Hey y’all – welcome to April! This month’s theme is Eco Sewing, and today I’m showing you how I did a jeans upcycle and show you how tailoring jeans can be rewarding. For my project I took a pair of too long flared jeans and made them perfectly fitted cropped skinny jeans.
Not only do I prefer the authentically worn in look of older jeans, but shopping for used clothing is one way to be a little more environmentally friendly in our fashion choices. And, depending on where you shop, you might also be benefitting a non-profit or charity.
Plus, where else can you try on so many brands of jeans at once?
So to start with, sometimes you have a good jeans trying on day, and sometimes you don’t. Like that time I bought every pair in my size that Macy’s had and photographed them all for a post to analyze fit. Luckily, this time I found 4 pairs that were contenders. But after writing that post I linked previously, I HIGHLY recommend using your phone and the mirror to take pictures of the back view. Because all of these jeans looked fine when I was twisting around to look over my shoulder, but there are definite winners and losers when I look at these photos. For example, though I really liked number 1, when I studied the picture I didn’t like how short they made my rear look, and also the more I looked the more everything looked like it was sagging there – not what I wanted. And conversely, I was about to buy number 4 when I looked at the picture and realized how tall and wide that fading and those straight up and down pockets were making my rear look – not good! I ended up buying the pair in number 2.
What I wasn’t at all worried about was how any of these jeans fit from the thigh down. That is easy to change, though I do recommend that you check for single topstitched (not double) seams. Flat felled seams with double topstitching are a PAIN to seam rip, and you have to start by ripping the side seams to alter jeans like this.
Once the jeans are open from where you want to alter the fit on down, then it’s just a matter of trying them on inside out and pinning both side seams for how you want them to fit.
Use your pins as a guideline for where your new seamline should be, and make sure you’re even on both sides of the body. You don’t have to be even from front to back (you might be able to see that I had to take more off the back leg than the front leg of these) or outseam to inseam, but unless your figure is asymmetrical, you want both legs to be even. BASTE your pants together without cutting any excess fabric, then try them on right side out to check fit. Only after you’re sure about the fit with basting in place should you cut the excess fabric off. Make sure you leave yourself enough past the seamline to finish the seams, and if you need tips for sewing denim, I’ve got a round up here.
Ultimately I took 3 inches off each leg at the sides and 2 inches from the hem to get these to ankle length. With a gray t-shirt, peep toe booties and a thrifted tassel necklace, these made a perfect casual date night look for me.
And on another occasion, with nude booties and my Adora shirt, these were a comfy errand running look.
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