Ask, and Ye shall receive.

by Abigail Percy on 13/04/2006

in Green Crafting


First of all I want to thank everyone for all of the fabulous suggestions posted in the comments last week. One recurring theme in the e-mails and comments I’ve recieved about recycled clothing is “I want to make my old clothes into new clothes, but I don’t know how to get started.” That’s where this post comes in. Here, we take old man pants and transform them into a li’l pleated skirt, embelished with one of these lovely fabric flowers from Wise Craft. Of course, there are many MANY more ways to remake your old duds, and for many more ideas, check out the links at the end of this post!

1. Seam rip hem stitches and cut off any part of the cuff that may be worn out. 2. Turn pants inside out and seam rip the inseam, from ankle to crotch to ankle. 3. Put pants on inside-out and mark on the side of the thigh where you’d like the skirt to end (before the pleats). Also, mark at the back of the skirt, at the widest part of your bottom (each marked here with a red “x”). Now, draw a line one inch below the mark on the side of the thigh, perpendicular to an intact side seam. 4. In this picture I’ve added that red dotted line to show how you can follow the natural line from the zipper down to the bottom of your skirt. Baste this, as well as a similar line you’ve drawn from the point you’ve marked as the widest part of your bottom down to the edge of the skirt. I say *baste* because this is the part where a tiny bit of fitting comes in. My seam below the zipper worked fine, but I had to adjust the one at the back a bit, as you can see here:


Now, once you’ve got the seams right, stitch along your baste lines. And then, seam finish around the bottom edge of your skirt (I used a zig-zag stitch), and set this part aside.




5. cut two long rectangles of fabric out of each pant leg you’ve cut off (mine were 8″ x 24.5″). Sew these together, end to end, until you have a really long strip. Now fold this strip lengthways (right sides together) and stitch together to make one long tube. 6. First turn the tube right side out, then press the tube flat, then press in pleats. I made my pleats random and just kept and eye on how long my tube was once folded as I knew the hem of my skirt was about 42″ around. 7. to finish the edges of the tube, I folded each end inside about a half inch and hand stitched closed. Now, pin the pleated fabric onto the skirt overlapping about one inch. 8. I had left my pleated piece a little shorter than my skirt hem on purpouse to have a little gap/side slit, and this of course is where I attached my fabric flower, which I made with some of the leg scraps. Once I’d finished my skirt I decided I didn’t like how the front pockets kind of “pooched out” at the sides, so I went ahead and sewed them shut with just a single line of stitching along the pocket edge.

And that’s pretty much it! This is the first how-to type post I’ve written for whip up, so please let me know if things don’t make sense.

Want to see more ways to re-do a wardrobe?

From not martha, a full length jean skirt
Gorgeous things from Revamp Designs
More skirts and some great looking “t-shirt sugery” at Oh My Stars Craft
And if you’ve ever wondered how to turn a bedsheet into a Jellyfish dress, check out this post at Pearl of Civiliation

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 gkgirl April 13, 2006 at 5:01 pm

this is so awesomely-exciting!
i love this idea
and cannot wait to give it a try…


2 maitreya April 15, 2006 at 6:46 am

I love the pleats! Heading to closet to see what to sacrifice…


3 Rachael April 17, 2006 at 5:00 am

Neat-o. Just getting into sewing again — can’t wait to try this. Good write-up.


4 gleek June 7, 2006 at 1:05 am

i used this post to make three skirts out of old pants!!! i loved it and want to make more now :)


5 Hannah S. September 5, 2006 at 4:36 am

This looks SO awesome, waaay better than any other skirt to make from old pants. I’m just getting back into sewing and this is going to be a fun project that won’t require yards of expensive fabric! Can’t wait to try it!


6 Amanda May 20, 2007 at 12:24 am

this idea is really cool. i tried it and it is awesome. now all my old pants are new skirts.


7 Layne August 22, 2009 at 8:18 am

Wow! I guess I was ahead of my time 36 years ago when, at the age of 16, I did the same thing (minus the pleated ruffle) to a pair of gauchos!!! I think I’ll try it again with some slacks this time! Thanks for the post that reminded me of this idea.


8 nehmah November 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

If you have a noticeable (to you) difference from right side to left side, don’t turn the garment inside-out. This will put any alteration on the wrong/other side from where you want it to be. There are time when you can’t work from the right side, i.e. no friend handy to help with the marking, but you can use blackboard chalk on denim or old wool to mark and it does wash or brush out. Cordially, Nehmah


9 Alex May 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm

When doing this tutorial I also took the chance to rip out the waistband, and add two darts over the pockets. Handy if you’re really using men’s pants, or very ill fitting women’s pants. Very huggy at the top, and flares to the knees, super flattering on everyone.


10 Jessica January 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

WOW! This is a really great idea for a skirt to wear at work. I usually just find pants like the ones you worked on. Now I can turn them into something cute to wear at work!! Thank you thank you thank you!


11 Holly Shaw March 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Just did this and it was super easy. Thanks for posting it.


12 alaa July 24, 2012 at 5:39 am

This is a really great idea


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