How to Make Bootcut Jeans from Skinny Jeans
I was determined to figure out how to make bootcut jeans from some of my skinnies
Why am I obsessed with bootcut jeans?
"I can't unsee it," I said to my husband. "I see it too," he replied. "I think you look great in everything, but I can see your point. These look extra great on you."
Last fall in my pursuit of refining my style, I started investigating what cuts and lengths of clothes would flatter my figure. I happen to have a pear shaped figure, meaning the widest part of my body is my hips. I knew before I did all the measuring, but I had my fingers crossed I was a curvy or a straight. Apparently a lot of women are wrong about their body types, but I've always known the truth. What can I say, my hips don't lie.
Different details can make my body look more balanced and proportional, like the length of my shirt, how I layer my clothes, what accessories I wear, but a big one is the cut of my pants, so I decided to do my own 30-day bootcut jean challenge to give myself time to adapt and adjust before I decided whether or not to abandon my quest for body balance.
At the end of the 30 days, I couldn't go back to skinnies. I love how bootcut jeans balance my silhouette, but I had a few favorite jeans that I really missed, and I wanted to make them work. So I formulated a plan to make those 3 pairs of skinny jeans into bootcut jeans. I was thrilled with the results, and when I mentioned what I had done on social media, I got a ton of questions.
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Some things you need to know first
Making your skinny jeans into bootcut jeans is so much easier than you think, and if you have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills (seriously. Basic.) or a great tailor, you can have this done in no time. To make this work, there are some stars that have to align first.
1. The jeans have to be long enough to wear as bootcut. These particular jeans were long for skinnies, and I always folded them, but they weren't long enough to be bootcut, even if the hem were wider. Since I love edgy, destroyed jeans, I unpicked the hem and got an extra 1.5 inches of length, which was perfect for me to wear with flats or low-heeled boots.
I personally like my jeans to just graze the ground if I'm wearing flats, but most experts say to hem them to the bottom of your heel when you are barefoot if you are going to wear them with flats. For higher heels they need to be longer.
Since my legs are long, this is a bigger obstacle for me than it would be for others. If you're petite or have shorter legs, you're in luck. If you don't like the raw hem, you can unpick the hem, serge the end and turn it under just enough to get a finished hem. There will be some color variation on the unpicked part. Or if the pants are long enough on their own, even luckier!
2. You have to have fabric that will be an exact, or nearly exact match, unless you want something that is intentionally different. You have to decide if that is a look you want. You could do something to contrast like lace, a patterned fabric, sequins, An intentionally different color of denim, or something else that you like. This means I wasn't able to do this with any of my colored jeans because I didn't have more of the same, and they weren't long enough anyway.
In my case, the destroyed details of the jeans are what I want the focus to be, so I didn't want to draw attention to what I did. I happened to have another pair of jeans that were the same brand, and nearly identical washes. I had cut off the bottoms of them, and I used those pieces to fix 3 other pairs of jeans. It was a worthy sacrifice of 1 pair of normal skinny jeans to save 3 that I loved. Those sacrificial jeans are now shorts, so all is not lost.
If you don't have a sacrificial pair, try finding your same pair of jeans on Poshmark for cheap. Cut off the bottoms to get the pieces you need and make the top half into a pair of shorts. If you've never shopped Poshmark, use the code DANCEME23 to get $5 off your first order when you sign up on the phone app (it doesn't work if you sign up on your computer, which is so dumb).
3. Make sure when you cut the add-in panel that the grain of the extra panel of fabric goes in the same direction as the grain of the jeans so they hang and move the same as the rest of the jean.
4. The extra folds of denim in the hem of a normal pair of bootcut jeans give added weight that make the hem hang properly, so sewing a heavy grosgrain ribbon or something else to give it weight and structure on the inside will help. Without they don't hang quite right.
5. Use a template pair of jeans for measurements so you know how high up to start that additional panel, and how wide to make it at the bottom.
How to Make Bootcut Jeans from Skinny Jeans
Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the actual process, so I recreated the scenario and took pictures. I'm a very visual person, and I need to see how something is done. Basically you will cut out a triangular piece from the sacrificial denim using a template pair to measure how much extra fabric you need. But here is more detail:
Lay out your template pair of bootcut jeans.
Lay down a piece of paper on top ( the white side of wrapping paper is good).
Lay the skinny jeans on top, being sure to line the boot cut and skinny jeans up at the inseam.
Trace the portion of the bootcut pair that is hanging past the skinnies.
Lay your sacrificial pair of jeans out and use the triangle pattern from the paper to trace onto the folded pair of jeans (because you will need double the size of what you traced).
Add an extra 1/2 inch on the long sides to allow for the seam allowance. Remember that the folded piece of sacrificial denim doesn't have any seams on it. You don't need to add a seam allowance at the bottom because the skinnies were already unstitched. The folded piece of sacrificial denim doesn't have any seams on it.
You'll get best results if you finish the edges of the insert piece of denim with either a serger or a zigzag stitch so the ends pieces don't fray and ravel.
Once you have your add-in piece, unpick the seam that has the stitching on the inside (not the side with the top stitching). Then you pin and stitch, being careful to stitch where the original seam was on the skinny jeans.
This alteration is practically invisible.
Here are the instructions without the pictures:
- Lay out your template pair of bootcut jeans.
- Lay down a piece of paper on top ( the white side of wrapping paper is good).
- Lay the skinny jeans on top, being sure to line the boot cut and skinny jeans up at the inseam.
- Trace the portion of the bootcut pair that is hanging past the skinnies.
- Lay your sacrificial pair of jeans out and use the triangle from the paper to trace onto the folded pair of jeans (because you will need double the size of what you traced).
- Add an extra 1/2 inch on the long sides to allow for the seam allowance. Remember that the folded piece of sacrificial denim doesn't have any seams on it. You don't need to add a seam allowance at the bottom because the skinnies were already unstitched. The folded piece of sacrificial denim doesn't have any seams on it.
- Once you have your add-in piece, unpick the seam that has the stitching on the inside (not the side with the top stitching). Then you pin and stitch, being careful to stitch where the original seam was on the skinny jeans.
It's really pretty simple. I always quadruple check before I cut. That's the only unfixable part. Stitches can be ripped out.
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