Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The inside scoop on re-purposing blue jean inseams

Blue jean inseams
I like re-using old blue jeans, maybe because I like wearing them so much. Rugged and stylish, a good pair of jeans takes on the character (and shape) of the wearer. I still remember my favorite button-fly Levis from high school. Putting them on felt like pulling on a second skin.

So when I work with a pair of previously loved jeans, I try to  re-use as much material as I can. The legs become bags, with zipper, pockets and belt loops as embellishments. That leaves the seams. What to do with the seams?

It seems criminal to waste them. I'm talking about the top-stitched seams on the inside of the pant legs. (For the non-tailors out there, these are called "flat-fell" seams. And here's how to create them.) So fancy, so James Dean cool. They must be good for something.
pant inseams used for doll hair

In a previous post, I described Rita Re-Doll, made out of old jeans and burlap. I used inseams for her hair. They made her look good, but I wanted something for me. Which usually means jewelry.

A braided denim bracelet

My first experiment was simple -- just braiding 3 inseams together. I sewed them together at both ends. 
bracelet made out of pant inseams braided together
And you're right, these aren't from blue jeans. The spring green strip is from some kids cords, and the striped ones come from a skirt. Here's what the competed bracelet looks like.
bracelet made out of pant inseams braided together
It's cute and easy to make, but not my style.

A denim cuff

I'm more of a cuff gal. Could I make a cuff out of seams? Yes, I could.
cuff made out of pant inseams
I used 3 seams again. I connected them by sewing them to part of the hem. 
cuff made out of pant inseams
The result is closer to what I had in mind. If I'd used all blue jean seams, the cuff would have more edge. But this one took more effort -- it also ate one of my sewing machine needles. Those seams are thick!

Beaded denim bracelets

I have tons of seed beads (doesn't everyone?) so I thought, let's sew them to the seams! First I edged both sides of a seam with some earthy colored beads.
denim bracelet embellished with seed beads
I didn't have enough to repeat the same pattern on both sides. But I think that's ok. It took me about 20 beads to figure out how to get them to lie flat. I like the finished bracelet.
denim bracelet embellished with seed beads
Humble, petite -- just like me! Ha. But it is my style. The second version is fancier and more work. But I like it too.
denim bracelet embellished with seed beads

Side-by-side comparison

Here are the different versions. What do you think? Which would you wear, if any?
bracelets made out of repurposed denim pant inseams

Update

4 comments:

  1. I like them all but if I were choose a favorite it might be the cuff.....then the beads on top, then the braid, then the beads along the edge.....but really, all of them are great.

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  2. Thanks, Cindie. I have a few other ideas I want to try as well.

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  3. I found another use for the seams - I recently made a pouch from a pair of hot pink garage-sale jeans, and used the seams to make a strap for it. I just tore a good margin (an inch or two) on either side of the seam, folded over the raw edges and closed it with a blanket stitch. Works perfectly! And looks kind of messy-cool. Pic here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimtedrow/9294696682/

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  4. I love the bag. It makes me smile just looking at it.

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