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Trendy wide-legged pants look amazing on some people but the style doesn't flatter every body type. If you bought a pair then realized you like a slimmer cut better, you can save the money of hiring a tailor by altering them yourself. You can use another pair of pants you already own as a guide to adjust the cut of your wide pant legs. Typically, slim pants for women measure 10 to 14 inches around the ankle, while wide-leg pants go up to 20 inches. The flared or bell bottom style, usually with a fitted cut through the thigh, rounds out at the ankle at 21 inches or more.

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Take the stitches out of the hem of the pants using the seam ripper.

Measure around a leg opening of the wide pants. Use the Shop LA Style's average leg opening measurement guide (see Resources) to determine how many inches you want to alter them. Alternatively, you can use a pair of slim pants you already own to decide how much to take off.

Turn the pants inside out and measure at the ankle to split the total number of inches you plan to take in between the outside seam and the inseam. For example, if you want to eliminate 4 inches of fabric, measure 2 inches from each side. Mark that position on both legs with chalk. Repeat to place corresponding marks near the crotch on both legs.

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Mark a straight chalk line on each leg using a yardstick as a guide from the crotch to the ankle. Do the same from the hip-line down to the ankle on the outside seam. To narrow a flare only, mark lines from the knee down.

Insert straight pins about 2 inches apart parallel to the chalk lines, securing both the top and bottom layers of fabric. Do this on both legs.

Trim the excess fabric from both legs, leaving at least 1/2 inch of extra material.

Sew seams with a straight stitch all the way down the chalk lines on both legs. Once complete, remove all the pins.

Fold the hem back up and press it with an iron. Stitch along the hem by hand using the needle and thread or with the sewing machine. Turn the pants right side out for the finished product.


Pay attention to the grainline of the fabric when you're sewing. That’s the direction in which the yarns used to weave the fabric lie. It forms the lengthwise line that helps clothing hang properly on the body. A diagonal cut can make a seam twist. The crease that goes down the center of a pant typically sits on the grainline and can serve as a guide.


When sewing along the outside seam, avoid narrowing the actual hip area or the pants will be too small. The hip is the widest area of the upper pant.