Jeans That Fit From Jeans That Don’t

You know how it is: you buy a pair of secondhand jeans without trying them on, maybe you’re too lazy or maybe you’re buying them online and there’s no option, but you’re safe because these are from a company you know, they are a style you have already tried and they are the same size as the ones you already have.

Nope. You cannot trust that shit. I mean, one of my recent purchases had one size on the label in the neck and a different size on the inside of the skirt seam. This is how these things end up on eBay I guess.

The jeans in question fit so badly there is not even a “before” picture for this post. I could, technically, get them on, but it was not pretty and I will not subject you to it. Almost every aspect of them was wrong. There was a bit between about mid-thigh and over-knee that was fine, but aside from that, every damn thing needed to change.

Challenge accepted.

First, the silly flap pockets. Off! And the newly orphaned rivet buttons, likewise, which left holes in my back pockets, but that’s why god created buttonhole stitch. So far so easy.

I also took in the outer side seams on the legs between over-knee and hem because these were beyond boot cut and I like straight cut.

I needed about 2 inches adding to the waist and hips area for a decent fit, so I set about unpicking the side seams.

I started by removing the waistband from everything else for a strech of a few inches either side of the side seam.

And proceeded to rip about half a dozen over-sewn, top stitched, crazy-secure stitch lines… why? Your crappy short-staple cotton will give way LONG before the seams! Oh, for a decent long-staple denim!

But anyway, seam ripped, waistband cut and I had basically flayed these jeans from mid-thigh upward.

I cut four rectangles of denim from the non-knackered bits of some knackered jeans I’d kept (always keep the non-knackered bits of your knackered jeans!) and extended the waistband with an insert on the outer and lining sides.

And from the same bit of old leg, cut some long triangles to add as a sort of upside-down godet.

The results look decidedly customised, which is exactly the look I love. I have a roll of thick orange thread that makes a very authentic topstitch. Details count!

I’d added a bit too much, really, at the waist, and they gaped (in the normal way, you know what I mean, don’t you?) at the back of the waistband. So I opened the top only of the waistband either side of the back belt loop and added small darts either side.

Fairly subtle, but making a curve out of what they always cut as a straight section of waistband. Why do they do that? Everybody always has a four-finger gap at the back of the waistband unless they really have no arse to speak of. These were even meant to be “curvy” jeans. What curves? My knees? WHAT CURVES?!

Anyway, the end result was pretty damn good. Probably a little too loose in the waist for wearing without a belt, but that’s fine by me, I’d rather the belt did the heavy lifting than the jeans anyway. Maybe not less fat rolls, but certainly subtler ones that way.

Now I just need to add a phone holster and I’ll be on my way.