How to Make a Skirt From a Pair of Thrift Shop Jeans

Skirts rarely ever fit me. In fact, I’ve given up on buying fitted skirts off-the-rack completely. To feed my skirt obsession, I’ve made it a habit to buy thrift store jeans (or bermuda shorts) and make them into custom, fitted skirts. I use a similar tailoring technique to the one I show in this video. Read on to find out how I make my favorite skirt!

Materials needed:

  • Old jeans or pants OR bermuda shorts (make sure they’re decently long if you’re using shorts for this)
  • Heavy duty scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine (if you want to read about which machines I recommend, see this post)

Step 1: Cut off the legs. Leave at least 4″ of leeway, as we will be trimming the skirt to our desired length at the very end

If you don’t already own a pair of quality, heavy-duty dressmaking scissors, you will want to for this tutorial. These scissors cut through denim like butter!!

Step 2: See those seams that run through the inner leg and cross the crotch to the other inner leg? We are next going to cut this seam all the way across.

This is where tough scissors come in handy. Snip that tough seam in the middle.

We are also going to cut the seam up to the zipper. This step helps to be able to lay the new seam we’re going to sew and make sure it is flat and looks natural. Don’t cut too close to the zipper, since that can cause issues while sewing over the thickness of the fabric plus zipper.

To finish this step, cut up the back seam as well. I cut up until the point where the seam straightens out.

Step 3: Pin the fabric together to form a skirt. Make sure it lays flat. Trim where needed if the curve looks too weird, which tends to happen on the back side, less so in the front. It’s ok if it’s messy! Since this skirt will have an unfinished hem it will look a little more rugged/distressed.

I trimmed down the curve on this side and it helped quite a bit!

Step 4: Using standard, matching thread (I’m using nylon thread), zig zag stitch the sides together. No need to try and hide the seam in this tutorial, it goes with the distressed look and actually blends in quite well with the right thread.

Do the front and the back.

Step 5: Flip the skirt inside out and trim any excess fabric.

Step 6: Now we will focus on sizing the skirt. Measure out your waist measurement, making sure to leave allowance. My waist measures 26″, and I planned to make the waist of the skirt 28″. This means 14″ on the front and 14″ on the back.

Step 7: Pin where you will be cutting. Shape the curve to fit your body type. Since my hips measure 36″, I made a pretty dramatic curve from the waist to the hips. Cut along the pins, making sure to leave around 1/2″ of allowance. Flip the skirt inside out, then sew with a straight stitch or zig-zag stitch.

Step 8: The final step is to trim the bottom of the skirt to your desired length. Easy enough! After this you may throw the skirt into the washing machine or use tweezers to distress the bottom hem.

And tadaaaa! It doesn’t need to be said, but I wear this skirt more than I’d like to admit. I also made a white one, and I have some jeans I’m going to turn into a denim skirt.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! See below for more photos of the skirts styled!

Purse and top are from Target. Boots are from Cavendar’s.

Top is from Nordstrom Rack by Madewell. Shoes are Amazon.

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