Can’t seem to shake those old bootcut jeans in your closet? But never wear them? With a couple zippers, a few trials on the sewing machine and a little hackery, it’s surprisingly simple to turn them into skinny jeans!

This is definitely on the more advanced side in terms of projects, as you’ll need to know the basics of sewing on a sewing machine and be willing to learn how to use a zipper foot. Before you get started, we definitely recommend watching this video on how to sew zippers. You could potentially do this by hand, but it would take a lot of patience and some seriously strong stitches. Here’s a little before and after action.

Now, onto the tutorial!

 – old pair of bootcut or flare jeans

– two zippers

– sewing machine

– sewing pins

First, put on your jeans inside out (or put them on a friend who happens to be your same size) and pin along the outer seam to tighten the pants around your calves. It’s ok if the part you want to tighten is longer than your zipper.

Be careful taking off the pants so that you don’t poke yourself (or lose any of the pins)!

Here’s how the pinned pants should look.

Cut excess fabric from where you pinned. Unlike most sewing projects, you don’t need to leave a seam allowance because you’ll be sewing the zipper directly along the end of your cut edge.

Line up the zipper so that the bottom of it (the zipper close) matches perfectly with the hem of your pants. Using a Sharpie, mark a few tiny dots along the top of the zipper to signify where the zipper will start.

If the seam you need to tighten extends beyond the top of the zipper, now’s the time to stitch it until you meet the dotted line you just drew.

Now, open the zipper and being by pinning one side down. Make sure you’ve got your zipper foot in place and sew the zipper in. Be sure to press firmly as you sew, and to hold the seam wide open.

Pin the other side, and sew in as well.

Trim off the excess zipper and you’re done! (Pro tip: If the fabric at the edge of the zipper begins to fry, use a lighter to quickly seal the ends so they stay clean.)

Stylish, edgy, and probably more wearable than your old flares.

And, of course, you can unzip them too for a totally different look!

How do you style up old jeans and other items in your closet? Talk to us in the comments below.