Anyone who tries to find cute pants at thrift stores knows that it can be pretty hard. Usually you find a lot of mom jeans, bell bottoms, or very yuck tapered leg pants. Luckily it’s very easy to turn those pants into skinny leg pants! Also, if you have short legs like mine, it’s difficult to find pants that are the proper length. I hate the way new hems look, so this is also a tutorial for how to shorten pants using the original hem.
Welcome to your ‘how to skinnify and shorten thirft store pants’ tutorial!
I found these J Crew flared corduroy pants the last time I went thrifting. The flare was just awkward and I wear boots a lot in the winter, so they’re perfect for skinnifying!
You will need: scissors, measuring tape, pins, marker/pen, sewing machine, and a mirror is helpful.
How To Make Pants Skinny
Step 1 – Try on the pants inside out
Step 2 – Pin the legs down close to your body. It’s important to make sure you aren’t starting to twist the seam around your leg…keep the seam running down the side of your leg.
Step 3 – Carefully take the pants off. Take a marker and mark down along the line of pins.
Step 4 – Remove the pins that are running down the pants and very carefully smooth out the fabric. Make sure that there aren’t any wrinkles or bunches. Then reinsert the pins running the other direction so that you can sew over them.
Step 5 – Sew along the line. There’s no need to take the pins out since you turned them horizontally (although I did break two). I started from the end of the leg and sewed up but you could do either way. Regardless, in order to avoid a bulge where you start/end (end in my case) sewing, you need to ease your seam into the existing seam so make one smooth and fluid line that gradually blends right into the other. Then sew back and forth a few times to make sure it’s secure. (These pictures show after I’ve trimmed the excess)
Try them on and make adjustments as needed. For me, I made the ankle part too thin (my pants don’t have any stretch to them) so my feet couldn’t get in. I ripped the seams out and made them about an inch wider starting about six inches from the end.
Step 6 – Trim the excess fabric, leaving about 1/2 inch. Done!
How to Shorten Pants Using the Original Hem
Step 1 – Try the pants on right side out.
Step 2 – Cuff the bottom of the pants (on the left) so that when you fold down the hem (on the right), it’s where you want the pants to fall.
Step 3 – Take off the pants and measure the length of the cuff you made from the bottom of the cuff to the bottom of the original hem. Measure and pin all the way around the opening to make sure it’s even. Also, make sure you’re pinning RIGHT under the original hem. I shortened mine by 1.5 inches.
Step 4 – Sew right below the original hem. I would suggest doing a double hem. Make sure that you fold open the side seam so that it lays flat and you don’t end up with a big bunch.
Step 5 – Fold down the original hem and try on! Trim some off the excess and enjoy!