DIY Dyed and Skinnified Jeans

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I’m really excited about this DIY. I’ve been in the mood to sew some new jeans but since I have so many other projects going on right now, sewing a whole pair of jeans and doing fitting and all that will have to wait.

 

Instead I went to the thrift store (which is a big deal for me since I rarely shop there, it’s too overwhelming) and bought a pair of white jeans (for way too much, seriously Goodwill? $8 for jeans!?) to dye some cool color.


Dying with iDye
For the dye I bought a few packets of iDye which, in my limited experience, is the best dye ever if you want a solid color effect and have a front loading washing machine.

Seriously, this stuff is awesome. All I had to do was pop the disposable dye packet in the wash with the jeans. I turned on a hot water cycle and put in a cup of dissolved salt in the detergent slot. When I came back about an hour later I had nice purply-blue jeans.

If you’re wondering if there is dye left in the machine afterwards – there isn’t. I even washed a load of towels right afterward with no purple marks on any of the towels. The next day I washed the newly dyed jeans again along with some random other clothes and one of those Shout Color Catcher sheets. I’m not sure how well those sheets work or if they’re just a trick to make people buy more random junk but no dye spread to the other clothes. The sheet did turn a light purple, though, so it looks like some dye did wash out, which is expected.

My jeans are 99% cotton and 1% spandex. I wouldn’t recommend dying jeans that are any more than 3% synthetic. My iDye was for natural fibers but they have a product for poly, too, but I haven’t tried it.

One downside to iDye is that the colors on the packaging are confusing. I bought Purple and Lilac. Now, you’d think Lilac would be a light purple color but on the package it looks almost black. It helped to reference their website where they have a list of all the colors. Still, every fabric reacts differently (as you can tell from my first iDye experiment). I ended up going for Lilac.

The resulting color is a kind of purple-ish blue, like periwinkle. When it first came out of the wash it looked almost cobalt blue. Whatever you call the color I’m happy with the result.

You’ll notice that the stitching didn’t dye. That’s because it is polyester thread. If you’re concerned about the thread being too noticeable I’d suggest dying white jeans a milder color like a pastel.

Stitching them Skinny

Ok, so now they are dyed but they’re still too long for my legs and they’re boot cut, and I’d prefer skinny, so it’s time for sewing!

The easiest way to make wide or boot cut jeans into skinny jeans is like this -

Turn your new jeans inside out and lay them face up and flat on a table. Take a pair of skinny jeans you already own and turn them inside out. These will be your template.

The inner seam on jeans is usually flat felled so it is easier to stitch up the outer seam because there’s no top stitching. Pull that outer seam flat. The back leg is wider than your front leg so just pull the excess back leg fabric away from the outside seam.

Do the same for the skinny jean leg and layer it over the new jeans leg. Match up the jeans at the crotch seam and down along the inner seam line.

Take pins or chalk and mark the seam line of the skinny jeans on your new jeans. This is your new stitching line.

Sew up the sides and try on the jeans. You may need to adjust the legs some more (I had to sew closer in at the knees).

Once you are satisfied you can trim off the excess and finish your seam. I re-stitched over the edge with my serger.

DIY Dyed Jeans

After that you can hem your jeans if necessary.

DIY Dyed Jeans

Press your new seam and you’re done!

DIY Dyed Jeans

Now I have brand new colored skinny jeans!

Raglan Top to Dress Tutorial

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Raglan Sleeve Knit Dress w/ Crochet Back

So I made this knit dress that I posted earlier this month from a basic raglan top pattern. A couple people asked if I’d make a pattern for it but since it’s just an altered pattern I thought I’d show you how to do it yourself.

If you’ve never done any pattern alteration more than just for fitting you’ll find that it’s a pretty simple idea.

I used the raglan sleeve pattern from Wendy Mulin’s Sew U Home Stretch book. You can use any plain raglan sleeve pattern for knits. The pattern in the book comes with front, back, sleeve, collar, cuff, and hood pieces so if you want you could make a hoodie. I left out all but the front, back and sleeve pieces.

I like raglan sleeves because you don’t need to do much, if any, fitting at the shoulders. So if you have really sloped or broad shoulders, etc, you’ll find this style easy to sew and wear.

I cut the neckline to fit the crochet applique but if you’re leaving that out you can adjust your neckline any way you want. I just widened the original crew neck style by about an inch or two by lowering the neck on all the pieces (orange line).

Next I shortened the sleeves by several inches. In the end my sleeves curved up a little at the center (purple line).

To make it a dress I measured how long I wanted the dress + seam allowances. I extended the side seams of Front and Back and gradually angled it out to an A-shape making sure I had enough ease around the hips (pink line).

Finally I copied the waistline markings that were already on the original pattern so I could add my elastic waist (green line). If your pattern doesn’t have a designated waistline you can measure on your body from under your armpit to your waist then transfer that measurement to the side of your front and back pieces from the bottom of the armhole.

Then just sew everything up as normal!

Just hem the sleeves and bottom. You’ll have to create a new collar or binding because your neckline is now bigger. Measure your new neckline and cut a strip of fabric about 2/3-3/4 as long as the measurement and attach as normal.

For the waist you can stitch the elastic directly to the inside of the dress or I cut a strip of fabric as a casing and sewed it inside and inserted the elastic.

There you have it! Not so difficult to alter a pattern like that, right? Now go forth and sew!

Little Black Dress and a Crochet Applique Tutorial

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I bought my first crochet applique for this t-shirt I made a couple weeks ago and I got hooked!

So I bought a few more and added an applique to this simple raglan sleeve knit dress and now I’m going to show you how you can use them on your next project!
Raglan Sleeve Knit Dress w/ Crochet Back
This is basic a raglan sleeve dress but you could always add appliques to patterns with set in sleeve or anything else. I’m using good ol’ plain black cotton jersey for this project.

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These types appliques come in all shapes and sizes, some are meant specifically to be front or back yokes but it’s really up to you how you use them.

pieces

I started with my unassembled cut out pieces. It’s much easier to add an applique before everything is stitched together.

layered

I’m using my applique as a back detail like the other shirt. Lay the piece out flat, right side facing up, and arrange the applique on top. One of the problems with appliques is you may have to adapt your pattern to fit your applique and change your neckline. If this were a set-in-sleeve dress I’d just line up the top ends of the applique with the shoulder line. In this case I’m letting it stretch over the raw edge (arrow in the pic above) and I’ll cut it off later when I assemble the dress.

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Pin around the outer edge of the applique.

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Using matching thread and a small zig zag stitch, sew around the perimeter of the applique. You need to use a zig zag stitch because knit fabric is stretchy and it. Even if you use these appliques on a woven fabric I’d still recommend zig zagging because it serves as a seam finish to prevent fraying

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Now cut out the fabric from behind the applique. I cut big chunks out first, then went back and cut very close to the stitching.

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Before sewing the pattern pieces together you have to attach any collar or neck finishing to the front. Since my dress has raglan sleeves I sewed the sleeves to the front and added my collar. Because you now don’t need a collar for the back you’ll have to adjust the length of your collar accordingly to only fit the front.

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After the collar I assembled the rest of the dress.

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I didn’t fully have a plan for this dress when I began. I started with a basic raglan shirt block and adjusted the sleeves, neckline, and length. Lastly I added elastic to the waist by creating a tube using leftover fabric on the inside of the dress and inserting some 1″ elastic. Not too bad for just winging it! In fact, I’m really quite satisfied with it! Who doesn’t love making a dress in less than a day that fits and looks good?

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If you want to buy some appliques of your own check out this Etsy shop.

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AND I’m including an applique in a giveaway next week, along with some ruffle elastic and other goodies so stick around for that! Hope you liked the tute!

How to add a V-neck to a t-shirt

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V-Neck Restyle

Hey readers! Today I’m showing you how to make a nice and pointy v-neck for all your t-shirting needs. You can use this method to alter an existing t-shirt, like I’m doing here, or use it on a pattern that calls for a v-neck, or use it as an alternative neckline option for a pattern. Either way the shirt will be almost completely assembled when we add the v-neck.

I’m using a plain white shirt that I like. White goes with everything, nice and comfy, yada yada. One problem – it’s a crew neck. Not all crew necks annoy me but this one does because I feel like it’s constantly choking me so I never wear the shirt! Well, there’s an easy fix.

I bought a small amount of white rib knit to match the shirt. You don’t need to use rib knit. You can use the same fabric as your shirt fabric if you can’t find rib knit to match. The difference between rib knit and regular t-shirt jersey is that rib is stretchier along the crossgrain than jersey which is why it is often used for collars and cuffs.

Mark new necklineCut new neckline

First I cut my new neckline shape out. I marked a dot for the point and connected it to the shoulder seams with a ruler. If you’re using a v-neck t-shirt pattern obviously this part is already done for you.

If you want you can stay stitch the neckline along the stitching line. I’m using 1/4″ seam allowances because I’ll be using my serger.

Stay stitch, clip

If not, you’ll still need to reinforce your center point by stay stitching a couple inches from the point on either side, pivoting at the point.

Carefully clip the center point to the stitching line but don’t cut through the stitch.

Now to prepare the collar – if you are using a pattern it’s easy because you just follow the directions for the length of your collar piece. If you’re altering like me, measure the neckline opening. Mine is 26″.

Gaping neckline

Now we have to consider some design theory – if you were to wear your shirt as it is now you’ll notice that the unfinished neckline is a little loose and gaping. This is because the neck is cut on a curve/angle and we know that fabric cut on the bias is extra stretchy. This is no different. We want our collar to wrangle in that floppy, stretchy neckline so it sits nice and flat without being too loose or puckering.

If we cut our collar the same length as our neck opening then the collar will still be loose. If we cut it too short it won’t be able to stretch enough to accommodate the big neck opening. I find the sweet spot is to cut a length of collar somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 the length of the neck opening depending on the stretch of your fabric. If you are using regular, not-so-stretchy jersey go for 3/4. I’m using rib knit which is stretchier than jersey so I’m going closer to 2/3.

Cutting Collar

I want my collar to have a width of 3/4″ with 1/4″ seam allowances. Easy – that’s 1″. Because the collar is folded over I’ll double that amount – 2″ wide by 18″ long, which is about 2/3 of 26″ (my neck opening measurement) plus seam allowances.

Stitch center back

Cut out your collar and stitch the short ends together, right sides facing. This will be your center back.

Collar Loop

Next fold it over, wrong sides facing, matching long edges and press. Now you’ve got a collar loop.

Angled stitching makes point

Fold the loop in half with the center back at one end. The other end will be the center front V. Stitch at an angle on this end like the photo above. In the picture the fold is on top and raw edges are on bottom. Open up the collar and press the V like in the photos below. Now you have a nice point!

Pointy collarInside pointy Collar

If you want to tack down that extra collar fabric on the inside you can stitch in the ditch of the center front seam.

Matching points

Now to match up the points – remember that tiny clip we made? Spread open the clip and use the stay stitching as a guide to match up the seam lines of the shirt and collar point.

Pinning collar to neckline

Pin the collar to the neck opening matching center back and center front. With right sides together evenly stretch the collar to fit the neck opening and pin. This may take a time to get it balanced. If you have trouble you can pin and sew one half of the collar at a time (like the pic above).

V-Neck insideAfter being serged

Starting at the point stitch all the way around ending up at the other side of the point. I’m using a serger but you could easily use a zig zag stitch for the same effect. Also, if this is your first time trying this technique – use a zig zag stitch rather than serger. It’s much easier to seam rip zig zag stitches if you make a mistake!

Tie and cut off your tails if you’re using a serger.

Finished V-Neck

Press the collar away from the shirt with seam allowances towards the shirt. Almost done! Using a zig zag, twin needle, or a straight stitch if your v-neck is wide enough to fit over your head without needing to stretch, stitch down the seam allowances to the shirt fabric. This prevents the collar from flipping out and exposing the seam and creates a nice finish. I broke my twin needle so I’m just doing a single straight stitch.

Now I have a much more wearable shirt! And you, too, can create nice pointy v-necks on your shirts!