Image via Gap
After much effort I have finally finished my ripped jeans project. I have loved distressed and ripped jeans for a long time. I love the look of something ruff with something smooth – a pair of scuffed jeans with a super fitted blazer.
So in the search of the perfect distressed jeans, I came to the conclusion the only way to get the right pair was to make them myself.
I consulted a number of sources in my research…
I highly suggest you have a look at the handy work of these lovely DIY ladies before you begin.
(she taught me first by doing these shorts for me)
To do this DIY you will need…
- Jeans (preferably with no stretch – although stretch does work too)
- A thread unpicker (or a needle – although this makes it more time consuming)
- A craft knife (be carful the new ones are very sharp – again you could use scissors)
- Household thick bleach
- A bucket
- A chopping board
So the most major DIY I did to jeans began like the pair above. Gap kindly gave me some jeans just like them, and they were my starting out point.
So here was my process…
- Wet down the jeans and place them in a bucket with a cup of normal house bleach diluted in warm water. Weigh the jeans down and leave at least over night. (This will depend on the colour you want and the strength of the dye. Do it during the day to keep an eye on them if you nervous).
- Remove from the bleach water and rinse. Assess colour and repeat step 1 until desired colour is reached (remember the colour will appear darker when wet, so under bleach if your worried, you can always repeat step one after you have finished).
- Wash the jeans in a cycle on then their own, at 60 so they are completely clean of bleach and then allow to air dry.
- Put the jeans on and in front of a full length mirror work out the placement of your rips. Now take a water soluble pen or chalk and mark where you want you rip or distressed patterns to be. If you are going for heavy rips I find it best to mark in lines, if you are looking for holes mark in circles or shapes.
- Take jeans, place them on the table on a chopping board and begin to cut into the denim in horizontal patterns across the legs etc. Don’t press too hard or you will go through to the other side of the jeans. It is better repeat over the same area, then cut right through. Try not to go diagonally, but keep straight with the fabric, leave 1cm gaps between these cuts.
- Drag the blade over the markings you have made lightly in a vertical fashion to raise the edges.
- Take the unpicker and start to loosen the pieces of blue vertical threads that you have cut away, leavening the horizontal white threads intacked, you may need to be a bit ruff to start.
- Always under rip, ripped jeans only get more distressed with time. You want them to last as long as possible in their current hand-distressed state!
- Shake the jeans out and wash them as normal.
I did a couple of other pairs from Zara jeans too.
The ones below were already ripped but I dyed them black and added to the distressed effect.
The ones below here I simply distressed. I didn’t change the colour or bleach them.
Photos by Pete Navey and Me
As always click on the images to enlarge them for a better look.
Good Luck Distressing!