From Flared to Skinny: An Easy-Peasy Jeans ReFashion

Beige, But Not Blah Dress
From 3 to 1

I simply could not believe my luck when I found these jeans in exactly my size at the $1-a-pound Goodwill Clearance Center!

Not to shabs!
Not too shabs…buuuut…

There was just one problem, I don’t want a pair of flared jeans, whereas I really could use a pair of skinny jeans. The one pair I had was on its last legs (har har), and was never made of a good quality denim to begin with.

This pair I scored for about $1, however was made of a nice, thick denim with exactly the wash I had been wanting.

It didn’t take me very long before I figured out what I needed to do here.

I turned the flares inside out, then laid my skinny jeans over them, like so:

See where I'm going with this?
See where I’m going with this?

Next, I pinned along the edge of the skinny jeans.

So easy!
So easy!

Then, I stitched the pinned line down.


Denim is fairly fray-cray, so I serged the edge down as well. If you don’t have a serger, a zigzag stitch and some fray-check will work just fine.


Because I’m on the short side, I also needed to give my sweet new jeans two sweet new hems. To do this, I pinned them where I wanted them to fall, and then pressed the pinned part under.

Like this!
Like this!

Then, I folded the top bit under and pinned it, like this:


After following this same step with the other leg, under the needle they went!

Last step!
Last step!

I pressed the new hems, as well as my new side seams.

And now I have a pair of jeans that fits better than any I’ve ever had!

I'm in love!
I’m in love!

I paired them with a fabulous drapey $1 thrifted tee I scored that week and a vintage necklace I’ve had forever.

And check out the fabulous back pockets!

Aren't they the best?
Aren’t they the best?

My new jeans got tons of compliments at a pie-themed dinner party with some of my favorites. :)

David pontificates. I am highly amused.
David pontificates. I am highly amused.
My contribution for the evening: a tomato pie!
My contribution for the evening: a tomato pie!
Coming this fall to NBC!
Coming this fall to NBC!

Jeans are pricey (unless you score them for $1 a pound!), so why not look at your current stash and see if you have any old flares you don’t wear anymore that could use an upcycle, rather than going out and buying a new pair?



4.7 (94.87%) 191 votes

61 thoughts on “From Flared to Skinny: An Easy-Peasy Jeans ReFashion

  1. I’m so glad to see this post. I have a pair of jeans that I love but I lost some weight and hate to get rid of them. I think I’m going to try and alter them instead. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Those look fantastic on you – meeeow! I should stop bypassing flare jeans at the thrift store (they’re often cheaper!). I would just add that you’d want to make sure the skinnies you use to size them were of a similar stretch. I’d hate to end up with calf tubes I couldn’t get my feet through!

  3. I live in Aiken, SC… Where do you score clothing for a dollar a pound? Is it in Columbia? I see a road trip in my future

  4. They look great! Watch the grain though. Nothing worse than a pair of jeans that twist around your calf as you walk.

  5. I just want to tell you that I absolutely “LOVE” you! You are making sewing fun for all ages and your repurposing, I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I love the challenge. I make a lot of my clothes and dresses out of sheets and I love the thrill of getting something for $1 and making it look like you bought it from the mall. I really look forward to your thrift store halls I love to see what you get. So keep up the great work, you are an awesome person. I also love the stories of where you are going to where your new refashions, you are definitely someone I’d hang out with if I met you. Keep on rocking the sewing machine. You brighten my day. Thanks Cheri

  6. How exciting. I have been checking in for days, hoping for a new post and today – on my birthday – you posted these adorable jeans. Well done! They look super cute. And thanks for the pressie :-)

  7. I am loving the color of these jeans! I also love the shirt and accessories! I am going to have to start looking at jeans when I hit up Good Will. I usually only look at work slacks. I skim jeans..but rarely find anything because everything is so dated. I see plenty of bell bottoms or wide leg fashions that look horrible. BUT, if I could find some that fit and can be converted to skinny jeans that would be great!

    1. Check to see if the French seams are on both inside and outside leg seams. A lot of my jeans have French seams on the inside, the inseam that is, but plain seams on the outside.

    2. I followed your instructions to alter a pair of great lightweight dark denim flares that were too “flare-y” for my taste, AND THEY TIRNED OUT SUPER CUTE!!! Thank you!!!

  8. I took all of my wider leg dress slacks and did the same thing. Not going all the way down to super skinny but to straight narrow legs. On the last of 5 pair I split the difference trimming from both the inner and outer leg. They do fit a little better. But all look and feel great.

    For the first pair, I thought, what have I got to lose? By the 5th I thought, virtually free… new straight narrow leg wardrobe necessities!

  9. Well. . . shit. I feel like an idiot. I can never find skinny jeans proportioned tall in my size, but the racks are full of flares. I’m going to have to try this.

  10. I have been spending some time trying to alter clothing to fit (mostly every pair of pants I have gaps at the waist). But I’d never go from flare to skinny jeans. Skinny jeans do not flatter my figure, and never have. And I’m old enough to remember the last time they were in fashion, didn’t wear them then either!

    1. Sadly, they were a verrrrry limited edition run for just me and my coworkers at Riggs. Otherwise I’d happily direct you to a site!

  11. Great job! I think you look awesome in both the before and after photos, actually. But, I’m still a fan of flares and love wearing them myself.

  12. I’ve done this before and LOVED the way they turned out! Any chance you could tell me which side of the pant leg you took yours in from? I did the inner leg and wonder if the outer leg is a better choice? Thanks and welcome back! I’ve missed your posts!!!!

  13. Hey that is pretty much what I did with a pair of boot cut pants. I am also drawing on them with fabric markers in an Aztec pattern because I have an ink stain to hide :D

  14. I think this is the first time I’ve seen you in jeans! You look like you are doing The Karate Kid in the behind the scenes picture!
    Next we need to know how to fix the nasty “back gap” like MM1970 mentions. (I’m either not old enough to remember the last time skinny jeans were in fashion, but more likely, I’m SO OLD I’ve forgotten – or blocked it out!)

  15. Very wise to use another pair as a pattern! I have never made jeans smaller but have made them an inch on each side larger adding fabric … A great success! Also have made waist a little larger and more comfortable adding a V fabric at back! These days would give the too tight ones away to some lucky person!

  16. When I hem jeans I serge the raw edge allowing for 1/2 inch or so to fold under as the hem. Serging and folding cuts way back on the bulk…especially at the seams…when you fold over the hem since you’ll only have to fold over once instead of twice. Thread your machine with 2 spools of thread, running both threads through you needle. Match the thread color to the original stitching of your jeans. Often times this is a mustard yellow colored thread. I have 1 spool of mustard thread and have created my 2nd “spool” by running a bobbin (since I didn’t want to buy 2 spools of that color). Then, lengthen your stitch…sew a sample to see if you can match the stitch length on your jeans. Sew the hem from the the right side so your colored threads will be on top. This hem looks great and is super easy!

  17. Love the refash, and yes alot of us have gaps at our waists. YouTube has great alteration videos for just this problem. Check them out, I have refashed almost all of my gappy jeans. Lost more weight so I will be taking them in again…super easy. Thanks for all you do, and show us.

  18. I LOVE flared jeans and hate the skinny jean look on me but you look FAB in yours! Denim is so hard to work with so I am in awe! Great refashion ;)

  19. This is great! I have a pair of wide-legged polka dot trousers that I don’t wear enough (doesn’t help that they’re a little on the short side which really shows on wide legs) so I need to get round to taking them in. It’s just working out how much to take them in since they’re non-stretch and I still need to bend XD

  20. Makes me think to junior high when I use to peg and of course hem my jeans. Didn’t do a great job but my sewing skills were just starting. Lol no one could see the errors so no worries.

  21. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! About a year ago a good friend of mine that knows how much I love to refashion gave me a huge bag of pants she didn’t want anymore. Unfortunately most of them were too small on me but there were two pairs of cords that actually fit. They’re both flared and a bit dated looking, so I thought it would be fun to turn them into cropped skinnies, but I’ve never done anything with pants other than a hem, so I’ve been too nervous to try. But you make it look easy, so I think I’ll give it a go! The good news is I have two pairs, so even if I mess up the first time I can have a second chance, ya know? :)

  22. Love seeing all the cute things you upcycle. Do you have any tips for taking in pants in the seat and waist? I have many dress pants that I can no longer wear because I’ve lost weight. The seat and waist are just too big. Not complaining, just not at my goal so don’t want to buy new ones or be wasteful.

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