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How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans

Turtleneck to Crew Neck Sweater Refashion
Slit Bottom Sleeve Dress Refashion

By now you surely know I hate having to buy anything new.

But there are a few clothing items I just about always buy new. Undies (no “just about” here…straight up always!), shoes, and sadly…jeans all fall into this category.

Jeans are great. They’re comfy and go with everything. But jeans can be annoying in that their “on trend” silhouette changes every few years, leaving us with a bunch of dated denim that we no longer want to wear.

Right now, high-waisted jeans are in style. But do you need to toss out your old low-waisted jeans and buy new jeans to remain au currant? No. You do not.

I bought this pair of low-waisted acid-washed jeans a couple of years ago from the $1 rack at my fave thrift store.

refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans before
C’mon…they’re not that bad.

At the time, acid wash denim was stilllll kiiiiiinda in style. If you look closely, you can see they’re too long for me (whyyyy didn’t I hem them…it’s literally what I do!) But I digress.

I wore them a few times, but never really liked them very much, so in the donation pile they went!

I also had these black jeans I also bought for $1 that I’ve worn a TON (here they are on my Instagram) and really like.

refashionista holding up black jeans

I’ve worn them so much, in fact, that they’d begun to wear out in a couple of places.

worn out crotch of jeans
Huh.

With the power of these two pairs of jeans combined, I just knew I could create a pair of high-waisted jeans!

First, I used my seam ripper to unpick the belt loops from my black jeans.

unpicking belt loop from jeans
Pick!

I also removed the top part of the zipper.

removing zipper
You are no longer needed. Thank you for your service.

Then, I cut off the waistband entirely, leaving about 1/2″ below the waist.

cutting waist out of jeans
Just a quick snip!

Here’s what it looked like when I was done.

removed waistband from jeans
My jeans are a little short now, eh?

I pinned the waist of the black jeans to the waist of my acid-wash jeans.

pinning waist of jeans into other jeans
See where I’m going with this?

Then, I stitched the two pieces together!

sewing in new waist of jeans
A new waist is born!

I pinned each of the belt loops from the black jeans to the acid-wash jeans.

pinned belt loops
Like this!

Then, I stitched them down.

sewing down belt loop
A baby whirrrrr!

The waist of my jeans is now complete, BUT I still have more work to do!

I addressed the length of my jeans by simply lopping off the bottom part of the legs, leaving the raw edge to fray.

cutting off bottom of leg
Snippity snip!
bottom scraps from legs
Any idea of what I can do with these?

At this point, I had the structure of my new jeans how I wanted them, but I still HATED the color/high contrast of the two pairs of jeans.

So, I grabbed a couple bottles of dye!

bottle of black and brown dye
This should work, right?

I mixed about half a bottle of black dye with about 1/3 of a bottle of brown dye.

For some reason, black dye always seems to skew purple, so I thought the brown would help me attain a more charcoal-like hue.

I tossed my jeans and a T-shirt (because why not?) into my washing machine.

pair of jeans and T-shirt in washing machine
Welcome to my new washing machine!

About a week ago, our high-efficiency front-load washing machine died a watery laundry room-flooding death. It was a mold factory and I HATED it. No love lost here.

When I selected my (beautiful) new washing machine, I made sure it had the ability to fill the drum with water as desired specifically so I could dye stuff in it.

I selected this on my machine:

hot water high water level setting
This seems right, right?

I checked in on my dye bath mid-wash and thought everything was going as planned.

jeans in washing machine dye bath
So far so good!

After the wash cycle, I rinsed my jeans and stowaway T-shirt in cold water.

rinsing dye out of jeans in washing machine
“This’ll turn out great!”, I thought.

But after I dried my jeans, I still didn’t like the color!

lightly dyed jeans
Not dark enough yet, I say!

Here’s what went wrong.

  • I shouldn’t have selected the “high” water setting. Medium would have been fine given the amount of dye I used.
  • I forgot my new washing machine is much larger than the older one I used to dye stuff in.
  • If I was going to use the “high” water setting, I needed to add more dye.
  • I should have used a dye fixative for this project.

Time for a do-over! I grabbed my big pot I usually use for dye projects and prepared a new dye bath for my jeans.

This time I used a full bottle of black dye.

dye bath with jeans
Take 2!

When the dye bath was complete, I dumped out the dye water and added a dye fixative as per the bottle’s instructions.

bottle of dye fixative
Here goes nothing!

After 20 minutes of soaking in the fixative, I rinsed my jeans in my washing machine on the delicate cycle in cold water and dried them.

dark dyed jeans
Much better!

Check out my newly high-waisted jeans now!

refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans after
Much improved!

I styled my new jeans with that T-shirt I added to the first dye bath and my duster sweater (that used to be a refashioned sweater dress before I un-refashioned it!).

refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans after in front of mural square view
Quite comfy!
refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans after 2
Loving the new dark hue!

I think these turned out great!

refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans after in front of mural
Do you like my color-coordinated mural?

Here’s what they look like from the back!

refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans after back view
Le back!

I’m really glad I didn’t give up after the first dye bath didn’t work out to my liking!

diy high waisted jeans after
The darker color really makes them work, methinks!

Not bad for $2 worth of jeans plus the cost of dye, right?

Plus, the sewing part of this refashion is ridiculously easy! It took less than 20 minutes!

If you’ve been craving a new pair of high waisted jeans, I hope you’ll give this project a try!

Pin this double waisted jeans tutorial for later using this link!

Cheers!

refashionista How to Make High Waisted Jeans from Low Waisted Jeans before and after

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