How to Make Western Chaps for a Costume

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If you're on the hunt for some costume ideas, wrestle up old denim jeans and fashion yourself a one-of-a-kind DIY pair of chaps. With very little sewing, you can convert old boot-cut jeans into chaps that are perfect for a western Halloween 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.

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With this simple tutorial, you can have a range-worthy cowboy costume reminiscent of Little Joe or John Wayne in one afternoon. Complete the look with a suede or denim jacket over a t-shirt, and top it off with an iconic cowboy hat.

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Things You'll Need

  • Denim jeans

  • Chalk

  • Measuring tape

  • Fabric scissors

  • Strips of leather

  • Sewing machine/needle and thread

  • Conchos or other metal ornaments

Denim Chaps

Draw a Chalk Line Across Your Denim Jeans

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.

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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.

Cut Away the Excess Fabric

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.

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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.

Cut across the leg. Make sure to leave the denim strip across the back thigh intact. Do this on both pant legs. With that, you'll have completed a simple, classic leather chaps pattern!

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Dye the Fabric to Create a Faux Leather Look

Dye the blue jeans with brown fabric dye. Follow the package directions. Use more fabric dye for darker-colored chaps to create a worn leatherwork look.

Western Trim

Sew on a Leather-colored Ribbon

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

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Sew on Conchos or Other Metal Ornaments

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.

Loop in Your Leather Cord

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

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Tip

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

This DIY Halloween costume is simple, but effective. Aspiring cowboys and cowgirls can take comfort in the knowledge that their chaps will be saddle-ready from the first time they put them on.

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