denim diy

Make It Happen: Monogram
Denim DIY

A neat trick for making a favorite pair of jeans—whether you’ve had them… >

Make It Happen: Monogram Denim DIY

How do you make a pair of jeans—whether you’ve had them forever or they’re newly acquired—unquestionably yours? Wearing them threadbare is certainly one way…but not exactly what we had in mind. How about putting your initials on them? Follow the lead of our art department whiz kid Audrey for two new ways to take your blues from “whose?” to trues.

Gather your supplies! Whether stitching or painting your monogram, you’ll need specific tools.

Another prep step: Audrey advises taking a practice run on a scrap of denim or other fabric before diving in.

For both: stencil

For stitching: thick cotton thread scissors pencil

For painting: fabric paint skinny paintbrush

If stitching is your style, pencil your initials into place (Audrey placed them right under the hip pocket) using the stencil. Then, using a simple running stitch, go over the tracing. Keep your stitches as close together as possible.

If you’re more of a monogram Matisse, press the stencil tightly against your jeans and use your brush to paint in your letters. Let each letter dry before moving onto the next so that the stencil doesn’t smear your work. Follow your paint’s instructions on how to set.

Now they’re yours, all yours!

Whoever said style should be effortless doesn’t know the joy that comes from customizing pieces in your wardrobe to make them your own. If you’re into all day every day denim but getting tired of the same old same, it’s time to single out a pair for an upgrade- made simple by this painted leaf pattern that comes courtesy of Mother Nature’s art supplies. Get on board and find out why a printed jean is a dream when you don’t want to trade comfort for a chic and unique look!

To create: Gather an assortment of fallen leaves and faux-flowers. Squeeze a dollop of various paints on a plate. We opted for multi-surface paints as the consistency was thicker and popped more against denim. Use a sponge pouncer to mix and dab paints onto a leaf (or flower). Stamp the leaf onto your denim, press down all corners to ensure the paint transfers. Carefully peel off the leaf then repeat the process until the entire jean is stamped in painted leaf prints. Follow the care instructions for the type of paint you use. For multi-surface paint, let dry completely for 24 hours; heat seat by turning garment inside out and placing in dryer for 30 minutes or dry iron for 30 seconds.


Shit you can do to your jeans: A very, very informal tutorial by Kelly Fritz

As you guys know, I go through a lot of thrifted clothes. I love finding things and altering them somehow—not necessarily with a sewing machine, but just with some kind of small, strange tweak. Think buttons and drawings and pins and, in some cases, dye. 

Jeans are delightful to play with. They’re easy to work with and (if you’re like me) you probably have so much denim that completely striking out with one pair won’t make a huge difference.

That being said, before you play with your jeans (again, especially if you’re like me and tend to go into projects without a clear-cut idea of what the result will look like), don’t play with your favorites or your designer-made ones. 

You’ll probably regret it. You have basic denim for a reason—because it serves as a grounding agent for your ensemble. 

We’re not talking about basic denim here, though. We’re talking about ~fancy~ denim. Denim that you want to make some sort of statement. 

Here are my tricks for playing with your thrifted and/or boring denim:

Pictures 1-6: Doodle on it

The skirt in that first picture started as a long denim shirtdress, which I cut off. But, me being me, I eventually got tired of that and cut the dress in half, resulting in the pictured skirt and cropped, frayed jacket thing in picture 3.

And me being me, I felt the need to change things even more by doodling all over the skirt. 

So, at this point, that old, matronly dress has had about 3 extra lives just because of little alterations I’ve made: a snip here, a doodle there. 

Here’s another important part: if you’re not artistically inclined, don’t try this yourself. Have an artsy friend go to town on your jeans. 

You don’t even need a fabric marker—a sharpie will look just fine. As a rule, black and bright blue sharpie look best on denim. Other colors can turn out a little muddy and gross. 

When doodling, abstract designs or florals have always turned out best for me (maybe because those are patterns that I enjoy).

Feel free to experiment, but remember—it’s going to be pretty obvious you Sharpie-d your jeans. You’re not fooling anyone. 

Because of that, try to keep your designs delicate and/or somewhat tasteful (not that mine are, but my big patterns aren’t for the faint of heart). Concentrate doodles on pockets (designs look super cool on pockets, obviously) or around seams. Don’t just put a random star in the middle of your leg or something stupid like that. 

Pictures 7-8: Bleach it

Oh my god, I can’t even begin explain to you how fun and satisfying it is to play with bleach on your jeans. There’s something so cool about watching the indigo slowly fade into light blue. 

The jeans in this pic are an old pair of dark wash skinnies that were boring me (as seen originally in picture 8, directly below the bleached pair), so I decided to take a paintbrush full of bleach to them.

I just used a run-of-the-mill watercolor brush, one you could easily pick up at a drugstore or Target. And I just painted on a large chevron design, front and back.

There’s no filter or editing on that bleached picture—that’s how they actually look. I added a few extra flicks of bleach to the jeans after I did the chevrons to get a messy effect, and I’d recommend you do the same.

There’s no real way to be crisp or neat when playing with bleach on your jeans (or at least no easy way I know of), so it’s better to make things purposefully spotty. It gives it your denim a nice gives-no-fucks effect.

Playing with bleach also works nicely on cutoff shorts, old denim shirts and jean jackets. I have an old oversize denim shirt and a pair of cutoff shorts that I liberally splattered bleach all over, and they look so much more badass now. 

And FYI—bleach splatters (and patterns) pair well with some artificial wear and tear, which you can usually achieve by CAREFULLY and repeatedly scraping your desired area with a sharp pair of scissors and then washing the garment. 

Pictures 9 and 10: Pin it

This is the simplest and most fashion-y of all the denim alterations I regularly do. I’ve been collecting thrifted pins since high school, and I find that clustering a few together on an old jean jacket instantly makes things look about 100% better. 

I love stick pins (as you see in the collar of photo 6), broaches, and tiny little baubles. I tend to prefer gold, but really any metal works. 

The pins that look the freshest on jackets and are easiest to mix are metal-based, not stone-based.

Fancy, swirly gold pins can all be thrown together, regardless of design. Stick pins can be worn in twos or threes, as you see if you look really closely at the neckline of the dress in this post. 

Not pictured: Dye it

Because I’m an amateur and a terrible blogger, I forgot that some of you might be interested in the fact that I often dye thrifted clothes at home. My most frequent dye projects are old jeans—I actually dyed about 3 separate pairs last weekend to freshen up my fall pants wardrobe. 

Because I’m wide in the butt, dark washes are best on me. Unfortunately, a really good, evenly dark wash is hard to find for whatever reason.

So I just take matters into my own hands (literally) and dye them myself! 

I usually use Rit dye, which you can find at craft stores and some grocery stores and general markets. It’s always done the trick. 

To make dark wash denim out of your light wash, grab the black dye. 

I know that sounds extreme, but it turns your jeans a deep, deep blue, rather than black. I think you’d have to process your denim multiple times to get a true, saturated black, but thankfully I’m happy enough with a deep navy. 

So that’s how I fuck around with all my denim. In case anyone was wondering. 

And in case you wanted to know where things are from in this post: everything is thrifted! Except for the boots in the three actual photos, which are, in order, thrifted no-name Dolce Vitas (white), Timberland Earthkeepers Bethel Buckle Talls (black), and Boutique 9 Optimuses (grey). 

[MY FAVOURITE THING TODAY] I think my love for South African fast fashion retailer Mr Price is pretty well known by now. But how can I not love them when their media communication is just so very on point? 

Today, the seventeam received a press release/ save the date/ challenge from Mr Price HQ. A pair of skinny jeans and enough DIY goodies to start our own craft shop. The challenge: create a bespoke pair of seventeen jeans that’ll be used in a denim installation on 14 November. 

How clever, right? 

The seventeam is sure to have LOADS of fun with this one. Thanks Mr Price.