Monday, March 28, 2011

Simple Jeanius #1: Repurposing Your Old Jeans into a Denim Headscarf Tutorial

Early Spring is a great time for forcing some growth in our lives. This week I've done that in two ways- first, I brought in some lovely forsythia branches and put them in a vase of warm water. It's so encouraging to see those bare branches break into a glorious bloom over the course of a few days. In gardening terms, that is forcing growth. In our lives, forcing growth can be accomplished through challenges we set for ourselves, calls for submissions that we decide to meet, or a new class we take. There are many ways, and I actually have a chapter devoted to this in my book. This week, I've been thinking about a pair of painting jeans that I love, but are worn through in MANY different places and since I had another I didn't feel like patching these. I love denim and especially like the random splatters and swipes of paint that "decorate" the jeans I wear when creating art, so throwing them out was NOT an option. Instead, they've become the beginning point for a challenge. I've found that challenges work best if there are some parameters, so I limited myself to the single pair of jeans, some embroidery floss, and an assortment of old buttons. It's been fun and I can't wait to share pics of all the goodies I've made with you. SO I hope you enjoy the first project AND I'm hoping maybe this will get you to reconsider throwing away your next pair of worn out jeans. :)

Repurposed Painting Jeans Tutorial #1- Floral Headscarf

Tools and Materials
One pair of old painting jeans (mine are bootcut)
1-2 Embroidery Floss in denim and light blue
Assortment of old buttons

Step One: Begin at bottom of pant leg. Cut just to side of the outer seam about 11 inches. Then measure about 11 inches across at bottom of pant leg and cut from point to point to create a triangle. Set aside. Then, cut jeans along pant seam again to get a strip that is approx. 15 inches in length and about 1 1/2 inches in width. Pull strings at edges to accentuate fray, if desired.

Step Two: Cut a strip from jeans that is about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Make small cut in and then tear in half width wise to form two strips that are 12" x 1" in size. These will be the tie strings for the head scarf.

Step Three: Cut some denim from the leg of your pants to use for the flowers. Then free cut a small flower that is approx. 1 1/2" in diameter and use that as a template to cut about 8 more. Then cut 2-3 that are 2" in diameter and about 9 that are about 1" in diameter. Finally cut about 4 that are approx. 3/4" in diameter. It makes the cutting process easier if you stack your pieces of fabric and cut several at one time. Really you can cut as many of these that are any size or shape that you want, but these are the approximates of what I did. Set blooms aside.

Step Four: Using embroidery floss and a needle, hand stitch the 15" strip that
you cut in step one to the raw edge across the length of the triangle. You can straight stitch or create a decorative stitch like the cross stitch I'm making at left.

Step Five: Then bend over the end of the strips you made in step 2 about an inch and stitch one to each side of your scarf to create the ties. Doubling over the fabric like this before you stitch it to the end just adds a little more thickness and strength to the connection point. Stitch securely to end using embroidery floss and needle, going over your stitches as many times as necessary for a strong hold.

Step Six: Stack different sizes of your cut flowers and position on headscarf as desired. I'll often make little adjustments in placement or size of the bloom and then take a photo of the layout before stitching the blooms in place. That way I have a handy dandy little reference to look back at in case the blooms don't seem to fit as well as I sew them on individually.

Step Seven:
Select buttons for the center of each bloom and then remove all flowers carefully to side. Place one in position on scarf, and then using floss and a needle come up from underside of floss and go up and through the layers of flowers, through the button, and then back down. Repeat a couple of times before knotting off on underside. Continue to stitch on flowers until all blooms are secure fastened in place.

All Done! Now put it on and show off your handiwork- I'm sure it looks great and you look fabulous!

P.S.-I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and stay tune for more jeans tutorials (I've got a cuff and necklace done and am working on a few more- all from the same pair of jeans)! Gotta love that!


mama bleu said...

just adorable. thank you for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

Oooh can't wait for more. Cute, cute, cute!