January 25, 2013

DIY :: Shredding Denim

I've been dying to DIY some shredded jeans. I have so much denim in my closet that rarely sees daylight, so there's nothing to lose...

The pair I chose were actually the first item I ever bought from the company I now work for, CAbi (way back in 2007!). Normally they'd be long gone based on style, but the fit is so great! My first redo on these gunmetal wash bootcut jeans was to slim them down a few years ago.  I took them to the tailor to create a skinny leg. Since then, I've gotten several more black wash skinnies & while these still fit great, they were over in my eyes. Time for redo #2!  
The "before" length of these jeans is deceiving, they're actually 35" inseam.

Tools needed for this DIY:
1) jeans you want to shred
2) another pair of jeans or shorts to measure length to if you're choosing to shorten
3) scissors
4) box knife
5) cheese grater or microplane grater
6) magazine or catalog (it will get destroyed!)
I was looking to do a cropped jean, so I took a pair of grey skinnies that have a length I like and just laid them on top of the black wash jeans. Cut the length to match (the cut does not need to be perfect, you'll shred the hem as well).
Since I didn't want to bother with a tape measure (or I'm DIY-lazy), I suggest you take the piece you just cut off and lay it on top of the other leg, matching up the bottom hem.  
Cut the other leg to match & discard those pieces.
It looks like I'm cutting here, but I'm not! Open the scissors & basically rub them back & forth across the hem. The vertical threads will begin to fray & be exposed. They're usually white. The hem may also curl. I did this for about 20 seconds per leg, just moving the open scissors back & forth in small movements around the bottom of the leg opening. You can do more or less (when these are washed, they'll continue to fray).
Grab the magazine, fold it in half & pop it inside the leg of the pant. This will keep you from cutting or grating all the way through to the other side of your jeans. 
The box cutter can be used in several ways. You can do light cuts diagonally or horizontally. Turns out I'm not great with the box cutter. I was hoping for a shredded denim, not holey denim. I got a little of both, which is fine. If you cut all the way through the denim, you get a hole. If you cut half way through the denim, you expose the white vertical fibers, to achieve the shredded look.
Here you can see how I accidentally cut through on my first cut with the knife. I chose to ditch the knife at this point and work just with the grater. I ended up loving the grater, and frankly, you can get a similar effect just with that.  
Hold the jeans tight with the magazine inside, and just grate & grate until you get the desired effect. It's a mess! Denim dust will cover everything. Remember, once you wash & dry the jeans, they will continue to distress, you can always go back & do more. Keep moving the magazine around to desired areas on the jeans, front & back. I did some vertical work, some horizontal work, on the pockets, near the bottom of the leg, just about everywhere. In areas I didn't mind being skin being exposed (like the pocket  lower leg), I did more.

{ tip :: if you're trying to diminish attention to an area, don't shred there. It will just draw attention to that area. My thighs are not what I want everyone seeing when they look at my legs, so I opted to shred more of the sides & lower part of the jeans }

{ btw, I had a different pair of boots on here, these are vera wang lavender label! }
The final look! They have a very Huck Finn element, so for me, it's better to pair them with something on the dressy side. I'd love them with a high wedge or heel, but since I was at CAbi Scoop (which requires about a mile of walking per day from one side of the convention center to the other), I am wearing a comfy bootie. These have a glittered heel (another DIY which I'll post about soon).
I paired the Huck jeans with this silk lace print top (vintage CAbi) & stacks of metallic jewelry. Then topped with a messy backcombed french-inspired pony & typical (for me) black cat eye, & a very red lip (both MAC). TrĂ©s Chic!
Three way bag by Stella & Dot (It's awesome...it converts from a fold over clutch to a cross body bag two ways. Perfect buttery soft leather bag to travel with).
That's all from sunny San Diego, next post I promise to start the CAbi Spring 13 Preview!

Don't be afraid to try a DIY. What's the worst that could happen?  

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