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Barrel-Leg Style Eureka Pants

We can’t help noticing that barrel leg style pants and jeans are all over the fashion world these days in both ready-to-wear and new patterns from indie pattern companies. Elle magazine declared “Barrel-Leg Jeans Are Officially The Denim Shape Of 2024“. If you’ve invested time in getting your Eureka Pants that Fit pattern perfected for you, there’s no need to start over fitting a new pant pattern just to change the shape of the leg. You can easily hack your well-fitting Eureka Pants pattern to sport the barrel leg style!

Barrel Leg Style

If you are new to the term, “barrel leg” refers to a look which starts out fitted through the waist and hips, “balloons” out mid-leg and then tapers back in at the ankles. You might also see them referred to as “balloon” or “lantern” pants. The degree of contrast between the widest and narrowest points varies enormously; just search “barrel leg pants” in your browser to see the variety of shapes from highly exaggerated to subtle. This gives us license to decide just how dramatic a balloon effect suits our preferences and body type.

You’ll also find plenty of fashion advice online with respect to who can wear barrel leg pants and what to wear with them. We like them for comfort – relaxed fit through the thigh area – and because the narrower waist and ankle are complimentary on many body types. The wide leg means they should definitely be worn with tops that are short or cropped or tucked in at the waist to balance the proportions top to bottom.

3 Ways to Modify Eureka Pants

Linen pants with Dart detail

Over the last couple years, we’ve played with some fun leg shaping details to change up the silhouette of our Eureka Pants. Look at these samples to inspire your fashionable barrel leg pants.

In Carrie’s Summer Pants Journey, she took a loose-fitting leg on elastic waist linen pants and narrowed it at the hem with exterior decorative darts extending from calf to ankle. This technique will work best on solid color fabrics as the dart details don’t show up well on a print or highly textured fabric.

A few months later she added a Lantern Cuff (similar to the lantern cuff found in Tabula Rasa Jacket Sleeve & Cuff Variations) when she sewed up another pair of relaxed fit linen pants. Follow Carrie’s instructions in Summer Wardrobe Update to create a pattern and sew a lantern cuff for your Eureka Pants. Once you’ve created the pattern, use it again to create barrel leg pants for other seasons, like this version of brushed cotton lantern cuff pants added to Carrie’s wardrobe last winter.

This spring, Carrie experimented with another technique for barrel leg shaping to add to her summer pants wardrobe. After making but before hemming a new pair of navy linen capri trousers, she decided to shape the silhouette below the knee. See the new shape drawn on a pant leg in yellow chalk, then the new seam stitched and trimmed. The narrowest point of the pant is moved in 1.5″ from the original seam line on both the side seam and inseam, then flares back out for the 1″ deep hem to match the shape of the tapering leg.

Because these are capri length trousers, the resulting barrel shape is not very dramatic, but still flattering to the lower leg. Carrie plans to try it again with ankle length pants in the near future to create a more exaggerated shape. What fabric would you choose for barrel leg pants?

You can create the trendy barrel leg silhouette on a pair of wider leg pants already in your wardrobe. Either the tapering or dart technique could easily be used to modify existing pants. The lantern cuff style requires more advance planning, so is easier to use when stitching up new pants.

What trendy fashion have you hacked lately? We’d love to hear your stories.

Happy Sewing, Carrie

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