Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I have a love/hate relationship with fashion. I love wearing the current styles, but hate having to spend the money to change major parts of my wardrobe when the magazines say I should. Case in point, in recent years boot cut and wide leg jeans were all the rage, now we have moved on to a more tapered leg style. (Which honestly I like better anyway since the boot cut ones always seemed to drag the ground and get soaked on rainy or snowy days.) I owned one pair of the more tapered style, and the rest of my jeans sat unused in the closet. I didn't really want to go out and spend the money on new ones since the ones I had were still perfectly good, but I needed more than one pair of jeans in my closet. One day it hit me... just restyle the ones I already have! I tried this first on a pair of thrift store jeans I already had to make sure it worked, then I was off and running. After all, cutting into relatively new Banana Republic jeans is not for the faint of heart, even if they were on clearance!
Time: 1-2 hours
Skill Level: Not too bad (as long as you have a little prior sewing knowledge)
And here they are. What I started with. One pair of Banana Republic jeans that I got on clearance last year for a ridiculously low price. As you can see, they are definitely of the boot cut variety.
Look at the legs of your jeans. You will be working on the standard seam, not the flat felled seam. The standard seam is usually the one that runs down the outside of the leg.
I used a pair of jeans that I already knew I love to get the same leg width on the pair I was transforming. Turn both pairs of jeans inside out and make sure that your standard seam is laying flat. Usually this means that your flat felled inseam is laying on top somewhere, this is fine. Line up the inseams and pin along the edge. Make sure your jeans are laying the same way, not butt to butt or front to front. They should be butt to front or front to butt. Not my best description ever, but you should get the idea!
A little closer view of the inseams pinned. You can see how the flat felled seam comes to the top.
Now, using a marker (I used Sharpie) trace the new leg shape on the pair of jeans you are altering. Make sure to bring your line all the way up past the original seam, taper it in so that you don't have a point at the hip. No one wants that! You won't be taking much out of the hip/thigh area anyway, mine finished well below the pockets.
Put that seam ripper to work! Go ahead and rip out the hems, and get rid of all the loose thread.
Extend your line to the end of the jeans and pin along your marker line.
Stitch along the line with the edge of your presser foot running along the line.
Cut along the marked line. Save the piece you cut off for a bit.
Serge (if you have a serger) or zigzag along the seam to finish it.
Press the finished seam to one side.
Fold your seam back up and pin, stitch back into place. I used a #100 Jeans needle. I also used jeans thread, wind it onto the bobbin and use a matching thread for your top thread. Stitch on the wrong side and the jeans thread shows on the right side of the jeans. STITCH VERY SLOWLY over the sides where the seams come together. These are extremely thick and if you go too quickly your needle will break. Trust me. Do not backstitch, pull the threads through for a finished look. See below for instructions.
Lay the piece you cut off on the other leg, this time lining up the standard seams. Pin and trace with the marker. This way you have the same amount taken out of both legs.
Repeat the process of ripping out the hem, pinning, sewing, cutting, serging, re-hemming etc.
Each hem now has two sets of threads to pull through and tie off. Pull the top thread carefully so as not to break the it, (In my pair the top thread is grey) and your bobbin thread should pop up in a loop. If it doesn't pop up, just use a needle to bring it through. Sometimes they get caught. Usually when you are in a rush.
Use a pin or needle through the loop to pull the bobbin thread through.
Tie 2-3 times and thread through a needle.
Push the needle between the layers of fabric, starting as close as possible to the knot you tied.
Turn your fabric over to make sure your needle is indeed in between the layers.
Push the needle all the way through and pull firmly, this will cause the knot to be buried. Clip your threads. Turn right side out.
Voila! Newly tapered jeans, costing only pennies to transform! I'll bet you have a pair in the closet right now that you can try this out on!