Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY Skinny Jeans, made from an old pair of jeans..
What I Wore:: 1.31.12
Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Do you ever wish your wide or straight legged pants looked different? Wished they were skinny jeans?! Here's a very easy tutorial to save a great pair of pants or jeans from your Goodwill or Salvation Army donation pile. I have been cutting down my own jeans for years, and it's about time I shared this with you all. You will not believe how easy it is!

You will need:
  • old jeans that fit well in the waist and hips, as you are only sewing the legs
  • sewing machine, duh
  • scissors, straight or pinking shears
  • matching thread
  • straight pins
  • seam gauge

Notice how the outside seam is top stitched? We won't be sewing this at all. I prefer to take in the inside seams, so much easier than messing with the seam. Keep in mind, this is an intermediate tutorial. When the fabric for jeans are cut, the front side is wider than the fabric on the back side. You must be aware of this when taking in the seam, which I will show you below. If you are not, then this side seam above, will be too far forward on your legs and you will not be pleased with the outcome. Basically, you are taking in the back side of the leg a little bit more than the front.

If you are turning very wide pants into skinny jeans, I suggest ripping out the entire interior seam, leaving a few inches at the crotch still attached. Then when you pin them skinny, you can be sure the side seams are at the center of your side. I did NOT do this for these jeans, but I feel it is important to address this part of taking them in, as you may encounter this problem. So back to the tutorial.

Start by pinning your jeans to the desired skinniness. That's a funny word. Really though, be sure the pins are vertical, catching the fabric twice, not just once, with each pin. This keeps your pins in place better than just pinning once through the fabric. Am I explaining this well? Be careful not to poke yourself when taking off the jeans! That's not pleasant.

Take your seam gauge and measure each pin. I like to notate the measurements and draw a little sketch of what I'm sewing. Turn your jeans inside out and transfer your pins to the same spot, using the seam gauge to be precise. Make sure you measure from the seam, not the raw edge. See where the blue slide on the seam gauge is in each picture?

One leg done, see the difference? After I took this picture I took them in a little bit more and went all the way to the crotch of the jeans, taking in the upper thigh area. They felt too roomy and like Hammer Pants. Copy what you took in on one leg and sew the other. It is important that they match! Trim excess fabric; I like to use pinking shears on jeans to prevent fraying. Zig zag stitch the edges. Trim your threads, and iron your pants.

And that's it. Bam! Skinny jeans! Added bonus: these pants I sewed are high-waisted. I love high waisted jeans! I can't get enough of them. With my height, 5'8", sometimes I look a little silly in them, making my legs look very long and shortening my torso. I find it makes me appear a little more curvy and my waist nice and small. I paired them with a horizontally striped vintage shirt that I never get out because it's cropped. If I wear it, it's always with something high-waisted. 

I love taking pictures with Zeus. He makes the funniest faces. And he is so handsome and photogenic. We stepped out onto my front steps to take these. He had his eye on many birds and passers-by.

Hope you all find this tutorial useful! Questions? Comments!

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  1. Nice! I like to use chalk when I make wide leg pants skinny and then I just lazily sew along the chalk line. Haha.

    If you're only taking them in from the inside, have you ever had the pulling problem from not accounting for taking off a similar amount from each side (F and B legs, 4 side seams)? I did once. Maybe I did something wrong. This was many years ago.

    1. Not sure I get what you mean, but I have had trouble in that I brought the side seam too far forward when taking in F and B equally.

      Chalk is the best!

  2. I usually avoid sewing denim (because I, too, am lazy), but the stripes on those pants are worth the trouble! You've made me think twice about my denim aversion, thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Glad I could inspire you. : )
      Give denim another try!!

  3. Hi Sally, found your site with the post about making a bed for your dog. Great idea. Read through a few of your posts. You are very talented. I hate to say but I'm lucky if I can sew a button on hehe, but I do love Op Shopping and finding bargains. Your boyfriend's dog Zeus looks like a beauty. I write a dog blog for our two dogs. Sounds a bit strange but I have met some great people and their pets. Nice to meet you. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)