How To Turn Wide-Legged Jeans Into Skinny Jeans

Posted on April 27, 2010 by Courtney

I recently took an older pair of wide-legged jeans and made them into skinny jeans.  Let me first state that I am a novice sewer so if you have a sewing machine and have ever successfully used it you should be able to accomplish this yourself.  I did this for numerous reasons, mostly because I hate shopping for jeans.  I also hate spending a ton of money on a pair and having to go home and basically deconstruct them to make them fit to my liking.
Step one:  Turn the pair of jeans inside out and put them on.
Step two:  Pin the inside seam to desired skinniness. When you do this make sure the outside seam is on the outside of your leg evenly. Don’t make them too tight, you will need to be able to get your foot through the skinniest part. You will also probably want a bit of wiggle room so you can breathe and function in them.  You may want to elicit the help of a friend with the pinning.  I had to do this step twice because I was alone and the first time the pins turned out very crooked and there was no way I could sew a functioning seam.
Step three:  Take the jeans off while still pinned to make sure you can get your feet out and they aren’t too tight, be careful not to stick yourself.  I was still not comfortable with the pin line I had and was unsure I could sew a good seam still. I put the jeans back on and to make it easier to sew a straight seam I grabbed some tailors chalk and marked a line as straight as I could just inside the pin line, closer to my leg than the pin line.
Step four:  Take the jeans to your sewing machine and sew them up.  I sewed outside the chalk like, closer to the original inside seam, making them looser than the chalk line since I made the chalk line inside the pins.  I started my seam on top of the already existing seam a bit higher than my marked line so I wouldn’t end up with an odd bunch or dart, starting with a backstitch of course so it wouldn’t unravel. I continued the seam at an angle meeting up with my chalk line and used it as an outside guide all the way to the bottom and ended it with a backstitch as well.
Step five:  Cut off excess material, you may want to try them on first and make sure they fit to your liking before you permanently cutting them.  I then needed to hem the bottoms since I usually wear heels so they were quite long and gathering a bit too much around my ankles.
Enjoy your new skinny jeans. It’s like having a new pair of jeans without the hassle of hours of trying on pants only to be disappointed and also without the dent in your wallet.

jeans

Please welcome today’s guest poster, Mudnessa, who blogs at mudpuddle.

I recently took an older pair of wide-legged jeans and made them into skinny jeans.  Let me first state that I am a novice sewer, so if you have a sewing machine and have ever successfully used it, you should be able to accomplish this yourself. I did this for numerous reasons, mostly because I hate shopping for jeans. I also hate spending a ton of money on a pair and having to go home and basically deconstruct them to make them fit to my liking.

Step one: Turn the pair of jeans inside out and put them on.

Step two: Pin the inside seam to desired skinniness. When you do this, make sure the outside seam is on the outside of your leg evenly. Don’t make them too tight; you will need to be able to get your foot through the skinniest part. You will also probably want a bit of wiggle room so you can breathe and function in them. You may want to elicit the help of a friend with the pinning. I had to do this step twice because I was alone and the first time the pins turned out very crooked and there was no way I could sew a functioning seam.

Step three: Take the jeans off while still pinned to make sure you can get your feet out and they aren’t too tight; be careful not to stick yourself. I was still not comfortable with the pin line I had and was unsure I could sew a good seam. I put the jeans back on and to make it easier to sew a straight seam, I grabbed some tailors chalk and marked a line as straight as I could just inside the pin line, closer to my leg than the pin line.

Step four: Take the jeans to your sewing machine and sew them up. I sewed outside the chalk like, closer to the original inside seam, making them looser than the chalk line since I made the chalk line inside the pins. I started my seam on top of the existing seam a bit higher than my marked line so I wouldn’t end up with an odd bunch or dart, starting with a backstitch of course so it wouldn’t unravel. I continued the seam at an angle, meeting up with my chalk line and used it as an outside guide all the way to the bottom and ended it with a backstitch as well.

Step five: Cut off excess material. You may want to try them on first and make sure they fit to your liking before you cut them. I then needed to hem the bottoms since I usually wear heels; they were quite long and gathering a bit too much around my ankles.

Enjoy your new skinny jeans. It’s like having a new pair of jeans without the hassle of hours of trying on pants, only to be disappointed, and also without the dent in your wallet.

7 Comments +

  1. thanks for sharing this–i love ways to save money and materials. maybe you should make an instructable (www.instructables.com) with step-by-step photo instructions. some folks may have trouble using only written instructions for such a visual task.
    great idea!

    April 27th, 2010 at 10:03 am
    Comment by maria
  2. What a rad way to make something trendy and hip out of what you’ve got. As styles ebb and flow, I must remember this. A few years ago, before skinny jeans were cute again, I had a pair of men’s jeans that fit and I liked… then they shrunk just a touch, and I ended up donating them. (Relaxed fit, high waters just don’t look hot). The shrunken jeans were ankle-length… which woulda made for some fine fine skinny jeans! Instead, I was bummed and sent them away!

    Thanks for the awesome DIY tutorial! (BTW, you are really dandy at explaining. Sometimes these tutorials sound like English is a second-language and are hard-to-follow. Yours rocked!)

    April 27th, 2010 at 10:09 am
    Comment by Ashley Sue Allen
  3. I am totally going to try this!

    April 27th, 2010 at 10:09 am
    Comment by courtney
  4. [...] Greenists ran a tutorial by Mudnessa on turning wide leg jeans into skinny ones – perfect if you fancy a [...]

    May 11th, 2010 at 7:02 am
    Pingback by This week’s interesting reducing, reusing & recycling links | How can I recycle this?
  5. Thank you for the tutorial. It is easy to understand and follow.

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    Comment by Iasia
  6. [...] place,with 864 page views, belongs to guest poster Mudnessa’s tutorial on turning wide-legged jeans into skinny jeans. Update your denim in five easy [...]

    December 27th, 2010 at 4:02 am
    Pingback by Best of The Greenists Week: 2010′s Most Viewed Posts
  7. I’ve been doing this with all of my pants that were ill-fit for a long time. One thing I’ve noticed when doing this to jeans, my inferior sewing skills would cause a pucker of material at the end of my stitch located on the upper part of the pant leg (not the ankle-end). If you look at any pair of jeans, there’s a Seam on the inner leg and one on the outterside. One of those seams is usually thicker with two rows of stitching just like at the hem of the leg. My tip for the novice trying this is to not make ur stitch along the side that has the thicker seam. the thinner stitch hides imperfections much better.

    March 19th, 2012 at 3:09 am
    Comment by kim hede

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