Magic Jeans

In one of my first major efforts for the upcoming Me-Made-May, I have learned a lot about what it takes to make a pair of pants. No, I have not sewn a new pair from scratch (though I plan to sew at least one pair), but what I did is still pretty cool. I took a pair of my boyfriend's size 40 pants and remade them to fit me. I am actually really proud of this project:

On the left are my boyfriend's jeans, and on the right are my favorite pair from the gap. Now, I have seen tutorials online for how to make boot-cut jeans into skinny jeans and things like that, but I have never seen anyone try to convert the top half of too-big jeans without taking them completely apart, which was not the way I wanted to spend an evening of sewing. I am more of an instant gratification kind of person really. You may be wondering why Dennis let me scavenge this pair of jeans...

He buys them long and then wears out this perfect semi-circle at the back of both legs. He was going to throw them away but I thought maybe I could just do someone out there a service and hem them and donate them so someone wide and short could have them. But then I got the crazy idea to try and make them fit me instead.

So first, I laid my favorite jeans on top of the old ones and traced them all the way around. (Keep in mind here that I have never been able to wrap my head around the mechanics involved in pants construction.) And I had to remove a couple of the belt loops because my little old machine can barely sew through all that denim, and it would never have been able to sew through the loops, plus it would give a cleaner seam.

I thought that maybe I could then just sew along those lines I drew, including the reduced inseam, and everything would fit better... Nope. I tried them on and the inner thighs were way too tight, but the outside seam I made seemed to be a better fit, so I ripped out the entire seam on the inside of the leg and tried them on again, and they fit really well all through the leg and thigh. So I cut off all the excess seam fabric and did a makeshift kind of surging with some heavy weight upholstery thread. Then I cut off the crappy part of the bottom cuff and did a rolled hem:

And ta-da! I rolled up the cuffs so they would not look like silly little high water clam diggers and instead would look like every other pair of capris I own. I tried them on and they fit nice and snug in all the right places and were surprisingly comfortable. I am still truly amazed, since I was going into this expecting it to be a complete failure or at best a learning experience, but I had a bonafide wearable pair of jeans! But they are far from perfect, though it is hard to tell when I have a shirt on over them:

Lol. Because of the large inseam that I did not posses the sewing know-how to alter, I have to wear them way up high at my natural waist. My co-worker Lydia wears a pair of skinny jeans that are high-waisted and she can totally pull it off, but I just do not know if I will be able to. Maybe if I sew a cute 1950's style blouse reminiscent of something Marilyn Monroe would have worn then maybe I will show off the high waist, but until then I will camouflage it with my shirts.

I was pounding the high-waisted style that was prevalent in women's pants in the early days and it makes total sense: women were not allowed to wear pants for such a long time in our history, so when they started to they only had men's pants as a pattern to go by for constructing their own pair. I can imagine that if designers used to making men's pants started to make women's, the easiest way would be to do what I did to these jeans. Very interesting...
So, I have a pair of pants for May. I still would like to sew from scratch at least one pair of long pants, mostly because I have never made a proper pair outside of renaissance fair costumes before, so it will be a nice challenge. Plus I know there will be a situation during the month where I will probably really not feel like wearing a skirt. I have a couple more pieces of clothing to show off on here, and then I will be making everything as I go. *Gulp*


  1. Anonymous11:21 AM

    i think they came out fine, broken in, is so much more comfortable than new, not to mention reworking things is just as good for the enviro as recycling !

  2. Anonymous11:50 AM

    i just bought a pair of handmade
    canvas shoes at a surf shop...i love them!

  3. This is a great idea! I've been wanting to try my hand at reworking old jeans or making my own pair from scratch. This was really inspiring. Nice job!