If you are like me and have growing girls at home there is probably a space in your wardrobe for those ” flood jeans ” stacks ( referring to too short clothes or the way we put up our clothes if there is a flood). These jeans fit allright on the waist and hips but it is too short to wear.
Or maybe you have jeans which looked alright when you bought it but doesnot look so right, right now. You donot want to throw it away, understandably. Denim is such – sturdy and good for use for many many years.
Why not refashion to something still wearable -like a jean skirt
You can easily make a tiered skirt with ruffles out of your old jeans and some scraps of fabric. A professional looking waistband ready made for you. You need a jeans which fits alright at the waist and hips and which you wouldnot regret cutting up later or which cannot be distressed and be in your favour again.Checkout these different ways you can distress your jeans if you have changed your mind.
For this skirt you need to cut out the jeans just under the pockets.
Keep the jeans so that the side seams are aligned as above . This way you can cut the back and front differently. The jeans front is always a little lower cut than the back.
Keep the top edge aligned against a straight edge. Measure from top to 1/2 inch after the bottom end of the pocket. This is your cut line. Measure the distance. Measure the same distance on the other edge (front) too. Mark and cut straight ( not slanted like mine).
You will most probably still have the crotch seam joined. Straighten up the jeans so that the front is facing you. Cut out the crotch joining straight across
It is a pain cutting the beautifully sturdy jeans seams- You need really sharp scissors and possibly plastic handles
Measure the bottom edge of the jeans cut edge.You need this for the next part
You also need 2 skirt pieces each for the skirts ( 4 total for back and front) and 3 ruffle tiers ( 6 pieces for back and front)
Cut out the skirt pieces as per the pattern given below.
Take the measure of the bottom edge of the jeans you have at hand. ( the cut edge) from one side seam to the other. Divide this by 2. Consider this measure as X
A-B = X + 3/4 inch
C-D = A-B + 1.5 inch
E-F = C-D
G-H = C-D+1.5 inch
Measure of the width of the first piece A-C = 3.5 inch & E-G ( second piece) = 4.5 inch
Mark these measure on folded piece of fabric which is again folded by the center. When you cut it out you will get 4 pieces like the picture below
Cut out the ruffles – 3 pieces each for front and back
Mark ruffles as per the measurement given below
The long edge of the 1st ruffle (X-Y) should be 1.5 times the top edge of the first skirt pieces (A-B). The width of the 1st ruffle is 4 inch
The long edge of the 2nd ruffle (S-R) should be 1.5 times the top edge of the Second skirt piece (E-F).The width of the 2nd ruffle is 5 inch
The long edge of the 3rd ruffle (P-Q) should be 1.5 times the bottom edge of the Second skirt piece (G-H).The width of the 3rd ruffle is 7 inch
You will get 6 pieces of ruffle pieces like this
Stitch a straight line 1/2 inch from one edge of the ruffle piece. Do so for all the ruffle piece . This is for making the fringes.
This stitching line will prevent the cloth from unraveling beyond this line.If you donot want fringes you can make a turned under hem for all the ruffle pieces or an overcast stitch or rolled hem edge.
Stitch gathering stitches ( long stitches) along the top edge ( the other edge) of all the ruffle pieces. You should make 2 such long stitches along the top edge ( 1/4 inch from the edge) so that you can gather this edge very smoothly.Checkout the post on how to gather.
Join 2 tiers and the last ruffle one by one. Do the same for the back as well. Now you will have skirt pieces ( front as well as back) like this
Keep the second ruffle along the joint of the second tier so that the ruffled edge is on top of the seam. Stitch these pieces right sides together.
Turn the ruffle down. You have the second ruffle in place.
Do the same for the back as well. You have two skirt pieces – front and back pieces.
Join the side seams of the two skirt pieces ( back and front pieces rightsides together) to form a tube
Join this skirt to the jeans yoke you have cut.
Keep the jeans yoke and the skirt right sides together ( I have inserted the rightiside out skirt to the wrong side out jeans skirt here). Stitch the seam together joining them
Join the smaller ruffle- the 1st ruffle pieces ( the two pieces left) together at both ends so that you have a circle. Keep the gathers intact
Insert the skirt to this circle.
Flip it up so that the top edge is on top of the seam joining the skirt and the jeans yoke.You will be stitching the ruffle on top of the seam so that the seam will not be difficult to sew
Stitch in place. Flip it down. This will make sure that the seams are not thick.
Make the fringes. You have the stitching line which acts as a border. Remove the weft threads on the fabric – those are the horizontal threads from the stitching line to the cut edge. You need the vertical ones intact.I combed or rather scratched with my seam ripper (my pal) at first and then realized that I have to do the thread removal one by one.
Let me warn you it takes a lot of time to do it neatly. You have 3 all around ruffles to do this. So if you are lazy like that you are better off with a rolled hem finish.But the fringed edge looks very pretty, if it is any consolation
I cannot leave it alone without it touching a hand needle and embroidery thread and my blockprinting skills ( with the back stub of a pencil) or my spare rhinestones. Skip this if you like the minimal look or if you are using a printed fabric for the ruffles
Checkout the post on sewing with denim for more tips if you find difficulty sewing with the jeans or if you would rather shorten the jeans by doing the hem. Another related post of interest is the history of jeans
- Free dressmaking patterns (DIY)
- Sewing Guide with tips and techniques
- Sewing Machine Guide
- Fabric embellishing