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Slim it Down: Make a Wide Leg Skinny

Posted by Betsy C on

There are rules that I live by and, more often than not, blatantly break, shatter and reassemble. One rule that I live and die by is how to reduce/increase a pant leg. The Manhattan Trousers are a tapered leg, but not skinny or bootcut. If you would like to change the leg shape, for this or any other pant, this is my recommendation after seeing way too many Pinterest links that lead one far astray (I had a whole rant, but decided to save you that one and play nice instead).

This is how it should be done in the world according to me and those with far more experience than I from which I learned this from: Assuming you have a well-balanced (different discussion for later) and proper fitting pant – ie- you like everything about the pant except for the leg width- the reduction should be made equally all around. Take the total amount you want to reduce and divide by four. Subtract this number from all seams to zero at either knee or thigh, depending on the desired shape.


Now, this also applies to the knee area. Even if you want to reduce it more or less than the leg opening, equal amounts should be reduced from all seams.

Example- let’s say you want to reduce the leg opening 2″. Take 2″ and divide by 4. Subtract 1/2″ from each leg seam. Blend to zero. Voila!
Going back to my previous pants philosophy post– The Domino Effect: Not equally reducing the leg can result in the following problems:


A little bit of math can save your fit!



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  • To Marissa. Two back leg and two front leg pieces of fabric makes 4.
    To Marissa, Two inseams, two Out seams. One on
  • @Marissa-
    1) Front inseam
    2) Back inseam
    3) Front outseam
    4) Back outseam

    Betsy SBCC on
  • I’m confused on why to divide by four. The inseam, the outseam; which are the other two seams?

    Marisa on
  • I have problem when I made my pants the back twist come around Byo the front start below the knee and obvious to the ankle what can I do however
    I love the pants alteration you’ve shown here

    Mariabrown on

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