Finding the beauty of imperfection in a refashioned jean skirt
Sewing is always fun for me, but sewing with friends? Even better. I especially like a challenge, even when it’s posed to me in an unorthodox way:
I laughed when I first read her comment; coming from a friend as dear as she, I knew it was sent in love, but in truthfulness as well. As a creative, it’s so easy to get caught up in creating a masterpiece, something as near-to-perfection as possible, so that projects become far more complicated than they need to be.
When sometimes? There’s a simple way that might not look as polished and put-together as something from the store… and isn’t that part of the appeal of handmade?
My mom is an amazing quilter, and I remember her telling me that the Amish purposefully include a flaw in each of their creations, simply because the only true, perfect work of art is that which comes from the hands of the Master Creator Himself. I don’t know any Amish quilters to get confirmation on that but true or wives’ tale, I think it’s a great lesson.
In sewing, as with any creative endeavor, it’s important not to be afraid to jump in and start cutting the fabric, even when the outcome or the process isn’t clear yet. Sometimes, it will most definitely be a failure. Other times, we’ll end up with a creation that serves its purpose well, even if it’s a bit rustic.
Read on to see how we transformed Kelsi’s cutoff jeans into an a-line skirt. All we used were standard sewing tools, her jean shorts and an extra panel of denim (ours was an unmatched piece cut off a pair of her husband’s jeans– one cut-off jean leg was enough).
We started by cutting the jean inseam from end to end. Some might say you should rip out the seam, but hey, we were going for
crappy easy. Just make sure you have a heavy duty needle on hand since there will be some bulk.
We started with the back. Cut up the back seam as next to the finished seam again (basically straight up the butt crack of the pants for lack of a better term).
Then lay the side with the finished seam over the other side, lining up the bottom of your skirt/former pant legs (not shown), leaving an opening for a natural slit (see final photo below). Pin in place.
Whenever sewing over the existing finished seam, I would sew directly over both seams in a similar (gold in our case) color.
Turn skirt inside out and trim off the extra fabric along the new seam. Use pinking shears if you have them to help prevent fraying. Done with the back!
For the front, you’ll need to cut open your extra panel and add it in. I had Kelsi try on the skirt so we could see how wide we wanted the middle panel to be. Just eyeball it.
Trim up the front inseam a bit and fold the thicker side over so that it lays flat at your desired opening angle. We didn’t even sew this super bulky point down because Kelsi wasn’t concerned about it. If you want to, just be sure to sew super slow on such a thick seam.
Pin skirt to extra panel and sew. Make sure you leave some of the panel hanging over on either underside, and then afterwards go inside and trim it off like you did for the back.
We both loved how the skirt came out. As you can see, we sewed the back only partially to leave a slit, and we loved the asymmetry going on in the back. The bottom edges are still raw, but with jeans, that’s always a fun look. The best part? It was exactly what Kelsi was looking for and was finished in time for our kids to enjoy some play time together before totally melting down.
Do you find yourself scared to be imperfect in your creations? Or do you embrace flaws as part of the novelty of a handmade item?
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