Sep 24, 2010

Little Girl Jean Skirt Tutorial

As promised I am back with a tutorial on how to turn a pair of little girl jeans into a cute skirt. This is a great repurpose for jeans with holes in the knees or that are too short. I am excited to try one using a pair of overalls next. I will let you know how that goes. So basically what you will need is:
-1 pair of jeans
-1 piece of fabric (can be 45 inches wide or 60. The first one I made was 45 inches wide and this one I made using 60 inch wide fabric and it is much fuller and fluffier so if you can go with 60 inches that is great but not necessary).
1. Start by laying out your jeans. (NOTE: if they have an adjustable waist make sure you undo that before beginning. I realized that made a big difference AFTER I cut mine-oops)
Lay your jeans with one leg on top of the other-lining up the top and bottom of the jeans and pulling out the crotch seam. Determine where you will want to cut. You don't have a lot of options since you will want to cut right above the crotch seam (the piece that comes out to a point in the picture below) and below the pockets of the jeans. Draw a line with a pencil on one leg and then open your jeans back up.
I thought I had a picture of the line part but it looks like my camera must have eaten it. Next cut on the line of one leg right to the center seam, then fold that leg over on top of the other leg and use it as a guide to cut the second leg. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE TOP OF THE JEANS LINED UP.
Open up and you should have something like this. Don't worry if you have jagged edges. Those can be straightened at this point. I had to do some straightening myself.
Now on to your skirt fabric. If you want to make a 2 teired skirt you will need to cut 3 strips of fabric. You could totally just use 1 strip of fabric and just make it a bit wider. The width of your strips is not that important. If you are making a skirt for a taller girl you could get away with wider strips or even use more than 2 strips. Wouldn't it be cute to make a floor length skirt with coordinating materials??? For this skirt (that comes to about my 2 year olds knees) I made my strips 4 inches wide.
Take one strip and sew the ends together to form a circle. (Remember right sides together. This fabric didn't have a right or wrong side-but don't you forget that step). Oh ya, I did this tutorial for my non-serger readers. If you had a serger you could totally whip this skirt out in no time, but if you don't have a serger it takes a bit longer with a few more details. My seam was 1/2 inch. I heard Martha Stewart say that sewing patterns are going to 1/2 inch seams now rather than 5/8" to help save fabric. INTERESTING!! Okay back to business. So sew the seam and then pink off your excess.
Now sew 2 rows of basting (your longest stitch length possible) stitches around one side of the circle. My mom always taught me to use 2 rows of basting and in the long run it is much easier. I sewed these at 5/8 inch and 3/8 inch. (I'm assuming you know all about basting to do this. If anyone has questions let me know.)
Pull on your strings to gather your skirt piece. I always gather more than necessary because I find it easier to let out gathers then add them back in.
Now pin this piece to your jean top right sides together, matching up your seam. Because your fabric is a loop it will only have one seam so it might be helpful to fold it in half and find the direct opposite side of your seam. I eye balled mine. Pin all the way around, letting out or gathering the fabric piece more as needed so that it lays flat with the jeans. (LOTS OF PINS).
Here is the underneath side reminding you to put right sides together and match your seams.
See, lots of pins.
Now stitch around this at 1/2 inch seam. Remember to return your stitch length to normal after having done the basting.
It will look like this when you are done. It is a good idea to look at it from the right side to make sure you haven't folded anything over while sewing.
Now use your pinking shears again and trim that edge. (THIS IS A VERY STRINGY PROJECT).
Next you will take the remaining 2 strips of fabric and sew an end of one to the end of the other to make one long strip, and then the remaining 2 ends together to form on large circle. Let me just stop and explain what it has taken me multiple attempts at these ruffle skirts to figure out. Each tier you add on to the skirt you will need to double the amount of fabric you used from the previous. So for example if you were to add on another teir after this one you would use 4 strips (inorder for it to be big enough to go all the way around and still be ruffly.) At least that is what I have concluded. Correct me if I am wrong. Once you have your large circle, trim all your seams with pinking shears and then sew your 2 rows of basting stitches as you did to the previous piece. Make sure you have enough thread before you start sewing or you will be one mad cookie if you run out half way through. Pull on your strings to gather this piece as well only it will not have to be gathered nearly as much as the first so save yourself some of the hastle. Now pin it to the bottom edge of the piece you have already sewn to the jeans. Remember to put right sides together. It takes me a minute every time I do this to figure out if I have things the right direction, but just put the jeans part that you have already made inside the circle piece you are wanting to attach with the bottom down and have the gathered edge of the circle facing down as well. Match your side seams and use lots and lots of pins.
Now sew all around at 1/2 inch. Remember normal stitch length.
Turn it right side out and check for folds and tucks. You will also need to take out any basting stitches that are showing.
Pink off your seam again. Now for the bottom. You will need to hem it. I hate hemming p.s.. Start by folding up a 1/4 inch all around and pressing with an iron. Then repeat and fold another 1/4 of an inch. Pin in place. Sew all around the bottom edge and pat yourself on the back because you are done!!!!!!!!
I love this one. It turned out so ruffly and poofy. Small fry loves it. She said, "look I'm a princess." I will take a picture of her in it when she wears it to church.
You could add ribbon or flowers. Alternating colors would be cute. Endless possiblities. Thanks again Heather M for the inspiration. Have fun ladies!!
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  1. Adorable! I actually bought my dd a skirt like that at Kohls (NOT on sale-she had to have it and I caved) and she gets so many compliments on it. Can I give a little tip? It's so much easier to hem the bottom ruffle before you gather and sew it on. I do it after sewing the ends but before doing the gathering stitch.

  2. Great tip-never even thought of hemming before gathering. Thanks

  3. Yay! Thanks. I'm totally doing this with some jeans soon. I agree with Gale, hemming is a ton easier if you do it first. You can do it at the same time you sew your basting stitches. I'm way excited to try...wish the fabric selection could be a little easier, I want all of it.

  4. So cute! And now I can re-purpose all those "flood" pants my daughter has. I was going to comment on the hemming too, but they beat me to it!

    On another to help me with a project???

    I thought you might have some scraps that fit the bill well and you could whip out a pillowcase or two in no time.

    I love your blog and I would love your support. Even if it's just to spread the word.


  5. What a cute, cute skirt!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  6. Aww, that's super cute! Thanks so much for the how-to, I'll be linking.

  7. This would be cute even for an adult!

  8. thank you for this tutorial! it is exactly what i got on to look for :) i picked up a super cute pair of tights at a garage sale for my girl but, alas, she has nothing to wear with them :( she will soon, though!

  9. My girls are growing too tall for their pants, so I put this on my "to-do" list. Thanks for the tutorial!

  10. love this! Thanks for the tutorial, it's well written:)

  11. I used your tutorial to cut my jeans - thanks so much for the explanation! I linked to you at

  12. I love this am going to try it right now!!

  13. By adding ruffled garments below the denim skirt makes it more fabulous and stylish. It adds volume to the plain denim. This will surely be like by our daughters.

  14. it's great the way that these jeans transform into an adorable, cute jean skirt.

  15. am making these for my girl for christmas. i would also suggest topstitching the bottom of the jeans where you sewed the first ruffle to prevent turning. cant wait to get started!


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