Getting Ripped

Thoughts of Fall drew me into the closet recently and out came an old pair of jeans and my trusty seam ripper (I love this little kit that I found out of the blue at Lee Valley).

A while back I bookmarked a few jean skirt tutorials like this one and the one over here. This is such a great way to give new life to an old or ill-fitting pair of jeans, not to mention a project that promises high-success with very little time and effort.

With so many great tutorials available on the web I won't add more to the count, but here are the adjustments I made for my own version.

I cut my jeans around knee length for a great all-season skirt - from t-shirt and flip-flops to chunky sweater and boots. Don't worry about being exact but do make sure you give yourself enough length to begin with - once the seams are out and the skirt comes together you can cut shorter if you like. For my own skirt I decided to leave the bottom edge raw, but obviously leave an extra inch or so if you plan to hem. Then start ripping away at those inner seams.

For the front panel, I cut along the centre of the pant leg so that I could include the seam (from the outer leg) in the centre of the patch. I found that this detail streamlined the skirt and created a nice balance between the DIY look and the original stitching.

At this point be prepared for lots of trying-on and readjusting. These jeans were baggy and distressed to begin with so I found that it took several pinning and repinning efforts to make sure that the overlapping ripped section (formerly the inseam) was sitting flat. Remember to check the side view!

I played around with a panel for the back, but in the end decided to just overlap the ripped section and leave the exposed triangle as a slit. I also used the original seam fold (you'll see what I mean once you take yours apart) as another visual effect by sewing along the inside of the fold and then leaving the edge raw so that it will fray overtime.

And, as the last steps I trimmed and tidyed up the lower edge and added a zigzag stitch (high width, short length so that it created a tight decorative line) about 1/2"-3/4" from the bottom (if you click on the picture below you'll see it better in the zoom). After the first washing it's already frayed (trim to your liking after the first wash or two) but will never fray above the stitch line.

And voila - a new skirt that's as comfortable as an old pair of jeans!

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