It is that time of the year again and we find ourselves transitioning into Fall. We go into our closets, take out the sweaters and start wearing layers. As I went into my daughter’s closet and found a few things to donate, I found a couple of pants that still fit her at the waist but are short at the ankles. So I thought to turn them into a skirt, which became the idea for this post! Note that you can do this project with your own, adult size pants. You will need:
A pair of old pants
Your sewing machine
Basic sewing skills
1.a. Decide where you would like your hem height to be (above or below the knee, etc) and mark it. Lay the pants completely flat on a flat surface. Cut the legs off where you marked the leg. Be careful to cut in a “curve” and not straight across (image above)
1.b. Use your seam ripper to take apart the seam on the inside leg. When you get to crotch area, carefully rip the seams as close to the zipper as possible. It may take a little time to do this but it will be worth it. Keep the bottom part of the legs that you just cut off for the next step.
2.a. Use your scissors to cut open the legs (the pieces you just cut off) along one of the seams (side or inseam, it doesn’t matter). No need to rip the seams, just cut as close to the seam as possible. The top part of the pants (which will become your skirt) will have two sort of flaps, at the front and back, in what used to be the inseam of the leg and crotch. Lay the pants flat, overlap the crotch flaps one on top of the other and put one of the pieces of fabric from the cutout legs (legs you cut off) under the opening. Make sure the flaps are on top of that piece of fabric, laying flat, fold in the edges and carefully pin the layers together.
3.a. Time to sew! Top stitch along the pinned folded flaps. You can use a thicker, contrasting thread color for fun - you gotta show off your work, right? I used a couple strands from a DMC embroidery floss. Cut the excess fabric on the wrong side of the garment (middle image above).
3.b. Repeat steps 2.a through 3.a to finish the back of the skirt. Once front and back are finished, your skirt is ready! You can wash and dry it to fray the hem.
Step 2.a. optional: Instead of using the cut out leg to insert under the opening at the front and back of the skirt, you could use a different fabric to add contrast. Maybe use a patterned fabric or different color fabric but you should find something that is the same fabric weight as the rest of the skirt.
Step 3.b. optional: You may decide to finish the hem differently. You can fold in the hem and top stitch it but you must remember to add an extra 1.5” to 2” hem height when cutting the pants on step 1.a. You can also top stitch lace or ribbon at the edge of the hem. However, it must be a narrow width as your hem is curved and the lace or ribbon will lay flat, possibly producing a puckered effect.
Now that your skirt is ready, wear it, layer it with tights this Fall and strut it around next Summer. You will be so happy with the result and best of it all, you did it all yourself and reused a piece from your closet. This is a great project to reuse your favorite pair of pants and to create a unique piece of clothing you can wear all year around. Enjoy it, have fun and happy sewing!