how to narrow or widen a trouser leg

Hello friends!

I recently sewed myself three pairs of Hollywood Trousers, and I wanted a narrower leg than the original pattern. I’ve been meaning to show you how to do this alteration yourself since it’s a really convenient way to alter any style of trousers to your preferences. So here’s a quick video to demonstrate how easy it really is.



In the video I demonstrate how I narrowed the leg on my trousers. But if you want to widen a trouser leg, you can use this same technique–either using the existing seam allowances to add width or adding extra width beyond the seam allowances (be sure to add the same amount for all seams!) before you cut out your pattern. Then pin the side seams to suit your preferences.

The method I showed here for transferring my changes onto the original pattern pieces is great for making sure both trouser legs are the same. It also comes in handy if you’re making a lining for your trousers. I lined the cream-colored trousers I wore in this video, and it was so nice to know for certain that I was cutting the lining to match the outer fabric.

So there you go! Give it a try for yourself and tell me how it works out, will you?


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  1. Dara Harper

    THANK You SO MUCH Liesl! Always Great Advice. Happy Sewing!

  2. Erica

    Love the video tutorial! Thank you. I keep meaning to make a 3rd pair of Hollywood Trousers with a narrower leg, too.

  3. Natalie

    Thank you for this video. I have the Hollywood trousers pattern but have been afraid to use it because I always have issues with the rise. Maybe you could address that issue, too –rise too long or too short. Is there an easy way to address this short of making a muslin and altering that first (which I’m doing with another pattern)?

    1. We include a lengthen/shorten line for the rise directly on the pattern, so the only thing you have to do is decide how much you want to lengthen or shorten. I hope that helps!

    2. Emma

      I used the lengthen shorten line as noted above, but I also had to scoop the crotch at the back for ‘hungry bum’. You might also need to look into that alteration if you have issues with trouser rise.

      1. That’s another alternation that you can do, but it has less to do the with length of the rise than the shape. However, there MUST be a better term to describe it because that’s just a terrible name for it… uff!

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