadbare. There was an article in Threads magazine some years ago about it – you can maybe find it.