How To Alter Wide Leg Pant to a Skinny Capri Pant

Once again, I have narrowed some pants to be more ‘in style’.

Leg silhouette change.

Leg silhouette change.

Before the HOW-TO’s

let me get on my Soap Box. I maintain my opinion that the ‘Leggins’ look must be VERY VERY carefully worn – by women in general.  That being said – here is proof from a fashion show I recently attended.  If your legs are toned and look like this, then go for it, even in white, which will ALWAYS draw attention!

On the other hand… the legs in the left 2 photos would be more flattered in the pant silhouette as shown in the right photo….. in my humble opinion.

  heavy legs in white leggins  palazzo pant

My Goal for Pant Transformation

The pant I was going for (and achieved) was a capri length, slim leg, NOT a skin-tight Legging.  The original pant (of which I have 2 pair in the same great heavy nylon/rayon/acrylic double knit), was a boot cut – but one I still like and feel good in.  Here is my process:

  1.  On a pair of slim pants I like, I measured the lower hem circumference, inseam length and outseam length.  I figured if I chalked in that info, I could always slim them down further, and hem as desired.  See that chalked in on the photo below. I always do this on only ONE leg until I get that leg perfected.  Note also that the back leg is fuller – see the fold in the middle?


2. I also quickly determined that I would need to rip into the crotch seam in order to take the pant in all the way up through the inseam.

taking in at crotch seam

3.  The photo below shows exactly what got removed from the inseam and outseam – again, on ONE leg to start. SAVING what is cut off, properly labeled as to whether it was the inseam or the outseam is very IMPORTANT.

  cut off pieces labeled


I always get one leg as close to perfect as possible before starting the remaining leg.  I figure, why have to FRE-DO two legs, if I can get one leg perfect, then make the other identical?


  1. With cut off (labeled) pieces, FLIP them over and lay on the remaining leg, matching original cut and seamlines.  Then, cut off the identical amount, using the pieces are your ‘pattern’.

pieces used as patterns for 2nd leg

2. Stitch 2nd leg with seam allowance identical to first leg and WALA, they re the SAME!!!


It is easiest for me to have the pant on right side out, and turn the hem allowance to the outside to determine length – especially when ‘sewing alone’.  This photo shows just that.



Leg silhouette change.

Leg silhouette change.

HEM – adding interfacing to hem allowance, clipping at the hemline to balance the bulk. Read ALL about Hemming Knits at my last Blog Post HERE.


I’m happy with my new ‘skinny’ capris.  They are even more comfy than jeans! While yes, I could have made them SKIN tight ala ‘leggins’, I elected to leave something to the imagination as my Mom taught me.  AND, Black won’t draw as much attention.

Your opinions?  Your experiences? Comments and questions are always appreciated and welcomed.


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3 Responses

  1. Lace Faerie says:

    Londa, I agree with you! Mama always said, “Just because you can squeeze yourself into it, doesn’t mean it’s fit to wear!” I often lament the shortage of full length mirrors!

    I’m afraid that so many young women of my daughters’ age, 24-30, were never taught how to dress appropriately for different settings. Business, business casual, formal vs cocktail. Gardening wear vs grocery store attire. My daughters are in banking and they tell me that probably 75% of applicants disqualify themselves by showing up for interviews in low-cut tops, push up bras and sprayed-on leggings! Or worse, in skirts so short they can’t even sit down and constantly fidget trying to keep the skirt under their bums.

    And I will continue to expound from my soap box by saying, I was secretly horrified to see the workout wear shorts, yoga pants and flips flops that came to my daughter’s Afternoon Tea Bridal Shower!! Yes, that’s how it was phrased in the invitation, and that the majority of attendees failed to RSVP. And may I also say, the term Garden Wedding is not synonymous with garden-weeding clothes! Of course, being a polite hostess I tried to make all welcome and comfortable but I know several of the younger women looked uncomfortable realizing they weren’t dressed appropriately.

    We need to bring back charm school so that our upcoming next generation learns to comport themselves properly. I was taught that beyond basic manners, your prompt arrival and proper dress were part of honoring and thanking your hosts for the invitation!

    Young men need to be taught some manners, too. Just last week we went out to eat and had to wait to be seated. This silver haired grandmama-to-be stood for 20 minutes while seven young men in their 20’s sat on the provided benches and passed their phones around sharing vulgar videos and laughing uncomfortably loudly. The poor hostess was really flustered and didn’t know how to quell the noise.

    Phew! Ok, I feel better now. Keep up your wonderful newsletter, blog and Instagram posts. I find them very informational and inspiring!

  2. Shelagh says:

    There is much more material at the back section of the pants leg,what happens to the overlap from the bacK section? Do I cut that off I’m a complete rookie hope you can figure out what I mean!

    • admin says:

      Sorry I just saw this…. You ignore how much fabric is in the back. Instead, just take equal amounts from the inseam and the Outseam as shown and you’ll be keeping the same proportion of fabric between front and back as to begin with.

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