Entries Tagged as 'Denim Class'

Denim Tutorial: Hem Jeans Fast and Easy w/out Sewing

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Have you ever stapled your jeans? I have. Have you ever pinned  up your jeans w/ a safety pin? I have. Sad but true. Hemming your jeans, or even just dropping them off at the tailor can be a pain, and it’s surprising what you can do to adjust your jeans in a bind.

Needless to say, staples are not effective. Nor are safety pins. I discovered hem tape a while back and while it’s not nearly as effective as actually sewing your denim hem, it’s second best if in a hurry. Or looking for a temporary/ semi-permanent fix.

How to hem jeans w/out Sewing

You’ll need: A measuring tape, tailors chalk, fabric scissors, hem tape (multiple widths and brands available) and an iron.

1. Measure jeans (while on) and mark the desired length with tailors chalk, or a pin.

2. Heat iron to medium/high. Turn jeans inside out and fold up hem to marked length. Use measuring tape to make sure length is even. If shortening your jeans significantly, cut off some of the excess fabric. Otherwise, just fold up hem.

3. Cut a strip of hem tape the length of half of the ankle. Place inside the fold of your hem, textured side up. Place the iron down firmly on top of fabric five seconds or so. Repeat until tape melts and adheres to fabric. This may take a few times but make sure not to burn the fabric.

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Two Easy Ways to Dress up Your Denim Shirt

Monday, April 22, 2013

Denim Shirts, Chambray Shirts — they hold their own weight. Especially when paired well with the right dress, pair of shorts or even jeans. Honestly, they don’t need much to look good. But, if you’re like me and wear many a denim shirt, then things can get a little boring, really fast. I’m keen on the idea of sprucing things up by adding small details, like in this case a scarf or western cuffs. The best part : these are super-simple DIY edits anyone, even the craft-challenged (fingers pointed inwards) can make.

Two  Easy Ways to Dress Up Your Denim Shirt


1. The dainty scarf option: I love this idea for dressier occasions. Denim, and dressy, not usually two words paired together but how cute would this be for work? Paired with a black skirt like pictured above. Or, less dressy paired with dark skinny jeans.

You’ll need:

Wrap the scarf around your neck, under the collar and tie in a box in front. Or, tie anyway and it will look adorable.


2. The Hee Haw option: A little more involved than option one, but just as desirable, and fun for spring/summer.

You’ll need:

Secure the cuffs on your shirt. That’s it. Anyone headed to Stagecoach this weekend? This one fits the bill.

(images via herehere, and here )

2013 Premium Denim Fit Guide

Friday, April 19, 2013

Finding the right pair of jeans can be tough. I used to dread jean shopping because it was hard to find the perfect fit. Nowadays, buying the right fit is like second nature. Sure, there are times when I get the wrong size, and try brands that don’t work for my figure, but finding the right brand helped my love for denim blossom.

Within each brand, there are some really great tips to look for in deciding if a pair of jeans if right for you. Of course when trying on jeans, make sure they are snug because the cotton will stretch. This guide will suggest styles of jeans, but to tell the truth, I don’t believe in any hard and fast rules when it comes to  jeans. Wear the styles you like, you’ll feel more confident (which is the best way to flatter your figure).



Ah, the world of petites, the oft-neglected demographic. Pants always need to be hemmed! Which was part of the reason why I hated wearing pants for so long. However when it comes to denim, there are options. At 5’3″ I frequently get the “ankle” skinny jeans, which tend to work the best for me out of the box (no hemming). Skinny jeans are a great way to play up your petite-ness without looking shorter. When it comes to wide legged jeans, things get trickier. Always wear heels with flared jeans, because you have to be very tall to pull them off with flats.



Last week, Christina wrote a post on denim for tall girls. In my eyes, tall is lucky! Skinny or wide legged jeans look fantastic on tall women, especially with high waists. Hello, 70’s. The main issue is finding jeans long enough to fit properly. Jeans with at least a 35″ inseam to accommodate most women, a feature more easily found on flared and wide legged jeans. Skinny jeans can be fudged a bit if you find the right ankle boot, or go for the “cropped” look.

Straight Silhouette

I have no real waist… my figure is quite straight. Many sites tend to suggest a low-rise jean for this body type, but I beg to differ. I love wearing a mid-rise or high-waisted jean most of the time because it at least gives the illusion of a waist (and it doesn’t cause muffin top). However, when it comes to cut, jeans with too much room in the behind or thighs can be unflattering. These brands have flattering cuts for women with straight silhouettes.

Curvy Silhouette

Feminine and sexy, the curvies have it all. With curves to accentuate, it’s just a matter of finding the jean that flatters. Luckily, these days the 2% lycra found in most premium jeans makes it easier to find comfort with the custom curve. Both Paige and Genetic Denim are well known for their curvy denim fits. Joe’s has a curvy line which works wonders. James Jeans and Blank Denim both have high lycra counts in their jeans to hug your every curve.

Note: With premium denim, most brands only produce sizes in the range from 23-32. If you are out of that range (and a majority of women are) then I would suggest looking into Levi’s Plus Size (sounds boring, but it’s great quality and they have fantastic reviews).


Three Ways to Stretch Your Jeans

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When buying a pair of jeans, there might be a time where you land between sizes. Say a size 26 gives you muffin top, but a 27 sags a bit. Or that thing when you’re in the dressing room and you squeeze on a pair of jeans and it looks great at the store… but when you get home you realize that it’s just too tight to actually wear. Or perhaps you’ve gained a little bit of weight (or bought a pair of jeans when you were really skinny, and don’t plan on going back to that soon… or ever). OR maybe, that pair of high waisted jeans fits everywhere except the waist?

Well, those things have happened to me, and thankfully there is a way to stretch denim. Denim can be stretched up to an inch. Which just might be good enough for avoiding that upgrade to a new size, or if you would like your jeans to be moulded to your shape, this can be done as well with stretching!

There are a few ways to stretch your jeans. One of them is obvious, the other is more subtle and the last one sounds kind of crazy. But they all work.

1. Put the jeans on and do lunges.

Often times stretching out denim just requires you to wear them. Wearing solves a lot of problems.. it softens your jeans, and it stretches them to your shape. Doing lunges in your jeans helps break the fibers and stretches them out. It may not work for those who want the stretching to happen in the waist area, but it does loosen the denim grip in the rear and the thighs, two area that do tend to be too tight on a lot of people.

2. Put the jeans on and spray warm water on them.

Some people say you should spray the jeans with water then put them on… I don’t like putting on wet clothes. What you do is get your jeans on, you may not be able to button, so get them on as much as possible, then spray lukewarm water to dampen the denim. This will cause the fabric to give a bit more. Then button them up, and do some lunges while you’re at it.

Maybe it’s the lunges that are making us smaller, and not stretching out the jeans?

3. Soak in a bath with your jeans ON

Yes, this works. I actually got the idea for this post watching the trailer for Ginger and Rosa, the charming scene where the two girls are in a tub stretching their jeans.

The way it works is you put the jeans on, run a warm bath, and get in. Stay in there for at least 15 minutes. Then get out of the tub, towel dry, try a few lunges, and keep your jeans on for about 30 minutes. Then take them off and hang dry (do not put in dryer).

You’d have to be committed to do that, but it does work!

How else do you stretch your jeans?

[Image credit: Selvedge Love]

How to Soften Your Jeans

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There is nothing like getting a pair of dark rinse jeans. I personally love the crispness of brand-new indigo. What I don’t love is sometimes they’re a bit stiff, and rough to wear in the beginning. Yes, sure of course you want to be able to break them in just to your body and the like, but when it comes to wearing denim right on your skin, the break in process can be a lot more pleasant with soft jeans.

For years, I’ve been hesitant to wash my jeans, even going to the extent of freezing them. In the past, I just dealt with the initial roughness, but we don’t have to torture ourselves! My husband washes his jeans every week, and they look great. The blue fades, but occasional washing isn’t going to hurt, and if you want to keep the blue, you can soften them in the beginning.

Before going through this process, be sure to check your care instructions in the label. Some jeans have treatments like wax, or maybe have embellishments in which case you cannot wash with water without ruining them. If you can wash your jeans and dry them, then should be safe to go through this process.

Step 1: Turn your jeans inside out.

Always do this when washing your jeans.

Step 2: Turn on your washing machine set to “Cold”

Let the water run for a bit.

Step 3: Add 1 cup of fabric softener, DO NOT add detergent.

Let it mix with the water. I do this to dilute the fabric softener. Sometimes if it comes in direct contact with the fabric in it’s pure form it can set in. I don’t know why this happens, but it has to me, so I’m paranoid.

Alternate: Apple Cider Vinegar also has been known to work as well. I don’t like the way it smells, but I’ve heard it doesn’t make your jeans smell.

Step 4: Add your inside out jeans to the wash.

Let it run through the full cycle.

Step 5: Tumble dry low with tennis balls or dryer balls

Dryer balls may seem pricey, but you can reuse them for up to two years with fabric softener. However drying with tennis balls or dryer balls helps break down the fibers and softens the inside of your jeans. Be sure to put your jeans on low heat to minimize any shrinkage, however most of the time jeans go back to their original size after a few minutes of wearing.

Step 6: Wear those jeans!

The best way to break in and soften jeans is to wear them. You can repeat the above process, I’ve even heard people putting a pumice stone or sand paper to the insides of their jeans, and washing in vinegar to soften them, but still, wear them. I promise they’ll be comfortable after a few wears!

[Image credit: Shuterstock.com]

Blogger Denim Style: 3 DIYs To Try

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

At one time, I fancied myself quite the crafter. As a tween, I once hand-sewed myself a purse out of my dad’s old jeans. In high school, I cut many a pair of jorts* out of old pairs of jeans (that I still wear!). These days I’ve been known to weave a friendship bracelet or two, but that’s about it.

Lately, I’ve been nothing short of dazzled by the DIY (do-it-yourself) skills of some of my favorite bloggers. How they have both the talent and the time for these amazing projects is a wonder to me! From making your own floral jeans to getting creative with a bucket of bleach and a denim shirt, here are three projects I may actually dust off my crafty hat for and try:

*short for jean shorts!

[Image credits: …Love Maegan, I Spy DIY, and Could I Have That]

Denim Pairings: Vintage Lace

Monday, May 14, 2012

By Ann of Holier than Now

In my thrifting and flea market hunts, I so often come upon vintage lace pieces that are beautiful but for a couple of stains.  Don’t remind of how many eBay purchases-gone-bad have involved a “pristine” number that in fact had some coffee spillage in its history.

But this DIY inspiration is an easy way to turn an otherwise unwearable lace piece into something amazing.  Whether you hand-stitch or make use of the innovation that is iron-on tape, this is a great DIY to refresh a pair of jean shorts.

If you’re not crafty in the least, no worries, here’s the look in one step:

Take out your pair of scissors and … cut the tags off a new pair of lace shorts, paired with a denim shirt!  So lazy – I mean easy!

1. Free People True Grit Denim Top ($128)

2. BB Dakota Amris Lace Short ($90)

3. Miguelina Jaya Lace Cover Up Shorts ($180)

4. Madewell Lace Shorts ($98)

5. Free People Scalloped Lace Shorts ($78)


Image credits: via Live Love Laugh Fashion, via Jesslyn Amber, via Refinery29.

Get Crafty: 7 Awesome Denim DIYs

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I don’t know about you, but every now-and-then, I get in a creative, crafty mood that I just can’t shake. It usually happens on particularly dreary days, or when I feel utterly and totally broke. I know we can’t all afford to bolster our denim wardrobes with premium denim that also happens to be super trendy, distressed, or the like. I also happen to think that the best cut-off shorts are the ones that come from your favorite old pair of jeans.

On that note, here are 7 really fun (and varyingly difficult) DIY projects to try with your jeans!

1. This one is an oldy but a goody. Back in 2009 (!!!) Glamour.com did a denim DIY video series with Paul Dillinger of Martin + Osa. The three projects (distressed holes, vintage dying with tea and whiskering with sand paper) are not the most expertly filmed but they are so easy, I felt instantly inspired to go home and try it myself.

2. If you’re looking for an edgy, a little more out-there denim DIY, check out this cracked denim video how to from Love Aesthetics.

3. With summer coming up (slowly but surely), it might be time to turn some of your ready-to-be-retired jeans (bootcut, anyone?) into denim shorts. Refinery29 has you covered with three different cut off shorts DIYs. From cuffed to short-alls, there’s an easy version to suit your style.

4. One of our sister denim blogs, DenimBlog, has a step-by-step tutorial for tie-dying and distressing your white jeans.

5. This one is a personal favorite, and not just because I love Jenni of I Spy DIY. Check out this post where she gives an amazing break down of how to re-create a Kanye West-inspired ombre denim shirt. Seriously too cool.

6. If you’ve got a pair of jeans you no longer care to wear at all, why not use them to reupholster a chair?

7. If you’re quite talented and have a fair amount of time on your hands, try this insane denim painting DIY from TeenVogue and the designers behind the denim label, Ksubi.

For a crazy amount of inspiration for more denim DIY projects, check out this Pinterest page! Sure, some of it is a little kitchy, but hey, something could inspire you!


Have you ever done your own denim DIY project? Perhaps you have one to share that I haven’t listed here? Please share in the comments below!


[Image credits: I Spy DIY, Solid Frog, and TeenVogue]

How To Re-Sell or Recycle Your Denim

Monday, January 30, 2012

By Ann of Holier than Now

I’m a big believer in wardrobe recycling – and I tend to feel most strongly about it after a weekend of heavy shopping!  Although there are some vintage pieces that I’d never part with, for the most part I believe in truly wearing the things I own – and selling, swapping or donating the things that have fallen out of rotation.

I love the idea of my unloved clothes moving on to a loving owner, and I frankly use this system to finance my shopping.  I resell a decent number of items each season, and I use the funds to buy new (or new-to-me used or vintage) clothes.  I’ve written about my system on Holier than Now, but having just sold off some designer denim, I thought I’d share a jean-specific version here.

Following are my 5 tips for divesting of your denim.  My process starts not when I decide I want to sell the item – but when I buy it.

1. Archive: If you’re investing in a pair of jeans, take the time to store away the tags and any accoutrements that came with them (like a cloth bag or extra buttons).  Although you shouldn’t pass off your items as “new with tags” if you’ve worn them, it’s a nice touch to show a potential buyer that the item has the original tags, etc., and you might need to reference them for the style name and original retail price.

2. Take care: I generally try to treat my clothing as if it’s on loan. With denim, that means washing inside out, letting my jeans partially air dry after a bit of time in the dryer, and generally not beating them up if possible.  You can read a few more tips on caring for denim here.

3. Pick Your Destination: Depending on the price point and condition of your used denim, there are lots of options to pass it on.

  • If you have high quality designer jeans and need some quick cash, consider taking them to a designer resale boutique. Some give you cash on the spot, while others pay you after the item is sold.  These stores usually take a decent chunk out of the purchase price, so you’re paying for the convenience.
  • If you have time on your hands and want to try to make a good chunk of your money back, consider listing on eBay or the new site The Cools, where the commissions are far lower than at most designer resale boutiques.
  • For lower price point jeans in good condition, a resale boutique like Crossroads Trading will buy on the spot for cash or store credit.
  • Swaps are a great way to spend the day with friends – or you can swap from the comfort of your home with a site like Swap.com.
  • Charity donation is a feel-good option that can also benefit your bottom line, as many charity shops will give you tax receipt for your donation.  As long as your jeans are in good condition, the Salvation Army or your favorite charity will be glad to have them.

4. Do Your Homework: If you’re taking your items to a resale store, call ahead to make sure they accept denim (and if you’re bringing non-denim items, ask what season they’re buying for).  For online listings, search the designer and style name to see what similar items are selling for.

5. Prepare to Sell:

  • I always clean and press items I’m bringing to a resale store, and I pin the tags on (just don’t try to make it look like they were never removed- bad karma!).  I think a nicely pressed item is an easier buy for the store (less work for them), and the price tag helps the buyer know how much the item is worth.
  • For online, look up the measurements of the jeans or take measurements yourself – including waist, inseam, and leg opening at the ankle. I’ve learned from experience that jeans photographed flat on the bed or a clean floor sell better than jeans photographed on my body – maybe it’s just my body!  But I think in general, people are searching for jean styles they already like … so I don’t want to confuse them by showing them on a shape that might not be the same as theirs.
  • Whether selling to a store or online, make sure to inform of any stains, holes or other issues – it’s far better to disclose these now than get a call or email after the fact.
  • And have fun with it!  I’ve found some of my favorite pieces at resale shops and charity outlets, so always stay a while and take a look around.


Do you recycle your wardrobe?  Are you an eBay power seller or a swap queen? Share your tips below!

Denim Tips: A Wash For All Occasions

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dark, light, stone, acid, whiskering, distressing… Oh, the places your denim can go! Or, where it’s been, rather. Part of what makes denim so special -and why I have such a warm, tender part reserved in my heart for it – is that it has so many different manifestations. Throughout the ages (or decades, as the case may actually be) designers and scientists alike have developed a myriad of ways to manipulate the washing process to change the look of denim fabric.

Here’s a quick primer on common denim washes, so you can sound extra smart and savvy when you’re describing your favorite new pair to jealous friends.

Acid Wash

An acid wash finish creates significant contrast in the color of denim fabric. In order to create the random, irregular, acid wash look (that was ever-so-popular in the 1980s), the dry denim cloth is first bleached then put in a rotating drum in close proximity with granulated pumice soaked with prepared hypochlorites (fancy chemical term for bleach). This process fades the cloth both chemically (the bleach) and mechanically (the rough pumice pieces scraping the fibers). After lots of tumbling, the granules are eventually removed and the cloth is washed and dried in order to neutralize any left over hypochlorites.

ESD Style Tip: The acid wash is not a wash to be taken lightly. It’s bold, and best worn as a short, in the summer. You don’t find many modern incarnations of acid washed jeans these days, but a vintage pair of cut-off shorts are funky and fun for the beach or with polished separates to give it a more modern look.

Sanded Finish

A sanded finish is achieved with a combination of pumice stones, enzymes and sand, natch. This process is used to create the illusion of aged denim. Although the purpose of this is typically just for aesthetics, this method also loosens the fibers in the denim, making it fit more comfortably and giving it more ease of movement. You can also sand denim by hand in places for a specifically tailored look.

ESD Style Tip: Jeans with a sanded finish are best for the weekend. They’re going to be softer and slouchier than most pairs, and look best in a boyfriend cut, paired with wedge booties and a more dressed-up top.

Stone Wash

Stone washing is a process that gives denim a worn-in, more relaxed look, and gives the fabric added softness and flexibility. The process physically removes color and adds contrast. The fabric is typically put into a 250-pound washing machine along with pumice stones (yep, the same kind you scrub your fee with). The fabric and stones are rotated together for a set period of time. The washing time dictates the final color of the fabric- the longer the denim and stones are rotated, the lighter the color becomes and the more contrast is achieved. The denim is then rinsed, softened and tumble dried.

ESD Style Tip: A stone washed denim can actually manifest in a pretty big spectrum of blues. The lighter washes are ones I typically reserve for weekend wear, while the darker ones are our pairs-for-all-occasions since they can easily be dressed up or down.

Rinsed Denim

Rinsed denim is about as dark as it gets, and it refers to a wash process that’s just a quick rinse with water and potentially some softener, in an industrial machine.  Without hypochlorites or pumice stones in the wash, the fabric retains much,  much more of its (natural or synthetic) indigo dye.

ESD Style Tip: A nice, dark denim in a trouser or skinny fit is perfect for dressing up at the office or a night out. Just be warned with rinsed denim: Almost all manufacturers attach a hang tag to inform you that the jeans should be washed separately and inside out, as the dyes in the denim still remain and will start to release when you wash them at home.

[Sources: eBay GuidesOki-Ni, and Project Cotton]

[Photos by Nando Alvarez]

Denim DIY: Pastel Shorts in 7 Steps

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

By Nubia of Nubia’s Nonsense

It’s been burning hot in NYC and a popular trend this Summer is colored denim. With the scorching hot weather, I have to be honest… I find it hard to wear denim at all! However, being the denim lover that I am, I can’t just NOT wear it–that would be madness! It was time to get a bit creative. I looked through my closet and decided I was missing a pair of purple pastel jean shorts. The discovery sparked a D.I.Y project that you can replicate in 7 easy steps.

What You’ll Need

Step 1: If you used full length jeans like I did, figure out where you want to cut them. I didn’t want mine to be too long or too short, so I cut them somewhere in between. I shortened the denim freehand, cutting the jeans as straight as possible.

Step 2: Take a look at what you’re working with after the jeans have become shorts. I ended up with zig-zag edges and that’s ok. T’was all part of my master plan. I wanted to make the denim distressed.

Step 3: Take the hem of the shorts and rub it aggressively against the cheese grater.

Step 4: Place your bucket in the bath tub. (I recommend the bath tub to avoid a mess.) Fill it with hot water and add the dye. Once the dye has diluted in the water, put the shorts in the bucket for 3-10 minutes, depending on how dark you want your shorts. I was going for a light purple, so I only left min in for 3 minutes.

Step 5: Once you’ve removed the shorts, dump out the dye and keep some hot water running so your tub doesn’t stain. If your shorts come out darker than you want them to, you can lighten them by running some hot water over them.

Step 6: Place the denim somewhere it can dry. As a New Yorker living in an apartment that doesn’t allow washers or dryers, I naturally chose my fire escape.

Step 7: Wear them out and look FAB!

*Tip: Avoid drying them outside when rain in the forecast. It drizzled while my shorts were drying and since I wasn’t home, they got a few tiny spots on them. Besides that, the project was a great success!

It was incredibly easy, so grab a pair of jeans and start dying!

How to Find Your Premium Denim Size

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Size matters, but only as a starting point to find out the right fit for your jeans. These days, most contemporary brands size to a national sizing system, US, UK, French, Italian, Japanese…etc. Premium denim however, is international, and unisex in it’s structure.

When you look at the size tags of premium denim, often you’ll find sizes 26 or 30. Where do you start? Often times I hear women talk about how much they don’t like jeans, or having to try on a million pairs of jeans to find the right fit. That might be in part because they don’t know where to start for their size, and trying on a pair of jeans that are two sizes too small is bound to discourage anyone.

Premium denim sizes are based off your waist size.

  1. Start off by measuring your waist with a tape measure. The measurement you get at the smallest part of your waist is a good point to start.
  2. If your waist size is 26, start off with a pair of size 26 jeans, if your hip/waist ratio is smaller maybe get a size down or if your hip/waist ratio is bigger, go up a size.
  3. I measured my waist at 26.5 and I usually go between a size 26 or 27, but in some brands like Paige, I’m a 25 and in Rag and Bone a 28. This method is really a starting point, but whether ordering online or in a shop it makes a big difference in finding the right size for you.

Remember that denim stretches, so if you’re looking for a pair of jeans that has a snug fit, be sure to get a pair that you can barely squeeze on, maybe feeling like they’re half an inch too small. Anything more than that, you’re probably better off going up a size. If it fits perfectly right away, you’ll probably need to go down a size as the stretch will leave you with a relaxed fit half way through the day. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you’re looking for.

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