Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Closet Case Files: Distressed Ginger Jean shorts

I love sewing my own jeans and I love how much better they fit than rtw, but geez I wish there were more denim options than plain dark denim. So what do you do when you want a pair of light denim or distressed jeans? You play with bleach/sandpaper/scissors!

I made a couple of samples;


Sandblasting (which made no real difference, I used my husbands sandblaster but he has a very fine sand in it so I imagine a coarser sand would work better?);

Sandpaper and bleach;

The pattern is my TNT Ginger Jeans, shortened into above knee shorts. Same adjustments as usual (sz 18, added to inner leg 1", wedge taken from outer leg and extended calf adjustment plus I added a pull on waistband like my last pair)

To get the distressing I did some sandpapering before topstitching, then put the shorts on and marked with chalk the common wear areas. I made a half and half solution of bleach and water in a spray bottle, which I sprayed onto a rag and scrubbed into the fabric (gives a lot more control than just spraying straight onto the fabric). I did it about 5 times, giving it 10-15mins between each application, only dampening the fabric with the bleach solution not saturating it. When I was happy with it I washed them with some vinegar (meant to help stabilise the bleach?) and dried them.

My daughter tells me I did the distressing too low and I agree with her - the fade should have started further up.

I did the cuts with a pair of scissors and tweezers. I wasn't too sure about it to begin with but I'm liking it the more I wear them.

It was a fun project, I wouldn't use the sandpaper again, I don't like the damage it does to the fabric and I doubt I'd do the cuts again either. But I really like how the bleaching went and I'd definitely use that again.


  1. They look great! I think I agree that the distressing should've been a bit higher, but I only noticed that after you mentioned it so I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. The work you did on them look fantastic. I'm not normally a fan of distressing marks on new jeans from the store because they're unrealistic (do I really need cat whiskers from my crotch? That says all sorts of stupid things I'm not going to mention here), but yours look much more natural!

    If I ever brave jeans (AND I WILL DAMMIT), I'm going to keep your bleaching method in mind. Thanks for the info!

  2. They are just brilliant! You are one smart creative sewer ... J

  3. Wow!! Those look JUST like RTW jean shorts. Nice work!!

  4. Shorts are super cool! I do not agree with your daughter, I think that distressing is ok. Shorts look on you absolutely fabulous!