Can these jeans be re-altered and still look normal?
October 22, 2013 3:02 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine gave me a couple of pairs of new "Gap 1969 Long & Lean" boot-cut jeans that she got altered before she decided they didn't really fit. She's an inch or two or more than two shorter than I am. I'm wondering if I could get them re-altered into a straight-leg (or maybe slightly tapered?) cut that I can roll up a little, but I don't know anything about sewing.

Is this an easy alteration or is it too late? I'd rather give them back so they can just go to someone shorter rather than ruin them or end up with half-assed looking jeans.

posted by Room 641-A to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How do they fit you now? Are they too short? How do they look rolled up now?

If you only want them converted from boot cut to straight leg/skinny, from what I understand that's a thing that is possible. In an abstract "is it possible to do that to jeans" way. No idea whether it is possible with this particular pair, whether your local tailor can do it, or whether you would be pleased with the results.

If they are too short as boot cut jeans, most likely they will never be perfect as straight/skinny jeans.
posted by Sara C. at 3:06 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: There's a link to a picture in the question. They are short and silly-looking!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:08 PM on October 22, 2013

Yes it's easy to straighten the legs of boot cut jeans but they'll always look kinda silly at that length. How do you feel about capris?
posted by elsietheeel at 3:09 PM on October 22, 2013

Oy, sorry, for some reason I thought that was just going to be a picture of the jeans?

Yeah, no. I wouldn't, unless maybe they could be recut into cigarette pants?

This is definitely getting into major surgery territory and not the lady who hems jeans in the back of the dry cleaners'. I would go to the best tailor you can find, show that person, and see what they think.

The other potential reality is that this might not be that cheap to do. The pants were free, but do you want to spend $20-30 on a pair of capris?
posted by Sara C. at 3:18 PM on October 22, 2013

You can definitely alter into a straight or skinny leg, but you'll want to feel comfortable sewing straight lines with a machine, and you'll need to use a denim needle instead of a standard machine needle. I've done this with similar Gap boot-cut jeans. If you don't feel up to it, a tailor can do this pretty quickly.

Grab a pair of your own jeans that has the leg shape you want. Turn both pairs of jeans inside-out and lay the straight pair on top of the boot-cut pair. On the boot-cuts, trace along the outer edge of each leg* where the straight hits and that will be your stitch line. With the boot-cuts still inside-out, stitch along that line and trim off the excess. See this tutorial.
*Possibly the inner edge depending on which side the jeans have some nice topstitching on. I'm not explaining this well, but check out the tutorial or others and you'll get the idea.

An alternative way, if you don't have a pair of straight ones you like, is to put the boot-cut jeans on inside-out and pin along where you will stitch the leg. See this tutorial. I don't like this route as much because it's harder to get a straight line.

In either case, it is really easy to end up with a weird bump around the hip or thigh where your new line meets the old, so you may have to smooth that out with an extra line of stitches that cuts or rounds the bump off. This bump is the real "tell" that you DIYed it.
posted by dayintoday at 3:22 PM on October 22, 2013

It's not worth it. Gap is perpetually running a 35-50% off sale/code, so you could probably get a pair that fits you for what it would cost to take your chances having these altered.
posted by payoto at 3:38 PM on October 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

You cannot, by any alteration that is possible, make too-short jeans long enough. The legs can be reshaped into skinnier jeans, but this will not have the effect of transforming the jeans into long-enough jeans.

posted by Jenna Brown at 3:54 PM on October 22, 2013

Jenna Brown, she's not trying to make them longer, just make them straight so they'll look OK rolled up.
posted by dayintoday at 4:01 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you could just take another inch or two off. At that point, you've removed most of the flare and can roll them to look like the ones in this picture. The main goal of hemming them would be so that the roll won't be overly bulky.
posted by alusru at 4:47 PM on October 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think yours are slightly tighter than the ones in my previous link. Here's a picture of a tighter pair. If you search on rolled-up clam digger jeans there are other possibilities.
posted by alusru at 4:52 PM on October 22, 2013

It's extremely easy to turn bootcut pants into skinny pants. As a tall gal, I've done this to several pairs of pants and jeans that shortened above the ankle with washing - salvaging them for many future wearings. Made into skinny jeans, they seem like they'd be a similar cut/length to Jcrew's Minnie pants.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:01 PM on October 22, 2013

Response by poster: I didn't want to start threadsitting, but I can now point to alusru's link as exactly what I was thinking of.

I was ready to give up, but I'd love some input on this, and maybe a ballpark on the cost.

Gap is perpetually running a 35-50% off sale/code

Good call. There's a Gap a few blocks away and they are indeed having a 50% off sale! I'll check them out tomorrow to compare potential costs.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:11 PM on October 22, 2013

Hemming is usually a low cost service. I've paid anywhere from $6 to $12. Korean-owned independent dry cleaners are usually a good bet.
posted by alusru at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2013

Maybe pegging?
I think you've got a lot of fabric to work with, but it'd be super easy to turn the jeans inside out, cut a slim triangle wedge of fabric from the outside seam of the lower leg/cuff area and stitch it together by hand (ugly stitching will hide nicely behind the cuff).
You'd just need Heavy duty upholstery thread and needles...which would cost less than 5 dollars.
No one will be staring at the cuffs of your jeans so as long as they look nice rolled up/pegged then it will be a success!

The 'slim' triangle should look like the waist to floor portion of a ball gown. 1/2 an inch at the top getting progressively wider towards the base (bottom of the jeans).
posted by W.S (disambiguation) at 10:14 PM on October 22, 2013

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