16 March 2008

Giving my favorite jeans a second life

On Friday I wore my favorite jeans to school, and much to my dismay, I discovered I had worn a hole in a less-than-flattering spot. This happens to me regularly....I suppose when you are a certain shape, you can expect to wear out clothing in the same way again and again.

Immediately I decided to recycle my favorite jeans into a denim skirt. I've been searching for a good denim skirt for a while, and had decided that one probably does not exist for me because my lower body is so strangely shaped. So this presented the perfect opportunity for recycling something that I already knew fit me. For those of you who may have had a similar problem but didn't know what to do, I will show you what I did, step by step, and perhaps it will be helpful should you ever want to try it on your own!

Exhibit A: Favorite jeans, before the transformation (these are actually a different pair but I forgot to photograph the real pair before I ripped them apart, so yeah)

Step 1: Take the whole inseam of the pants apart with one of those little stitch-removing-tool thingys. I don't know the actual name but they look like a hook and you can get them at a fabric store. Here is what they looked like with the whole inseam pulled apart; then I laid them out flat from midpoint to midpoint, and I drew a line on the outside where they needed to be cut. I had pinned the spot where I wanted to cut them earlier while I had them on. I made sure to pin them in several places before cutting so the fabric wouldn't shift.

Step 2: After cutting, I put them on to check the length, and it was fine. I then gathered the seat of the pants to see where I might want to cut and sew back there. I decided that a more fitted rear end might work better, and would be easier to sew.....this would also mean that I could cut out the worn part and not worry about inserting a new panel. So I pinned it, put it on, checked it, and then I took it off, turned it inside out, and drew a line where I would sew in the back. Here is what that looks like.

Step 3: With the now-skirt pinned on the front and back, I sewed the rear up in one straight shot. I cut off the excess fabric and tried it on to find some bunching in the back underneath my bum....so I took them off and sewed another line, this one straighter, and that seemed to fix it. The whole time this was going on, my cat was doing yoga on the couch. Here, she shows off her "Lazy Feline" pose.

Step 4: The only thing that was left to do was to take one of the cut-off pant legs and make it into a front panel....because without the front panel, let's face it, the skirt wouldn't be a skirt, but an invitation. So I selected the part of the fabric that most resembled the rest of the skirt, and I pinned it in, which resulted in this amusing photo.

Step 5: At this point, the end is very near. With the pant leg pinned in the front, I very carefully tried on the skirt, and it fit. It was time to sew! I decided to sew it on top of what used to be the inseam of the pants, which meant that I cut out the extra tiny flap of fabric behind the old, worn seam to make the sewing easier (basically this meant only sewing 2 layers of denim instead of 3 - remember denim is tougher fabric and therefore harder to sew as well). I put it on the machine and sewed two parallel lines along each diagonal edge. The lines crossed each other as I had to sew up what used to be the crotch of the pants as well. When I got done, I cut off the remainder of the pant leg and tried it on one last time.....good, but a little long in the front. So I cut off an extra half inch or so, threw it in the wash, and voila - I have a new denim skirt! Here is the finished product, after the washing frayed the bottom quite nicely.

And there you have it. I got to recycle and create a one-of-a-kind wardrobe staple all at the same time. Not bad for one morning's worth of work!


liz said...

this is awesome! i am so impressed by your craftiness. do you know what i did today? i sat on my ass in my pajamas until 6. then i watched the selection show. then i took a shower. and now i have been reading about basketball online since then.

Monica said...

That is so awesome! I can't even sew a button back onto a shirt, ha. Very impressive! :)

Anonymous said...

The LA Times copied you!
-Ashley L.

emKem said...

Wow they did!


Of course mine required extra fabric because I didn't want to look like a tramp, lol.