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Friday, July 21, 2017

Distressing Denim Tutorial

80s kids rejoice because distressed denim is all over the place right now and word on the street is it's only going to be bigger this fall! No need to spend big bucks on this fashion trend though; we are here to teach you how to take the jeans you have now and distress them yourself. If you are wanting to keep up with this years biggest fashion trend, keep reading to learn how....

Materials Needed:

The first thing you want to do is decide if you want to stick with jeans as pants or cut them off to be shorts. My daughter is growing like a weed so for the jeans I used in my sample I decided to make them shorts. To do this we always recommend trying them on and marking where you would like the hem to be with tailors chalk then cutting accordingly with scissors or a rotary cutter

If you decide you want to keep the length as jean pants you can either keep the hem as it is or decide to fray the hem, which is really popular right now! If you want to fray the hem, you can either: 
1.) use your scissors or seam ripper to undo the hem to fray
2.) use your scissors to cut off just above the hem-line to fray

Short Frayed Hem Jeans (Source)
To achieve the frayed look on your jeans, you will be unraveling the threads that go from side-to-side. On my sample they were white threads which made it nice and easy for example pics! You will just continue pulling them until you get the preferred fray length.

Another technique to speed up this process is to stick the tip of your tweezers through your fabric about 1/4" up from the raw edge and pull it straight down towards your raw edges. 

This process will pull out multiple horizontal threads at once. 

I chose to do a smaller fray and once I was finished it looked like the picture below. 

You may also choose to to a larger fray as pictured below. 
Long Frayed Jean Skirt (Source)
To achieve a longer fray, I think it would be easier to measure up the length you would like the fray to be and then sew a straight stitch where the top of the fray will end to stop it from further unraveling down the road. Then you will cut little 1/4" strips all the way around the bottom of the garment just up to that line making sure not to cross it. Finally, you will go through each piece and pull out the horizontal threads. You will be left with a beautiful long fringe as shown in the picture above! Throwing the garment in the dryer for a bit will help it to achieve that ratty look as shown. 

Now that we have our pieces nicely frayed, we will be learning two different techniques to distress our denim garments. They are both shown in the video below or, if you prefer, you can continue beyond the video with step-by-step instructions. If you watch the video though, be sure to skip to the end of this blog for inspiration photos!
Microplane Grater (Source)
The first technique uses a microplane grater, yes, just like you use for your cheese! The process seems  a little intimidating at first, but once you start grating, you realize its very easy and pretty fun! For my shorts, I just kinda winged where I wanted to distress them, but I do recommend planning it out a little more first. I love the way mine turned out for my daughter, but I got a little too close to the center of the shorts so her underwear nearly shows when she wears them. Learn from me, stay closer to the sides for big rips and things. 

When you have it mapped out, you literally just start grating your jeans.

The grating will create little lint balls. Thats when you know you're getting somewhere. Be prepared for lots of lint! **Tip: Have a lint roller ready for when you're done. 

A little grating creates a nice distressed look like this. 

If you keep grating, carefully because you don't want to cut yourself on it, you will eventually end up with areas that have the horizontal strings exposing themselves. You want this! So you will grab your tweezers (or your fingers) and start pulling out the vertical (up-and-down) strands to better expose the  horizontal ones. You will also gently pull the horizontal strands to separate them from the fabric. 

Continue this process until you end up with a nice size hole that you are happy with!

I added some smaller holes on the leg for more character.

The second technique only uses scissors and tweezers. First I decided where I wanted my next distressed area to be and I cut 1/2" strips as wide as I wanted the hole to be. Eventually, I decided that 1/4" strips would be better (and they were) so I cut all of those strips in half and would highly recommend 1/4" to anyone trying this technique. 

Once you have your strips cut, you will begin by trying to separate your horizontal strands. Many of them will probably be broke because the lines you cut weren't straight and that is totally fine! These jeans are distressed. Distressed is basically the opposite of perfection here! Continue separating until you can start grabbing the vertical threads and just start pulling them out so you are only left with horizontal threads.

When you are completed with this section it will look like the picture below. I prefer the grating technique, but I was really happy when she wore them with how both techniques turned out!

Here is our final product on my daughter: 

Paired with Monica's 

You think she likes them? lol.

Here are some inspiration pics of distressed denim and CKC Patterns!
Moxie's and RaD Jeans


Esther's and RaD Jeans

Moxie's and RaD Jeans

Nova's and RaD Jeans

Onyx's and RaD Jeans

Fern's paired with RaD Jeans
Trista's and RaD Jeans

Wanda's and RaD Jeans

Happy Distressing!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing!! The microplane grater is genius!!