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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Exit of skinny leg pants

The title says it all.

After years and years of narrow leg stretch woven pants and long tops worn to cover what these pants reveal I have decided to totally embrace wider, even shorter, pants.

I needed some new pants anyway and this seemed like a good time for an update.

The first thing I did is dig out the very first StyleArc pattern I ever made, the Linda pants. Some time ago I decided that the widish classic leg of these pants was insufficiently stylish for a Nova Scotia fashionista like myself, so I put this pattern aside when I went narrower like everyone else.

It was however a terrific pattern with that trademark Stylearc crotch curve that fits me without any alteration at all. It also has that smooth elastic containing waistband that lies as flat as any regular waistline. I am glad I saved this pattern.

However in a mild updating of it I made them a bit shorter this time out. To tell you the truth I am happy to let go of that look we were supposed to have with heels and hems grazing the floor.

Listen if you live where I do and a lot of the year is spent sloshing around up to your ankles in frozen slush and on salted roads. That super long leg look was never too practical in my world. In fact when I saw pant hems were going up my first thought was "Great no more arriving at the party with salt stains on the dress pants." Fellow Maritimers back me up here.

The kids and my daughter took the pictures. It's probably not hard to figure out which ones were taken by an 8 and 10-year-old.

The top is the Love Notions Classic Tee.




For a foray into wide leg 7/8 length pants I tried Stylearc's Como pant. I made mine in ponte and didn't include the tie thing draping down over my belly. The top here is another version of the Love Notions Rockford Raglan, which I think has a slight and obviously inappropriate maternity vibe, but still OK I hope.

For some reason I think that these wide pants look better when they are a little shorter. Maybe cropping them off keeps the volume from being overwhelming. What do you think?




Not crazy exciting sewing I know, but these are basics and I needed some of those as sort of ballast in the old wardrobe. I will definitely be making more of these, the wide pants in particular. 

12 comments:

corkpop said...

I agree about the wide legs looking better shorter...more modern and not overwhelming. The second pair are my favorite, you could even go a little shorter. This season people are wearing crazy socks with the cropped pants and different color solids with ankle boots. At my age I do worry that I will look like a crazy old lady instead of chic fashionista, lol. It's a fine line.

Sarah Wale said...


The wider pants look good on you and I am surprised that they do indeed look even better slightly shorter, as I would have thought that longer would be more flattering, though not floor-sweeping( because of slush and salt stains). It's probably to do with individual proportions as you are tall and slender whereas the shorter length makes them look wide and boxy on someone like me. at 5'4" and size 18. Just shows we can all wear the same patterns with just minor tweaks to individualise.
I love the top and certainly don't think it has a maternity vibe -it just balances out the pants. A nice relaxed look but smart when made up in fabrics with the right design/pattern/colour, weight and movement...
'Fabrics with the right design/pattern/colour'* My mother used to refer to 'good', 'cheap', 'classic', 'vulgar', 'smart' etc. fabric which had nothing to do with the actual price or content of the material but everything to do with these three aspects mentioned* I knew exactly what she meant and still follow her 'rules' for choosing designs appropriate for the occasions I would be wearing a garment. Does anyone else think the same? Maybe it's just me (and my Mum)?!

Sharon said...

Your pants are so cute! Thanks for this timely post . . . I am just finishing my first pair of pretty decent w i d e l e g trousers and am so done with skinny jeans (that don't fit but stay up because of the lycra, hmph). I live far from the Maritimes (though my mom grew up there) but agree with you on the practicality and pleasing proportions of the 7/8 length :)
I think that last top works great with the pants too!

Prue said...

Love Style Arc pants - my favourite are the Barb but I use the band from the Linda pattern. Elle are good if you want very slim cut pants and Talia is my go to for woven fabric - usually linen. Not sure whether wide leg pants are for me but the Como look so nice on you I may have to try them!

Janine said...

When I read your blog post title I thought you were proclaiming the end of the skinny leg fashion trend and I thought yay! I'm not a fan of the super skinny tight pants trend although I did sew the Style Arc Blakely jeans which are exactly that ! Your wider legs pants look good but you seem to have long legs too which look good in any style.

BarbaraShowell said...

I’m loving the pants as pictured!

camille Hathaway said...

I'm so with you on the beginning of the end of wearing leggings as pants. I just sewed 3 pair of cropped wide leg pants in linen and it feels so new and refreshing. In Louisiana we can wear linen most of the year!
That is a good look for you.

LinB said...

Let us all recite in unison: "Leggings are not pants."

There! Don't you feel better?

I lub me some wide-legged trousers. Hot, humid aprings/summers/autumns mean that any air flow around an old sweaty body is a good thing. (And this particular old, sweaty body is not comfortable exposing her flesh to the bleary eyes of the hoi polloi. Nor to the great enemy of my pale skin, the Sun.)

Anonymous said...

great looking pants & I agree the shorter leg looks better. For what it's worth don't think the top looks maternity at all. Both look great - fantastic job....

Bunny said...

I agree, the wider pants look fresh and so comfortable with the shorter hem. But here's the gig: They look their best with shoes that make my feet hurt. I am not alone in this sentiment as someone brought this topic up to me just the other day, independent of any suggestion from me. Those heels you wear with them may not seem like much, Barb, but for some of us they are. I am making some wide pants as we speak and am just beside myself as to how to deal with the hem. Decades of working on my feet have taken their toll and I am not about to sacrifice my comfort for a bit of ankle show, even though I love to be on trend.

Mitra said...

Love the wide leg shorter pant, even on me at 5’4”, I find it works well.

When your ankles show, it’s a nice contrast between the wind of the leg and your nice narrow ankles too! Looks really great on you, Barb.

And Bunny, I cannot really do heels well, but I love this with my flat boots and shoes with decent arch support... they don’t have to be high, but if they have a nice think, or interesting sole, it can really add to the look.

This website does a great job of helping you choose shoes for various foot, and fit challenges: https://www.barkingdogshoes.com/

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

I really jumped on the trend to and love it. I have several pair of pants that I added to my wardrobe this year that fit well and I enjoy wearing.

And now, winter is approaching in Minnesota. And all I want is a pair of trousers. And stores apparently have decided, no. So I need to go on a pants-sewing spree, soon! LOL!