Which Wide-Legged Pants Pattern Should I Try?

I’m determined to try some new pants styles this year! It’s be ages since I wore anything other than slim jeans, but dammit, life is for living. Will wide-legged pants make me look rounded, shorter, or wider? Um, yeah, probably… but whatever, I already am those things anyway!

So, with this experiment in mind, I’ve got 6 yards of Tencel denim winging it’s way from Cali Fabrics to my door. It’s a fraction of the price of buying locally, plus I get a season allowance because I blog for Cali. It’s time to play with shape and proportion!

3676_1

I already have plans to make the new Jalie Vanessa Fluid Pant in Tencel denim from Fabricland. (Thank you, Jalie, for the curvy model!) I’m hoping to either muslin them in either my local fabric or in the Cali fabric, then have the other on hand for a “final” pair! I’ve never worn pants like this because I felt like a light fabric like challis couldn’t handle my jelly… but I think Tencel has enough strength to hold when I sit! (Picture my butt hulking out of pants mid-day – this is my worst nightmare! But on the other hand, maybe they’d be so cool and light and effortlessly chic that I’d never take them off?) 

But what about something more adventurous – a truly wide-legged pant? 

illustration-2

The first pattern that springs to mind is Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes. They’ve got that “Is this a skirt or pants?” vibe , and they look really easy to fit. Last summer I think I loved every version I saw! The one thing holding me back is that I always see people style them with a tucked-in top, and my lower abdomen is the one body part I generally try to hide.

*Bonus: I fit the pattern size range!

dscf3373

The lovely Meg from Cookin’ and Craftin’ has sewn every pattern ever, so I’m illustrating the Emerson with her version. Here she is wearing the Winslow Culottes, for comparison!

Another option would be the True Bias Emerson Cropped Pants and Shorts – most likely in a full length, I’d think. These have less volume than the Winslow, with a release pleat in the front and an elasticated waistband in the back. Of all the patterns, I could see liking these as a short as well as a pant.

*Drawback: My hips are 2″ bigger than the largest size, so I’d have to creatively extend the pattern. Not that hard, just annoying to spend money on something that doesn’t fit. 

mn2210-v2-3

Another obvious option would be the new Megan Neilson Flint pants, which are super cute… but the largest size (XL) fits a 4″ smaller than my hip, and that’s a) making me annoyed, and b) more than I want to grade up.

Ok, now this is just getting a bit depressing! Maybe Style Arc can help?

erin-culottes

There are the Style Arc Erin Culottes, which are a bit Winslow-ish in the front, and Emerson/Flint-ish in the back? Sallieoh made a gorgeous pair a couple years ago (2 years behind Sallie seems about right for how trendy I am!) On the other hand, that scissor pleat in front is a bit, um, on the nose? I worry, friends, I worry.

Good news: They offer 5 sizes larger than I need! 

Other potential options – all of which include my size, barely:

  • Every line of Big 4 has culottes, I’m sure, but I don’t think this is the time to learn how to sew Bi 4 patterns.
  • Oliver and S has some ladies culottes that look alright, but I can’t tell enough detail from the images!
  • Itch to Stitch Emily culottes have no pleats or gathering, for a cleaner look.

As you can tell I didn’t start this post with a plan… but it sure was educational. Basically, if I gain any more inches, I’ll be sized out of almost every indie pants pattern, which doesn’t feel great! I’d fit the largest size (or not even) of every pattern listed here except Style Arc. My hips are 48″, for reference. Arg, and ugh, and wtf?

(I stepped down as editor of the Curvy Sewing Collective last month so I could enjoy some extra free time, but oh man, I’m so keenly aware that I’m at the small end of the plus-size community! There are 40 000+ readers of the CSC – someone make us some patterns, please!) 

AND YET – I’M MAKING THESE AWESOME PANTS, PEOPLE! I think it comes down to Winslow (lots of volume!) or Emerson (less volume!) for me. I’d like to hear what you think might work best on me! Picture dark, buttery-soft flowing denim, colourful sandals, and a cute tank on a summer afternoon – what pants should I be wearing?

(Alter


66 thoughts on “Which Wide-Legged Pants Pattern Should I Try?

  1. I’m a great fan of Style Arc, but Vogue is still my top company. Why do you think the Big Four need to be ‘learned’? I learned FROM them, as that’s all there used to be! Their instructions are clear, accurate and comprehensive. The patterns are well drafted, and tried and tested. They all have their foibles, like excessive ease…which should be an advantage if you worry about a few extra inches. They regularly draft in 4-6″ of ease, so rule nothing out!
    If you’re really keen on trying some volume, with easy fit, have you thought of a nice quick pair of fisherman’s trousers? [I can’t say pants, I just can’t, and ABSOLUTELY not ‘a pant’]. My missus loves them for summer wear, and they can be as voluminous as you want. They’re also a dead easy fit. I made her some gorgeous linen-type two tone ones last year.
    Also for massive volume, and in a HUGE size range, look at Reconstructing History riding skirt/culottes. Dead easy, pleated onto whatever waistband you like, and so wide it just looks like a skirt. On my blog, made up in crazy steampunk fabric last year…
    Break away from the well known Indies, try the big four, and some of the more unusual offerings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the sizing issue that gets me most. I don’t have a comparable RTW or TNT pattern to compare to for size, so I feel like I’d have to go by the size chart, baste them together, and then do major recutting to get the “right” size. That both intimidates and annoys me! When I think of learning how to use Big 4, it’s really the sizing that I feel I need to learn. (It doesn’t help that I can’t buy Big 4 in my city, so I’d have to drive an hour or pay shipping… at which point indies are the same price.) That said… I will take a look at what Vogue has to offer! If I find some good options, can I post links and ask your input??
      Just the other day, a picture of my wearing fisherman’s trousers in India popped up – not a style I’ve worn since then, but they ARE comfy as hell!

      Like

      1. Fly fronts aren’t difficult, but can add to a tummy [and I find they dig in when I sit down] Back zips are fine, as long as they’re strong! Personally, I like elastic waists or drawstrings on wide trousers, they deal with all the fabric comfortably. Alternatively, switch out to a side zip. [If anything pops, I’d rather show my hip than my hoo-ha!]
        I haven’t personally made either, but here’s the link to my ‘riding skirt’ culottes. Ignore mad fabric, they are really nice to wear! https://thedementedfairy.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/edwardian-equestrian-skirt/

        Like

        1. Oh my gosh, your riding pants are FANTASTIC! You make such fun clothes. I’ll go check out the Reconstructing History pattern! Thanks for the links!

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I started sewing in the late 50’s. I got a Vogue pattern for a cute little shirtwaist dress and made it a couple of times. I just followed the instructions. In the 60’s I was making (fearlessly) suits of the 19960’s, all vogue patterns; I followed the instructions with great success and learned a lot. I do have patterns other than Vogue now but they are judged, maybe unfairly, by Vogue standards. Nice to see another Vogue sewer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m always surprised by how many noobs head straight for the Indie patterns, assuming the Big Four are harder. Very odd, considering most Indie ‘designers’ are lacking in many ways.

        Like

  2. My vote is with the Emerson as well. They do have a nice silhouette and with an elasticized back waist they’ll always sit where they’re supposed to 🙂 I have been eyeing these new wide legged pants from a distance – I admit they don’t appeal to me. Maybe a flowy pair in a linen for summer? Almost see-through? 🙂

    Like

  3. Hmm… Out of the options you listed, I’d go for the Emerson. The box pleats give them a nice flowy look, and reverse pleat front pants make me think of the bad pants options from the late 80s/early 90s. (Dating myself, I know.)

    I’ll be interested to see how the Tencel denim works out for you for the Vanessa pants. I’m hoping to tackle those this summer sometime so I have them for the fall, but I need to source some fabric first. I don’t have anything appropriate in my stash, and Joann’s was completely useless for even a wearable muslin version.

    Like

    1. I’m thinking of looking for some cheap challis to muslin things… though honestly, when Cali sells tencel denim for $7, and local challis is $15, I should probably just jump in with the denim! 😛 (Sadly I seem to have bought all of Cali’s tencel denim, so hopefully they’ll restock soon!)

      Like

  4. I think the Winslows do it for me. In lightweight fabric they’d be a great addition to a spring/summer wardrobe. I like the fact that in the longer length they could be mistaken for a maxi skirt.

    Like

  5. I’d go for the Winslow – I’ve heard that the Emerson (while cute) has a short rise, and I think with a culotte, it’s nicer to have them sit closer to the waist. Not that I’ve made either pattern! But I can vouch for tencel as a great fabric for summer pants. I’ve worn my Named Alexandras in heavy rotation for two summers now, and they are only just beginning to show wear. We’re talking 2-3 times a week for 3-4 months. Fantastic fabric. Good luck!

    Like

    1. Several people have mentioned that Emerson has a mid-rise! I definitely like when things sit higher… and since my inseam is less than 30″, I can use whatever extra leg height illusion a higher waist can give!
      I’m glad to hear your tencel pants have held up well – I didn’t know what to expect! I’ll look up your old post to see how you treated the seams – not sure if I should do anything special to give them strength?

      Like

      1. I serged the seam allowances together, and then edge stitched along the crotch seam for added strength. The seams are holding up really well, the inner thighs are getting a bit thin, but as I said, that’s with a fair bit of wear. I should be able to squeeze another summer out of them!

        Like

    1. I”m glad you like your winslows! I feel like I may just need to make some and then play around with top options – maybe I won’t mind the tucked in shirt in the end?

      Like

  6. I like the Winslows! And you don’t have to tuck in… how about an Appleton or Darmouth top to go with them? Or a boxy, but cropped t-shirt?

    Like

    1. Helen kindly just sent me the pattern – think it’s going to be a trip to Winslow-town! Though I might try Emersons as shorts? Seems like they could be comfy and cute!

      Like

    1. Thanks for the tip about the low waist! I definitely like high-waisted better. Do you find you still wear your Emersons, or not often? Both those patterns you suggested are cute – I’ll add them to my list of options. Thanks!

      Like

      1. I wore them a lot on holiday, but I only really have one top I like them with, and I never figured out how to style them for daytime here in the UK. whereas M7445 (and a hack of the Papercut Animas I made which is basically the same as the Ninni pattern) I wear all the time!

        Like

  7. I have made McCalls 6965, but only as shorts. And I love them. Not too much fabric in the waist thanks to the princess seams, but enough flare to be skirt like.
    They are very much a fabric hog though……..

    Like

  8. Fascinating post and now I really want to make some of these. BTW, I have bought RTW pairs of lyocell pants (it’s the same tencel denim, I believe). The fabric is strong AND it’s got great drape. It tends to stretch out a bit (without recovery – until you wash it – so keep that in mind). I actually had to buy a second pair in a size smaller after I saw how the first pair stretched. I love culottes and wide-legged pants so this is right up my alley.

    Like

    1. I think you were the first person I knew who sung the praises of tencel/lycocell denim – and I remember looking at it online and thinking, “Yeah, it’s pretty, but when would I ever want to wear non-stretch jeans?” Well, I guess that time has come!? 😉

      Like

  9. PS: My personal fave is the Flints but I’d get rid of the tie. To my eye, they have the best proportions though I know you’d have to get all complicated with grading. I just do that as a matter of course, because if it’s not a slog, what am I doing with my sewing session 🙂

    Like

  10. My vote is with Emerson. I also spent ages deliberating over trying wide leg trousers, they have never suited me in the past but that was before I realised I needed a knock knee adjustment! I never wear anything tucked in so I liked the fact that the pleats are sewn quite long on the Emerson which keeps a flat front for longer so you can wear a longer top over it without it billowing out under your top. I love mine, both the long and shorts version. It’s crazy how risky it feels to branch out into something outside our comfort zone!

    Like

    1. Isn’t it funny how we get it in our head what is risky or safe to wear? I”m glad you liked the Emersons, and glad it was easy to lengthen the rise! I feel like I would definitely need to do that!

      Like

  11. I chuckled out loud…I’m two years behind Sallie too, LOL! Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, hahaha…

    Okay…no help whatsoever, I’m short and curvy and haven’t been brave enough to give this trend a go. BUT, I’m so interested! Please keep us in the loop with your progress!

    Like

    1. LOL – so glad I’m not the only admirer who is a few years behind the times! I feel like you would look fabulous in culottes or wide-legged pants – you should make some!!!

      Like

      1. I have the endevour trousers and really like them (made in ten cel). I bought the flint and M7445 because want something more work appropriate. The endevour trousers have a yoke and therefore have a more casual feel.

        Like

  12. I liked the idea of looser trousers as well but the thought of tucking a top in? Just no. No. Not happening. I made Tessuti patterns Demi Pant (shortened quite a lot I am 5’1″ with 43″ hips) https://www.tessuti-shop.com/collections/digital-download-pattern-pants/products/demi-pant-pattern and wear them with a Colette Sorbetto. I’ve go lots of Sorbettos. I wear them all the time with trousers as an alternative to not flattering tucked in t shirts. I’ve made the Demi Pants twice now. Love them to bits. The have that loose vibe but because they come in at the ankles I’ve convinced myself they are quite flattering. Sydney Australia gets super hot and humid (probably not a problem for you) so mine are in linen but they would look great in tencel as well.

    Like

  13. I feel distressed when I read you being so disparaging about your body – it is fine and you always look good in what you make. I don’t know if McCalls 7131 is still available but it looks as if it has a nice fit. I applaud you for being adventurous and wanting to try different styles. I bought Vogue 1307 a couple of years ago in a fit of boldness and have never had the courage to make them. I will drag the pattern out and have another look at. So thank you and good hunting. I will watch with interest.

    Like

    1. I’m sorry if it came off that way! I like my body, and I feel good in what I sew. Whenever I go outside my comfort zone in silhouette, yes, I do think about being a certain height and size… but not in a negative way, more like a “let’s call a spade a spade, because then it’s just a spade”. 🙂

      Like

  14. the Colette juniper are super wide – but not quite cutlottes …..i made up the biggest size but then took them in (loads) and my hip measurement is around the same as yours…

    Like

  15. I think that first pattern is very ‘you’ – I can see you absolutely ROCKING that. I tend to go with patterns that are in my size range because… well, why wouldn’t I? I really resent having to grade things up, although I do try to keep in mind that not having to grade is a luxury that many of our compatriots don’t have! That makes me even less likely to be willing to pay for a pattern that doesn’t accommodate me or them. I don’t feel particularly good about supporting companies with such limited offerings, especially if there are alternatives that DO accommodate us! I’d much rather give those people my money.

    I sew a lot of Big 4 and I do think there is a bit of learning involved – like there is with any new pattern company I think, with an extra twist sometimes of ‘wtf is this instruction even??’ I don’t think it’d be onerous learning, especially if you picked something with a loose-ish fit that gives some wriggle room – a fitted sheath dress would be hard, but something where you can just whip in the side seams is less annoying, you know? But definitely it’s work, and sometimes you just want to get sewing! Especially when you’re trying a new thing. Tbh I mostly sew Big 4 because I can buy them on sale for $5, whereas if I buy indie I have to pay more + either pay a lot of shipping to Aus or print and tape. If everything else was equal I would go indie. Even though there’s just as much variation in blocks and drafting ease, I find it’s much easier to tell what that’s going to be from their photos and other people’s blogs, so there’s less work involved when I start sewing.

    I’m excited to see what you come up with! I wanted to sew some similar pants this last summer but didn’t get past the ‘thinking about it’ stage. Maybe I’ll follow your lead in six months!

    Like

  16. I cheated last summer and used a Hot Patterns pattern that I changed up to have bigger legs. It was the sweat pants pattern, I wanted pockets. Worked fine. I’m like you, hid the bottom and top of the tummy

    Like

  17. I can’t help you decide what to sew, but thank you for just sending me down the Cali store’s rabbit hole of fabrics galore. Really, looks like some great quality and nice prices. I kept clicking on one yard pieces tonight, so I signed up for the newsletter. A new source for me to try.

    Like

  18. I applaud your idea! I understand the appeal of all the wide legged and culottes pants out there right now. I made my first pair of (non-pajama) wide legged pants using this Lisette pattern B6183: https://butterick.mccall.com/b6183. Lisette patterns are made by Liesl Gibson of Oliver and S., including the instructions, which are very good. I am curvy and 5’4″ tall so I wanted something like culottes but not overwhelming: these are wide legged, but not overly so, they have a flat front, side invisible zip, back darts, and are easy to shorten. I made mine skirt length, which I absolutely love (they are sticking to my tights in this pic but you can get the idea): https://www.pinterest.com/pin/179932947593267069/ I did make a muslin first but they did not end up needing much adjustment. In the end (because the fabric was not exactly the same and they had some stretch) the waist ended up a little big so I added some elastic to just the back waistband and now they are fine. I had the idea right away to make the same pants in a light weight denim/chambray/tencel type fabric for summer… Also, if you are concerned about instructions, the Oliver and S. website has a forum where you can ask questions about any pattern that Liesl has designed and get responses from her as well as others who have made the pattern before. I really recommend this as a first pants/culottes sewing experiment! Oh, as for styling, I have found that I can wear a slimmer fitting top or blouse tucked in (maybe with a cardigan over) as well as a boxy or princess seamed top (like the one that comes with this pattern), or even a not too long tunic (the key is proportion & length: the bottom of the top has to end a few inches above the crotch) with the wide legged pants and they look good. I have admired some of the other patterns you highlighted here (especially the Flint) but I don’t have experience with them so I can’t say which would be best. Good luck!

    Like

  19. Considering the fit of absolute lust over a pair of Burda palazzo pants (these! http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/palazzo-trousers-032017 aren’t they gorgeous?!) I can completely relate to your thoughts above. Also, if you are having trouble with sizing, both Bootstrap and Lekala offer custom pattern downloads to like 5XL or something. They are way cheaper than any of the option above, and once you’ve done a trial run or two, they fit pretty well. NAYY, just someone who really loves the custom size thing. 🙂

    Like

  20. Thank you. I have a Vogue pattern for gauchos (I don’t know what the difference is but they look like culottes). I like it but it’s a vintage pattern and I’d have to size up. I’m thinking of the Winslow culottes as I’d prefer not to have to.

    Like

    1. Ditto! Plus a couple people pointed out the rise isn’t as high as I usually wear… I’m going with Winslows!

      Like

  21. Really like the look of the mid length Winslow culottes! (First option on the left in the pic you shared) I’ve just added it to my wish list on The Fold Line ☺

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s