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My Favorite Skirt – How to Make a Long Skirt from Recycled Jeans

My Favorite Skirt

My Favorite Skirt

This really is my favorite skirt. I’ve been wearing it just about weekly for 7 years? 8 years? I had an amazing time teaching people at Maker Faire how to make this skirt. The shape is flattering on all body types (Seriously. I have yet to see a gal that doesn’t look fabulous in this skirt) and allows for great ease of movement. (Seriously. I ride my bike and climb trees in this skirt). Added bonus – I  met my boyfriend while wearing this skirt! The basic idea behind this skirt is that we are opening up a pair of pants and setting in four triangles of fabric into the openings.

You Need:
Download a diagram of My Favorite Skirt Instructions if desired
2 pairs of recycled jeans. 1 needs to fit you at the waist.
Scissors
Sewing Machine
Thread

Separated MFS Instructions 1

We start with the first pair of pants. These needs to fit you at the waist. Cut off the entire center seam, cutting up one leg and down the other. On the outside leg seams, cut off the seam stopping a few inches above the knee.

Web

On the second pair of pants your goal is to make two rectangles of fabric out of the legs. To do this, cut off the legs just below the crotch. Then cut off the center leg seam from both legs. (For this skirt you’ll be discarding the top of these pants, but consider other creative uses of the jean tops. Sew on other fabric for a non-denim skirt, make it into a tool-belt, save the back pockets to sew onto something else…)

Separated MFS Instructions 3

Back to the first pair of pants – we need to deal with the curve of fabric that sticks out to allow the trousers to go into the crotch. To do this, we make a slit next to the curved part of the crotch seam. Don’t cut out the whole seam because this will leave a hole. In the front, slit next to the seam up until the bottom of the zipper, but make sure you stop below the zipper because zipper flies have several layers of denim that are challenging to sew through. In the back, slit to about mid-butt, which usually is about the bottom of the pockets.

Separated MFS Instructions 4

We now want to take the two rectangles made out of pant legs and turn them into four triangles. We want two to be slightly larger and two to be slightly smaller. To do this, instead of cutting exactly on the diagonal (which would make four equal size triangles), shift your cut line down by a couple of inches. If the pant legs you used aren’t exactly rectangular (e.g. they came from a pair of flares), don’t worry. Your triangles just need to be mostly triangular – a little bit of wonkiness never hurt anyone.

Separated MFS Instructions 5

Now we start sewing the skirt together. Front and back are sewn similarly. I suggest laying out and pinning the front, sewing the front, and then laying out, pinning, and sewing the back. If you try to pin all the triangles in before you sew any, you’ll be dealing with a lot of pins that can snag on the rest of the skirt or on your fingers!

Start with the crotch curve. You want to make the curved parts lay flat against the skirt so they will flap to the side, as shown in the diagram. Pin them in place. Then take one of the larger triangles and put it on the inside of the skirt. Pin down one leg seam and then the other with the triangle and leg fabric overlapping by 1/2 inch. You want your triangle to lay flat at the top (so don’t stretch the legs apart immediately) and to take full advantage of the width of the triangle at the bottom (so it’s good if the legs are being stretch wide at the bottom). Don’t worry if you have overlapping fabric or large seam allowances at the top of the triangle as you can cut out the excess after you have sewn the seams.

my favorite skirt stitching

A note about sewing: One seam of a normal straight stitch will not be sufficient to hold this skirt together. I recommend doing two rows of stitching and using a sturdier stitch like an elastic/stretch stitch or a zig-zag stitch. Also, the point at which your crotch fabric slit stops is going to be a weak point. I recommend running a tight zig-zag of stitches over it to prevent it from forming a hole.

Separated MFS Instructions 6

Finally, set the smaller triangles of fabric into the side slits and sew them in place.

A note about design decisions – There are so many ways you can personalize this skirt. Make it out of non-denim pants (FYI, wool pinstripe looks awesome and steampunk). Make your inset panels out of highly contrasting denim. Set in triangles of non-denim fabric. Cut the skirt short (omit the side triangles if the skirt is much shorter than your knee). Add applique decorations to the skirt…

Comments 10

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  1. wanda

    Fantastic! I just made a long skirt from two pair of jeans using two triangles, front and back. I can’ wait to try this with 4 triangles! Love the instructions. Jean skirts are the best!

  2. Samantha

    Omg! A great tute! I have been trying to think this out in my head for yrs! Have never attempted to make one. Now I will! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kathy

    oh I just made one and I think this is now my favourite skirt :D oh I love it :D may or may not alter it a bit after tonight going out in it thank you for this great tutorial.

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  4. Courtney

    Hi! Thanks for posting this tutorial. It wasn’t easy from a newbie perspective though lol. I found the pattern and planned to hand sew it (not fun ). I had it all pinned and was then given a sewing machine. I apparently misunderstood your pattern, because I assumed I had to turn it inside out and repin it to sew it that way. Of course, the back puckered because I had pinned it completely wrong. Lol. And, you didn’t specify when to cut the future skirts length, so I didn’t realize how long it was til it was pinned… It’s a wearable mess. But, I’m writing this with humor at myself :) On the bright side, it took me all of 5 minutes to learn the machine. Now that I think I correctly understand the pattern, I’m going to try again, to make skirts for my daughters.

  5. Lyric

    This is a nice tut. I started one for an October “Make A Garment A Month Challenge”. It’s modeled after the one I saw on Pinterest by apostolic clothing dot com. It has diamond shaped patchwork inserts in the front and back.

    I may try one in the future with the four inserts. I live in semi-tropical environment so not sure how often I’d get to wear that much denim. Still, it would be a nice project to blog about.

    Thank you for this share.

    Cheers,

    Lyric
    http://www.sewlyricallyvintage.wordpress.com

    P.S. I am really enjoying your website. The Robson Coat inner lining is what pulled me in and made me Bloglovin’ follow you. :-)

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      Seamstress Erin

      I wear my skirt in all sorts of weather, even on the hottest days of summer (which for us is ~80F). The volume of the skirt with four panel inserts allows plenty of air to move over your legs and keep you cool, in my opinion, so maybe it would work for you too?

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