Sewing denim seam with sewing machine

If you own a well-fitting pair of skinny or straight-leg jeans, you can turn them into bootcut jeans. Unlike bell-bottoms, bootcut jeans begin to flare out from lower on the leg. All you need to turn your jeans into a bootcut style is a little fabric and some basic sewing skills.

Try on your jeans and decide where you want the flare to begin. Most bootcut styles begin to flare at the mid-calf (where a pair of boots would hit, hence the style's name). Use a sewing pencil to mark the location where you want the flare to start on your jeans. Don't worry about this mark showing; marks from sewing pencils are designed to come clean in the wash.

Rip the exterior seams of your jeans using a seam ripper. Only rip the seams up to the point you marked previously.

Decide how much you want your jeans to flare. This will determine how big a piece of fabric you will cut . Bootcut jeans are characterized by a modest flare, as opposed to bell-bottoms.

Cut out two identically shaped triangles from a piece of fabric. While you can use any fabric, choosing a fabric that has a pattern or wash similar to your jeans will camouflage your work a little better. The triangle should be an isosceles, meaning it will have two sides of the same length and one side that is a different length. The sides that are the same should be the identical length as your now-exposed seam, the seam you just ripped. The one side that is a different length will determine how much of a flare your bootcut jeans will have; 2 to 3 inches will create a subtle bootcut instead of a wide flare. Leave a half-inch on each side of the triangle as a seam allowance.

Turn the jeans inside out.

Use pins to secure the triangle-shaped fabric to the jeans. Remember the seam allowance you created. That's the amount of fabric you'll have to create the seam. You'll want to attach that half-inch of extra fabric to roughly half an inch of the jeans; this will ensure your stitching is minimally visible from the outside of the pants.

Thread a needle (or a sewing machine if you don't want to do this by hand) with a thread color that matches your jeans, such as a dark or navy blue.

Sew along the edge of the two seams created in step 6. Try to sew in as straight a line as possible. This is easier to do with a sewing machine than by hand. Once you have finished sewing together the jeans and the extra fabric, tie a knot in the thread or go over the end of the seam a second time if you're using a sewing machine.

Turn the pants right-side out. Examine your stitches. If they aren't straight, or your stitches were too large, rip out the seams and repeat the process again, paying closer attention to your sewing.


  • Make sure the two triangles you create are identical. If they aren't, your pant legs will have flares of different dimensions.

  • If you choose to sew by hand, consider using a thimble to protect your fingers from the needle.