Sew pants for thick, muscular legs

Pants for a Thick Ass & Muscular Legs


What Should Men with a Big Booty and Athletic Legs Wear?

I’d like to talk about my personal needs regarding pants for a thick ass and muscular legs, but this article isn’t about me. It’s about how I was on a mission to sew summer pants for my husband, who is often on the hunt for athletic fit men’s pants. You see, all his trusted pants were threadbare or tattered from use, and when he tried to replace them himself, he paid big bucks for organic cotton pants from Berkeley, California that immediately shrunk two sizes upon laundering. So, I steadied myself against fast fashion, gathered my creative courage, and readied my push pins to answer the question, what should one man with thick legs wear?

Come to think of it, this quandary applies to my pants shopping problems too, so feel free to swap your pronoun-of-choice into this article and the pants should work fine for your thick ass too. 

Why is it so hard to find pants that fit?

My man is a former competitive soccer player (aren’t we all?), so I attribute his muscular legs to his sport, and perhaps thick thighs and a big booty are just his nature. And naturally, he prefers wide leg pants but, those aren't readily abundant like they were in the early aughts.

When I met him, around that time, he had wide-legged women’s pants in his closet — which he wore, regularly— and for the most part, people were none the wiser.

I only bring this up because he seems to be part of an underserved population of people who simply can’t find store-bought pants that fit and fit their muscular pants criteria.

My man's difficulty shopping for athletic fit men’s pants is partially because of his muscular build, but also because he’s got a particular sense of style. To paint you a picture of what style preferences I'm working with, I’d say imagine Mathew McConaughey and Javier Bardem, vacationing together in Mumbai. 

His ​​Punjammies by Sudara

Pants styles for muscular legs

The last couple of years he’s sported breezy pants his friends got him while in Thailand, which they called Thai fishing pants. They’re basically gauchos with an adjustable waistline that can be rolled to adapt... to different the tides, I assume. 

Another modern staple in his wardrobe he bought off a local man who imports clothes “to support the elephants,” which, if I can determine that’s actually happening, fantastic! And I will be sure to add a link in the future. The elephant specimens are yellow or brown high waters pants, very similar to the Thai fishing pants, but they don’t have the adjustable waist – only good for low tide. Also, just learned a fitting slang term for a muscular butt, high waters. Thanks urban dictionary

Wide legged brown pants
Example of the ​​elephant pants
Tail hole in brown wide legged pants
Tail hole works well ​​for stuffies

Now that you’ve got a strong sense of his style, let’s move on to other pants making criteria: the fabric.

What is the best fabric to make men’s pants?

It was the peak of summer in the High Desert of Oregon when I started the project and I knew I had limited time to solve the problem of heat plus drawers plus balls.

I needed a fabric that is durable, flexible, breathable and won’t off-gas toxins. I'm not trying to kill anybody in pursuit of pants.

My first stop for inspiration: my own closet, which, yes, I modestly share with my man. As I looked over my husband’s current pants options, I noticed that the Thai Fishing and Elephant pants are composed of very similar fabrics. They are a linen-like material, but certainly not linen; they are too supple and soft. Later, while at the fabric store, I determine they must be viscose. 

Can anyone explain viscose to me? I gather that it’s made of mashed plants but does it also contain toxins for flavor or added color or just to bedevil us all?

Viscose or not, my man needed replacement pants and as you probably understand by now, this is not a person for whom I can run to, say, Macy’s, and grab some Nautica slacks, or head to the high-rent retailers and bring home some outdoor leggings. Like his legs, my man’s individuality is thick, and so, I must recreate the fishing pants or elephant high-waters or improve upon them

Otherwise, I fear my creations would be banished to the back of a drawer for all of eternity. But to be real, I'd wear the muscular man pants before ever I let that happen.

Benevolent Lord, please help me to select fabric quickly, so I may leave Jo-Ann's Fabric Store ASAP

- A Prayer whispered in the aisles of Jo-Ann's

How do you pick fabric for pants?

Upon inspection of the finery at my local Jo-Ann’s Fabric Store, I found the linen to be too coarse, the viscose too perplexing (and slightly slimy), and so I stood staring at an endcap stuffed with bolts of organic cotton fabric. It was the conclusion of a desperate and frustrating journey through the maze-like store that led me to this decision dead-end.

My own fabric criteria:

  • Breathable Fabric: It was summer and I need not have him developing swamp ass in hot synthetics.

  • Comfortable Fabric: Soft texture is required. I want him to like them, after all.

  • Non-toxic Fabric: Alright, before I paint myself as any garden variety political pawn from Florida, I want to acknowledge that I was avoiding the “Made in China” bolts of fabric. My reason, though I suspect it applies to numerous countries, is because China does not have the same standards for environmental or health safety as the good ole U.S.A. I would rather not be contributing more toxins to this planet (Let me count the ways:  the textile worker’s body, my man’s body, my body, my child’s body, mother earth’s body…) This one criteria, non-toxic fabric, ruled out most of Jo-Ann’s offerings. 

    For your additional reading pleasure, check out this article by the Organic Consumers Association about how Made in China Clothing for Kids Could Contain Toxic Chemicals, which I read while pregnant. I have been fighting my impulse to buy and dodging consumer goods ever since. It’s a real boon to the pocketbook. 

  • Preferably Organic Cotton Fabric: Conventional cotton is very heavily processed and can still contain pesticides from the fields. Organic cotton is no angel, but it is much better. No, seriously, read this about fabric toxicity.

  • Fabric Colors and Prints: I needed out-of-the-ordinary, thought-provoking, and yet not loud, fussy or busy fabric. Which brings me to the next quandary for making pants for men with thunder thighs, fabric color.

Picking fabric color

The pants needed to replace a banana yellow pair of high-waters that ripped in the rear; they had developed a perfect tail hole. It is not lost on me that the elephant pants grew a tail hole. My man does not have a tail, though I want to be sensitive to those who do. I mended the tail hole once, but when it returned, I was done.

Wide Leg Pants
Well-Loved, Wide-​​Legged Pants 
Wide legged pants with tail hole
Tail Hole for elephants​​

Are organic fabrics styled for babies?

Organic Fabric Options at Jo-Ann
Hushed Blue Daisy, Sandbox Brown and Solid ​​Ghee Yellow

Needless to say, color is an important part of this man pants recipe, and the organic cottons at Jo-Ann's were all whisper tones. It seems I backed myself into a niche that is usually reserved for babies with all my criteria. However, after dizzily pacing back and forth between the linen, viscose and organic cottons, I finally grabbed three soft shades of organic cotton that resonated. I have regaled them with new names for the pants:

  • Solid ghee yellow
  • Hushed blue daisy
  • Sandbox brown

These organic cottons were made in India and pricey (for Jo-Ann's), about $15 per yard, and when I realized I’d need about three yards per pair of pants, ouch! 

But I was also not about to stand in line at the cutting table for twenty-five minutes to walk away with one pant option. So, I bought about three yards of the three different fabric bolts.

Athletic Pants Pattern for Men

When looking for a fabric pattern for athletic mens’ pants, I had no indecision. The design structure I needed was driven by function and attitude. I needed an unencumbered design that supports stretching and meditating, or ten minutes later, the ability to be business casual and host a business meeting. Remember, I live in Oregon and our "business casual" knows no bounds.

I opened the first pattern book I happened upon, Vogue, and went straight to the pajamas section, and yes I did just use a pajama pants pattern

Pants Pattern for Thick Legs

And yes, this pattern has been the same since at least 1955, but I didn’t have this pattern in my sewing arsenal, and now I do. 

What’s not to like about this design? The pants are laid back with wide legs, the hem is tidy and tailored, and the waist is, you know it, elastic. Now that I’m thinking through all this, I want a pair.

The fruit of my labor
The fruits of my labor, pants for men​​ with thick ass and muscular legs

Enough already! How did they turn out?

Hushed Blue Daisy Pants in the wild​​
"Pull your shirt up so I can see the waist"​​

Update: 9/19/22

Version 1 | Hushed Blue Daisy Pants

For the first iteration of the athletic cut pants, my man chose the hushed blue daisies print.

The thrifty (we don't use "cheap" in this house) maker in me was stoked about the challenge of using this particular fabric because Jo-Ann’s did not have three feet left in stock, so I got a remnant deal on about 2.75 yards.  And I thought, Worse case scenario, if I do not have enough fabric to make him standard-length pants, he can have more high-legged waders. Win-win.

I used the pjs pattern mostly as intended, though I did sew the fly shut (I have some decency) and I discarded a bias-cut rectangle that was intended to be a non-functional drawstring. Who has time to fuss over non-functional artifices? Not me. 

It turned out that I had plenty of fabric for full, lick-the-loafer-length blue daisy pants. Someone has to look out for my man's cold ankles, come October. 

And I now question why I needed three feet for any of the pants. It is possible that I read the notions incorrectly. I was frantic to escape the aisles of Jo-Ann's.

Alright, so here are some more pics of how the first pair of man pants for thick ass and muscular legs turned out. 

Slimming p​​rofile view
This one is telling​​

If the iPhone pictures aren’t doing them justice, I gotta say, these pants glisten. That’s right, it's not the morning dew, there’s a sheen to them that is subtle and stunning. 

I’m pretty sure it’s not formaldehyde because I splurged for the organic cotton. 

I may be biased, (WOW, horrible sewing pun) but I love how they turned out and my man was stoked to wear them.

Pants cost: All-in estimate with wide elastic and remnant fabric: $30 

Time spent making pants: Including ironing, cutting, distracting the child: 2 hours

What I’d sell them for: $375 — and they look worth it, especially with that organic cotton label. DON'T KILL THE DREAM, it's a free market, right?

Alas, I can’t sell them: I gave them to my man.

Final thoughts and word of caution: I learned from this process and made crucial pattern adjustments in the next iteration. Solid Ghee, coming up next!


Christine Owens
Christine Owens

OMG. I saw this article on Shelly’s FB page. I could not be happier that Caleb has chosen a gem like you!
Sew on lady, ChrisO

Jen Teal
Jen Teal

Hushed Daisy Blue is my favorite! 💙

Shelly Hamler
Shelly Hamler

Haha, I never thought of Caleb as having a thick ass! Thanks for that! 🤣 so… I am going to skip all of the scary articles on toxins in clothes for now but I’ll keep them in my back pocket for when I have the energy 🤦‍♀️🤣 Great writing Shelby!

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