Summer seems the perfect time to wear a pair of cool wide legged pants, so I decided to try my hand at creating some. Step one, as always, search the stash for an appropriate fabric to test this idea. Lucky for me, my darling daughter has brought me several lengths of light cotton fabric from her travels in India. I chose a loosely woven batik dyed a lovely shade of mulberry.
Step two, draft a wide leg pattern off my Eureka! Pants pattern. I opted to start from the pattern I’ve developed for a shaped waistband, which has become my favorite style. I traced the front and back pattern pieces off onto pattern paper then added 1¼” to both the inseam and side seam at the hem of the front and back. I used a ruler to redraw the cutting lines up the leg until the new line merged with my existing cutting line in the thigh area, several inches below the notches on both inseam and side seam. I cut out my new pattern pieces and used them to cut the fabric.
I began by basting the legs together at the inseam, crotch and side seam (no waistband needed at this juncture) so I could put them on and assess whether I liked the width. Right away I decided that they were too wide below the knee in proportion to the fit above the knee. They appeared to flare out like some of my bell bottoms from the early 70’s. (I so wish I had a photo of the elephant bell hip huggers I made from a red, white and blue plaid to share with you!) So, I took the legs apart and used my rotary cutter to remove ¼” of my widening from the side and inseams, and also took the time to draw this change onto my wide leg pattern pieces.
I also decided to add a little ease into the thigh and hip area when I put them back together to improve the upper and lower proportion. Because I had already cut the pants out, I used a ½” seam allowance in the hip and thigh area to add that bit of ease, moving out to a standard 5/8” seam allowance as I reached the point where the widening commenced. I made a notation on my new pattern pieces to add 1/8” onto the upper leg area for the next pair of wide leg pants.
I went ahead and finished the inseams and crotch seam with standard stitching and serged the seam allowances because this fabric is fraying like crazy. Then I basted the side seams and tried the legs on again. I was much happier with the look, dropping almost straight down from hip to hem. I secured the side seams, inserted a lapped zipper in the center back, and went on to apply the shaped waistband and to hem the pants.
I had occasion to wear the wide leg pants a day or two later and was pleased to find them cool and comfortable on a warm summer evening. I am already scheming to make another pair out of cotton chambray! Now that I know I’m happy with the fit and leg profile, I returned to the cutting table to make all of the adjustments to the paper pattern – adding 1/8” to the inseams and side seams above the knee and cutting off the excess ¼” below the knee – so I’ll be ready to go for the next pair.
Rae was so inspired by my new wide legs that she got out her adjusted pattern and made some blue and white rayon wide leg Eureka! just in time for the 4th of July. Visit the Facebook page to see Rae in her pants. What kind of adjustments have you made for summer pants wearing? We’d love to hear about it!
Happy sewing, Carrie