Friday, November 30, 2012

How To Alter Your Jeans- 7 Quick Steps

On Sunday, I decided to de-oldify a pair of boot cut jeans by slimming the legs down 10 minutes before I was supposed to get ready for Mass.  Incredibly, the scheme totally worked out without me even crying or needing to use the seam ripper and I was able to rock a pretty sweet before/after picture here on ye olde bloggy.


And then at least 80 of you...okay, fine, four...four of you asked for more details on the quicky creation of new pants and I said "By Jove, I do believe I could pretend that it coincidentally required 7 steps so I can jam it into a 7 Quick Takes post!"

(1)
Grab a pair of jeans that fit nicely in the booty and waist regions but have big sloppy legs.  The awesome thing about doing this, bee-tee-dub, is that you basically end up with a custom pair of pants.  And if you start with a thrift store find ($3.99 thankyouverymuchGoodwill) it's, like, the sweetest deal evah.

Take a gander at the seams on the sides.  One side will look like this:
Most likely this will be on the inner leg seam and you will NOT mess with this at all.  Do not mess!

The other side, probably the outside seam, will look like this:
This is the one you'll be messing with.
(2)
Now turn your jeans inside out and fold the legs in half at the knee, matching up the two halves of the inner seam (or the seam you will NOT be messing with) like so:

Notice how there is a snazzy triangle of superfluous lower-leg fabric sticking out on the side?  Take any old pencil and draw a straight line from the hem to the knee-fold.

This is going to be your new outer-leg seam.

Make sure you do this to BOTH legs.  Unless you're making a clown costume.  In which case, do whachu want, girl.
(3)
Pop your jeans into your sewing machine and sew straight along that line you just drew, blending the part near the knee into the original seam. 
that red line is where you'll sew
Now do the other leg.  If you want.
(4)
Before you cut off the triangles of superfluous fabric, try them on to make sure it worked (it will).  If it did, just cut those chunks right off, leaving about a half inch of "safety-fabric" between your new seam and where you're cutting.
"chunks" and "triangles" mean this zone.  just in case.
(5).
Put your slimmy leg new pants on and roll under the extra length at the bottom until you have them stopping where you want them.  (You could skip this step, but I think you'll have a bunch of fabric pooling on top of your foot still and it'll look a bit of a mess.)  Slap a straight pin in there.

(6)
Take the pants back off (Hey, it's your house.  You don't have to wear pants to sew if you don't want too!), fold up the other side to match the first and sew yourself a new hem, leaving about a half inch between your stitch and the bottom of your jeans.
see where that pin is? that's where you'll sew.  all the way around.



Feel free to cut off the majority of the excess fabric AFTER you try them on, or you can be lazy like me and just leave all that extra fabric tucked up inside your pants.  Not kidding.
white scribbles represent excess fabric that you may or may not choose to remove



(7)
Done and done.  Schmancy-pants new jeans with skinny legs but not skinny booty ready to go.


Have fun!
7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 197)

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52 comments :

  1. Can I just staple them together because I don't have a sewing machine nor do I know how to use one?

    Wait, it'd be easier to just be unfashionable. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Using a sewing machine is so easy to learn. Anyone can do it

      Delete
  2. Gasp! Fold up at the knee and that determines where the new seam goes? Mind blown.

    I saw a tutorial on pinterest for altering jeans, but this method seems easier (and less likely to result in me butchering an otherwise decent pair of jeans). Thank you for sharing!! I just might (maybe) be brave enough to try it. Maybe. :)

    Truthfully though, I'm having a hard time letting go of the sloppyish/90's-eseque bootcut look. I laughed when I read your original post on the jeans and maybe it was in the comments that you said you'd recently noticed the young folk aren't wearing them that way anymore. I was like, shoot. She's right. I always said I wouldn't be stuck in the fashion of my high school era, but come on, what's wrong with sloppy jeans and flannel shirts tied at the waist, capped off with Doc Martens?

    I'll go listen to some Nirvana now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you. I love wide-leg jeans. Or do we call them boot-cut? I love them. And flannel shirts. And sketchers. I have to wear them with black sketchers.

      I am not positive if this was ever cool, but it's what I like, darn it.

      Delete
  3. You make it sound so easy!!! Can't wait to try it out!
    And you've got mad Paint skills ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bootcut jeans are still cool! They are.
    Man.
    Awright; I'll try to be more hip, in a 40-something, lots of kids kind of way. Since I've only used a sewing machine to hem cloth into napkins, I think I could fix some of mine ~ thank you for the post!

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  5. I love how ridiculously easy this is! Even if I just wanted to have straight leg, I could use this same idea but leave more wiggle room. :)

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  6. *sigh*....s'pose hot glue would work????

    ReplyDelete
  7. *sigh*....s'pose hot glue would work????

    ReplyDelete
  8. *sigh*....s'pose hot glue would work????

    ReplyDelete
  9. Since I can't figure out how to thread my machine, I think I'll stick with bootcut. The hem fell out of one leg in my work pants this week, and they are currently being held back up by scotch tape. I'm hopeless.

    But your jeans are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's some type of iron-on hem tape that you may want to invest in. I never have, but you might.

      Delete
  10. Oh my! You make it look so easy! I may have give it a shot this weekend. Now if only I knew how to work my sewing machine... (hint hint.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. 1. If bootcut jeans aren't fashionable anymore, then why does my go-to love/hate store for all things clothing (a.k.a. Kohls) STILL SELL THEM? WHY Y NO WARN ME, KOHLS?
    2. This looks easy enough that even I can do it!
    3. If skinny jeans stay in style, then the kick ass pair of Daughters of the Revolution skinny jeans I picked up at Anthropologie for, like, $10 before I got knocked up last time MAY STILL BE IN STYLE BY THE TIME I CAN WEAR THEM AGAIN!!!! (sorry about the run ons in that last sentence. And shameless branding)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Definitely going to try this! Thank you for the easy peasy tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm totally impressed with your craftiness. God forgot to give me that ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been sewing since I was 7 years old...and the best I can do is 2
      straight lines on the leg of a pre-made pants! So, well, clearly I'm
      a genius ;)

      Delete
  14. You make it look so easy! Now I want to make a trip to Goodwill for some cheap pants. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Duly impressed...but never, EVER trying this myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 4 straight lines, Kathleen! I believe in you!!!!!!!

      Delete
  16. so MUCH simpler than the way I did it! The fold to the knee thing is genius! Now I am going to go finish the hem on the pair of pants that are hanging in my closet! Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks, Dweej, you rock. I'm trying this today. Or maybe tomorrow, if I don't have time today. I have a full day of cleaning and lazing planned.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dwija, you're a genius. This is awesome. It'll take me more time to drag out and set up the sewing machine than it will to sew up my Kohl's mistake pants. I bought two identically labeled pairs of boot-cut Levis which were NOT identical - one's boot cut and PETITE - and that petite pair is a perfect candidate for the skinny jeans option, being already short enough (but too short to wear as boot-cut with any real decency).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh. YOU are genius. Now when 'regular' lenght pants are on clearance and only petite sizes are left, I'm going to buy them and turn them into skinnies. This is awesome!

      Delete
  19. Best part of the post, those very close, close-up shots of the jeans. It's nice to get up close and personal with ones denim, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That there is A1 premium denim from...well...okay, fine. They're Gap.

      Delete
  20. I have two pairs of jeans that I've been thinking of doing this to, but unfortunately, both the inseam and outer seam look like the first picture. Any ideas for that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, that is a MUCH bigger pain unfortunately. If you tried to tackle it, you'd need to do a visible top stitch to try and mimic what's already there OR seam rip the entire inseam (up one leg and all the way down the other) and re-sew all the way around without the top stitch showing. More than 7 quick steps for that one, but still potentially doable.

      How much do you love these jeans? Could be worth it still... :)

      Delete
  21. You forgot to add the part for people who don't own a sewing maching.......! But it looks really cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, well...just replace all references to sewing machine or sewing with "safety pins" or "hand stitch". Voila!

      Delete
  22. well, EXCUSE ME Martha Sewing Stewart, I had no idea that this whole time I was really reading the blog of the one and only! - I guess now I'll have to act (type) all high and mighty, not all low and dorky - oh well, I'll still tune in cause you crack me up!!!!!!!!! - have a great weekend - now go out there and find something else to hem! - jen

    ReplyDelete
  23. well, EXCUSE ME Martha Sewing Stewart, I had no idea that this whole time I was really reading the blog of the one and only! - I guess now I'll have to act (type) all high and mighty, not all low and dorky - oh well, I'll still tune in cause you crack me up!!!!!!!!! - have a great weekend - now go out there and find something else to hem! - jen

    ReplyDelete
  24. only a dork like me would post the same thing twice - duh - don't even know how I did this

    ReplyDelete
  25. So excited to try this! Way cheaper than buying a brand new pair of skinny jeans! Thanks for the easy tutorial, and here's to hope that I don't totally screw it up! =)

    ReplyDelete
  26. hack your jeans 101! great tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Watch out, fat-legged maternity jeans, here I come!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Totally doing this! Thank you, thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Awesome! Love it! Now if they would just make jeans my size with the adjustable waist bands like my kids have.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am not blessed in the slim legs department, so skinny jeans don't ever look like skinny jeans on me. I'm a size 6 but all my weight rests in my legs. I have had a few kids from my neighborhood request that I make their school uniform pants into skinny pants.

    I really prefer this tutorial over some of the lenthly tutorials I've seen the subject.

    It seems like there was a bell bottom revival in the 90's and early 2000s. Remember those flared jeans?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ohhhhh....skinny jeans scare me. The word skinny scares me (except in frou frou coffee terms). If I were to dabble, I love this idea! Baste first and the no likely, no problemo! Quick question...needle on machine? Standard or switch to denim needle?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I use the same needle for everything because I'm lazy. But if you have a denim needle and are inspired to do things the right way, I praise you!

      Delete
  32. Oh looky, the ideas keep coming. If the world ends I assume we'll just spend an afternoon looking through Google for solutions. ;-) real estate in Charlotte North Carolina

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is amazing! Thanks for saving me money I didn't have to spend anyway. :) And my cute new boots that I can wear now thank you too.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I found your post Monday or so, after extreme disappointment over the fit of some jeans I purchased online. Last night, using your pictures for encouragement, I adjusted the legs of my jeans to fit. I'm super excited about how they turned out - it's as if I'm wearing a completely different pair of jeans! I'm wearing them to work today. :) The only thing I didn't do was the hem, because I'm afraid of the super bulky seams and how that will work on my sewing machine. I may attempt it by hand instead.
    Thanks for taking the time to make this helpful post!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Unbelievable! I am wondering I can turn my bootcut jeans for women into skinny jeans or not?

    ReplyDelete

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