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Men’s Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion

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I get the feeling today’s refashion is going to be one of those, “Huh…it’s interesting, but I would never wear it” ones. 😉

But maybe it won’t be!

For me, part of the fun in refashioning is designing looks that are completely atypical of what I see hanging on the racks in stores. I enjoy being unique and standing out a little.

When I found these eggplant-colored men’s dress pants on the $1 clearance rack at the thrift store, I got pretty excited.

refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion before
“Aubergine” is Fancy for “Eggplant”.

Usually, the men’s pants I find there are varying shades of grey (probably not fifty, but maybe like 45-ish).

Originally, I planned on turning these pants into a pair of high-waisted women’s pants but then changed my mind (as I am wont to do).

After playing with the fabric a little, I decided to turn these men’s pants into a daring & dare I say it? Avant-Garde skirt!

You know…the sort of thing I would wear to an art opening. Or…the grocery store.

In order to prep my new pants for skirtification, I first needed to open up those pants legs with my seam ripper.

close up of seam ripper
Hello again, old friend!

See that red ball on the end? It actually has a function!

For sturdy fabrics, like the one I’m working with today, you can just insert the seam ripper into the seam with ball side facing in, and rrrrrrrrrip straight up the seam!

seam ripping open pants
The ball keeps you from ripping holes in the fabric!

This made opening the legs and crotch of my thrifted pants a much faster process than just pick…pick…picking would have been.

pants with center seams ripped out
Here’s what they looked like when I was done!

I laid my opened-up pants on their side, flat on my cutting table, and marked a gently sloping line with my french curve and chalk.

marking skirt with chalk
That pointy bit is the original crotch.

I would love to tell you I had a specific methodology behind this part, but I didn’t. I just sort of freehanded how I thought I’d want my skirt to slope in the front and back.

With both sides (front and back) marked, I added pins along the chalked line, then put my skirt on my dress form inside-out to fit it a little more.

pinning front and back of skirt together on dress form
View from the side!

Oh…did I mention I’m turning the top of the pants into the bottom of the skirt? Madness, eh?

pinned skirt on dress form front view
View from the front!

I stitched the new front and back of my skirt down.

sewing front of skirt

Then, I cut off the excess fabric with my pinking shears.

cutting off excess fabric from front of skirt
Begone, crotch (ew)!

Since the pants were flipped upside-down, I had to secure each of the pockets so they wouldn’t flop out.

I sewed each pocket closed.

sewing down pocket
It’s okay! They’re non-functional at this point!

Then, I snipped each pocket out.

cutting off pocket
Still…breaks my heart to see a pocket go…

Now I needed to figure out the top of my new skirt.

I had originally intended to give it a back zipper, but didn’t end up having enough fabric for this. So, I simply opted for an elastic waist.

I had to snip off a little fabric from the top in order to leave me enough room to get in and out of it (without sacrificing too much length).

cutting off top of skirt
Just a bit!

Then, I folded the top over and pinned it. This is going to be the casing for my elastic.

pinned waistband of skirt
Simple, eh?

I stitched my new waistband down, leaving a small gap to thread the elastic through…

sewing waist of skirt
My waist shall go into you!

…then ironed it down as well.

ironing down waistband
You probably already know what ironing looks like. But just in case?

I pulled out a length of elastic that I wrapped around my waist, making sure it was snug (but not too snug) and trimmed to size.

elastic on sewing table
This size. Right here.

I grabbed my bodkin and threaded it with the elastic.

bodkin with elastic
Threaded? Is that the right word?

Note: If you don’t have a bodkin, a safety pin works too!

Then I pushed the elastic through its casing to the other side.

elastic threaded through casing
Like this!

I stitched the ends of the elastic together.

sewing elastic together
A tiny whirrrr!

After I stitched the small gap I left for the elastic to be threaded through down, I was all done!

I know…this refashion is a little odd, but I really like it!

refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion after 1
What say you?

I mean, it’s definitely different.

refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion after 2
Serious Fashion Blogger Pose

…but that’s what I like about it!

Here’s what it looks like from the back.

refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion after back view
Le back!

I styled my new skirt with a few fun gold accessories.

refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion after selfie
A friend of mine who used to do drag gave me this necklace from his stash!

I would be remiss if I didn’t call your attention to these fabulous boots I treated myself to as an end of chemo/Christmas gift.

closeup of gold fluevog boots
I loves them.

They’re the Ara Vintage-Style Chelsea Boot by Fluevog and they’re amazing.

But…back to the skirt!

You can see I left the original fly undone for easier walkability.

Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion close up
A closer view!

I hope you enjoyed following along with this slightly-odd refashion! Maybe it’s inspired you to try something a little different yourself? Maybe?

refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion after 3
I think it looks quite high-end!


refashionista Men's Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion
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52 thoughts on “Men’s Pants to Avant-Garde Skirt Refashion”

  1. Sooo jealous of the Fluevogs, as they’re on my Shopping bucket list, the Chelsea’s even! I like the skirt and the volume of the skirt suits the royal-ness of the purple colour. I agree you should do up the fly though.

  2. Wow! You really thought outside of the box on this one. Always amazed at what you create. Glad your treatments have ended, and you are looking fabulous! You are a beautiful person inside and out! Blessings!

  3. This is fab! Love that colour and the shape of the skirt. What a great refashion, thank you for sharing!
    I can totally imagine this with a strapless top.
    Oh, and: These boots are awesome!

  4. Well, the fly got me for a minute and I had to stop and think about it. These had just that bit of shock value and, you know, it just got me. I love the fly as is. Just had to get over the shock and now I can not see them pleasing me any other way. … Oh, oh, oh… I wish I had your wonderful, adventurous, confident sense of vision and creativity. I would wear them… oh, yeah….

  5. Love it and the colour, I sort of thought maybe the open fly should be at back like a kick pleat but still very cute as it is. 🙂

  6. You have pulled off an avant garde look. If your skirt were walkable with the fly done up it would be interesting to add a colorful scarf through the belt loop hem. Great boots too.

  7. I think you hit all of my points! Bravo to Jillian for seeing the potential of that beautiful fabric–that is a whole in one. There was a time in my life where I would jave been all over this, but my mainstream sister got in my head one too many times, so I don’t have the guts now. I desperately want to zip the fly and close the clasp, but you know, walking has its merits, too.

    A final tidbit, I believe aubergine is actually French for eggplant. Of course, I think many Anglophones would argue that “fancy for” and “French for” are basically equivalent!

    Thanks for sharing your fun with us, Jillian! Your joke de vivre is such a gift.

  8. Wow! What a super idea. These should be on the Paris runway. Can’t wait to get to the thrift store to use your creativity and make my own skirt! Just fabulous. I would definitely wear it, at 80 years old no less! Stay well.

  9. Gillian, usually I love the transformation whether I would wear it or not, but this is too up-side-down for me. I think the waist should be the waist and the bottom should be more finished. Honestly, the back is a fail. I can see the look you were going for, but it needs much refinement. But you had fun doing this and it is actually symbolic of 2021 ! Keep on keeping on as you regain health and vitality ! Still have you on my prayer list daily.

    (Wish you could see my epic fail that I refused to wear at all after spending endless hours designing and sewing it !)

  10. Love your outside-the-box way of thinking. I wouldn’t have the guts to wear your refashion, but you can certainly pull it off. Great colour and choice of accessories.

  11. The fabulous boots were almost the first thing I noticed! And I love this refashion, the color is amazing, but I think it would even look great in one of those shades of gray!

  12. I think super cool but now you will have to find another pair of pants because I just cannot wait for the high waisted refashion!

  13. Well, you are creative but i can’t quite wrap my head around this refashion. Its just weird!! To each his own! Of course, I.m sure I’m weird to others!!

  14. Love the colour. The boots…just checked and out of stock. Fluevog is a Vancouver BC Canada based shoe designer. Keep well, Gillian.

  15. When I was 13 I LOVED Seventeen magazine. This was 1988-ish and there was a girl wearing a denim mini(of course) that was made from 2 pairs of jeans. She cut both pairs around crotch level and then sewed crotches together and also had an upside down skirt. So, waistband at bottom, like yours. And waistband at waist. My mom made me one and I wore it forever! Loved it and love yours!

  16. Nice – this balloon form suits you well, and the aubergine color is beautiful – and the heels of your boots – so baroque !!! I am a little bit unsure about the belt and the passants, but I adore the little lines and buttons of the pockets on the bottom of your skirt – have a good day – and yes, your little hair is SO cute !

  17. These are fabulous! I really want you to do up that fly, it seems wrong to leave it open somehow, but other than that, they are amazing!

  18. Love the skirt & the colour! An idea I am going to try..for sure. The boots are FAB! I have 5 pairs of Vogs and love them!! Stay well.

  19. This is amazing! The accessories pull it all together, especially the boots. I can see this look at an art gallery opening!

  20. Now … I know for sure … you are crazy … and immensely admirable and lovable. From Canada with love. Keep Calm and Keep on being Crazy Cool.

  21. You make my day. Some of your refashions are as strange as mine. But, I love it. Keep up the inspiration, dear.
    And your hair looks so CUTE !!!!! You are in my prayers, as I speak over your body.

  22. I do love your sense of humor! Only you could pull that off! I would have cut them up for quilt squares. Love and hugs from southern Colorado!

  23. I can see it now, Met Gala 2022 – Upside Down: Our Past Two Years in Fashion.
    I think you look fab and I love your creativity! Not everyone could pull this off, but you do my dear.

  24. It looks great! Just promise you’ll still do a men’s pants to women’s pants refash someday. I see men’s pants in nice fabrics from time to time at thrift stores, and I can never find women’s pants that fit me well. Would love to create my own, but don’t know where to start.

  25. You are a brave little soul! I think I would have liked to seen something done with the bottom (zipper etc.) for a more finished look. I do love that you try so many different things.

  26. I love the colour. It’s a clever refashion. it’s one of the things that I love about your blog you don’t always go for what’s obvious. I love your boots too!

  27. Honestly, I think you could make a burlap sack look great! I love the outside of the box thinking of this refashion and I bet you get a bunch of comments at both the art gallery and the grocery store!

  28. It’s interesting. I do love the color. And you love it which is the important thing. I am a big believer that people should wear what they want regardless of whether it is in style or not. I did a mini refashion today. I took some white jeans that I got at the thrift store and cut them off into shorts (I like my shorts longer than I can usually find but not Bermuda shorts long) and added a triangle decorative stitch along the hem and a diamond stitch up the sides. I am then going to dye them blue. The thread I used is white polyester so should remain white or at least a lighter blue color so it stands out a bit.

  29. I adore how you accessorized your new skirt. So sharp and fresh looking.

    While I “get” what you did, and agree it’s tres avant-garde, for myself, I think I would have created the skirt from the pants top-side-up. You look adorable in it and for you, I wouldn’t change a thing. Brava!


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