Upcycling an old pair of jeans

I’ve been feeling inspired after reading a post by Jen, over on her My Make Do and Mend Year blog. Jen is undertaking something I don’t think (shamefully) i could ever do. She is trying not to buy any new clothes for a year. One whole year. No sneaky trips to Primark, sale shopping in the summer or cheeky on-line pick-me-ups.

One of her recent challenges was to recycle a pair of old jeans.  http://mymakedoandmendyear.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/take-one-pair-of-jeans/ .

Even though I ADORE shopping, one thing I hate having to buy are jeans. I can’t be alone in this can I? The trauma of having to try them on, not being sure what size you are in Gap vs. M&S vs. that trendy shop that you really want to buy from but you know full well they won’t fit….I faced this dilemma recently when both of my faithful pairs of M&S skinnies got holes in them.


So, to force myself to buy another pair, I cut them up! I’m thinking now I maybe should have patched them with some pretty fabric. (that’s for another day and another blog post). Anyway…

I hunted down this tutorial on Pinterest http://bellajeansboutique.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/tutorialturn-your-jeans-into-skirt.html and off I went. My essential kit was as follows – iPad, seam ripper, tape measure, pins, dressmaking scissors, fabric pen, thread and sewing machine.


The process was fairly simple.

Step 1: Unpick the seams from zip to crotch and then down both legs so you end up with all the seams open. This took me ages!

Step 2: Fold the jeans in half lengthwise (matching the front to the back) and draw a straight line using a fabric pen from the central belt loop, all the way down until you hit the leg where it tapers in to the knee/calf. Cut.


Step 3: Stitch the line you’ve just drawn and press out

Step 4: Cut to desired length, remembering to add a hem/seam allowance. And take into account where the skirt will sit on your hips, it could be higher or lower across the back or front, depending on the fit of your jeans

Step 5: Fold out, width wise, so you have your skirt facing you. Using the cut remnants, measure a triangle piece, cut and pin to fill in the gap between the ripped out jean legs


Step 6: Now comes the bit I found the most difficult. You need to carefully sew up each side of the triangle. Starting with the zip area, follow the seam already there down to the hem. You have to fight a little bit with the sewing machine to feed all the thick denim fabric through but bear with it! Do the same on the other side, ensuring the stitching is as neat as possible. Cut away any excess fabric inside

Step 7: Hemming. Iron your hem, I did a double turn to make sure it was nice and neat and then carefully topstitch all the way around

Step 8: Try on and realise that because they were skinny jeans to start with you should have added a little more fabric in the back to account for a large bottom!!

Just to clarify I can wear it and walk in it but it’s rather on the tight side. Might not quite be The Great British Sewing Bee material but it’s all a learning experience! I’m going to try again with my other pair of jeans soon. Will let you know how it turns out.


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