DIY: make your pants into ankle skimming skinnies

jean shopping... oh jean shopping. let us talk about jean shopping ladies, and gents... if there be gents who read this little blog. this fall i was sucked into a black hole of hunting for the perfect skinny jeans that hit right at my ankle. the ones that are so chic and found in every jcrew and madewell catalog. the jeans that would cover my entire and ample backside, not give me "muffin-top", and make my legs look maybe slightly longer. yes, i was looking for a miracle. i tried many brands and shops, but was left unsatisfied with the fit of some, and unable to justify the price-tag of others. however i needed some pants since it is now getting too cold for skirts and i had only one pair of jeans that i had not made into cut-offs over the summer. so i started looking at what i had and realized i had three pairs of j.crew favorite fit corduroys that i had nabbed on clearance about four years ago. bootcut was still in style - sort of. i have never been one to be too trendy, and i have found that when i attempt to follow a trend i often look or feel ridiculous. jeans with a good fit, a soft tee or tank, over-sized button ups, and comfy knit (preferably cable-knit) sweaters have been my M.O. since i was a teenager. paired with good quality shoes or boots, often second hand, but with a ton of wear left in them. i keep coming back to these things with small variations here and there.

so i was looking at these bootcut cords. i liked the colors - navy, grey, and black... but the cut was boring me. so i took in the legs and chopped off the hems to my liking, and dang, if i didn't feel like a new woman after that. three pairs of re-purposed pants that fit me like a glove and make me feel like i have a whole new pants wardrobe.i saved a ton of money, which i can throw into my huge pile of student debt at the end of the month.... sigh...

i could rant for hours about college tuition and what a crock of crap it all is... but at the end of the day i am a nurse, who wouldn't be a nurse if i had not taken out a ton of student debt. so i have been working my butt off and have been on a "spending diet" for most of the year, with the goal of becoming debt-free. it has been good, but rough. lot's of self-hair cuts and making due with the stuff i have.

that's not to say that it isn't fun.. and making my own pants into the ankle-skimming skinnies of my dreams was much more fun than spending money

it's easy, and quick.. and you can totally do this. here's how:

this will work best with pants that are fitted in the waist, hip, and at least the upper thighs. you could try it with very baggy jeans, but i am not quite sure what the outcome would be - although it might be amazing. 

step one: try on your pants and take note of where the simple seam is - this is the one without any visible stitching, just the seam. then take them off, turn them inside out, and put them back on. yes, inside out!

step two: you should be able to pinch your simple seam and grab any excess fabric. take some pins and carefully pint the excess fabric starting at the top of the leg wherever the pants are loose, and working your way down.

step three: remove the pants, carefully, and look at where the pins are - you can take a white crayon and make a line to guide you as you stitch if you like. as your pins may not make quite a straight line here, and it will be much easier to sew in a straight-ish line.

step four: using your sewing machine sew down the leg where you have pinned - use a long stitch at first that way if it's too small or you don't like it you can remove it easily. i started above the knee and sewed down the leg to the ankle. then try on the jeans inside out again and check your fit - if you are happy then move along to step five, but if you are not then make another seam to take more in, or remove the seam and start over until you get it the way you like.

step five: i used my overlock machine to make a good sturdy seam and remove the excess fabric. if you don't have an overlock machine, then you can use a regular machine set to a close zig-zag stitch, and stitch the crap out of them. really, go down the leg at least twice to get them covered. then use pinking shears to remove the excess fabric. pinking shears are great to have if you are not ready to invest in an overlock machine. i own these, and i still use them often.

step six: hem them, or cut them off where you like, as i did. i like that the unfinished edge makes them feel more worn-in and less dressy, especially since cords always seem a tad dressier than jeans to me for some reason... i hope this shows they don't need to be. 

and, ta-da! there you go. a pair of pants that took ten minutes to alter, fit like a glove, and have satisfied my desire for something different in my wardrobe. 

easy right? if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and i will answer. if you are local and you don't have a sewing machine, bring me coffee, or offer me a hair-cut, and i'll alter your pants for you...

while ranting about student debt....




  1. What an awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing!! I'm going to look at all my pants with an eager eye now. Hope your week is lovely :) x


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