Jeans Refashion – Making Jeans Bigger or Making Flares

This is a very simple way to add some extra width or interest to a pair of jeans by adding some extra fabric. I used left-over fabric from another project – you could do the same, or use fabric cut from the legs of another pair of jeans – all you need is two long pieces of a width that suits you. You can even do what i did and piece two shorter bits together to make a long bit (on the leg to the right of the picture, there is a slight ridge in the fur about 1/4 way up – that’s where the seam is where i pieced two bits together).

When i first wore these jeans i wore them up at my actual waist, but since my belly button has been pierced i can’t wear a waistband there as it catches (ow!) so i tend to wear things more on my hips, and these are too small to fit there. Not to mention i think i am a little bigger now than when i was 17! They have been sitting sadly in a drawer for years, i couldn’t bear to get rid of them because of all the writing and decoration on them but they just weren’t comfortable enough to wear. I finally got around to making the jeans bigger when i was making a cat costume for a festival out of the pink starry fabric and had a fair bit left over.

If you would like to make something like this, it is very important to choose a fabric that has a similar thickness and weight to your original jeans, especially if you are making flares. If you use a very light fabric then the denim will weigh it down and flop ‘closed’, hiding the insert and spoiling the effect. If all you are going for is a bit of extra waistband this is much less vital, but it will still look better if you have a similar weight of fabric.

To work out how much bigger i wanted my jeans to be i just put them on with them at my hips, and measured the gap between the button and buttonhole – i.e. how much extra fabric i would need to allow them to fasten where i wanted them to sit. I divided this by 2 to give the width of the top of each side strip, and added 2″ to each. This was to account for a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side of the fur, and a 1/2″ seam allowance on each edge of the jeans. If you were using normaly fabric for the insert you could probably get away with having 1/4″ allowances so just adding 1″ to each strip, but fur fabric is evil and can come apart (and shed!) pretty easily, so i like to treat it with caution.

If you were just adding a straight strip to straight jeans, i.e. not making them into flares and just making them bigger, you would just make a strip that is as wide as the width you’ve just worked out, and as long as your jeans plus hemming allowances, about an extra 1″ on each end. If, like i was, you wanted flared inserts, you just need to make a big triangular piece of fabric for each side. The shapes i used looked like long thin symmetrical triangles with the points cut off. I didn’t really measure precisely for the width at the bottom of the triangles, it was more dictated by the amount of fabric i had, but i cut one out then used it as a template for the other. The important thing is for them to be more or less symmetrical.

I cut out the side seam of the original jeans and pinned in my two long triangular shapes of fur fabric (wide end at the bottom – obviously) with right side of fabric together, being careful to include the pocket as it had been in the original jeans construction. I positioned the triangle so that 1″ poked out above the waistband of the jeans and 1″ below the bottom (for later hemming). I sewed the fur fabric in, with a 1/2″ seam allowance. If you were using a simple strip of fabric you would do exactly the same. Then i sewed it again, with about 1/8″ gap between the first and second seam (so a 3/8″ seam allowance). Then i zigzagged the edges. Like i said, i just don’t trust that fur fabric!

Once the triangles were sewn in place, I folded the top and bottom edges over by a half inch, then the other half inch, to form a hem, and sewed it in place. For hemming on jeans like this i tend not to bother unpicking hems to include my new fabric in them, and just fold it over afterwards to hem.

That’s it! nice new comfy pair of jeans that are also super fluffy!

One thing i did add later was a reinforcing strip across the waistband part of the fur fabric. If you use a thick, non-stretchy fabric you would probably not have an issue here, but i found that the fur fabric has some ‘give’ in it that after a couple of wearings made my no-longer-too-small jeans a bit too-big! To be honest this was a bit scrappy as i did it in 5 minutes before i went out because i was determined to wear those jeans (preferably without them falling down) – i just got a scrap of demin from my scrap bag, cut 2 rectangles a bit wider than the waistband and a bit longer than the width of the fur section, folded under all 4 edges and stitched it across the inside of the fur insert. I hope that makes sense, you can probably see better from the photo:

Because i had already worn and stretched the inserts so they were now too big, i had to gather them slightly before sewing the reinforcing strip on, to bring it back to the right size. If you were to reinforce stretchy inserts before wearing this would not be necessary!

This technique is a really useful one, and one i have used a few times – whether to make things fit better, add a bit of interest, even a couple of times to make ‘flares’ for party costumes! It’s very simple and very effective. Win!


One thought on “Jeans Refashion – Making Jeans Bigger or Making Flares

  1. Pingback: A Little Less Crazy Pants Refashion « The Enchanted Forest

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