Sunday, October 7, 2012

Refashionista | Long Denim Skirt

I am one of those bloggers who occasionally (okay, weekly) checks to see what the top Google search words/phrases are that bring in visitors. Well, for a while now the top searches have been: jeans to long skirt, skirt from a pair of jeans, and other lines similar to those. Making skirts from jeans was one of my first big projects earlier this year when I started getting serious about blogging. Including the skirt for this tutorial I have now made 5 complete skirts, and have two for sure sitting to be made (these are only the denim long skirts totals...this doesn't include any of the other skirts I've made with denim).

LOOKING FOR A SHORTER SKIRT? I have a knee length skirt tutorial as well! Check it out here!

To all of you who are considering making one of these skirts: this is the perfect time to get one made! They are super warm and are a great piece of clothing to have in your closet during the fall and winter months! (Even in the early spring too!). Last year I had one skirt I wore the life out of...and it is now sitting in my patch pile so I can fix it to wear out again this year.

This tutorial will be fairly simple, but if you have any questions just let me know and I will help you as best as I can! This skirt usually takes me two days to make. One for seam ripping and starting on the front (I usually don't get the whole front pinned) and the second to finish pinning/sewing the front and putting in the back. It is a very simple skirt and is fairly easy to do!

What You Need
2 Pairs of the same color wash and/or brand of jeans
Seam Ripper
Sewing machine
Tan, white, or dark blue thread (depending on wash of denim)

What I Used
2 Old Navy dark wash "Flirt" fit jeans, size 10 & size 2.
Navy blue thread

Part 1: Seam Ripping
I've always used a seam ripper when making skirts from denim jeans. I use a seam ripper on almost everything I refashion because the finished product looks so much nicer when I take the time to rip the seams!

1. Choose a pair of jeans to be the "main/base" part of the skirt. These need to fit you good in the waistband area, and in the hips (although if they're a little snug as jeans, they usually tend to fit perfect once they are made into a skirt...or so my experience has been!).

2. Rip open the INSIDE seams of each pant leg. I usually start at the crotch area and work down one leg to get rid of the first row of stitches. The inside seams of jeans tend to be really well sewn together (notice jeans usually rip out next to the seam...not in the seam itself).

3. Once you get to the bottom of the pant leg, work open a little section so you can get the bottom of the leg open. Getting this seam to break will take a good bit of time, but be patient and keep working at it! The end results are worth the hard work you'll put into this part!

4. Finish ripping out the seam from the bottom of the pant leg once it's open to the crotch area.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 for the other pant leg.

Rip from the crotch up to the bottom of the zipper.

6. Once both legs are open you need to rip two more areas. The front of the jeans need to be ripped from the crotch up to where the seam meets the bottom of the zipper area.

Rip from the crotch all the way to the top of the jeans. Stop about 1 inch from the top.

7. The back of the jeans need to be ripped from the crotch all the way to about 1 inch from the horizontal line just below the waist of the pants (and usually a little above the pockets).

8. Once the first pair of pants is done you can choose to seam rip or cut open the second pair. If you choose to seam rip then only repeat steps 2-4. The rest of the steps aren't necessary since you'll only use the legs of the pants to fill in the gaps in the base of the skirt.

Part 2: The Front
I like to do the front first because that has always worked easier for me. I think the finished result looks a whole lot better when the front is put together and sewn before the back.

Lay the jeans flat on the floor.

1. Lay the skirt out on the floor (you can use a table, but I like making my skirts on the floor better). Starting at the area in the front you ripped out in Part 1, step 6.

The "classic" look on denim skirts. The bottom flap is overlapped by the top flap.

I don't like the "classic" look, (see photo) where the extra fabric is overlapped. Yes, I've made skirts that way, but have since found a better way to make these amazing skirts!

The "straight line" look. Where the bottom flap is straight and the top flap is tucked under to make an even line from the bottom of the zipper to where the legs of the skirt separate.

2. The "straight line" look is my favorite on these jean skirts...and it's so much easier because you don't have to worry near as much about the jeans pulling too much and becoming stretched in a funky way. To do this, start just below the zipper. The bottom piece of fabric needs to be flat on the floor. The top piece will need to be tucked under and pinned as you work down to the fork in the skirt. This should make a straight line from the end of the zipper to the fork.

Lay the jeans on the floor to where one leg is open all the way and ready for cutting.

3. Lay the second pair of jeans (not the base jeans, the other pair) out like I have them in the pic...only I suggest not putting them on top of the other pair since you will be using scissors. This was just for picture purposes. Cut from the front crotch towards the back crotch until you have the top of the jeans and one attached leg and the cut off side of jeans.

4. Lay the newly cut "fabric" down on top of the flat base. Lift up one leg at a time and lay it on top of the new fabric. Make sure that it is laying flat underneath the overlap. At the bottom of the jeans you will need to make a few small snips with the scissors.

This area where all of the fabric ends meet together will need to be snipped off so it will lay flat.

5. On each pant leg which is on the base of the jeans you will need to cut a little bit of the corner off the end so that it will lay right. If you don't it will bubble up and be REALLY hard to sew through. It should now look like this.

Cut a small curve out of the front insert piece. Do this for both sides of the front insert.

6. On the font insert piece you will need to cut a little curve out of the jeans. Basically this is just to get rid of the seams from the jeans so it will lay flat and be easier to sew.

When pinning, start with the bottom and make sure to line the hems up together.

7. Start with the bottom of the skirt and work your way up to the top. The piece you snipped out of the corner of the base skirt will give you room to "sandwich" the inserted fabric. This will give you a good seam and will help you line up the seams from the insert and pant leg(s).

Make sure the line from the jeans goes straight into the line down from the zipper.

8. As you work your way up the front of the skirt make sure the seam from the inserted piece lines up with the line at the split under the zipper area. Lining this up well gives your skirt a professional look!

The skirt ready to start being sewn on.

9. When you're finished pinning the front of the skirt will look like this.

Put the needle on the edge of the top pant leg and sew down to the hem of the skirt. Repeat for the other side.
Run a second set of stitches by putting the edge of the presser foot in line with the edge of the pant leg and sew from top to hem line. Repeat for the other side.

10. I always start sewing right under the zipper and work down to the bottom of the skirt. I've found this method to work well for me. Since you start under the zipper you will follow that pant leg down to the bottom. Each side of the pant leg that you pinned will need to be sewn twice. I usually do the first set of stitches per side on the very edge and then the second set is with the left (or right) of the presser foot on the edge of the seam and the rest of that pant leg to the other side. Basically just sew each seam twice, but not on top of each other. Leave a little gap.

All this extra fabric will need to be cut out. You can see at the bottom where the two rows of stitches are.

11. Once the front of the skirt is sewn you need to inside out the skirt and cut all the extra lose fabric which isn't necessary to keep.

The excess fabric has been removed. I usually cut it fairly close to the second line of stitching.

12. Once that is done you're ready to finish up the back of the skirt! Make sure to put the right side of the skirt facing out again! Continue to Part 3.

Part 3: The Back
The back of the skirt. Your skirt is almost done! However, this is probably the trickiest part of the skirt so take your time and get it right so you don't have to go back and take out any stitches!

1. Lay the skirt on the floor/table with the front part down and the back part on top. Repeat Part 2 Step 3 to get the insert for the back of the skirt.

Pin the back starting at the top and working your way down. Make sure the bottom piece (the right side in this skirt) is flat and that you tuck the left side under a little bit every time you move down.

2. The back of the skirt is going to be pinned the same way the front was in Part 2 Step 2. Make sure the piece which is on the bottom is straight. Fold under and pin the top piece in a straight line starting at the top and working towards the bottom. Near the split leave a little space so later you can tuck under the raw edge of the pants legs. If I am making the skirt for myself I usually try it on at this point to make sure the back of it isn't too tight around my rear (since it's kinda big and does make the jeans/skirt fit tighter than on skinnier people).

3. Put the insert on top of the skirt. Overlap each leg so that the insert is sandwiched between the front of the skirt and the top outside of the skirt. Pin in place starting at the bottom and working up (refresh Part 2 Steps 4-7).

Line the seam from the back insert up with the line from the back of the skirt.

Make sure that your seam line from the insert is lined up with the straight seam you made in the rear part of the skirt (refresh Part 2 Step 8). To do this you will have to pull the fabric around a little to make sure it's lined up right, but the bottom of the skirt will still be straight across and not wobbled once it's sewn.

4. Finish pinning up the back of the skirt. Sew the skirt starting at the top and following the top leg down until you reach the bottom of the skirt. Repeat with the other side and then add the second set of stitches for each side.

Remove all of the excess fabric.

5. Inside out the skirt. Cut the extra fabric out.

Now your skirt is ready to wear.

6. Now your skirt is done! Inside it out and try it on!

~This finished skirt ended up being a little too tight on me so I only wore it for the photos and that's it. Maybe one day it will fit me...or I will find someone who needs it more than I do. Until then I will keep it in a box since it is a very nice skirt! Probably the best one I ever made!

As an added bonus I am going to share a few links with you to other blogs where jeans were made into long skirts!

My Denim Skirt: Long Pleated Denim Skirt.
Nina Mia's DIY: Denim Skirt Made With Two Pairs of Jeans.
Shop Bop: Long Denim Skirt with the "classic" look front.

This Post Was Shared!


  1. This is a really detailed tutorial. Nice job. I like how you made this without the "classic" overlap at the top. It looks much better the way you did it. :)


    1. Thank you! Yeah, I figured out how to do that awhile back and now make all my skirts this way!


  2. I like how smooth this looks, and that you've used another pair of jeans to add a flare to it :) It might be kind of neat with a different coloured pair of jeans, too!

    Thanks for sharing this on Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Helen!

    1. Yes I have seen two tone skirts and they are very different! :)


    2. Helen, this post is being featured this week on Waste Not Want Not! Congrats and I'm looking forward to seeing what you've been up to this week :)

    3. WOW Thank you!!! I just saw that when I clicked the link on your email you sent out for the link up and was SO suprised!! :) I got a link up on the post and a Featured button!! THANKS!!


  3. Love it! I need to learn how to sew... & then buy a machine. lol.

    Krys @ Mr&Me

    1. I love these skirts too! I'm really good at making the knee length ones, but it's been awhile since I've made a long one like this.


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