Do you know the old song?  How true it is, and what a delight to repurpose and put back into the world something that you thought had run its course!  Yesterday my mom and I had a sewing day, and I finished this project, which should have taken much less time than it did, but it was conceived from scratch (with inspiration courtesy of Angry Chicken’s 5-Minute Skirt) and made with much trial and error but relatively few curse words uttered.

I had a stash of jeans that had worn out, or lost too much length in the first washing (thanks, Gap Outlet), or had simply been bought impulsively and didn’t fit well.  I couldn’t bear to part with them, and why should I really?  The possibilities are endless for what to do with denim; here’s one idea:


1. Cut off the legs of 2-4 pairs of old jeans, depending on how wide you need the pieces to be and how varied the fabrics.  I ended up using 3 pairs total.

2. Cut off the side seams so that you are left with long trapezoids.  If the widths of the hems are all the same, you can keep them and you’ll already have a finished bottom hem.

*I was left with 12 side seams which looked kind of cool and, after a short discussion with my niece and nephew, are going to be repurposed as funky streamers for my niece’s bicycle handles!*

3. Measure the waist, hem, and length of your favorite A-line skirt.  Cut the jean pieces to a few inches longer than the length you want.  Divide the waist and hem by the number of pieces you plan to use.  For instance, if you’re using 8 jean leg pieces and your waist measurement is 32 inches and your hem is 64 inches, then you’ll want to sew each piece to 4 inches at the top and 8 inches at the bottom when finished.

Now it’s time to serge or sew.  This is a bit tedious because if you have 8 pieces, you’ll have to sew 8 seams.

4a.  If you have a serger, simply lay pieces right sides together and serge them together, allowing the serger to cut off extra fabric so that you end up with the finished dimensions you need.

4b.  If you have a sewing machine, cut each piece of fabric to your finished dimensions PLUS 1/2″ seam allowance on each side.  Lay pieces right sides together and sew with 1/2″ seam allowance.  Press seams together to one side, then fold under and press again so you end up with a doubled, 1/4″ seam.  Sew that down.  You’ll end up with visual seams this way, but you can make that fun by choosing a contrasting thread if you like.

5. Leave one seam undone 6 inches or so from the top, and quick-sew in a zipper.

6a. If serging, serge top to desired length, turn under about 1/2″ and sew close to lower edge.

6b. If sewing, leave 1″ above desired length at top, turn under 1″ and press.  Fold that in half and press again, so that you have a doubled 1/2″ seam and raw edge tucked under.  Sew close to lower edge.

VOILA!  A new skirt from old jeans.  Satisfying and cute!  I may embroider some fun patterns around the bottom edge, or do some fabric stamping to make it mine.  As I said before, the possibilities are endless!


This is my first tutorial, and something I’m considering doing more often on the blog.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Do you like this sort of thing?  Do you want more?  What kinds of repurposing/upcycling/self-made projects would interest you?