How to Turn Your Jeans Into “Skinny” Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

For the longest time I resisted the skinny jean trend – but once I took the plunge I was totally hooked!  Now I love them with flats, but especially in the winter tucked into boots – such a cute look, don’t you think?

Well, now that I am 26 weeks along and fully in the “I can only fit into maternity pants” phase of my pregnancy, I’ve been especially smitten with skinny jeans.  Their tailored silhouette makes me feel less shapeless, and that makes me happy.  :)

The problem is that almost all of the maternity pants that fit me well happen to have flared or bootcut legs – which doesn’t work with my whole goal of trying to balance a growing belly by throwing people off with my skinny ankles.  So I decided to turn my maternity jeans into skinny jeans!

I turned to Pinterest for inspiration (of course) and came up with two great tutorials – this one from Lucky Design, and this one from Holy Craft.  My favorite was the one from Lucky Design, so I used that tutorial as a jumping off point for my own sewing extravaganza.

Here’s how it all went down:

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Supplies Needed:

– pair of jeans or pants that you want to skinny-fy

– pair of skinny jeans that you like the way they fit

– 2 colors of chalk (if your pants are dark), fabric pen, marker, whatever floats your boat

– ruler

– pins

– scissors

– sewing machine

– thread in a color that matches your pants

Step 1: Turn both pairs of jeans inside out, then lay the skinny pair on top of the regular pair. Line up the two pairs of pants at the inside seam like in the photo below (this assumes that the outside seam is thinner than the inside seam on your pair of jeans).  Make sure that all of your fabric is flat and that there aren’t any weird wrinkles.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 2: Take your chalk and mark a line at the edge of your skinny jeans – the chalk line should be made on your regular jeans. Do this with both legs.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 3:  Use a ruler to make sure that the chalk lines are in the same place on both legs. First measure the distance from the chalk line to the outside edge of your pants, then measure the length of the chalk line, then measure the distance from the bottom of the outside seam to where the chalk meets the outside seam.  (That sounds kind of confusing, so let me know in the Comments if you need clarification.)  These measurements should be the same on both legs, and this will ensure that one leg doesn’t turn out totally different from the other leg.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!) How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 4: Use a new color of chalk to make any necessary adjustments to your chalk line. Your ruler may come in handy as a straight edge.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 5: Use your pins to pin the two sides of the pant leg together along the new chalk line. Make sure that you don’t pull the fabric when you’re doing this!

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 6: Use your sewing machine to sew a straight stitch along the new chalk line. You can reinforce the beginning and end of each new seam by either using the “reverse” button on your machine or by picking up your needle and sewing over the beginning/end of the seam again.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 7: Try on your jeans to make sure they’re fitting how you want them to! Make any adjustments now – this is a “do as I say, not as I do” moment because I had a little wonky wrinkle at each knee where the new seam met the old seam but I told myself that it was fine and moved on.  :)

Step 8:  Cut off the extra fabric on the outside of your new seam, leaving some excess. You will need enough excess fabric for a zigzag stitch to fit comfortably without sewing past your seam and onto the pant leg.  I cut it a bit too close on my first pair so I left more excess on the second pair and I was much happier.  I would err on the side of leaving on too much excess (but no more than 1/2 inch) – you won’t notice it when you’re wearing the jeans.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

Step 9: Practice your zigzag stitch on a scrap piece of fabric. Most of you can probably skip this step but I had never used a zigzag stitch so I wanted to practice a little bit before I started sewing away on my pants.  I chose a triple zigzag stitch instead of a regular zigzag stitch because I thought it would be better for the thread to pass through the fabric three times per stitch instead of just one (I don’t know if that’s really true, it just seemed to make sense).

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

I drew a chalk line on my scrap fabric so that I could see exactly where the zigzag stitches would fall in relation to my seam.

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

By the way, I haven’t washed and dried my new skinny jeans yet so I can’t swear that this zigzag stitch trick is 100% foolproof.  You could also serge the seam or use a fray check on the raw edge instead.

Step 9: Sew a zigzag stitch along the entire length of your new seam.

Step 10: Try on your new skinny jeans!!! I’m just warning you – you will probably want to wear them for the next 6 days straight.  Not that I’m doing that or anything.  :)

How to Turn Your Jeans Into "Skinny" Jeans (Works For Maternity Jeans, Too!)

I did this with a pair of black maternity jeans as well as a pair of dark gray corduroy maternity jeans – I didn’t have any problems with the corduroy, and the fact that they were maternity pants didn’t seem to make any difference either.

I have plans to do this with at least 3 other pairs of pants (once I fit back into my regular clothes) – I’m so excited!!  And I have to know – are any of you other preggos finding that skinny jeans make you feel a little more at ease with your growing belly?

Now go forth and skinny-fy!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. I bought a pair of skinny jeans from Motherhood and they really aren’t that skinny.,,but I don’t know how to sew so I guess I will just live with them. Luckily I like flare and wide-leg jeans, so I will just stick with those. I like skinny jeans while pregnant, but I know its only a matter of time before I can’t zip up my tall boots, so I won’t get much use out of them at that point.

  2. Andrea says:

    I love this:) Unfortunately I would need to learn to sew first and not sure that’s going to happen anytime soon…but I concur, skinny pants while pregnant are super cute! Hope you are feeling great:)

  3. This looks great!!! I lived in my skinny jeans from Old Navy when I was preggo and for a few weeks after birth. It’s saved in a drawer waiting for the second pregnancy. But I do have a few jeans I was thinking about chopping up into shorts, but maybe I can do this instead!

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      I totally agree, I have a pair of maternity skinny jeans from Old Navy and they are SO GREAT!!! As for your old jeans, I would definitely give this a try first – you can always cut them off later if you don’t like the way they turn out!

  4. Kristy Swain says:

    Neato! When you do the zigzag stitch to reinforce, is that showing on the outside? Is it decorative at all? Does it affect the old seam – can you tell where they meet? Just making sure I understand it right cause I may try it!

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Nope, it doesn’t show on the outside at all! At this point, your jeans are still turned inside out. The only issue that I’ve had with where the new and old seams meet is a slight wrinkle at the knee – but that could probably be worked out by someone more patient than me. :) To me, it still looks totally fine and natural when you’re wearing the jeans, as my skinny jeans always have some wrinkles in them anyway. I’ve seen some people suggest pinning the jeans while you’re wearing them, which may solve the wrinkle issue, but I tried it and thought it was a huge pain to try to pin the jeans while they were on. Hope that helps, and I hope you try it! I think you’ll be hooked. :)

  5. Aimee says:

    I LOVE your “how to” posts! They have so much detail with text and pictures that I always feel confident that I can do what you did too. The “new” jeans look terrific and it is wonderful to be able to have some control over one’s growing shapelessness! Great job! ‘m needing another full body photo soon.

  6. Nicole says:

    Oh my gosh I LOVE this tutorial! My sister just emailed it wishing I didn’t live across the country because I’m the one with sewing skills and she’s the one pregnant stuck without skinny jeans. LOVE it! I’m going to do this to some, if not all my jeans! And I totally get the whole pregnancy thing because skinny jeans make you feel so much smaller. When I put on bootleg or regular fit I just feel fat….and I too was like an entire year behind the times before I joined the club.

  7. I love my maternity skinny jeans and even now 7w out they’re still the only jeans I’m wearing. I might break down and buy myself a pair of jeans to wear between now and whenever I fit into my old ones, if I ever do. People keep telling me my old jeans might never fit again. Y.I.K.E.S!

  8. HeidiG says:

    Nice work on the Skinny Jean. It looks soooooo much better!

  9. This is AWESOME! Whqt an amazingly clever idea and they look great.

    I like my skinny jeans in the winter, but I prefer boot cuts in the summer (with non-boots) so I don’t know if I should convert any of my maternity jeans. But, this would have been genius for all those other jeans that I just got rid of. They were a bit too short but would have been perfect for skinnies.