What is an Inseam?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2015
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The inseam is the element that binds the interior leg of pants made for both men and women. As part of the tailoring process, this seam is the inside stitching that creates a seal between the sections of fabric that form the front and back portions of the leg of the garment. In most cases, it is created using a double row of stitching, providing a strong seal between the two sections of material.

When creating a pair of pants, the inseam is one of the important measurements to consider. Its length is measured from the bottom of the crotch area to the point where the hem of the garment would hit on the lower ankle. Many people use the slightly protruding bone of the ankle as the extreme end. Essentially, this measurement will help to determine the overall length of the leg of the garment.

Tailors, when making alterations for a pair of pants or creating a new garment for a customer, will begin by taking a measurement between the crotch and the ankle. Once the customer has been measured, it is possible for the tailor to make the necessary cuts and changes to the construction of the pants so that the fit of the leg is both comfortable and in keeping with the current fashion dictates.


Consumers also pay close attention to the length of the inseam when purchasing ready-made slacks, casual pants, jeans, and any other garment that involves legs. Generally, mass produced clothing of this type — especially when made for men — will feature both the waist size and the inseam length. People who are not sure of the right length can easily measure themselves by holding one end of a tape measure at the crotch, and then dropping the other end of the tape measure to the floor, by the foot. Checking the reading where the tape seems to be more or less in line with the ankle will provide a reading that can be used as a benchmark.

It is then possible to visit a store and try on a pair of pants with a length that is close to that reading. By trying on pants with an measurement that is slightly less than the reading, and a second pair that is equal to or slightly more than the reading, it is possible to determine the right length for future purchases.


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Post 2

I have had an embarrassing situation of splitting my pants. Is there a specific way to re-sew the inseam so that it will not split again, or does this require a tailor's finesse?

Post 1

For some people, an inseam measurement can be a very uncomfortable situation. Think of it this way, though: if you’re fidgeting and not standing up straight you most definitely won’t be walking around in the most comfortable pair of pants.

You should always remember to stand up straight when having your inseam measured and you should follow up with your tailor or seamstress to find out what that measurement is – in case you need it for shopping purposes later.

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