Friday, September 23, 2011

"Scrap pile rescue!" project

My husband is hard on jeans.  I don't know how, but he can wear the knees out of a pair of pants faster than most men can walk through a hardware store.  (His son seems to be walking in the very same paths.)  Anyway, I patch and re-patch the knees, but eventually he starts to develop "leaks" in some strategic places, and I do not patch "inseams" or backsides.  So then I cut the backs out of the legs and save them for patches for the next pair, and throw the rest out.
This time I decided there must be something else I could do.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  And nothing lost either, if it doesn't work out, since I was going to scrap them anyway.

So here's what I came up with yesterday: 

Want to try it yourself?
Old Jeans to Jean Skirt Refashion

Start with an old pair of jeans.  
Step 1.  Cut them off below the back pockets, where the legs come together.  This becomes the skirt top.

Optional Step.  If you're using your husband's jeans and you're lucky enough to need to take them in, simply turn it inside out and sew up the side seam to the inside of the original stitching.  You may need to remove a belt loop from the waistband.
Sew here.

Step 2.  Here is where the math comes in --
Measure along the edge you cut.  Add 40" for the box pleats; this allows for 4 2" pleats and 2 1" pleats.  (If you don't have enough leg material to make a strip that long, than try doing all 1" pleats, which means you need the measurement of the hem plus 24".)

Step 3.  Now, cut the backs out of the legs.  You can cut the fronts too if they're still any good.  I was able to salvage about 10 inches off the bottom of the leg fronts. Trim all these strips to a uniform width. Sew them together (don't forget to overcast the edges) to form a loop the length of your measurement from Step 2.  This becomes the skirt.

Step 4.  Cut 2" strips of a coordinating fabric and sew them together to form a strip about 12"-18"  longer than your measurement from Step 2.

Step 5. Iron over 1/2" along each side, then fold it in half and iron again.  This forms the binding for the hem and pockets.

Step 6.  Topstitch this binding along the bottom edge of your skirt.

Step 7.  Now, fold the skirt in half, then in half again and mark the folds.  Open it up and measure 4" out from each side of your 1st set of markings and mark again.  Fold the 2nd set of marks in to the first set to form your box pleats.  Make another mark halfway between two pleats.  Mark 2" to either side of this, and make another pleat.  Do the same in the back.  (Note:  If you only added 24" for the skirt, use 2" instead of 4" on all your pleats.)

You should now have 6 box pleats, with the ones directly in the front and back a little bit smaller.

Step 8.  Baste across all these pleats and sew your skirt to the skirt top, right sides together.  Open and press the seam allowance up toward the skirt top.

Step 9.  Make two rows of topstitching along this seam.

Step 10.  Finish it off by covering the edges of the pockets with your remaining binding.  (Mine were looking really torn and ragged anyway)  Patch any holes with your coordinating fabric.

Step 11.  Put it on and enjoy it!
Yes, my three-year-old took these pictures for me.

I hope that makes sense.  Sorry I don't have more pictures.  I wanted to finish before the girls woke up and I can only count on an hour for nap time. 

So, I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out.   Fortunately I am assured of an unending supply of old jeans around here, because I keep thinking of all the things I can do with them...


  1. *love* this! i bet i'll be trying this! :) lisa

  2. Thank U very much for this idea !
    THANK U for the inspiration !
    Love from France