Turn a Flare Leg Into a Skinny Leg

turn a flare leg into a skinny leg capri refashion

Sewing has always been a hobby that I have loved. When I was younger I used to hand sew until I got my first sewing machine when I was 19. I mainly stuck to home d├ęcor projects like pillows, curtains and slipcovers. Clothing was always a daunting project for me. This all changed when I started reading crafting blogs and I discovered refashioning.

The first refashion project I took on was taking a pair of wide leg jeans and turning them into skinny jeans. After that I was hooked. I also learned how to take in my t shirts to make them more fitted. I began looking for shirts and pants I could repurpose.

I am by no means an expert seamstress. I take shortcuts. I make mistakes. My seam ripper is my best friend. I fight with the thread in my sewing machine. Despite my shortcomings I love to sew and I love turning a piece of clothing from unwearable to wearable. I may not be perfect but I find I am the biggest critic of my work and most people don’t notice the mistakes I made.

My current sewing projects include turning all my capris from flare leg to skinny leg. You may have seen tutorials for this all over the bloggy world but I wanted to share my own project. This is really quite easy and any novice sewer that can sew a line (it doesn’t have to be straight!) can handle this.

Here is what I started out with. I found these tangerine capris at the thrift store for $2.00. I had been looking for a pair of tangerine jeans ever since I saw Kate Middleton wearing them a couple of months ago. When I spotted these I was so excited to find the right color I didn’t mind that they were chinos instead of jeans. The waist fit me and I knew I could fix the style.


There are two ways to take in your pants. If you are lucky enough to have a pair that is made out of similar material you can lay it on top of the pair you want to take in and a draw a line to determine where to sew. I didn’t have a pair I could use for this so I used the other method.

I put the capris on inside out and started pinning down the leg where I wanted to make my new seam. You want to make your new seam on the side that does not have any top stitching. It can be on either side so determine that before you start pinning.

Try to keep the line fairly straight and don’t make the capris too tight. Make sure you can bend our knee. It’s much easier to make a new smaller seam than it is to rip a seam out. The left leg in this pic was super wonky so I redid the pins before I sewed it.


Carefully take your capris off without poking yourself with the pins. Lay them flat on a table. I like to draw a line to sew on. You can sew along the pin line but I find they are usually too crooked to use as a good guide.


Next, sew down the line you just made. After you sew both sides, try the capris on a make sure they fit properly. If they are too loose then take in your seams a little more. If they are too tight, unpick your seam and make a new one to make the leg bigger. I rarely get it right the first time :)


Once you have the seams where you want them, make another seam using a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying. If you are lucky enough to have a serger you can use that instead. I like to start my zig zag over the part of the original serged seam that I won’t be cutting off to prevent it from unraveling. You can see that I have more than one straight stitched seam since I had to take it in more. I had a hard time with these because they were baggy and flared. I had to take them in more than I normally do.


Once your zig zag seam is in place you can cut off the excess fabric. It’s also a good idea to press your hem flat.


And voila! A new pair of tangerine skinnies!

flare leg to skinny leg capri

There are a ton of tutorials out there for refashioning into skinnies and I want to mention two that I found after I started using this technique that I think are helpful.

One is a slightly different method than I have used but with amazing results. Check out this youtube video from Cottons and Curls.

The other is this post from Maybe Matilda where she gives an excellent explanation of different types of techniques that can be used to taking in your flare/boot cut pants.

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.

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