Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Zakka Project

You're probably wondering where January - April are...I know some of them have been published but I need to get caught up.

First, what is Zakka? It is the Japanese style of something useful that is also beautiful to look at. We are doing these classes once a month at our local Jo-Ann's and I'm finding it lots of fun. Also, I'm getting tons of Christmas gifts out of the process.

Anyways, back to May's project. Tomorrow night we will have the first session on using up ties in quilts. I have a ton of my dad's old ties that I've been wanting to do something with. So tonight I did the first step to getting there by washing them all. My plan for the piece doesn't really intend to ever have these washed again, but they've been in storage for a long time and needed a good wash. Here they are drying, and should be ready for me to pack up in the morning.

Tomorrow night I'll have an update on the project.

Jean Pencil Skirt

For the last two days I've been working on creating a Jean Pencil Skirt that is refashioned from a worn-out pair of jeans. I have previously made a jean skirt out of old jeans from a tutorial I found on Pinterest but that one had panels put into it from the lower part of the legs, and I wanted a more structured skirt this time. I looked on Pinterest for tutorials and only found a couple. I ended up going my own way and have outlined the steps below.


  • Old pair of jeans (mine had holes on the inner thigh from wear, and they worked great)
  • Basic sewing supplies (machine, thread, pins, etc)

Step 1: Cut out the inseam of the jeans

A lot of tutorials have you rip this seam instead of just cutting it, but that takes too long for me. So I just cut along each side of the flat-felled seam and removed it. You can use those for creating coasters if you don't want to throw them out.

Step 2: Create new front and back seams.

This can be tricky. I could do the front myself but had to have my hubby help with the back. The front seam I was able to take right up to the zipper seams so it looked ok from the start. I turned the skirt inside-out and put it on. Then I took pins and brought the front seams together and pinned it so that the skirt was fitted against my body. There is very little spare fabric in the front so the basic idea was to make the two sides meet and sew. Since the front had less wiggle room that the back, I sewed it first and worried about the back second. The picture shows pins in both sides but I re-pinned the back after sewing the front.

The back seam was tricky. It's hard to give accurate measurements with so many different styles of bodies and jeans so I will tell you what I did to get it right. After the front seam was done, I turned the skirt inside out and put it on again, then I stood up straight while my hubby brought the fabric together at the back and pinned. I really wanted a nice form fit around the rear. Then I took it off and sewed up the back seam following the pins. This meant that the fabrics joined to the back flat-felled seam about half-way up my rear. When I put the skirt on right side out, I found that there was a bump there that I wasn't happy with. I had my man mark where the bump was and intended to bring that part of the seam further into the body of the skirt, but that didn't quite fix it. I realized then that the bump was happening wherever the new seam was meeting the existing flat-felled seam.

At this point, I decided to gamble on a hunch; I cut on both sides of the flat-felled seam almost up to the yoke of the jeans, but didn't cut it off. I then sewed up the opening all the way to where the seam was still attached and pulled the cut part of the seam into the inside of the pants. Once I tried them on and saw that the bump was gone, I did a satin stitch across the point where the new seam met the old seam and then cut off the excess seam on the inside of the skirt. You should now have a jean skirt that is as long as the original pair of jeans you started with. You can stop here if you want a long skirt.

Steo 3: Cutting to Length

Next I decided how long I wanted the skirt to be. I put the skirt back on and then had hubby measure from the floor to about where I wanted it to fall on me. This was about 15 inches for the skirt to fall below my knees. Then I measured 15 inches from the bottom of the skirt all the way around and marked it with chalk. Next I cut on the dotted line around the skirt with scissors. Sometimes skirts aren't exactly flat on the bottom when you hold them up, so I didn't want to use us rotary cutter to get the exact straight line. I have heard of ripping the denim to get the frayed look that you don't hem so that could be an option. I wanted a cleaner look with a hem.

Step 4: Creating the back slit

This is a pencil skirt so I highly recommend this step to create a slit in the back to help with movement. Even today as I was wearing thIs at work, I found it difficult to go up stairs in the skirt since it is a tighter-fit pencil skirt. Rip open the back seam to the length of the slit you want (about 3 inches on mine). Then turn the skirt inside out and fold back the seams on the vertical part of the slit and pin back. Sew the "hem" of the vertical part of each side of the slit.

Step 5: Hem it up

If you did not rip the skirt to create the length, then give the skirt a hem to create the finished look. I turned under 1/2 inch on my skirt and did a straight stitch.

Voila! You have a jean pencil skirt in just a couple of hours! I did wear it to work today and it was very comfortable.