Trouser Refashion Swap + Tutorial


Another refashion swap is underway! The first swap was with button-up tops, it was so great to see the fun things that everyone made for one another. I’m equally excited about this go around. The idea with this Refashion Swap is to make something out of trousers.

Interesting thing, Chris was about to throw away these tan Armani slacks. They were too small and looking pretty worn in the back. It really was quite a beautiful suit that Chris would wear on occasion while we were dating; I couldn’t bear to just throw them away. Plus, the fabric (besides the backside) was in amazing condition.

I wanted to make Jen a simple skirt, something that could be worn in fall and transition into the colder months. I also wanted to use one of my metal zippers for an exposed zip back.

The skirt is designed to go from true waist to mid thigh. The finished length is 16″ long, perfect for a 12″ zip, a few buttons and a little slit for more movement. I did a slight high-low hemline here. I was planning on doing a cuff all around the hemline, but I wasn’t loving the look. Simple is sometimes the best solution.

I used biased tape for button loops and natural wood buttons that were given to me from NearSea Naturals at Sewing Summit last year. I’ve been meaning to use them in a project. Combined with the leather zipper pull, I think it creates a nice earth-meets-urban feel. I sure hope the skirt fits Jen like I planned! Here are all the ladies participating this go around. Be sure to check out their blogs for their creations:

Read more to learn how you can make your own pencil skirt from a pair of slacks.

Exposed Zip Pencil Skirt Tutorial

You’ll need slacks (flare or straight, not fitted), sewing machine, pins, zipper, scissors, measuring tape and a seam ripper.

Take your measurements. For the front: measure from side seam to side seam for the waist, low waist and hips, divide by two and add 5/8 inch. For the back: measure from side seam to side seam for the waist, low waist and hips, divide by two and add 1 1/4 inches. Measure how far down each measurement is from one another. Measure the desired length of your skirt.

On a piece of paper, draft out the front and back pattern pieces. As you can see, I lowered the waistline on the front and raised the waistline on the back. Make sure your pieces match up. Add length to the back hem pattern piece. Measure out waistbands (3 inches from the top).

Cut off the waist of your slacks. Seam rip the inseam and sew the two pieces back together to make one large square of fabric.

Fold your large square of fabric along the new seamline. Cut out front and back pieces as shown above. Cut out waist bands in fabric and lining.

Pin front and back pieces right sides together. Sew along hip lines. Sew together the waistband pieces, then attach right sides together and sew the waistband on. Press seams.

Add your zipper. Turn the fabric over 5/8 inch and paste the zipper overtop or underneath for desired look. Add a hook or button at the top to secure the zipper from pulling down.



This sort of project is great and easy if you’ve inserted a zipper before. I didn’t go into much detail, so if you have questions about how to construct the skirt, ask away in the comments below.

This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this post, publish more than 2 photos or outright steal this idea for commercial publications. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

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    1. Miriam says:

      Gah!!! This is, in a word, magical. HEh heh, wasn’t the word you were thinking, right? No but really, this is amazing!

    2. Miranda says:

      So sleek! I love the details: buttons, teal peek, zipper pull… I can’t wait to see Jen in her new Armani skirt! :)

    3. Nina says:

      A genius idea! The skirt with the zipper and buttons is really cool in a stylish way! I wonder if I can find a pair of worn slacks from my husbands wardrobe … :-)

    4. I’ve been repurposing clothing in my sewing lately, too, and I love the idea of this swap. So creative!

    5. Jen says:

      Love it!! I always forget to buy neutrals and instead come home with color, color, color so this will be great for pairing with things this fall and the hem is rockin! So exciting to have it waiting for me when I get home.

    6. thisiscarrie says:

      LOVE the way this skirt turned out. The metal zipper is fantastic and the wood button are icing on the cake. Keeping it simple was the perfect plan.

    7. Krista says:

      Oooo I love this skirt Melissa! The hem line is adorable!

    8. […] don’t have any photos of me wearing the skirt I thought I’d show you the skirt Melissa made which is currently making its way to me. I’m super excited to get this one, I think it will […]

    9. Jess says:

      this is awesome. i love the details of the buttons and zipper with the pop of blue.

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