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DIY Dyed and Skinnified Jeans

I’m really excited about this DIY. I’ve been in the mood to sew some new jeans but since I have so many other projects going on right now, sewing a whole pair of jeans and doing fitting and all that will have to wait.


Instead I went to the thrift store (which is a big deal for me since I rarely shop there, it’s too overwhelming) and bought a pair of white jeans (for way too much, seriously Goodwill? $8 for jeans!?) to dye some cool color.

Dying with iDye
For the dye I bought a few packets of iDye which, in my limited experience, is the best dye ever if you want a solid color effect and have a front loading washing machine.

Seriously, this stuff is awesome. All I had to do was pop the disposable dye packet in the wash with the jeans. I turned on a hot water cycle and put in a cup of dissolved salt in the detergent slot. When I came back about an hour later I had nice purply-blue jeans.

If you’re wondering if there is dye left in the machine afterwards – there isn’t. I even washed a load of towels right afterward with no purple marks on any of the towels. The next day I washed the newly dyed jeans again along with some random other clothes and one of those Shout Color Catcher sheets. I’m not sure how well those sheets work or if they’re just a trick to make people buy more random junk but no dye spread to the other clothes. The sheet did turn a light purple, though, so it looks like some dye did wash out, which is expected.

My jeans are 99% cotton and 1% spandex. I wouldn’t recommend dying jeans that are any more than 3% synthetic. My iDye was for natural fibers but they have a product for poly, too, but I haven’t tried it.

One downside to iDye is that the colors on the packaging are confusing. I bought Purple and Lilac. Now, you’d think Lilac would be a light purple color but on the package it looks almost black. It helped to reference their website where they have a list of all the colors. Still, every fabric reacts differently (as you can tell from my first iDye experiment). I ended up going for Lilac.

The resulting color is a kind of purple-ish blue, like periwinkle. When it first came out of the wash it looked almost cobalt blue. Whatever you call the color I’m happy with the result.

You’ll notice that the stitching didn’t dye. That’s because it is polyester thread. If you’re concerned about the thread being too noticeable I’d suggest dying white jeans a milder color like a pastel.

Stitching them Skinny

Ok, so now they are dyed but they’re still too long for my legs and they’re boot cut, and I’d prefer skinny, so it’s time for sewing!

The easiest way to make wide or boot cut jeans into skinny jeans is like this –

Turn your new jeans inside out and lay them face up and flat on a table. Take a pair of skinny jeans you already own and turn them inside out. These will be your template.

The inner seam on jeans is usually flat felled so it is easier to stitch up the outer seam because there’s no top stitching. Pull that outer seam flat. The back leg is wider than your front leg so just pull the excess back leg fabric away from the outside seam.

Do the same for the skinny jean leg and layer it over the new jeans leg. Match up the jeans at the crotch seam and down along the inner seam line.

Take pins or chalk and mark the seam line of the skinny jeans on your new jeans. This is your new stitching line.

Sew up the sides and try on the jeans. You may need to adjust the legs some more (I had to sew closer in at the knees).

Once you are satisfied you can trim off the excess and finish your seam. I re-stitched over the edge with my serger.

DIY Dyed Jeans

After that you can hem your jeans if necessary.

DIY Dyed Jeans

Press your new seam and you’re done!

DIY Dyed Jeans

Now I have brand new colored skinny jeans!

Comments (20) for post “DIY Dyed and Skinnified Jeans”

  • Definitely trying this! Of course, now that I’m looking for it, I bet I won’t be able to find white jeans at Goodwill for love nor money 🙂

  • That’s so cool! My daughters been wanting skinny leg jeans and shorts in bright colours and we haven’t been able to find any that fit properly in rtw so looks like we’re going thrifting this weekend!

  • Adorbs. Why do you say it works best with a front loading machine? I’m afraid all I have is a junky old used top-loader that I share with six strangers. Probably should try a different method for fabric dyeing…

    • Hey, you can use a iDye with a top loader, too. Since the dye comes in a dissolvable packet you just throw the jeans in the machine, fill it with water and turn on the wash cycle then throw the packet in last. It’s the packet that makes it so easy for front loaders. No other dye I’ve tried works like that. Normally you have to pre-disolve the dye and pour it through the detergent slot in a front loader which is messier than just popping the packet in the wash. If you have a top-loader you can easily use any brand of dye you want!

  • I’ve never dyed anything for fear of leaving color inside the washer. I may have to try that idye. I have a top load washer though, hopefully it works fine with both. I have a pair of jeans that used to be black and they’ve faded to a greyish color but i’d really like them to be black again… I’ve also been wanting some bright red pants, and have several pairs of pants that are a very pale khaki or stone -maybe i could dye one of the red? Still slightly worried about getting red dye everywhere and it looking like a murder scene. And your pants look great!!

    • Yeah, you can use iDye with a top loader. I’d just do a couple rinse cycles after dying if you want to be absolutely sure about cleaning the tub. I think dyeing over khaki would work. 🙂 Thanks!

  • So cute! I love these! I don’t have my own washer, and I don’t think my laundromat would like me to dye stuff there! I would reallllly like to try this, though!

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