Friday, November 20, 2009

denim update

styles change, but getting rid of a favorite pair of jeans is like saying goodbye to an old friend. instead of storing them in the back of your closet for two decades, waiting for the style to return, taking the time to update their shape on your own is an easy way to make your jeans look more current without having to spend the extra money on a new pair. if you don't have a sewing machine at home, you can still update your denim by measuring and marking the jeans at home and then taking them to a seamstress to finish the details.

(1) decide what type of style you want to update to. the different leg openings are skinny (10-inch leg opening), pencil (12-inch leg opening), cigarette (14-inch leg opening), and straight (16-inch leg opening). keep fabric in mind when deciding. if your jeans have little or no stretch, you might not want to do a skinny leg.

(2) try your jeans on inside out and mark where they start to move away from your body. generally, this is 2-3 inches above the knee. repeat this for both legs, making sure the marks are an equal distance from the floor on both sides.

(3) take your jeans off and lay them flat on the ground. decide how much denim needs to be removed at the ankle and mark. because the jean leg is folded in half, you will want to measure half of the amount of the desired fit. for example, if you want to create a cigarette leg, measure 7 inches from the inside seam to create the desired 14-inch opening.

(4) unpick the bottom hem on both sides up to the mark you just made.

(5) using a straight edge, draw a line from the ankle mark to the mark above your knee. when the line is drawn, if it doesn’t blend with the natural seam at the top, curve the line slightly to avoid creating a saddlebag look.

(6) use pins to secure the two sides of denim together along the line. use your sewing machine to stitch along that line.

(7) once both legs are sewn, try them on to make sure that you achieved the look you want. after this point, there is no turning back.

(8) cut off the extra denim leaving one half inch of fabric next to your new seam. using a zigzag stitch, sew along the newly trimmed fabric to avoid unraveling.

(9) turn the bottom of your jeans under and re-stitch the hem to close it up.

(10) open up the seam and iron the fabric flat.


  1. thanks traci! i was really happy with how they turned out. most of my clothes had been in storage for 2 years... i didn't realize how many old pairs of jeans i had.

  2. You are so crafty! Come to my house and fix my jeans!...just let me lose a few pounds first so I can fit into a bunch of them again ;)

  3. I could bring my sewing machine home in May, but I think you might be a little pre-occupied to craft:)