Wild About Denim: Three DIY Tricks to Upgrade your Jeans

By Jennifer Jenkins

According to USA Today, Americans threw out more than 11 million tons of textiles per year as of 2013. This statistic does not include the clothing that had been donated to charities and consignment shops but literally articles of clothing that were sitting in landfills. Many sources attribute this alarming amount of waste to the culture that fast fashion has created. Fast fashion refers to mass amounts of clothing that are produced at a low cost in shortened seasons to keep up with trends. In doing this, more consumers look at clothing as disposable, even if subconsciously. If one can buy a simple T-shirt for less than 10 dollars, who is to say that he/she will have an incentive to keep it when a better version comes out in a few more weeks? Simply put, this allows people think they have little to lose when they rid themselves of clothing that cost them the price of two Starbucks lattes.
In order to reduce wastes, conserving the environment (and your bank account) in the process, give your jeans a new life before you throw them out or give them away. Here are a few simple DIYs that take only minutes to complete. After all, if Vetements x Levis debuted a rather “cheeky” pair of jeans, it is doubtful that anyone will raise an eyebrow at any cut, stitch or embellishment that you apply to your denim essentials.
Pom-Pom Hem
With all the silhouettes, appliques, cutouts and unconventional twists applied to denim, a playground of creativity has opened up a new stream of possibilities to disrupt the typical flow of denim trends.
Perhaps you have left over fabric scraps or a few strips of ribbon from a recent DIY. I found a few feet of pom-pom trim burrowed in my craft basket under a few reams of tulle and miscellaneous buttons among more arts supplies. I adored how the potent red hue livened the tired shade of blue. Here is how I added them to the jeans.

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1. Cut off the hem of each pant leg.

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2. Hold whichever material you have chosen against the length of the raw hem to measure how much fabric you will need. Snip the trim to the correct length four times.
3. Sew the material into the hem of each pant leg, (one strip per side of each leg). For best results, use a thread in the same shade as the material you are using.

4. Don your revamped jeans with pumps or sandal-heels in a complementary hue. For my modification, I paired the denim with a zany fringe sweater and a neutral pair of pumps to juxtapose the cherry-red shade of the pom-pom strips.



Flares with Flare
Flare jeans have danced into the predictable trove of skinny jeans over the last few years, making way for funky platform shoes and retro printed blouses to join the party. However, if your flares have suffered wear at the hem from gliding on city sidewalks, or they simply are not filling you with that Studio 54 sparkle that shimmered through you when you first slipped into them, you can give them new life with three simple steps.

1. Cut off the hem of each pant leg.

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2. Cut 2-to-3 inch lengthwise strips that are about one centimeter in width throughout the hem. (No need to be super accurate.)

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3. Once you have cut strips around both legs, pick them up by the waistband and shake them out until the edges of the strips have frayed to your desired amount.

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A Cut Below the Belt
With the unconventional nuances that designers like Demna Gvasalia and Alexander Wang have unleashed upon the world of denim, other labels and fashion influencers have begun to follow suit.
If anything, more people are beginning to pay attention to detailing on the back of jeans that may conventionally reside on the front of your indigo essentials. From zippers that swing from back to front to slits cut under the back pockets, the textile industry’s attention has flipped to a different side of the classic garment.
In lieu of this shift, I experimented with a simple cutout on the back of a pair of straight leg jeans that I hardly wear. In each pair of jeans, a strip of material called the back yoke rests between the bottom of the waistband and the top of the seam above the pockets.

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This DIY was complete in just a few steps

  1. Cut a slit into the back yoke of the jeans.
  2. Cut this section out by cutting along all four seams that surround it. (Be sure not to cut into the middle belt loop.)
  3. Cut off any frays.

I think this alteration would look best when paired with a timeless piece, like a white oxford blouse. A more elegant piece like this would balance the distressed look and contrast the rugged aesthetic seamlessly.

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