As summer was fast approaching, my quest for the perfect distressed boyfriend jeans got feverish. I’ve never bought ripped, distressed jeans at the stores because I never quite found the right amount of rips and distressing. So I decided to diy my own from a pair of vintage Levi’s.Back in February, I went through racks of donated jeans at a Salvation Army. My effort was greatly rewarded with several pairs of barely used vintage Levi’s and Wrangler jeans. Each pair costs between $7-11. One of them was this baggy pair of dark Levi’s that I knew would be perfect as boyfriend jeans.I didn’t have to alter the length as it hits just right at my ankle. However, the seat was too big, so I went to a tailor to take it in as I didn’t have a sewing machine yet at the time. With a smaller seat, these jeans fitted much better but I still thought something was missing. I wanted it light washed and distressed.The bleaching process took almost two days, a lot of patience and a grumpy boyfriend that complained of the bleach odor haha… but it was so worth it! Especially since I was able to lighten specific areas. First, I dipped the entire jeans in a bleach/water bath to lighten all parts of the jeans. Don’t worry about the leather patch, thread or tags getting bleached. Since they were not made of 100% cotton, they won’t change colour. I repeated this process about two to three times, machine-washing and drying in between bleach baths.Next, I laid down the jeans on top of a table and further bleached certain areas of the jeans. Make sure not to do this on a beautiful table as the bleach will stain it. To get a more natural effect, I lightened high-contact areas like the butt, thighs and knees. This time, I used super concentrated bleach/water mix and dabbed it on the jeans with a sponge. I left the jeans with bleach for half an hour each time and washed with water in between.After I bought my first sewing machine, the Singer 8280 Prelude, I decided to further perfect the fit. I tapered the legs to make them slimmer and took in the waist band several inches. Even though vintage Levi’s were made of thick, 100% cotton fabric, they were not difficult to sew. An important tip is to use proper jeans needle and thread. I personally love Gutermann jeans thread.Finally, comes the fun part of ripping and distressing the jeans! I took scissors, tweezers and sanding paper to cut holes and break the jeans’ fibres. To get the perfect worn in look, I targeted the knees and thigh areas. Last and final step was to throw the jeans inside the washing machine and dryer, this disintegrated the fibres further and produced those perfect frayed edges…Voila! I got my one-of-a-kind boyfriend jeans!
My bag here is the STRAW carryall in tan. STRAW uses surplus leather from export production. Thus, they do not add waste in the tanning and dyeing process. This carryall is literally my trusty, day-to-day handbag. I love that it is so light and fits all of my work documents and stuff perfectly!
Photos: Portland, Oregon by RY