DIY Bell Bottom Jeans

With an old pair of ugly jeans, first I turned them into cuffed jean shorts. And guess what we’re using the leftover scraps for? Yes, bell bottoms!

The flair trend is great for us pear shapes for a couple of reasons. First, it balances the hip width. And second, it forces me to wear heels for desperately needed height!

Enough rambling, ready for the how to? This one is a bit more complex than the shorts so stay with me. You will need:

  • A pair of fitted jeans (not jeggings but not baggy)
  • Denim scraps from making shorts
  • Seam ripper (scissors will also work)
  • Scissors or fabric cutter
  • Sewing machine (or a friend with one, thanks Nikki!)
  • Pins
First, open the outer leg seam of the jeans. I went up about 18 inches, which was not quite knee height. I used a seam ripper to get started and then just ripped it to where I had marked. I also opened about an inch of the hem on each side of the seam. You can open the entire hem if you don’t want to re-hem at the end. This will just add about an inch to the length. Clean up the open seam and pull out the loose threads.
diy jeans
Next, take your bottom denim pieces from making the shorts. Cut down the side seam to open up the fabric into one flat piece. Now fold over and measure 18 inches.

This is the slightly tricky part for me. You are basically cutting a triangle piece to sew into the leg seam. You want the base of the triangle to be 6 inches wide and the top to be 2 inches wide. (Of course, you can go wider if you want more flare.)

After you fold over the fabric, use a ruler to mark 1 inch in at the top and 3 inches in at the bottom. Then draw a line to connect or use a ruler and cut on the diagonal to make your triangle.

The next piece is easy because you can just use the first one as your guide. Then put them together to see if they match up (right side facing in) and trim up an errors.

Now turn your jeans inside out and pin in the fabric triangle, making sure you match up the end open hems. Then sew it in.

Finally re-hem. You may have to do this by hand if your sewing machine won’t go through the denim layers.

Voila! Super cute bell bottoms! I kinda wish I had gone even wider … though I’m not quite ready to try any crazy fabric quite yet.

What do you guys think of this trend? Is it something you would wear?


chases 3 small kids and edits Hello Natural

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  1. says

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  2. Deb says

    What if you want to take the fabric all the way to the waste band. How would you cut that piece of material.

  3. Kristi says

    My mom was SOOOO against buying anything that smacked of “fad” so I had to make my own bell bottoms or Elephant legged pants. And I used whatever fabric she had leftover from making our dresses when it was a RULE for girls to only wear dresses to school. Ugh. So the pants were only for weekend wear. Until the schools finally relented and let us wear jeans. WHAT a wonderful day that was!

    Also, we made purses from our really old jeans that had no more life to them from the tops and then took whatever material we could and made the shoulder straps. Groovy!! All those pockets were PERFECT for holding make up, lip gloss, etc.

    Fast forward 35 years and now my kids are BEGGING me to make them some bell bottom jeans with whacky prints and such! HA!!! And I’m going to too!! And I JUST might make me some too …. for old time sake. Thanks!

  4. says

    I always get stuck on the sewing part. When I pin the fabric in I can only sew about 6 inches before the other side of the jeans bunches too much to continue. I can’t figure out how to sew all the way up without sewing the other side of the jeans as well!!

  5. Jean says

    I really had to giggle when I saw these, but they really made me think about how old I really am-boo hoo. We used to make these in the late 50’s and early 60’s-The Hippy Age.
    We made zillions of these out of our no longer-in-fashion straight leg jeans, as bell bottoms had hit the fashion scene. We made them not only with other jeans, but with all kinds of other designed fabrics. I made one with a jeans wedge that I put studs all over the the added jean wedge-Everyone loved them and they were soon copying mine. ;) :) We also made braided bracelts like the ones that you have made–we did not do any of the bobby pin ones-They are SOOO cute-I will have to make some. So many of the trendy fashions from my days are starting to come around again. The super-short shorts out now, we used to call “hot pants”. I’m just waiting to find the following on the fashion scene soon-bananna blouses, swamp coats, bench warmers, grasshopper skirts. Of course they will have different names and maybe be a bit updated, but I bet I will see them again!! ;) ;)

  6. Maria S. says

    genius! if only that lady who sewed my middle school project is still available to make me these… Good work, Steph!

  7. says

    You are sew talented! Those look really good and looking around at the hipsters here in New York, bell bottoms are in style this season. Of course it doesn't make a difference for me because I don't wear pants, but I like to keep up on all the latest fashion. Nice work Stephanie.

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