Trousers – Wide or Narrow Leg?

Are you a wide-leg trouser fan, or are narrow legs more your thing?  I’ve always felt more comfortable in straight or narrow legs, and have never really been a wide-leg-trouser person.  I tried some on once (actually they were pyjamas!) and they looked alright, but I’ve never owned a pair as they always seemed so grown-up to me!

But there are so many nice inspiring naval style trousers in blogland!  So with the belated realisation that I am grown-up, and aided by the fact that my personal trouser block has long needed redoing, because I have not only grown up but out as well, I took the plunge into Wide Leg Trouserville.

I’m quite happy with the results, and they are very comfortable – the fabric is a relatively heavy but stable knit with good drape – the same fabric as my 1956 All Black Dress.

I have a long waist to hip height, so commercial patterns never fit me.  When I make my own, the front rise looks fine:

Although it looks like I need to shift those L side buttons down a bit lol!  The back rise is good too:

I thought these two side-on photos were worth posting – in the first one I am standing as normal for me, and in the second one I am trying to hold in my tummy and tuck in my bum – look at the affect this has on how the leg hangs:


I thought this was a good example of how things need to be fitted to your natural posture, not your wannabe posture!

My favourite thing about these trousers are the buttons:

They were pilfered from my mother’s button box many years ago but I had never found the perfect use for them.  I think I finally have – thanks Mum!

The buttonholes were made using my Greist buttonholer, which jammed on the first buttonhole and left
a few snags, but I made sure the worst was covered up with the button.  I decided to close the pockets in this knit fabric as they curled out slightly.  By doing this the buttonholes didn’t need to be cut, so I made them longer to make those pretty satiny stitches more visible.

I’m actually thrilled with my new wide-leg trousers – they are really nice to wear, but I still have to get used to all that fabric around my ankles when I’m walking!  I’m undecided what shoes to wear them with too – I envisage these trousers would look nice with flats but I don’t think I’ll wear them that casual, so I hemmed them for shoes around 8cm high.

Do you like wide leg trousers, or are you a narrow-leg devotee?  Maybe you switch between both with ease!  Is there a reason you prefer one style to the other – does one flatter your figure more, or is it a personality thing?


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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

75 thoughts on “Trousers – Wide or Narrow Leg?

  1. Sherry, these trousers are perfection! So elegant. I love wide-legs and most of my trousers gravitate toward that (with a high waist, even better). It's only been in the last two years that I have finally ventured into the world of narrow or skinny, because I finally figured out how to proportion them with tops and specific shoes. Thanks for the reminder about posture… I always find myself straightening up when fitting a muslin till I realize I'm not going to stay like that.


  2. I am definitely a narrow or straight leg devotee! I've made wide legged trousers in the past, and been SHOCKED at how short & stumpy I look when I look at the photos. I'm 5'8″ and mostly legs, and the wide legged trousers do nothing for me whatsoever! You're very lucky that you can wear these well – for me, I just sew the narrower legs!


  3. These look so very elegant on you.

    Now we want to know how you draft your trouser block! I am long from hip to waist also, so never know where to make the top of the pants…if they actually make my waist that is a very long crotch indeed, and looks out of proportion. You have nailed it though.


  4. These look so elegant on you. The fit is terrific. I personally, am a big fan of wide legged trousers and always admire them on everyone who wears them. The buttons look perfect against the navy.


  5. Your pants look great on you. Posture and fitting comparison shots were an eye-opener. One that I will have to remember when fitting my next pair of pants.
    I like straight leg or slightly flared. I have tried wide leg pants before and have found them to be a little too much for my thin legs. When I was young I loved bell bottoms, must be the reason I like flared.


  6. Beautiful marriage of fabric, fit and pattern Lovely!
    My legs are a crap shape and really should be hidden under a skirt! Believe it or not, skinny suits them best as long as the lower half is tucked into boots. And I have to use a stretch woven or knit fabric otherwise it's impossible to fit my hips (sz 10) and my thighs (sz 18). Yes, I draft my own patterns! Sar's


  7. I definitely switch between the two, but my all-time favorite trousers were a pair of wool standard issue Navy uniform pants so similar to these. I've always been widest low at my thigh, and they were so flattering and comfy, that I wore them out. Love the posture photos, as I do the same thing! Try to tuck my pelvis like the trainers advise, but it's def not my natural standing state.


  8. Hello Sherry,
    Thanks to Wyld Woman for asking the question! I have a Threads magazine article for drafting your own pants. It doesn't look that hard, just measuring and marking the points on graph paper. Please do tell us about your drafting system.


  9. You really got an excellent fit on these. And the point you make about posture is quite interesting – it makes sense to fit for how we actually stand.

    For the record, I tend more toward the wide legs; I like the bit of drama they have!


  10. I drafted it from my personal measurements, because I am long from hip to waist also. These sit on my waist, and the crotch length is long alright!


  11. I love either wide or narrow leg trou and currently wear the latter mostly. Don't know why. Have a pair of wide-ies in soft linen in my pile to make up.

    These are lovely lovely pants and suit you down to the ground (no pun intended). Beautifully executed, to my untrained eye. Buttons are perfect.


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