I mentioned the other day that I have avoided the distressed jeans trend. I always worried it would look sloppy on me, and between two kids and a stay-at-home/work-from-home life, I can do sloppy all on my own, thank you very much. But I started noticing outfits with distressed jeans that looked classy and nice—as long as the rest of the outfit is a little dressier, I figured I could give it a shot and hopefully still look pulled together. I really didn’t want to spend much money on a trendy piece I wasn’t sure I’d love on myself, so I sort of kind of DIYed them.
Also, that groan you are hearing right now? That’s the sound of my dad wondering why anyone would ruin a perfectly good pair of jeans. The sacrifices we make for fashion!
I feel a little dumb even calling this a DIY. It’s as mild as DIY can get. But hey, I did something, even if it wasn’t much, to make them look this way, so I’ll tell you what I did and if you are also a teensy bit shy about distressed denim/boyfriend jeans, maybe this can help you ease into it without committing much time or money. I love how they turned out, and am surprising myself with how frequently I’m wearing them!
I started out with a pair of bootcut jeans that fit me well through the butt and thigh (my rather limited sewing skills don’t allow for that level of alteration). These ones came from a clothing swap my church puts on every year (and if you’re wondering, heck yes I liiiiive for that clothing swap . . . I think 80% of my kids’ wardrobes comes from the swap each year). I was pregnant during this last one, so I grabbed this pair of jeans thinking maybe they looked like something that would fit me post-baby. Luckily, they worked out! Moral of the story: find a clothing swap. Other moral: don’t buy new jeans to do this to—dig an older pair out of your closet or hit up a thrift store.
I took the lower legs in to make them more of a straight-legged ‘boyfriend’ fit using my own older tutorial, which you can find HERE. In that post, I turned a pair of bootcut jeans into skinny jeans. This time, since I wanted a looser, straighter fit in the lower leg, I simply continued stitching down from the leg in a straight line instead of tapering in to the ankle (when folded up, the width at the ankle seam more or less matches the width at the knee).
On to the distressing. I’m not sure this needs much explanation, but what is blogging for if not sharing unnecessary tutorials of simple projects? Don’t worry, I’ve got this.
My weapon of choice to attack my jeans? Whatever this little doodad is. I have no idea what it’s called. I got it at Sally’s Beauty Supply a few years ago in the nails section. . . it’s basically a grater for your feet. A micro-zester of sorts for cracked crusty heels. Shhhh, don’t think about the colony of dead heel cells I planted in my jeans by using this tool for this purpose.
It worked great (grate? puns!!!) for adding some wear to my jeans. I just chose a few areas where I wanted them to look worn, and went to town with the little grater thingie, rubbing it back and forth horizontally until they reached the level of wear I was going for. Proceed with caution—once you get to roughly the point pictured above, they’ll break down QUICKLY, so unless you want them totally threadbare, just go slowly once you reach a point near what you are going for. And fair warning, you will have denim fuzz eeeeeverywhere by the time you’re done. Also, doing this while wearing my jeans? Probably not my brightest idea. But hey, it worked.
Cuff those bad boys and you’re good to go! (One last word of warning: be careful when putting your jeans on! It’s terribly easy to catch your toe in the distressed areas and tear them open more than you had intended.)