Turning a pair of jeans into a skirt. Mostly.

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Subtitle: Turning one pair of jeans into an unusable pile of rags, and then turning a different pair of jeans into something resembling a skirt.

I’ve been thinking about skirts lately, chiefly because I’ve been contemplating getting a Utilikilt for Mike Neir. Men in kilts are hot, right? Sadly, I don’t think he’d go for it, and they’re pricey, so that idea’s been delayed for now. Note to Mike Neir: Siena recently said, “When Russ and I wore our kilts to the bar, there was literally a line of girls waiting their turn to hit on us.” It’s not just me!

The process of pouring over photos of all the dudes in comfy kilts made me remember how comfortable skirts can be, provided there are no nylons involved. A sturdy, cotton canvas skirt with leggings has its appeal, so I set about looking for a pattern. This one caught my eye:

Jeans turned into a skirt

Jeans turned into a skirt

Snazzy! And, how hard could it be, right? The waistband, zipper and snaps are already done for me, as is most of the hem. Heck, piece of cake. Following this tutorial, I found an appropriate pair of jeans:

The Victim

The Victim

I have a couple of awesome pairs of quasi-bellbottomy jeans that I can no longer fit into that would work great for this… perhaps someday. I started ripping out the side leg seams. Ripping out jeans seams takes quite a long while, and is pretty tedious. I tried to take a bit of a shortcut, and rip things out without using the seam ripper – tearing along only using the ripper when I encountered a stubborn stitch. This worked great, right up until this happened:

Doh

Doh

Ironed out, it looked perhaps salvagable:

Maybe...

Maybe...

I tried stitching it up using zigzag stitching, and even patching it with a bit of fabric to strengthen the seams, but it ended up being narrower than the rest of the length, and probably wouldn’t work. Alas, begorrah. I soldiered on.

Close but no cigar

Close but no cigar

Here are the fully-filleted jeans:

Seams Ripped

Seams Ripped

Marshall joined me for awhile to help.

Oh hi kitty

Oh hi kitty

He had to be ejected from the table, though, when he kept lying on the work in progress.

Kitty cat cat

Kitty cat cat

I pinned up the back seam, sewed it up and put the skirt on to see how the back looked. Walking into the bedroom to admire my handiwork, I looked in the mirror and had the best laugh I’ve had in a long time. No, it’s not my complete lack of an actual butt – I long ago grew accustomed to that. This was the sight that greeted me:

Oh WOW

Oh WOW

I felt like I was beginning to sprout a dragon’s tail. Here’s a better photo, which I took after regaining my senses:

Growing a tail

Growing a tail

It still makes me laugh out loud. I mean… wow.

I missed the part of the tutorial dealing with that bit, and even after reading it, I wasn’t quite certain what to do. One method involved flaying open the seam and leaving odd little triangles on either side of the seam, another curved it off to one side… nothing looked quite right. I could have added a panel to the back, which might have made it a bit easier, but I didn’t want to waste the fabric on something that might end up a complete catastrophe. Finally, I realized I just needed to rip up farther and take the seam straight down from the seam below the waistband. It still left an odd little pucker, but it looked better than anything else I had tried.

In the process of figuring all that out, though, I rendered that pair of jeans unusable and had to start over with a fresh pair. Fortunately, I had a couple of other candidates to try. Over the course of a couple of hours, I caught back up to where I was with the odd little pucker.

Pucker

Pucker

Next, I attacked the front. The tutorial has us curve the front crotch off to the side, but it’s a smaller bit and not quite as obvious as the back side. I hand-stitched it down in my usual, elegant fashion:

Crooked little front seam

Crooked little front seam

For the fabric panel itself, if I’d had something to trace the pattern onto, it would have been easier. Instead, I just blindly hacked and cobbled and sewed, and it all ended up turning out alright.

Katie Jump Rope Jean Skirt

Katie Jump Rope Jean Skirt

Now the thing not mentioned in any of the tutorials (at least, not that I’ve noticed) is this: You’d better use jeans that are quite roomy as a base. The process of fixing the back seam, irrespective of method, take several inches out of the jeans’ circumference. I am now the proud owner of a jeans skirt I cannot zip up. 😐

It’s not a huge tragedy, as this pair of jeans lacked any curvy, interesting lines or other embellishments. When I lose about 10 pounds, I’ll be able to zip it up and use it; just requires patience.  I may also look into how to add panels in to expand the waist/hip area – seems like that would be possible, somehow, but I am completely ignorant in such things. I have some truly fabulous jeans I can’t wear anymore that would look great dressed up like this. Anyone have advice for doing such a thing, using denim inserts or some such?

Meantime, I may just try to find a simple A-line pattern and throw the olive green canvas I have at it. Trouble being, the canvas is really, really stiff.

I had originally planned to try these loungy pants, but couldn’t find any of the right-sized elastic locally. Boo.

Or maybe I’ll try something else altogether… given this project took literally all day, I may not be ready for clothing yet. 🙂

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7 responses to Turning a pair of jeans into a skirt. Mostly.


  1. Ooh! I may need to try that! I have some jeans I can’t wear because they are too big or they have worn out in the thighs. Thanks!

  2. indeed, that gives me Awesome Ideas for all those jeans I have that are too-big-in-the-waist-yet-too-small-in-the-thighs.

    question: would you or Mr Neir be interested at all in an Iced Tea brewing machine?

  3. Erin

    Holy shit, lady, are you reading my mind? This last week, I have totally been coveting one of those to help me cut back on all the diet soda I drink. “I’d love to drink iced tea, but it’s such a pain in the ass to make.” Do you really not want/need it?

  4. haha! awesome. We have 2, one has never been opened. I’ll bring it to work on Tuesday. 😀

  5. Erin

    Nopinkhere – sounds like this is a good project for you! I wish I had jeans that were too big. 😉

  6. Holy shit! You did a great job with that skirt, Erin! Does it fit and everything? hehehe Verrrry impressive. 😀

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