Friday 18 July 2014

Tapering a Pair of Trousers

DIY Tapered Trousers

Get out the violins - I'm about to tell you a sad, tragic story that features a certain pair of Topshop trousers. I loved them - they were a light, cool, grey linen, tapered at the ankles, and had a paper-bag, pleated waist. They were simply my favourite pair of summer trousers, and I wore them bazillions of time. In fact, I wore them so often that eventually, they broke beyond repair. Insert your choice of heart-broken emoji here.

 At the time, I didn't realise how hard they would be to replace - I specifically wanted a light grey linen pair (hard to find, it seems), that were carrot shaped, and could be rolled up to ankle length (I love me some ankle grazing trousers). Fast forward a year, and I've only just got around to replacing them, however it wasn't quite so straightforward - I ended up buying a pair of straight leg trousers (which were perfect in every other way apart from the fit), and tapering them in. Here's how I did it...

This is a super easy sewing project - all you need to know is how to sew in a straight line, and you'll finish this in an afternoon. I wouldn't recommend using this technique on super wide trousers, e.g. palazzo pants, as these can require extra shaping around the hips, whereas here I simply altered the width of the legs.

First up, I turned my trousers inside out, and put them on. I then marked the bottom of each trouser leg either side of my ankle. This was going to be the thinnest point of my trousers, and they would get wider towards the hips. After taking the trousers off, I marked out the widest point of my trousers, about an inch below the crotch seam. Then, I roughly pinned my fabric between these marks, so that the taper would get gradually thinner towards the ankle.

DIY Tapered Trousers
This is the tacked out taper towards the ankle
I always like to tack after pinning, I know other people don't bother, but I highly rate it. Before committing to the new shape of the trousers, I tried them on after tacking, just to check that the taper was even and gradual. Once I was happy, it was simply a case of sewing along the tack line on a sewing machine, trying to keep a straight line.

DIY Tapered Trousers
Matching the colour of your mani to the colour of your tacking is so hot right now
Once the tacking is removed, the trousers are nearly wearable. Because I planned on rolling the ankles up a little, I tidied up my inside seams a bit, as they would be showing on the outside. If you have a lot of excess fabric left on the inside from the previous fit of the trousers, I'd recommend cutting this away and zigzag stitching your seams,. As it was, there wasn't too much excess fabric on my pair, so I decided not to do this.

DIY Tapered Trousers

Once I finished, I put on my new pair of tapered trousers, and did a happy dance. Oh, grey trousers, how I have missed you!

This is a great technique to use to simply alter the fit of a pair of trousers, and adds another dimension to trouser shopping. If I like the fabric of a pair of trousers, but not the shape, I know I'll be doing the same in the future. When finished, you can never tell that your trousers where once anything but tapered.

Hope you found this useful! Have any of you ever lost or broken a favourite item of clothing?


  1. This is so useful as I pretty much refuse to wear non-tapered trousers. These look v. cool.

    1. Thanks Lil - I'm pretty much the same - I think early noughties bootleg jeans scarred me for life ;)