How to Make Wide Leg Pants

Updated February 21, 2017

Alter your tried-and-true trousers pattern to make a pair of lovely and fluid wide-leg trousers. Depending upon the fabric, wide-leg trousers can be casual and comfortable or dressy and elegant. You can even opt for an elastic or drawstring waist for wide-leg lounge trousers. With just a few easy changes to your usual trousers pattern, you can easily make wide leg trousers in the style of your choosing.

Trace a well-fitting trousers pattern. Be sure that your pattern includes seam and hem allowances. You can also use a pair of trousers that fit your body well, tracing along the seam lines and adding a 1/4-inch seam allowance. The leg width and style is not relevant. However, it is necessary to have a well-fitting waist, hipline and crotch curve.

Alter your trousers pattern by drawing straight lines at each side seam. The outer leg seam should be straight from the fullest part of the hip down to the ankle. The inseam should also be straight from the point of the crotch seam downward. For very full, palazzo style trousers instead of a traditional wide leg, flare the leg into a gentle a-line shape (see Reference 1). Bring the seam upward from the full hip to the waist point in a straight line as well to allow for a drawstring waist. Allow approximately 1 inch additional height at the waist for a casing.

Cut two of each pant's pattern front leg and back leg. Be sure to cut on the grain of the fabric and match any patterns in your fabric.

Stitch the 1/4-inch inner and outer leg seams, right sides together. Finish your seams with a serger, pinking shears, or a zig zag stitch.

Turn one trousers leg inside out. Place the other leg, right side out, into the inside-out leg. Neatly line up all the seams on both legs, pinning if you prefer. Sew the crotch seam of your trousers, finishing it with a zig zag stitch, pinking shears or a serger.

Make a drawstring for your wide-leg trousers by cutting a strip of fabric approximately 2 inches wide and 24 to 28 inches longer than your waist measurement. Press the strip in half along the long side and press each edge inward toward the fold. You now have a neat, even strip 1/2-inch wide. Topstitch this strip, tucking the short ends under and hemming them.

Stitch 1/2-inch buttonholes on either side of the centre front seam, beginning them approximately 1 1/8 inch from the top edge of the waist. Press the top edge of the waist under 1/4 inch and then 1 inch. Topstitch around the waist. Thread the drawstring through the casing.

Press the hem of each leg under, using 1/4 inch then 1 inch and machine stitch around for a casual and easy hem. Opt for a slightly deeper hand-sewn hem for a dressier pair of wide trousers.


Make sure to adjust the hem allowance as needed for the hem depth you prefer. Leave darts or a waistband in place on your pattern for a dressier wide leg pant.

Things You'll Need

  • Tried-and-true trousers pattern that fits your body well
  • Pattern tracing paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Fabric of your choice and coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Scissors
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.