Today we have another great upcycle tutorial for you! I will show you how I took a pair of my daughter's jeans that had holes in them and turned them into a super cute ruffled skirt!
My daughter wanted three subtle "not too frilly" ruffles so that's what we did here. She loves it! I will show you steps for this exact skirt but keep in mind that there are hundreds of ways to make the skirt portion - more ruffles, less ruffles, longer, shorter, and any sort of embellishments. These skirts are a lot of fun to make! First let's learn the basics. Here we go!
A used pair of denim jeans/shorts that fit
Fabric for ruffles - I used 2/3 yard for size 8 as shown above
The first thing we need is a pair of jeans or shorts! I especially like to use ones that are already embellished - these were some of my daughter's favorites until they got holes in them!
Step 1: Cut the legs off the jeans 3-4" down from the the crotch. This is just an initial cut so don't be too picky about making it straight.
Step 2: Use a seam ripper to take apart the inside leg seams of the pants. It's a small area so it shouldn't take long. (When you're done there will be one large skirt hole and no leg holes.) See the photo above.
Step 3: Now we are going to make the skirt lay flat, beginning with the back side. Notice in the photo above that the rise, or curve, of the center comes toward us. We need that to lay flat. We have two options though! If you want a shorter denim portion than mine, you can plan to cut across the shorts above that curve, cutting it off right below the pockets. If you want to do that, skip to Step 5 below. However, if you want the denim portion to be father below the pockets like mine, as sort of a drop waist, then you will take that curve and fold it to one side, as shown below.
Step 4: With the curve folded to the side, the back of the skirt is laying completely flat. Pin the curve so it stays down flat with no puckers. Your curve may be larger or smaller, depending on the cut of the jeans and the size. Once it is pinned in place, stitch the curve in place by top stitching along the stitches that are already there. You may want to use a denim needle. I used a khaki thread to match the existing stitching.
Step 5: Now that the back lays flat, we will lay the skirt out on a flat surface and use a ruler to draw a line where we want the skirt to attach to ruffles. Our cut line can be anywhere from just below the pockets (leaving room for the 3/8" seam) down to the edge of where we initially trimmed. I usually like to leave 1-2" inches below the pocket for a flattering fit, and draw my line there.
Step 6: Cut across the line we drew, on the back half only of the skirt, as shown above.
The back is now finished and we are ready to work with the front of the skirt. It will be similar to what we did on the back (I did it exactly the same) but for some cuts of jeans you may need to use one of the other options so I will show those options first:
Step 7: Option 1 is to draw a line and cut across the front of the skirt above the split and below the fly, as shown above. Be sure that it matches the back of the skirt, at least at the side seams.
Option 2 is to lay the opening out flat and place a scrap of denim underneath so it forms a sort of triangle patch where the legs would meet, as shown above. Pin the triangle scrap in place and sew it in place along the existing stitching. Then draw an even line across the shorts and cut. Be sure that it meets the back cut line at the side seams.
Continue below for Option 3!
Step 8: Option 3 is to do exactly as I did with the back side, by holding the two seams together and folding the curve to the side. This will not work with all cuts and styles of jeans, but I like it this way when possible. Pin the curve in place and sew along the stitching. Then draw a straight line across the bottom of the skirt and cut it. The front and back of the skirt are now done and we can prepare our ruffles!
Step 9: Cut out the ruffle(s) for your skirt. For a size 8 I made the top ruffle 4" long, the second ruffle 7" long, and the third ruffle 10" long. They are each 42" wide. As a general rule I make ruffles 2x as wide as the layers they are attaching to, so you can measure the diameter of your skirt and double it if you'd like an exact width for cutting your ruffles.
Step 10: Take the first ruffle and sew the two short ends together with right sides together. You will now have one long loop. Repeat with the remaining ruffles.
Step 11: Sew a rolled hem along the bottom edge of each ruffle. I used my serger to make these rolled hems using pink thread to match the pocket embellishments. If you don't have a serger you can still do a rolled hem but it will take a little longer. Fold the bottom edge under 1/4" and stitch in place. Then fold the edge under another 1/4" and stitch in place again.
Step 12: We are now going to sew a gathering stitch along the top edge of each ruffle. You can either gather each ruffle separately or stack them together. To sew a gathering stitch, set the stitch length and the tension as high as they will go and sew around the entire ruffle 1/4" from the edge, being sure not to backstitch at the beginning or end. If you are stacking your layers, you will want to sew two gathering stitches in case the thread breaks. Begin gathering the ruffle by pulling on the top threads and bunching the fabric.
Step 13: Gather the ruffle until it is the same width as the bottom edge of the skirt. Begin pinning the ruffle to the skirt, with right sides together, adjusting the gathers as you go. If you are doing each layer separately, you will want to pin the shortest ruffle first and the longest ruffle last. When the skirt is fully gathered and pinned it will look like the photo above.
Step 14: Sew around the top pinned edge using a 3/8" seam allowance.
Step 15: Turn the skirt right sides out and it should look something like the photo above! Top stitch the ruffles by sewing 1/8" up from where the ruffles are attached, being sure to catch the seams underneath. This top stitching adds a professional finish and helps the ruffles lay nicely.
You are now done and you completed it in just 14 steps!
Now you are all ready to go through that pile of clothes you thought she would never wear again and make something fabulous! I would love to see what you create using this tutorial, so please share your photos in the CKC patterns group, and be sure to tag us! My daughter already has plans for her next skirt (using eyelet lace, oooh!) so I'm pretty sure yours is going to love it too.
Let's Create! ~ Kristen