Why the crotch of your trousers wears out and how to prevent it
– by Clare Sheng
Many clients are complaining about the fast rate at which their trousers are damaged compared to 10 years ago. Are garments just not made like they’re used to or is there some other reasons behind it? We will break down the reasons why your trousers keep wearing thin at the crotch, how to prevent it and how it can be fixed.
Thighs – Muscular thighs (or thunder thighs) and a prominent bottom is the number one reason for wearing out the crutch. This means your legs are usually touching when you walk, rubbing the fabric with each movement and thereby thinning it over time. This is not something you can change.
Walking style – Another reason could be your gait, the shape of your legs and how you walk. For example, someone with “O” shaped legs are less likely to rub on the thighs than someone that is slightly “Pigeon Toed”.
Trousers too tight – In the pursuit for high fashion, a lot of men are wearing their trousers hugging the bottom. This may look great in photos and when standing, but it is not comfortable when sitting. Prolonged sitting can actually strain the fabric around the crotch. Movement will then further damage the fabric, causing tears and holes to appear.
Fabric too thin – The finer fabrics such as super 160s are beautiful to look at and feel wonderful to touch. However, this also means it will wear out faster. Try not to wear these more than 1-2 times per week, and never two days in a row.
Saddle – This is a triangular layer of fabric, doubled layered and attached to the crotch of the trousers. A lot of high end trousers may have a small cotton saddle sewn in the trousers to help absorb moisture through the day. We often install a large version, made of a poly/rayon fabric that is usually used as jacket lining. This extra layer has a number of benefits for the wearer, eg. Reducing the friction from the legs rubbing against each other, absorbing moisture through the day and taking it away from the trousers fabric, and preventing the inseams of the trousers from rubbing against the legs.
By installing a saddle on every pair of new trousers, it helps to prolong the life of the trousers. This way is much more economical than mending or replacing the trousers, especially when you have a matching suit jacket and the same trousers are no longer available for purchase.
Get the right size – One of the main things to look out for when purchasing new trousers is the crotch length. This is the seam that runs from the back of the waist band down and around to the end of the zipper at the front. The crotch seam is one of the most important features of the trousers, and come in a variety of lengths and shapes. If the crotch seam is too short, or if the seat and thigh area is too tight, you are much more likely to rip the inseams and create a big hole in the bottom.
Men with muscular bottoms need to look for a high waisted trouser with a long crotch seam that curves nicely under the bum, without creating a “wedgie” look. There must also be a generous amount of room in the thigh area to allow for movement. This is because there is often not much fabric to be let out around the thighs and seat area and cannot be made bigger. Go for a bigger size that will accommodate your seat and thighs, and ask your tailor to taper the waist and legs to fit.
Men with smaller bottoms can wear high or low waisted pants and have the crotch seam shortened to complement the body.
Re-enforced crotch – If the seat wearing out is a chronic problem for you because of your shape or walking style, have your trousers re-enforced. We can add a piece of fabric onto the crotch area to make it thicker and more hardy, as well as adding in a saddle.
Be careful – A lot of guys don’t realise that tailored suits are not be worn while exercising, cleaning under the desk or horsing around. The fabric generally has no stretch, so if you decide to have a bit of fun Friday afternoon and try to frog leap over your friends, your trouser WILL rip.
Airing out – Moisture and bacteria from the body can make the fabric brittle over time and damage more easily. At the end of the night, hang up your suit and trousers in a well ventilated area so they have a chance to dry properly and go back to the original shape. Invest in a retro looking Butler Stand and prepare your outfits the night before.
Dry cleaning – Jackets should be dry cleaned every 3 months (or immediately if stained) and trousers should be dry cleaned every 3-5 wears. Try and buy two pairs of trousers with each suit so you have a spare one to rotate with.
Mend area – A lot of men don’t realise garments can be mended and darned when damaged. In the crotch area, if the fabric is simply thinned or beginning to fray, we can re-enforce it by adding a piece of fabric under the hole and stitching it down strongly. The result will be slightly visible under the bottom, but not visible when you are standing. It will make the trousers last another 20 wears or so.
Replace fabric – Sometimes clients bring in their trousers when the holes are more than 2cm wide and the fabric is paper thin, this is when it is too late for mending. We can cut out the damaged area and replace the whole area with a new piece of fabric, then install a saddle. The finish is very tidy and comfortable, the only challenge will be to find an identical piece of fabric that is large enough for the area. It is a good idea to keep the cut off from your trousers hem when you have them altered at the purchase time.
I read an article this week in a prominent men’s fashion magazine which I could not disagree with more. In the article, it advised men to throw away their jeans and trousers once a hole has been worn in the crotch, because it will be too expensive to fix. There are several things wrong with this suggestion. Firstly, mending is not expensive relative to a quality pair of trousers, in fact it is a fraction of the price. To suggest the mending is expensive would mean they are encouraging men to purchase trousers that cost less than an iPhone cover, or a bottle of wine. Cheaper, fast fashion may look glamorous, but generally only lasts 2-3 wears before it is damaged or gets dumped. They are also most often than not produced in a unethical and unsustainable fashion.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded. How many wears do you get out of each piece of new garment you purchase? When is the last time you had a garment mended instead of throwing it out?
We recommend that each person purchases high quality ethical fashion, look after it well and make it last the distance. It may cost more in the short term, but with a small investment in damage prevention, a well-made garment will pay itself off with the number of wears you will get out of it.
About The Fitting Room
The Fitting Room performs alterations and styling on off-the-rack suits, to help high performing professionals look their best, and to feel more confident in perfectly fitting suits. Our award winning service is the largest suit alterations tailor in Queensland, and partner with major retailers such as Hugo Boss, Canali and dozens more.