September 21, 2009

Jean Skirts 101

"He who kneels before God can stand before anyone." - Unknown ~ I have this one tacked to the frame of my bedroom mirror. ~

"To Hear God's voice, turn down the worlds' volume." - Unknown
Jean Skirts- What they look like:

Above: Front of the skirt, Below: Back of the skirt

Above: The front crotch seam should look something like this.
Below: The back crotch seam should look something like this.
Notice that the back side is longer than the front. Always do the steps for the back AFTER you have done the same for the front.
Below: You can use some of the extra material to make a simple belt or scrunchie. I'll tell you how to do this below. - Towards the end.
How to make a jean skirt:
1) Wash the jeans, patch any holes, iron them, etc. Make sure they're in a condition that you can work with.
2) You also need to wash your selected fabric and iron it. You'll probably want to buy a yard of material. You most likely won't need that much, but any extras can be used for making matching accessories.
3) Take out the inseam, plus about two or three inches of the crotch seam. Try not to rip the jeans- I can tell you from experience that it adds a lot of difficult work.
4) Smooth out the jeans like I did in the pictures above. The outer seam of the pant leg should be your guide for how the pants should lay. Your goal in this is to make the triangle formed by the inseam as as straight as possible.
5) Keeping the jeans right side out, pin on enough material (probably about a quarter yard or a little more) to fill the triangle of space between the pant legs. You may need more or less material depending on flowy, roomy... can't think of the word... anyway. How much material you want in your skirt. Do the front side first- this makes it much easier. It also helps to start with the crotch seam and work down.
6) Don't cut the material except to make it workable yet. Pin it to the underside of the pant leg the way you want it to look. You don't want tucks, so make sure the material is relatively smooth and straight.
7) Sew beginning at the base of the pantleg on one side, going up toward the crotch. Sew along where the inseam stitching was. Usually you can see it, because the dye hasn't faded. You want to use a tighter stitch, but not so tight that the denim catches and makes knots. Don't sew the other side yet.
8) You should have already pinned the crotch seam in step 5. Now we will sew it.
9) Start at the end closest to the zipper. Start sewing about a quarter inch above where you took the seam out. Sew to where you took the seam out and backstitch (use the reverse lever/button on your machine) to where you started. Now go forward following the curve of the seam.
10) Now you may sew the other side of the triangle. The reason you didn't do this before is that it is easier to fix your mistakes if there is only one side to deal with.
11) Follow these steps for the back side. Remember, the crotch seam will be longer. Thus, the triangle of material will be somewhat smaller.
12) Put the skirt on and determine where you want your hem. Personally, I don't like my skirts dragging the floor so I follow this step. However I have known ladies that can tolerate this. Either way, this step is *somewhat* optional.
13) Hem the skirt. Note: The material of the triangle will sew differently than the pants. It is okay for the hem to be a little different here. No one will be able to tell anyway. Just try not to bunch it up or make it look strange. If no one else notices, you will. Plus this makes the hem hard to iron.
If you never iron the jeans part, you should at least iron the triangle of material.
To make a belt:
1) Measure your waist or wherever the skirt will sit. Add about 2 feet. (That is- two sets of 12 inches :-)
2) Mark this length on your excess material.
3) Make it twice as wide as you want the belt plus about an inch or inch and a half for seam allowance.
4) Fold the width in half with the right sides on the inside. Beginning at one end, sew the width on that end. Then turn the material and sew lengthwise all the way down, leaving a half inch. Dont sew the other end widthwise.
5) Turn it right side out, iron it, and try it on to make sure that it is the length that you want.
6) Turn the open end to the inside, and sew shut. You can use a straight stitch or make it fancy, it's up to you.
To make a scrunchie:
1) You pretty much do the same thing as for a belt. Make it as long and wide as you want, plus seam allowance.
2) Make your tube, except you don't sew either of the ends shut- just lengthwise. Turn it right side out and iron.
3) Measure and cut your elastic, then thread it through the tube. Hint: Using safety pins as an anchor and guide helps a lot with this.
4) Now you can either sew one end shut at a time, or put the ends together and just sewing that shut all in one go-round. Whichever is easier for you. Just make sure that you sew the elastic with your fabric.
If I need to make this clearer, please let me know. I was mostly going back over the steps in my head, so if it seems like I skipped something, again, let me know.
As usual, feel free to comment!


  1. Thankful for God's GraceApril 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    I just started making these type of pants to skirts a few months back:) One recommendation I would have is the fold under the crotch and back seam to make a straight line. It give the skirt a more pleasing line as it won't have the pant part running off to the side and then the triangle looking off center. Let's see if I can do a visual for you:
    ] zipper
    | folded under - straight line
    ^ triangle piece
    I look forward to reading more from your blog!


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