How trousers taper

By Oliver on 15th November, 2010

The way that a pair of trousers tapers from a customer’s hip down through his knee to the bottom depends on a number of factors, including his body shape and his personal taste.

This pattern for my own trousers has a waist of 33 inches, to a knee measurement of 20 and a bottom of 17. The house standard is usually around 21 inches at the knee and 18 at the bottom for my size and shape, but these are a little bit more tapered. Personally, with someone with a tall, slim build like me I like to create a bit more shape in the trouser. That’s more my personal taste.

Throughout the leg you have to look at the size of a customer’s thigh, to make sure it’s not too tight there, and whether he has prominent calves. A bigger or more athletic man is more likely to need room.

Some men come into the shop and you can see (if their suit isn’t particularly well made) that there’s tension around the calf. It’s the kind of thing they’re not that likely to notice – if it’s tight around the thighs it becomes obvious when you sit down, but catching on the calf is more subtle and more often picked up by someone else.

For a bigger man, I think it looks good if the trouser tapers down to a slightly narrower bottom – not too large and flappy. He gets a sleek look that reduces the impression of size.

Bowed legs can be a challenge as well, and require a section in the pattern that helps you bring the leg in. In the same way as you would deal with a man that has a stooped back. One customer has legs that actually go slightly in at the knee, so you need that section inserted on the other side.