How To Sew New Jeans From Your Old Jeans

by Amy Draughon

For the past couple years my favorite jeans had been a pair I found on a Kohl's clearance rack for $8. 

Recently, I had to retire them. (You can only go so long with fraying patches in the inner thigh threatening to burst open!)

However, I wasn't too torn up about it. 

Earlier I'd splurged and bought some beautiful stretch twill denim online (thanks, Girl Charlee!) with which I was determined to make into my first-ever pair of handmade skinny jeans.

Have you noticed? Floral fabric turns me into the heart eyes emoji.

With my beloved jeans rendered unwearable, I had no problem dissecting them to use as a pattern.

You could do the same when your favorite jeans get too holey. Or buy a well fitting pair from Goodwill for a few dollars. 


The process is pretty simple:

  • Cut up a pair of jeans along the seam lines
    • You'll probably have the pant legs, back piece, belt, zipper, and pockets 
  • Use the pieces to trace a pattern onto paper, or cut directly from your new fabric
    • When working with stretch fabric, make sure the stretch is going across the pants (side to side, not up and down)
  • Be sure to add seam allowances and extra length for the hem!
  • After cutting your pattern pieces from fabric, sew them together into a new pair of jeans
    • Sew pockets onto the pant legs before sewing the leg pieces together

It might take a little thinking, but pay attention as you take apart the jeans to how the pieces work together. You learn a lot about clothing construction when you pick things apart!

The pockets were probably my favorite detail! So darn cute!

For my jeans I actually didn't put in the zipper; my fabric had so much stretch it didn't need it. (That's also why I didn't add seam allowances either.)

I love the floral pattern so much! I actually had to make this black peplum top to go with it - the pants are so bold!

There are plenty of other ways to use your old jeans as a pattern! Add more seam allowance for roomy pajamas, subtract allowance for leggings, make shorts...

I can't wait to make more things from my new pattern. I've already got more denim in my stash waiting to be sewn!