• Categories

  • Archives

sew your own skinny jeans

Today I’m going to explain the very simple process of turning normal jeans into skinny jeans.

The obvious question is, of course, why would you want to? Skinny jeans look good on girls under the age of 12 and girls who look like they’re under the age of 12. And that’s pretty much it. Oddly enough, the name “skinny jeans” does not actually mean that they’ll make you look skinnier, as you’d hope. Quite the opposite. If you’re pear shaped, like me, they turn your hips into a veritable beacon shouting to the world, “Here I am! Hips – round, child-bearing hips! Right here!” Not generally what a girl wants…

The thing is, skinny jeans are very much in fashion, so regardless of how they look people will wear them. It’s not like they’re the worst fashion trend. Remember those little double ruffle skirts from 4 or 5 years ago that barely covered one’s bum? Those were worse. So were shoulder pads. And neon leg warmers. Neon anything, really.

But the main selling point is that skinny jeans are practical, in that they allow you to tuck your pants into your boots and keep your jeans dry. Here in the Pacific Northwest, land of constant rain, this is vital the way self air conditioned pantsuits are vital in a Georgia summer. (The latter may not exist, but they’re still vital.)

So if you find yourself unable to resist the call of skinny jeans, there’s much to be said for making your own from an old pair of non-skinny jeans. First of all, they’ll be more comfortable since they’re already worn in, and they won’t fit so tightly as to cut off circulation to your feet, as all the storebought ones I’ve tried on seem to. Also, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of finding a pair of skinny jeans in the store that aren’t completely skanky.

This project is truly so easy an intoxicated chipmunk could probably manage it. If it had a sewing machine. If you, who are not a chipmunk, have a sewing machine and remain at least mostly un-intoxicated, you should be fine.

What you’ll need:

  • a pair of jeans that already fit you
  • straight pins
  • scissors
  • a pen
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • seam ripper

Putting it all together:

1) Put the jeans on and make a note of approximately how much too wide they are in the lower leg. Take the jeans off and turn them inside out.

2) Using your seam ripper, tear out the bottom hem on each leg.

3) Lay the jeans completely flat on the floor, with the inside seam of each leg running exactly along the edge where the jean legs are folded.

4) Put a pin at the same height on each leg, right at the knee. Now pin each leg together from that point to the bottom, along the inside edge.

5) Draw a line going from the knee to the bottom of each leg, angling inward gradually. (Use a ruler if you wish, for maximum exactness.) This will create a long, narrow triangle along the inside edge of each leg. You don’t actually need to take as much width off each leg as you probably think you do. Start small – you can always draw the line further in if you need to.

6) Sew along this line, backstitching at either end. Start by sewing very long stitches (set your machine to 4, or your longest stitch) so you can pick them out easily if you sewed too far in. Then try the jeans on to see if you’ve made them skinny enough, too skinny, or not skinny enough. Adjust and resew the line as necessary.

7) When the jeans fit the way you want them to, sew along your new seam once more (jeans take a lot of strain, wear and tear, so double-stitching for extra strength is always a good idea) and then trim off the extra.

8) Do a finishing zig-zag stitch along the new raw edge.

9) Fold the bottoms up and resew your hems.

See, that was pretty simple, right? You can use this method to narrow any pair of jeans by any amount. And while I remain entirely unconvinced that skinny jeans have any flattering effects on the average figure, I am content to know that my feet and legs will remain dry this winter. At least I don’t have to wear a goofy looking snowsuit.

Leave a comment


  1. Tally, if you’re pear shaped, then I’m a watermelon. :P

  2. Hey, Tally, who ever told you/convinced you of this?

    Also, if only I had a sewing machine and still knew how to use one *sigh* I probably still wouldn’t be able to make myself “skinny jeans” :P But this is really a good step-by-step tutorial. I like it!

  3. admin

     /  September 24, 2010

    Calm down, guys. It’s fact, not self-hate. I’m sure my mom (who loves me and thinks I’m pretty) would confirm it.

    Dikla, next time you visit us we can do some sewing and I’ll teach you to use the machine. Yay!

  4. Since I have already been introduced into the debate, I shall weigh in. Pear shaped doesn’t have to mean big – just round hipped and bigger, more or less, below than up top. It’s a shape description used to figure out how clothes match or don’t match a particular figure. I think Tally realizes she is on the small end of “pear-shaped.” She is also quite talented at posing photographs, I have discovered. I just wish she lived close enough to take all of my pictures. I’d look so much better, right, Tally?

  5. admin

     /  September 25, 2010

    See? My mother has nailed it exactly. And yes, I’ve learned a few photography tricks. Mom, if you’d simply quite making weird faces every time someone hits the shutter button, you’d be fine. :) Really, you are lovely.

  6. Person who writes the blog: are the one in the photos?(yes I don’t know your name, sorry) Second of all(I am a girl{and straight}) you look good in those jeans, screw everyone else and their words about you not being attractive(or what ever else they’ve told you) you look good, in those jeans, its a simple fact, and as the fact that you look good in those jeans is completely real, you’re just gonna have to live with it. Cool site, I stumbled and I loved.

  7. admin

     /  July 4, 2011

    Thanks Alice, I appreciate the compliments (yes, that’s me in the photos). I’m not too concerned about my looks – every girl has things she doesn’t like about herself, of course, but I’m mostly just talking about how to flatter my particular figure, which is simply not a stick figure. Much as the fashion world tries to convince us that all looking the same as each other is to be wished for, that would be terribly dull. :)

    Glad you found your way to my blog and are enjoying it!

  8. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love learning extra within this topic. If attainable, as you achieve experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with additional data? It is extremely useful for me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *