Refashion: How to turn a pair of jeans into a denim skirt

How to refashion a denim skirt

Transform old jeans into a new wardrobe staple with our step-by-step tutorial for how to make a denim skirt by Jessica Entwistle. Each week for a month, we’re sharing a bonus denim upcycling project here on the blog as part of The Refashioners. Whip up this panelled skirt for summer from a pair of unloved jeans – we’ll show you how it’s done. For more quick and easy denim upcycling ideas, try our DIY baby bibs or visit to find out more about Portia Lawrie and her Refashioners sewalong.

The Refashioners 2016 logoDesigner Jessica says: “This is a very simple way of turning a pair of old jeans into a cute skirt for the summer. You could add lace or appliqué some fabric shapes to embellish it, or keep it yours simple as we have with a frayed hem. If you want a looser fit, get a pair of jeans that are larger than your normal size from a charity shop, otherwise use an old pair of your own.”

You will need:

  • Pair of jeans
  • Chalk pencil: white
  • Matching thread
  • Basic sewing kit

How to refashion a denim skirt

Cutting & unpicking

Step one Work out how long you would like your finished skirt to be and cut off each leg to 4cm (15/8in) longer than that length as it will be trimmed to fit later.

Step two Put the legs you’ve cut off to one side.

Step three Using a seam ripper, unpick the inner seam from the jeans all the way around both of the legs. (see Fig 1)

How to make a denim skirt Fig 1

Fig 1

Step four At the front of your skirt, continue to unpick the seam upwards towards the zip. This will allow the top of the jeans fabric to overlap which will make the skirt front flat when you insert the extra section.  (see Fig 2)

How to make a denim skirt Fig 2

Creating the skirt front

Step one Take one of your cut off jean legs and cut it open down the centre of one leg so that the decorative topstitched seam is in the middle of the fabric.

Step two Place the open jean leg inside the front of the skirt and mark out where the piece will go using your white chalk pencil.

Step three Cut off the excess jean fabric 2cm (¾in) outside this marked line on both sides so you are left with a triangle.  (see Fig 3)

How to make a denim skirt Fig 3

Step four Pin this cut section in place beneath the skirt front.  (see Fig 4)

How to make a denim skirt Fig 4

Fig 4

Step five Sew the front of the skirt together along the pinned line, using the original unpicked stitching lines as a guide. You will need to make two rows of parallel stitching to copy the orginal seam lines. Trim off the excess fabric at the back of the inserted section.  (see Fig 5)

How to make a denim skirt Fig 5

Fig 5

Creating the skirt back

Step one Unpick the back seam open to about mid pocket level so that the skirt will lay flat, and the seam is straight and not curved.

Step two Cut open the other cut off jeans leg in the same way as the first then place it inside the skirt back and mark with the white chalk pencil and pin as before.  (see Fig 6)

How to make a denim skirt Fig 6

Step three You will need to fold back excess fabric from the opened legs of the skirt to create a triangle then press the folds in place.

Step four Stitch this back piece in place with two rows of stitching as before.

Finishing the skirt

Step one Once the skirt is sewn together, cut off the excess fabric so the skirt is your desired finished length.

Step two Pop it in the washing machine and once dry you’ll have a fab frayed hem!

How to make a denim skirt

Congratulations! You now know how to make a denim skirt from old jeans! Now you’ve finished, it’s time to show if off! Show us your finished skirt with the hashtag #simplysewingmag and join in with The Refashioners 2016 series using the hashtags #therefashioners2016 and #jeanius

Refashion jeans ideas

Don’t forget to check out the rest of our The Refashioners 2016 projects for more easy denim up cycling ideas.