Baste + Gather

Bleached, Distressed, Handmade Jeans: Lessons Learned

Lauren DahlComment

These jeans don't look half-bad when I do a bunch of color correction and apply some fancy presets in Lightroom. But don't be fooled. They are not all that. Let's discuss. 

You have seen these jeans before here. They are a rub-off of the AG Stilt cigarette jeans in a size 28. I am no longer a size 28 since making them, so these have been hanging out in the donate pile. They simply stretch out and get very baggy in the bum after wearing. 

But a few days ago, I thought they would be a good candidate for an experiment in bleaching/distressing. At worst, they'd go into the trash. At best, they'd turn into a pair of low-slung, boyfriend jeans. They ended up on the worse (but not worst) side of the spectrum. 

First, they are over-bleached. I bleached them once with a low concentration of bleach, and nothing happened. (Don't ask me how much - I just poured and hoped for the best because I didn't really care.) So I bleached them again, and I overshot it.

If you are planning something like this, I recommend starting with a lower concentration of bleach (like maybe a couple cups in a full bathtub) and letting your jeans sit in there for quite a while (12-24 hours) or doing it multiple times and gradually ramping up the concentration to get the desired effect. 

Speaking of the bathtub...the method I used was to fill the tub with about as much water as I'd normally use for a bath, and then I poured in the bleach. I stirred it well with a wooden spoon and added the jeans. I then used the spoon to flatten them out and make sure all the bubbles were out so they'd lay flat in the water. 

Next, they are speckled - especially on the back. 

distressed jeans.jpg

I am not sure what happened here, but the lesson learned is that I should flip them over periodically during bleaching to avoid this monstrosity (and re-stir). I stirred the water well, so I'm not sure what caused this. I think that bleaching gradually instead of in one shot will also help to avoid this. 

The distressing itself is fine. I used a cheese grater to wear out certain parts, and I further distressed the crotch whiskers and other normal-wear-and-tear areas with sandpaper. I simply used scissors to cut a few holes. I might be more strategic with this next time to get the more horizontal/thready goodness that is so common in store-bought, distressed jeans. 

These jeans will probably end up back in the donate pile as the bleaching has left them far too big. (I think it weakens the elasticity in the jeans making them softer but also much more likely to stretch out.) But perhaps they will be wearable with a belt. What do you think? 

Will I try again? You betcha! Better luck next time. :)

Top is the Brigitte Top by Tessuti which I previously blogged here

Birkin Flares Testers, Part II

Selvage Designs, SewingLauren DahlComment

Kimberly from Straight Stitch Designs

Today I have a treat for you - a few more photos from the testing phase of the Birkin Flares release! If you haven't checked out the first HUGE roundup, you can see it here. And here are a few more...

(Testers' blog posts linked after each set of photos. Click on any image to see a larger version.)

Rachel of Once Upon a Sewing Machine

Whew! I think that covers all my testers. I had such a fabulous group of ladies working on this with me, and I can't wait to show you the Kendall Skinnies they've been sewing up. Here's to all the handmade jeans in 2016! xoxo

Simplicity 1071 Top in Lightweight Sweater Knit

Handmade Wardrobe, SewingLauren DahlComment

Simplicity 1071 with Birkin Flares and the slouchy Jane hat: comfort dressing at its best! I whipped up this top recently and have been wearing it quite a bit, but as usual, I am just getting around to blogging about it. 

I made a size small, 10-12, and I could probably even go down to the extra-small. However, I love the slouchy, comfortable look. The only thing I might change next time is to narrow the sleeves a little as they don't stay up too well when I push them to/above my elbows. 

The fabric is something that's been in my stash for over a year. It's a lightweight, semi-sheer sweater knit I purchased at A Fashionable Stitch in Salt Lake City before we moved (and they went out of business). It's spongy enough to be kind of warm, but it's sheer enough that it demands a camisole underneath. It has the perfect weight and drape for this top. 

This top is really similar to the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee (which is a free pattern), so you could definitely download that one as an alternative if you don't have this pattern on-hand. I was simply in need of an instant-gratification (read: no tiling/taping) project the night I made this, so paper pattern it was. 

I'm sure I'll be making this again as it's a wonderful, wardrobe-building, quick/easy sew. For your size-selection reference I am 5'6" and about 33-26-36/125lbs in the photos above. 

Happy sewing!