The second round of Sewing Bee is about denim upcycling. I wish I hadn’t donated all my old clothes not long ago, so that I didn’t need to recycle my newly made jeans. But it has been a nice challenge to get me work on denim distressing.
First, I picked a pattern that only requires small pieces – a tiered mini skirt by Burda Style magazine in 2013. I added my own elements to it – a pop of red. For my own skirt, I don’t like to simply use different colors on different tiers. Those color combinations are good for kids but unless you match the colors in perfect harmony, people will only feel you made the garment because you want to use your remnant. In this project, I don’t have the luxury to pick any color fabric – I can only choose from my old jeans. So I need to make the shape more distinct, rather than going in harmony with the main fabric.
I decided to go with a reverse triangle, which makes the red color look like dropping on the denim skirt, and with each tier down, there’s less red.
Hacking the pattern is easy. I don’t need to do exact match as no seams need to match. The construction is easy too when I made a muslin. Btw I learnt some tricks from the pattern. All tiers are sewn to the skirt lining with the ends undone first. After closing the skirt with the bottom tier, you then stitch close the middle and top tiers before attaching the final ends to the skirt lining. This will make the flounce free 360 degree.
The hardest part to me is to work with the denim. This denim is about 10 oz which is not a super heavy one but still quite thick. The normal straight stitch doesn’t work well with denim which is supposed to endure heavy work. The right way to do is to use the lap seam, which is also called the flat-felled seam. Instead of the traditional stitch and top stitch, this one does two top stich over 4 layers of fabric to hold the fabric really well, plus the seam would be reversible.
There are some good YouTube tutorials on how to do such seams. Remember to search for “real flat felled”, not the one to make the seam looks like a lap seam but doesn’t have the sturdiness.
Or you can be like to just buy a pressure foot to do this easier. The lap seam feet for Bernina are #70 and #71. I got the #71 to sew up to 6 mm seams. It worked well, as you can see from my pictures.
My original denim is also very boring, in a dark indigo color. I stressed it at seams using a sand paper. It’s a lot of work. And please already remember to do it before you stich – your thread will be weaken with the sanding.
To proper sew denim, a hammer is your friend. You need to use a hammer to flatten the seams before you ever try to stich. Hammer helps in distressing too. So if you don’t want the distressing effect, make sure you put a fabric on top before you hammer.
You can read my review for Patternreview.com here.