Refashioned Jeans to Maternity Skirt Tutorial

March is Go Green Month over at Sew Much Ado, and today I'm participating by showing you how to take an old pair of jeans and t-shirt and refashioning them into a cute maternity pencil skirt.



For this project, you'll need a pair of wide leg jeans, a jersey knit t-shirt, and the usual sewing equipment.  I used a well loved pair of trouser jeans that I'd walked the hem off of, and a t-shirt that fit well, except it had shrunk in the wash and was too short.

I'm not going to provide many exact measurements in this tutorial, because you should be using clothes that already fit you reasonably well.  Please use the guidelines below, but account for your own body type!


Using a seam ripper, take out the inner leg seam all the way from the hem to the zipper on both pant legs.  Carefully remove the zipper, and sew the opening shut (I just top stitched mine).

Also remove the waistband.  These jeans were a low rise, so I didn't need to cut any lower than removing the waistband.  If your jeans have a higher rise, you'll want to cut them lower in the front to accommodate your growing pregnant belly.  Most importantly, you need to be able to pull the closed pants up over your hips, since this will be a pull-on skirt (no zipper or button openings).

Open the pants up so the pant legs are laying on top of one another, with the right sides of the fabric facing together.  Using a ruler (or just eye-balling it), mark and pin a straight line from where you stopped removing the leg inseam, all the way down the pant leg. 

(Please ignore my taped-together ruler.  Oscar sure is cute, but he breaks things)

Sew together and repeat on the other side.  Turn the skirt right side out.  Assuming everything lays nicely, turn inside out again and cut off the excess fabric.

Turn the skirt right side out again - looks like a skirt now, huh?  Press your new seams.

Try your skirt on and decide how long you want it to be.  Mark the length and cut.

I opened up the seam on the back of the skirt a few inches to allow for a slit.  This is kind of necessary, since it will be a narrower skirt.  Don't forget to back stitch again at the top of the slit.

If you have a serger, now would be a good time to use it.  If you don't have a serger, you can either leave your seams as is, or zig zag over them.

Sew the slit.  I folded over the edges on either side of the slit (there was an existing crease here anyway from the original seam) and pin.  Top stitch approximately 1/4 inch from the edge.

Top stitch your seams on the front and back of the skirt.


Hem your skirt!  I sewed a nice, thick hem.

If you don't like the look of freshly hemmed denim, you could distress it a little bit with some sand paper.

Time to start cutting up your t-shirt to make the stretchy waistband/belly panel.   A jersey shirt with a lot of stretch works well for this project.


Using a ruler and rotary cutter, cut straight down both sides, and across the top (removing the sleeves and collar).
After cutting, I had two pieces that measured 15x19 inches each.  Pin your fabric, right sides facing together.

Using a zig zag stitch, sew both side seams.  Double stitch for durability.

Other tips for sewing on knit fabric:
  • Use a ball point needle!  This makes all the difference.
  • Loosen your machine's tension.
  • I like to use a walking foot - it has feed dogs on the foot, so the fabric is gripped from the top and bottom and feeds through the machine evenly.  No slipping.  :)
You should now have a tube of fabric.  Turn the tube right side out.

At this point I top-stitched over both seams using a straight stitch.  I'm not sure this is absolutely necessary, but it strengthened the seam and I liked how it looked.


Fold the tube of knit fabric in on itself so it is two layers thick.  The side seams should line up on the inside.
Place your denim skirt inside the knit tube (sorry for the super blurry photo!), lining up the waist of the skirt with the cut edges of the tube.  You will have three layers of fabric here.

Pin in place on the sides, the front middle and back middle (4 pins total).  The knit tube will be smaller than the waist of the skirt, but you will stretch it as you sew.

Using a zig zag stitch, sew around the entire waistband, stretching the knit tube to fit as you go.  Double (or even triple) stitch for extra strength.

Turn the skirt right side out, and you're done!

You can wear the skirt either with the full belly panel as shown below, or fold it over if you prefer a lower waistband.  My pregnancies give me a gnarly outie belly button, so I need all the smoothing effects of stretchy fabric I can get.

This skirt is SO comfortable!  I have worn it two days in a row.  :)

62 comments:

!♥ tuana ♥ ! said...

soo cute!

MaryAnne said...

love it!

Leys said...

I love your maternity clothes re-makes! This is perfect for our tighter budget right now. I'm excited to try your rouching shirt project this week. :o) Thanks for the great tips!
Shari

Jess said...

This is GREAT! I'm 7 months pregs now so I may try this (if I get the energy:)

Cheri said...

That is genius! Nice work. Super cute and comfy! I feel for you with the outie bellie button. It doesn't take long for mine to show up when I'm prego.

Danielle said...

Looks great! Good idea!

Katie said...

Where were you with all of your wonderful maternity clothing tutorials when I was pregnant?! Sigh. I will definitely be coming back to these next time I'm pregnant since I am soooo sick of all my maternity clothes. Great job on the skirt!

Sew It To Me said...

That is super cute! I was just wondering what I could do for maternity bottoms since I really don't want to buy anything unless I have to. Thanks for the tuorial!

Deanna said...

You're a genius!!! This is right up my alley. :) Thanks 'sew' much!

Staci said...

This is awesome! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. Also, I adore your yellow flats. Where did you find them?

Leah said...

I LOVE your timing... I literaly was just thinking last night how I could make myself a maternity pencil skirt in all sorts of colors, and this makes it so much easier.

Katie said...

This is so cute! I'm going to link it to my "projects I love" for next time I need maternity clothes!

Jenn said...

This is a great way to do it. I've made some maternity things from old jeans and skirts, but I think this way looks pretty easy to get it right the first time. Great tutorial.

erin d. said...

If only I had a sewing machine - and knew how to use it!

cally said...

my exact same ruler has the exact same tape. it's universal.

Autumn said...

I kind of just want to do this to an old pair of jeans so i can have a new cute skirt as the weather is turning suddenly warmer. This looks so comfy!

Darling Details said...

Another amazing refashion. So Great!! I have rouched shirts and now a pencil skirt to add to my list. thanks!

Cindy said...

Looks nice.. unfortunately I must be either shaped funny or I move weird or something, because anything I have ever tried to make or wear with a belly panel like that always falls down way too quickly and I'm constantly hiking it up (and no, the waist band isn't loose at all). What am I doing wrong?

Emily said...

Your blog is great! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle said...

Jill- I know you get this ALLL the time, but seriously, I love your blog. I read your blog and get ideas and save pages and start projects and...(you get the idea) Thanks for taking the time to post the details of your projects! Much appreciated...

MiaKatia said...

You are amazing! Love the skirt.

brittani c. said...

This is a particular post where I reeeeally wish I were a seamstress. What an amazing creation! I need someone like you to make me some clothes. With the creativity you have, you need to take over Martha's job (yeah, THE Martha).

lifeinredshoes said...

So smart.

inday_adin said...

Such a clever idea! :) Thanks for sharing.

S.E.Minegar said...

Very cute! Great idea.

Kelly @ Make It Sparkly Mama said...

This is awesome! I was curious if you thought it would work to leave the original waistband since I am not pregnant, Just really wanting a denim skirt that I don't have to buy! :0)

Jill said...

Kelly - it definitely works as a regular skirt, leaving in the original waistband. I have done that before, too. Just make sure you are using a wide leg jean, so there is room to walk.

Andrea said...

I love your maternity tutorials! I just had my baby but had some CRAZY adventures trying to make some maternity clothes during that time. It makes me excited for try two...in a while...

Crafts and Deals said...

SO cute!! What a great idea!!

Jana @ Weekend Vintage said...

My sister in law is expecting baby number 1. She would love this skirt! Thanks!!
Jana

Chelsee said...

Jill, first of all - love this idea! Second of all, since you have never heard it, I'll be the first curly haired girl to say: I LOVE my curly hair :) Maybe I'm crazy, but I hope I have a child that has it. I love your blog, thanks for all the ideas!

ghislaine said...

Oh this is a fantastic idea! Would love to try this (especially since I am 7 months pregnant) but I don't think I have any used jeans I could try this with...

Thanks for sharing though! This is also a great tutorial for making full belly panel jeans if you don't want to make a skirt.

Michael said...

Hi, Jill. Thanks for the cute tutorial! What brand jeans are those? I really love them!

cucicucicoo said...

wow, love it!!

Jill said...

The jeans are from Ann Taylor, but they are several years old.

Jon and Amy Duvall said...

Ok... honestly, you just saved my life and money!! I've been needing a new maternity skirt (I'm 19 weeks hooray!) but right now, don't have the money! But NEED one for church. Wow... I'm making one tomorrow, thank you thank you for posting this tutorial!! I can't say it enough!!

Twinkle Toes said...

just made this out of maternity pants that had a hole in the inseam, love it and don't want to take it off. thanks!

Banana said...

So cool! Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Genius! I love this idea Jill! I was just thinking that I need a good maternity jean skirt!
-Sarah from Create Studio
www.createstudio.blogspot.com

Scrap Kia said...

Thanks for sharing these! I am pregnant with my first and just passed the half way mark and maternity cloths are a must now, but they are soooooo $$$$. My sewing skills are not that good to tackle this yet, but with a little more time I might get to this point and I do hope I do. =)

Cissy said...

Since finding out I am expecting Baby 5, I'm now looking at your blog with fresh eyes. Do I dare say that I'm eager to be big enough to start re-fashioning maternity clothes?

Tammy said...

I'm not preggers, but this still looks like a great idea!!! I think that I have three or four pairs of old jeans that I can do this to! Thank you!!

Mariane said...

So nice! What a great and comfortable idea!
Greetings from Brazil!

A. said...

Awesome! And it looks so easy! I am definitely filing this one away for whenever #3 comes along... :)

ps The word verification for this comment is "suckest," which makes me snicker like a 9 year-old. Who comes up with this stuff?

savvy stitch said...

That is so dang cute!

Jamie said...

I love this! I will definitely be using this tutorial!

Jamie said...

I love this! I am 9 months along now, so a little late for this baby, but I will remember this for the next one! And pass it on to others I know.

Jen said...

Very sweet skirt... wherever did you find those shoes? I'm on the hunt for the perfect pair of yellow shoes, those are great!

Gentle Hug said...

Love it! I have a month left to go and don't feelcomfy even in my maternity pants anymore. Will try to make it! Thanks so much

Liz said...

Love this tutorial!! Just used it to make a skirt for my bf, super easy. Well, except for the belly band, but that's because I tried to go my own way on that, and ended up following your instructions to the "t". Then it worked perfectly. She loves her skirt, and next I will be doing the same thing to a pair of jeans for her. (It's too hot here in Tennessee to think about jeans for a while!)

womens western wear said...

You did a great job on this. I liked the way you repaired it. Thumbs up!

TheFancyFritter said...

I'm 13 weeks pregnant with my 2nd & I'm slowly having to start to pull out the maternity clothes & as I was browsing on the internet, I stumbled upon this tutorial & I'm so happy I did! I made this skirt today & I LOVE it! I will probably wear it every other day! :-) Thanks for the great tutorial! ~Stacy

ifinnj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tarainnj said...

My mom and I put together a simplified version of this in about 10 minutes the other day. We used a pre-pregnancy skirt I had and cut the top off to below the zipper and then surged the shirt to the skirt as you did. It looks and fits great!!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! My mom said she may do this to some of her skirts that don't fit quite right or aren't comfortable. We loved it.

Alyssa said...

I love this tutorial. I just got my first sewing machine and this was my very first project. It came out really really well and I can't wait to wear my new skirt to work on Friday - especially since none of my jeans will fit anymore at 14 weeks. It's extra comfortable too. Thanks!

Kiddy Shack said...

This is FAB!!! I wish i knew about this before my two girls as i had so many jeans which are small anyway... now i will advise my pregnant friends to do this... :)

www.kiddy-shack.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I found a pair of maternity jeans I didn't want as jeans, so I made them into this skirt. It worked perfectly. Thanks!

Sandra D. said...

WOW this is so amazing!!!!! Thank you thank you!! I didnt think it was possible to actually make jeans look good as a skirt cause the few that I have done always look funky on the front and back lines. The skirt looks really really good, never thought of using a tee shirt too, brilliant!! Thanks :D

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Anonymous said...

I love your tutorial! I just used it to make a non-maternity (left my waistband in tact) skirt and plan to make more with your pattern too!

Jen

http://mysweetenerblog.blogspot.com.ar/ said...

GREAT IDEA!!!!
Also you are reusing and recyclying, which is awesome.

Julie said...

absolutely fantastic!! Well done. I've been meaning to do similar with all my jeans to remove my 'muffin top' problem. I'm going to follow your tutorial coz I wasn't quite sure how to do it and now I've seen if work for you, I'm wrapt! Julie.