There are those girls who swoon over every new style of jeans that pop up for the fall, and then there are those girls who flat-out hate wearing pants. Whatever the reasons — maybe you’ve never had luck finding a comfy fit, you’re more of a toss-on-and-go dresser (think: skirts, dresses + jumpsuits) or those 18 years of uniform-wearing really rubbed off after school — jeans just don’t have the same gotta-rock-it lure for you. But a jean skirt, now that sounds more up the right alley.
So when we asked Lisa, our Editorial Director, who swears by that #skirtlife to be a part of our DIY Denim Challenge, she deviated from classic jean DIYs and took things to the next-level by snipping off the legs and whipping up a so-cute (and very on-trend) jean skirt. Well, there was a little more effort to it than that — full disclosure: you’ll need to have nailed sewing 101 to make this transformation happen, but we’d take learning a new skill over letting that pair of pants go to waste in your drawer. Learn how to turn your old jeans into something way more suited for your style below!
How to Turn Jeans into a Skirt
– jeans (we recommend high-waisted jeans or mid-rise jeans)
– sewing machine
– seam ripper
– fabric scissors
– fabric pins
Mark your jeans with chalk right above the knee and cut along that marking with fabric scissors.
Use a seam ripper to remove the stitches on the inside of both legs. Continue removing the stitches until you reach the zipper on the front side of the jeans. Then, flip the jeans over and remove all rear seam stitches until you reach the waistband.
Now it’s time to shape your skirt. The main goal here is to get the front panels to cross and lay evenly and for the bottom edges to meet up. This is the trickiest — and most important — part, so be sure to try different arrangements and pin the bottom together to see what looks best. Once you find the sweet spot, use chalk to draw a straight line from the bottom center of the zipper to the bottom center of the skirt, then trim the excess fabric. Then, fold the edge of the front fabric panel under until you get a straight perpendicular line down the center of your skirt. Pin the fabric in place.
The back will work quite similarly, but you don’t need the bottom edges to meet up. Pin the panels together about three inches from the edge of the jeans, then draw, cut, fold and pin the panels in place until you get a straight rear seam. The extra three inches on the bottom will be the slit in your pencil skirt. Pin the edges back to create a clean hem.
Now, sew your skirt. Be sure to mimic the double parallel stitch that is often seen in denim on both the front and the back by sewing two straight lines about 1/4 inch away from each other.
Finally, hem the bottom edge of the skirt or embrace the torn denim look.
Even if you’ve banned jeans from your wardrobe up until this point, this DIY might actually give you a reason to (temporarily) slip into a pair. For a cute pencil skirt, like the one Lisa made, use jeans with a mid-rise; if you want to try out the mini skirt trend, we recommend going with high-waisted jeans so that your final skirt doesn’t turn out *so* teeny. Whichever way you go, take a cue from Lisa on how to style it, “I can see taking this denim pencil skirt out on the weekend to brunch, to the office during the week with a blouse and even wearing it on a date with a crop top. And heels, definitely heels.”
DIY Production: Kelly Bryden
Photography: Kurt Andre
Do you have a DIY style hack you need to share with us? Tell us ALL about it in the comments below!