How to Make Western Chaps for a Costume

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Wrestle up old denim jeans and fashion yourself a one-of-a-kind pair of chaps. With very little sewing, you can convert old boot cut jeans into chaps that are perfect for a western costume -- if not for herding cattle. Always use a pair of jeans at least one size too big, because they will be worn over your jeans. In one afternoon, you can have a range-worthy costume reminiscent of Little Joe or John Wayne.


Chaps are traditionaly made from leather.
Image Credit: photobirder/iStock/Getty Images

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Things You'll Need

  • Boot Cut Jeans, One Size Too Big

  • Scissors

  • 20 Conchos

  • Chalk

  • Sewing Machine

  • Leather Cord

  • Needle

  • Measuring Tape

  • 3-Inch Faux-Leather Ribbon

  • Thread

  • Brown Fabric Dye

Denim Chaps

Step 1

Draw a straight chalk line across the front of the jeans just below the crotch. Measure 1 1/2 inches from the outer seams on each side. Mark the measurements with a vertical line that connects just below the crotch and extends to the waist.


Step 2

Draw a straight chalk line across the back side of the jeans just below the crotch. Measure 1 1/2 inches from the outer seams on each side. Mark the measurements with another vertical line extending just below the crotch to the waist.

Step 3

Cut the marked front and back portions away. Cut just below the waist and across the zipper section. Leave the section of fabric around the side seams intact. This leaves a fabric waist connected to two legs by two strips of side fabric.


Step 4

Cut the back of the jean legs away, leaving a strip of denim across the back of the thighs. Start the cut at the bottom of the ankles and follow both side seams. Stop just above the knee sections of the pants.

Step 5

Cut across the leg. Make sure to leave the denim strip across the back thigh intact. Do this on both pants legs.


Step 6

Dye the blue jeans with brown fabric dye. Follow the package directions. Use more fabric dye for darker colored chaps.

Western Trim

Step 1

Sew a 3-inch leather-colored ribbon down the outside of the front of the pants edge. Don't worry about adding leather trim to the side strips of fabric above the thigh section.


Step 2

Sew conchos onto the leather strip. Add the first concho 4 inches from the waist band. Place additional conchos every 2 inches along the outside of the leg.

Step 3

Run leather cord through the center of each concho. Tie the cord in a knot. Let 5 to 6 inches of cord hang the loosely from the conchos.


Add brown felt fabric across the knee sections or saddle stitched over the thighs.