12/27 — Project Log: Too-Short Jeans

A year ago, I was visiting my mother for Christmas, and she took exception to the fact that I had no decent pants to wear to the family Christmas dinner.

…alas, she was kinda right. I had sweatpants and jeans, and my jeans would’ve been fine except for the big hole in the knee. What can I say? High fashion has never been my forte.

Fortunately she had a pair of jeans that would fit nicely around my belly — of course they were too long (she’s about six inches taller than me), but that’s easily fixable with scissors, right?

I trimmed them off to the exact right length, tucked them into my boots, and off we went to Christmas dinner, and all was well.


…except for the part where they were the exact right length, which made things difficult when I got around to hemming them. No matter how tightly I rolled the hem, they were gonna be too short.

Fortunately, I had a solution. Or at least, a shirt.

I’d acquired an old swimsuit coverup from friend — she never wore it any more, and I didn’t wear it either because, well, I’m not near as boob-tastic as she is, and the neckline was…overly generous. Plus, the fabric was a little scratchy.

But I was intrigued by the gold trim, so I folded it up and tucked it away, figuring it’d come in handy with some sewing project, someday. And with the jeans, the day was here.

A simple solution, I thought. I’d trim off the sleeve cuffs and sew them around the bottom of the jeans legs, thus finishing off the cut hem without needing to turn it, and also making it pretty. Perfecto!

Except for the part where they weren’t quite long enough.

I spent far more time than was strictly necessary trying to convince myself it’d be pretty easy to just slim the jeans legs down at the bottom until the cuffs would fit. Fortunately I failed, cos wow, that woulda been a pain in the butt.

And I wouldn’t have come up with this:

That’s from the side slits in the shirt. I cut them out, trimmed them evenly all around, and cut slits in the side of each jeans leg to fit, then painstakingly sewed them into place. This was by far the hardest part — the fiddliest part, anyway, and I’m glad I’m patient when it comes to this sort of thing.

I’ll note here that the whole thing was sewn by hand. I do okay with sewing machines these days, but for anything remotely tricky, give me a needle, thread, and all the time I need to put each stitch precisely where it needs to be.

After that, sewing the cuffs around the rest was pretty trivial, and it all fit really well when I was done.

And now I have really lovely hippy jeans that fit me well, get me lots of compliments, and are just fun to wear. One of my favourite sewing projects ever.


I love the idea of messing with jeans — anything from sewing patches on to totally reconstructing them into something else. I’ve just started playing with the idea, here — so if you’ve got a project of your own to show off, I’d love to see it.

6 Comments on “12/27 — Project Log: Too-Short Jeans”


  1. That’s a terrific solution, Kate! And they look great. Much better than even a “professional tailor’s” job of slimming them down would be! I have some pants – both jeans and sweats – that that treatment would work for, too. Thanks for the inspiration. Happy New Year to you!

    Karen J on 8 Jan 2012, 8:19 pm (Link | Reply)

    • Thank you, Karen! I’m glad I’ve inspired you to experiment — I’d love to see what you come up with!

      Kate on 8 Jan 2012, 8:35 pm (Link | Reply)

  2. Awesome creativity! Good job

    Claire Lopez on 18 Feb 2012, 11:05 am (Link | Reply)

    • Thank you!

      Kate on 18 Feb 2012, 2:10 pm (Link | Reply)

  3. This looks great — I love the re-use from the shirt, and it worked very well.

    Laurel on 5 Mar 2012, 3:09 pm (Link | Reply)

    • Thank you! They’re my favourite pair of jeans ever. At least until the next pair I mess with.

      Kate on 5 Mar 2012, 3:59 pm (Link | Reply)

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