Adventures in Alterations – J.Crew Foulard Café Capri


Whew! Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I spent all week battling whatever terrible plague is going around these days, and just recently regained the strength to edit photos and post again!

So, here we are with a look at the J.Crew foulard print café capri (product link) before and after alterations. I chose to purchase and have these pants tailored for a few reasons:

Petite-Friendly Proportions – While the J.Crew café capri in petite 00 isn’t a great fit on me off the rack, the proportions are much better for my frame than many other pant styles. The rise is lower, hip is narrower and length is shorter, which is a better place to start for alterations. I always make sure the rise on a pair of pants is acceptable, since that’s the part that can be difficult and pricey to tailor.

Print – I loved this print for two reasons. First, it’s a foulard, which is one of my favorite print patterns. Second, the navy and merlot color-way is one that matches my wardrobe color story beautifully.

Fabric & Details – The pant is cut from a thick silk, with side pockets and belt loops. My hands are lost in pants without pockets (I need to stuff them somewhere), and belt loops are always nice to keep belts in the right spot and tidy looking (I hate readjusting belts that shimmy their way up and off the waistband).

— Alterations —


Pant Alterations In General

It’s best if you don’t mess with the pant rise, since that can be costly and difficult to tailor. Most other things on a pair of pants can be tailored without to much difficulty. Also, if the pant is lined (these are not), it can raise the cost of the tailoring.

Waist Taken In

This is a pretty common alteration with a symptom (a waist gap at the back of a pair of pants) that a lot of women complain about.  Price range: ~ $25 – $45.

Rear Seam Taken In

When I’m getting a pant waist taken in, if the pant is also a little baggy across the rear, a tailor will usually continue to pin right down the middle seam of the rear to take it in. This alteration can be tricky because sometimes it makes the back pockets appear closer together than is pleasing, or can come out unevenly placed if a tailor is not careful.  Price range: ~ $15 – $25.

Leg Slimmed

This is the easiest alteration, especially if the pants are unlined as these are. The seam is simply taken in down the leg line for a slimmer silhouette. Tip: after having a tailor pin your pant, bend your leg at the knee to make sure it is comfortable and not too tight (especially if the fabric lacks stretch, like the thick silk of these pants).  Price range: ~ $15 – $40.

Total Price Paid For This Alteration: $46

The J.Crew foulard print café capri is currently sold out (product page for reference), but other café capri styles can be found here. I wore the altered J.Crew foulard café capri pants here.


* prices are meant as a rough guide only. They are highly subjective and can vary wildly based on many factors including (but not limited to) average city storefront rental rates/taxes, tailor skill level/experience, competition from other tailoring shops, and complexity of the individual tailoring job.

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Angela

    You have truly inspired me to make my clothes work for me! Especially since I am not only very petite but also curvy. I always look forward to your posts, and glad your feeling better.

  2. says: rue vogiatz

    Love the pants, they look great after the slimming down. We find if a client is hippy, and or has a larger circumference at thigh level(than hip) we always slim the back seat through the side and not the centre of pants. Of course the waistband can be slimmed through the centre, however if one still wants to retain the correct drape at back of trousers, it’s best that the seat is unpicked through sides(usually down to hip) and extra width moved over. This always allows the back pockets and pattern to sit level and not on an angle which is the worst look for anyone with bigger hips, esp those with a wider thigh-It only makes them look bigger. Also when ‘running’ in the trouser leg through centre, I find most require more in the back-so this seam is completely undone , allowing the inner leg and back inner seam to be taken in accordingly. Saying this, one can still get great results, like yourself by taking in with minimal unpicking. I am lucky in the respect I have enough fussy clients to keep me busy! :)

  3. says: Cher

    They look great, Kelly! I love the pattern. Although I do agree with Rue, I’m actually a bit surprised it was taken in right down the center seam. It tends to mess with the grainline and the pants may not hang well on the body afterwards. Also as you mention, the pocket placement may end up too close together. But hey, if it works, it works!

  4. says: Olyvia

    Those pants are so beautiful! Wow, what a transformation! I always appreciate these before and after pictures. I’ve only had some blazer sleeves altered and had never thought of pants being tailored. It’s good to know it can be done! My issue most of the time is the waist and hip area.

  5. This is incredible, because the “before” pictures look like the pants fit, but then in the “after” pictures, it is so much more flattering. Crazy. I wonder if I just THINK my pants fit, but really could do better!

  6. says: Katie

    Incredible! I can’t believe how fantastic the alterations make these pants look. I definitely agree the alterations are so necessary for petites. But, it seems kind of unfair to have to spend another fifty bucks on top of the already pricey purchase. As my mom (also a petite) always says, smaller clothes should cost less than the larger sizes — it’s less fabric! Haha.

  7. says: Jojo

    I just discovered this site while browsing through everlane reviews and this just became my favorite blog ever. I always tell people how well tailored clothing can literally change your life. To have something fit so beautifully can give you confidence and so much positive energy. I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s been a game changer for me.

  8. says: Betsy

    Need to know any tips for finding extra fabric to make the pants long enough. Pants seem to be getting shorter, even though young women are taller than their mothers now. 32″ used to be “regular” which is actually closer to 31″, which only works on short women, or those with short legs. My daughters need a good 35″ in inseam, and I need at least 33″. I can often get regular length and manage to make them just barely long enough by adding a false hem, but my daughters are having even more of a tough time.

    Even if they came with deep hems or with an extra 4″ of fabric so you could invent a hemmed cuff to add appropriate length. Any other ideas? I can’t stand the thought of wearing floods like the model above. I could probably get away with that length if wearing absolute flats, but it looks ridiculous with any sort of heel.

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