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pimp your denims!

1_501Ever since I did the Mr Price denim DIY project, the DIY bug hasn’t left me. To be honest, it isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows me really well because I have always been the “do it yourself” kind of person. From making clothes for my dolls, to painting bookshelves and adjusting hemlines, using my hands has always been a forte of mine.

I have been promising a DIY post on the indigo Levi’s 501′s I distressed, studded, bleached and placed insets in for a while now. I am not going to go into massive amounts of details, because if you google “DIY distressed denim” or “bleaching denim” etc you will find loads of posts and articles on how to do it. I am just about giving you some learnings and short cuts. Enjoy!2_501

Bleaching your denim jeans…

1. I am super impatient so I have found that if you used a thick household bleach the process is much quicker.

2. Another helpful tip I found on Rebecca Minkoff’s blog is to soak the jeans in vinegar and water once it has reached your desired colour or look. I made the mistake of not doing this and I now own a pair of jeans that are all almost white. I can’t say for certain whether it was not soaking them in vinegar and water that resulted in this, or if it was that they are a cheap pair of jeans. All I know is that my jeans basically have clouds on them, which isn’t bad, but wasn’t the plan.

3. On the topic of planning. If you are aiming for a more specific bleached look, as in something with patterns or you want to create an ombre effect, you need to plan. You can’t just squirt bleach wherever and hope for the best. Some tips are to use a sponge to dab the bleach on, apply bleach to an old toothbrush, then pull your thumb back along the bristles to achieve a splattered effect, use an old paintbrush, eye dropper, or make a potato stencil of the shape you want to have bleached out and leave to lighten. Random Internet fact I discovered whilst wondering “why potatoes?” Potatoes are allegedly a natural bleaching agent according to some obscure articles on potatoes being used to lighten your skin. The Internet is really fascinating. 3_501 4_501

On distressing your denim jeans…

1. I reiterate, I am super impatient.
So I will offer up the two ways in which I distressed my Levi’s 501′s.
The first was to take a utility knife (don’t just use the blade like me… I was lazy to refill a new blade) and cut across areas where the jeans would distress – so knees are the most obvious. Keep the space between the incisions (it isn;t survey, but let’s pretend it is) just over a centimetre, and take into consideration that the longer you make the incisions the bigger the hole will be.

2. For the areas where I wanted to control how the distressed area looks - like the patch below - I used a safety pin. This method takes longer than the second method of achieving a less predictable distressed look, which basically involves making incisions in the jeans, throwing them in the washing machine and drinking a glass of wine whilst the machine does all the work. The results are different, in that using a safety pin results in the look below and throwing it in the washing machine results in a distressed denim jeans look like the one in the image labelled {washing machine is amazing}.

3. The final and most amazing tip I picked up from Googling and reading loads of posts on distressing your denim jeans is on how to keep your distressed denim patches from expanding. Simply wash your jeans in a pillow case.5_501 6_501

On spikes…

1. I am still exploring on this one, because for my Levi’s 501′s I used spikes I bought at The China City in Bruma, which come with screws that get screwed into the spikes. However, the quality of the spikes vary, sometimes the screws don’t remain in the item as the actual screw is not the correct size for the spike, but I find that they work better with a thicker fabric like that of a Levi’s non stretch denim  as they are often heavier.

2. How to do it? Simple make a hole using revolving punch plier which you can by at a hardware store. Place the screw through the hole and the screw onto the spike using a screw driver. This all sounds very obvious, but the lazy side of me negated to use a screw driver with my denim jacket and just manually screwed the screws in and I ended up leaving a trail of Hansel and Gretel screws at a party.7_501

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