Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Scratch that, jeans are a girl’s best friend… when they fit perfectly.
Finding jeans with a great fit that are easy on the budget is like the quest for the Holy Grail. Add to that a pair of skinny jeans that are flattering in all the right ways? Fuggedaboudit.
Skinny jeans tend to come in fabric that’s so thin, it’s not flattering for a woman like me with extra junk in the trunk. On the other hand, bootleg and straight-leg jeans tend to be made with a heavier, sturdier denim. This makes these styles a great choice for refashioning into skinny’s—you just want to make sure the waist and hips fit perfectly.
All you need are basic sewing supplies and a little patience (and maybe a decent Axl Rose impression to sing the song I just stuck in your head).
- Jeans that fit well in the waist and hips
- Heavy-duty thread that matches the denim
- Denim/jeans machine needle (I used 16/100)
- Chalk or other marking utensil
- Optional: a full length-mirror
- Optional (to hem legs): heavy-duty thread that matches the jeans’ contrasting seams
1. Determine which side of the pants leg you’ll be altering by choosing the hidden seam. For my jeans, this was the outside.
2. Try on your jeans, inside out. Start taking in the denim along the hidden seam, pinning your way down. This is where the full-length mirror comes in handy.
Since your jeans will already fit you well in the hips, you won’t start pinning until some point below the crotch/reinforced side seam.
3. Once you’ve taken in the legs, you can turn the jeans right-side in and try them on to see how they look. If you’re satisfied, turn the jeans inside out and lay them flat on your work surface. Use your marking utensil to draw a line in between the pins—this will be your seam.
4. Mark another line 1/2″ parallel from the seam line. This is where you will cut your fabric.
5. Cut the fabric. Sew a seam along the first line.
6. Turn the jeans right-side in and try them on. If you need to take them in again, grab your seam ripper and repeat steps 2-5. If you’re satisfied with your new jeans, turn them inside out again.
7. Sew a zig-zag stitch just inside the raw edge to prevent fraying. If you have a serger, then you know how to substitute this step. (Alas, I do not.) Trim any excess fabric outside the zig-zag stitch, being careful not to cut into the stitch.
8. Optional: hem the legs. You can use the same thread that matches the denim, but I wanted a more finished look. I sewed a double-folded hem and used a heavy-duty thread that matched the jeans’ existing seams.
That’s all! Now it’s time to rock your customized skinny jeans! I love how easy this was to create the perfect fit. I now don’t have to worry about the jeans being too thin or worry about them stretching out & sagging after wearing.
Plus, I saved money! You can save even more if you find a secondhand pair of jeans at the thrift store. I also refashioned a pair of capris into skinny’s. They’re much more fashionable this way, no?