The “I can breathe” Jeans

Let me begin by saying that if the thought of cutting up a pair of designer jeans makes you sad you may want to skip this post.

Now let me explain.  I few years ago I started hearing how great Joe’s Jeans were.  Unfortunately, at the time I was considerable larger then their largest size and couldn’t have a pair of these so called perfect jeans.  Then for a lot of reasons only one of which was denim related I started exercising and eating better causing me to drop about 60lbs and a good number of clothing sizes.  During this process I decided that I would allow myself one pair of designer jeans when I hit my goal weight.  I hit my goal weight, started trying to maintain that, bought a pair of jeans, and accidentally lost another 5lbs.  I know poor me really but this caused the first pair of Joe’s Jeans to become too big in the waist.  I sort of fixed this by opening the waist band and adding elastic to the back.  I also decided to buy another pair so I went to the store, tried on a size smaller, and then ordered the same size and fit but different wash online.  They ended up being too small in that way where I could button them but they were never comfy.  I should have returned them but instead I kept them around so that when I felt fat I could but them on and feel bad.  OK that was not my actual reasoning but that was how I used them for a number of months.  So when this challenge came around I decided to stop beating myself up over pants that never actually fit and solve the problem.

Since these were the Jolie wash which is pretty distressed to begin with I decided to add some patchy batike strips down each side.  I cut about 1/4 inch from the outseam on both sides because there were pocket rivets right beside the seam in the front.  I added the patchy strips to both sides strait up through the waist band.  I also added a touch of elastic to the back because the Joes denim stretches out during the day.  I’m really loving them now and as an added bonus I can breathe and I no longer have a pair of pants that exist for the sole purpus of making me feel bad about myself.  I only wish I’d had a pair of pants like this in high school or college because I would have loved them even more at any point in the 90s.

The Facts

Fabric: $12 worth of batike

Notions: one pair of Joe’s Jeans

Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: February 2012
Wear again?  and again and again and again

Total Cost: not counting the jeans $12 with the jeans I don’t want to think about it.  Thankfully I know how to make my own now.



Stephanie mother tried to teach her how to sew growing up but she didn't really get serious about it until her 4 year old daughter was born and she wanted to put her in fancy smocked dresses. Since then, she has learned to smock and sew. Her blog and screen name come from the initials of her two children Elijah who is 8 and Emily who is 4.


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  1. I love this. Did you line the back of the batik to mimic the weight of the denim?

  2. Ha! Great post. The ’90s will come back around soon anyway. :)

  3. Great save on the pants. Cute idea to put the patchy stripe down the sides. I also remember patchy pants from the ’70s. At least I remember mine and wish I still had them.

  4. Wow, what a clever idea and a real unique look.

  5. I love how that turned out. I really want to try it!

  6. What a fabulous way to save a great pair of jeans!

  7. You need to get in a time machine and go to a Phish show!! :) I love my Joe’s, but I hate that they stretch during the day. Add to it that I don’t wash after every wear…