Saturday, 20 February 2021

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans - Flares Hack

At the start of last year I made myself a pair of Dawn Jeans out of grey corduroy. I chose to make the tapered leg version which was the style that I liked the most, and the one that I thought would look best out of the corduroy fabric. Those jeans turned out really well and I was especially pleased with how well they fit at the back, but I found that I just wasn't wearing them very much. I think the main problem was to do with the hem - after initially hemming the jeans as the pattern suggested I decided that I preferred how they looked rolled up, which is how I wore them. The issue was that they weren't quite long enough to roll up twice and so ended up being slightly too short, making them tricky to wear during cold weather. At least I think that's why I wasn't wearing them, often it's really hard to tell why some clothes get worn and others don't! I'm sure a lot of it comes down to habit. 

There were two things that I really liked about the jeans: the fabric and the fit. Because of this I really didn't want them to be left unworn at the back of the wardrobe and I wanted to try and alter them so that they'd get more wear. I recently bought a pair of flared jeans which I've really enjoyed wearing and thought about making a pair out of corduroy. Thinking about a pair of corduroy flares made me think about the corduroy jeans that I made and I started to wonder how I could hack them. It was a bit of a risk and I had no idea whether or not it would work, but I justified the process with the knowledge that my jeans weren't getting enough wear as they were and it would be a shame to waste the fabric (not to mention wasting the time I spent sewing them!).

Obviously a pattern piece would ideally be flared before the fabric was cut out so that the only seams necessary are the side and inner ones. Because I already had my fabric cut and sewn into a tapered leg this wasn't possible. My method of overcoming this was to add four triangular wedges of fabric into the seams. I used my RTW flared jeans as a guidance to know at what point the jeans should start to flare out (mine turned out to be just below the knee) and also how wide to make them at the bottom. I think the method worked pretty well overall, I simply unpicked the seams about halfway and resewed them adding in the triangle, kind of like adding a godet. 
It's not quite as neat as I would like it to be, but I think that for an alteration to make a pair of jeans more wearable it looks good. Fortunately the corduroy is pretty forgiving and the seams are partially hidden, something that I also found when making a jacket from the same fabric. I wanted to hide the panels as much as possible but with another fabric I think it could look nice to have contrast flared panels, especially in two shades of denim.

I originally added in the triangles and, trying to preserve as much length as possible, left the hem raw. The plan was to leave them like this but after wearing them out of the house they really didn't feel long enough. The style of flared trousers is to have a very long hem with hardly any shoe showing so the proportions weren't right. Again, this wasn't an ideal situation to be in and I ended up having to add on a band that was a couple of inches deep across the bottom of the jeans to lengthen them. It doesn't look bad and I think it's preferable to having them too short, but it would have been nicer to avoid doing this. I do have to keep reminding myself that this is a hack done to save an existing pair of jeans, and when the trouser dissection is taken into account I think the result is pretty good!

Since altering them I've already worn these jeans at least as much as when they were tapered, if not more. Flares are something that are slowly creeping back in and I'd love to make a pair from scratch at some point. It was nice to have these semi-made though so that I didn't have to worry about sewing a fly and fitting the waistband. The only thing I'd like to change (and again, it's not a problem when taking into account that these started off as a completely different pair of jeans) is that there isn't a huge difference between the width above and below the knee. I don't want the flare to be wild but ideally the jeans would be made from a stretch denim so that they are fitted on the things and appear to go out more at the bottom. The corduroy that I used doesn't have any stretch in it and the original pattern is designed for a looser mom-jeans look, hence the width of these. I am very pleased with the changes overall though, it feels like getting a new pair of trousers without having to put lots of effort into making them! 


  1. This is a nice hack! I think the end result is great, and I hardly noticed the wedge at first glance.

  2. What an amazing alteration! Your jeans look great.I love the cord, and the flares! Well done for changing something unworn into a new favourite.