Monday, May 14, 2012
I bought the jeans earlier this spring on super-sale from L.L. Bean. I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't like the way they fit, but I only paid $7 for them and the shipping was free, so I figured I didn't have anything to lose. When they arrived, they fit in the waist, but the butt and legs were quite baggy. I was going to give them to the thrift store, but then I decided I could make a skirt instead - I used to have one that I made from an old pair of jeans, and I liked it so much I wore it out.
The first thing I learned was that L.L. Bean makes really good quality jeans. The inseams and crotch seams both had several lines of stitching and were much more difficult to pick apart than I remember the seams being on the last pair of jeans I did this to. When I started to re-sew the seams, I had major tension problems. My machine really didn't like to sew with the heavy duty orange denim thread I bought to match the thread the pants were sewn with at the factory. I ended up having to buy a special 110/18 denim needle, and even so I had to crank up the tension higher than I've ever had it set to on this machine to avoid loops on the bottom of the fabric.
When I cut the legs off, I measured and cut as little off as possible so that the remaining leg and the inserts from the cut-off legs would be roughly the same length after I sewed the front and back seams. The jeans were "talls," so that resulted in an unhemmed skirt that was well past my knees. Then I put it on and had Robert mark the tops of my knee-caps with chalk. I measured the distance from the marks to the top of the waistband (23") and extended the line all the way around the skirt - I decided to make it 24" long in the back. Then I cut about a half inch below the line, zig-zagged around the very edge, folded it under at the chalk line, pinned it, and sewed two seams to try to imitate the original hem that you see on pretty much every pair of jeans.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It's definitely way better than the jeans I started with, and the whole thing only cost about $15, including the thread and the special sewing machine needles!