Colourful Conversion


I’ve had this pair of jeans in my closet for almost three years now. You probably have a similar garment or two in your own closet. They have moved with you many times. Each time you pack them it’s because you just can’t seem to part with them, even though you never seem to wear them any more. For me the problem is the bootleg. I was once a fan and am not any longer. Otherwise these are perfectly good pants!

I keep these jeans because they fit me perfectly in the places that matter (waist, hips and thighs), which is hard if you are an ex-gymnast with thighs to match or just generally built like a real person in the world of the gap-thigh. These perfect jean qualities (and the purchase of my sewing machine) are what have finally enticed me to try bringing these pants back from the dead. I don’t want to make these into skinny jeans, just straight, and rollable, without that lovely innertube-around-the-ankle look.

After quick consideration of my options I decided that the inseam on these jeans is not something I want to mess with. They have been well worn and both the inseam and the hem show it. Plus the inseam is double stitched and I just don’t want to have to do that in this alteration. (<– note: this probably the lazy way rather than the proper way to do this but I think it will work so I’m going for it!)

Old Boot Cut Jeans

I started by pinning the jeans while wearing them (take them off carefully after you do this… I was not careful and it hurt!). You’ll be able to tell if you can get a straight leg without altering the inseam, which it appears that I can. Next I let down the hem of the pants and turned them inside out, re-pinning the line of the new seam with right sides together. I tried them on again, this time inside out to double check the fit then it was time to sew…

Red Seam Jeans

I sewed my new seam first with a regular weight navy blue thread then again over top with a denim weight needle and red denim weight thread for added reinforcement. The new seam is the red row of stitching on the far left in the photo above. You can just see the shadow of the navy blue thread running underneath.

At the same time as getting rid of the boot cut, I also wanted to add a special touch to the inside of the leg for rolling. Bring on the red thread! I cut the seam allowance down to 1.5 cm along its length and pressed it open. Using my red thread I finished the edge of the seam allowance with an overcast stitch and then sewed one line of straight stitching inside of the overcast. There is no reason for this in terms of construction (other than finishing the seam allowance), I just want the red stitching to show when I roll up the pant leg. Trim down any stray bits of denim after you do this.

Custom Red Seam

Once I had the new seam in and the seam allowances nicely finished, I reformed the hem, pressed everything back in place, and used a tan colour denim weight thread to sew directly over the old hem line.

Jean conversion complete!

Now that I’ve straightened out the leg I can roll these jeans to show the red thread…

Red Seam Jeans with white Converse Red Seam Jeans with heels

Or leave them unrolled with flats or heels.

Red Seam Jeans-8

The best part about this alteration is that I’ve already worn these jeans more in the past month than I had worn them in the previous three years. I love having new clothes without going out and buying anything! Plus, now I am feeling inspired to tackle some more of the ancient relics hiding in my closet…

… stay tuned!

~ Lindsay