Today, we finally return to our denim series. The denim portion of this refashion is actually no-sew, so to make it a real Sunday Sew-Day, I've thrown in a bonus refashion for your viewing pleasure.
This was my first ever experiment in bleaching! I would've been nervous if it weren't for the fact that I paid $0 for this 1980s striped denim jacket. It came to me in a huge box of leftovers from a garage sale. It fit great but reminded me a little too much of a pair of striped denim shorts I had as a kid.
I found this tutorial on bleaching denim and thought, "why not?" The tag said 98% cotton, 2% spandex, and I googled the brand - JouJou - and found it's sold at places like Nordstrom and Macy's. I'm not sure this qualifies it as "quality" denim that will withstand bleach, but again, it was free. If it gets destroyed, I won't be that upset. So I gathered my materials - bleach, gloves, and a plastic mop bucket - and I'm working outside to avoid bleach fumes. Also, please note, in the before photo, I am wearing one of my husband's old undershirts and my paintin' pants. We don't want to accidentally bleach anything important. Also note the stitching on this jacket is the standard tan used in a lot of denim products and probably the standard polyester too, so I'm not banking on it bleaching to white, but I'm okay with that too.
Per the tutorial, I dampened my jacket in warm water first.
Then I filled my bucket mostly with warm water and topped it off with bleach. I eyeballed the 3-to-1 ratio since I didn't have a measuring cup I didn't want to use for food ever again. I used a gloved hand to swirl it around and mix it well. Then I added my jacket and gently stirred it around too.
I came back every hour or so at first, to check on the bleaching and stir the jacket around some. The shorts in the tutorial took 31 hours to get completely white, but they started out pretty dark. So I was hoping my lighter denim jacket wouldn't take quite that long.
Sadly, that did not turn out to be the case. I checked on the periodically for two and a half days, and I was still seeing stripes.
My theory is the jacket is outerwear and may have been treated with some chemical to make it more resistant to stains, sun-bleaching, etc, while the shorts used in the tutorial were probably not treated. But I was determined to make this jacket wearable, and again, I had nothing to lose. So I bought another bottle of bleach and mixed up a new solution of 1 part bleach to 1 part water this time. Another 24 hours in the bucket, and I finally had a mostly white jacket! Unfortunately, the bleach left some little white deposits on all the metal buttons and rivets. So I scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and cleaned 'em right up!
But wait, there's more! Remember, I promised to add some sewing to this Sunday Sew-Day. Check out this $3 jersey dress I found at Goodwill.
It's maybe a smidge too large.
Okay, perhaps it's way too large.
And it's a tad too short as well. I like a maxi to brush the ground as I walk. If I'm not at risk of tripping over it and falling on my face, it's not long enough. But I love the purple and grey stripe. It'll make a fantastic maxi skirt to pair with my new no-longer-striped jacket. First, I chopped off the skirt just below the waistband, and cut pieces for a new waistband from the bust pieces.
The rectangle (which has four layers of fabric under it) is about 6 inches shy of half my hip circumference, but this fabric has plenty of stretch so the skirt will sit comfortably on my hips and not slide downward. I took two of the four rectangles and sewed them together along one long edge with right-sides-facing, using a zig-zag stitch to maintain stretchy-ness. Then I did the same with the other two pieces. Next I unfolded each pair and sewed them together end-to-end and right-sides-facing to form a tube. I used a straight stitch here since stretch didn't matter that much. Folding down one half of the tube will create my double-layer, super-comfy, yoga-esque waistband.
Then I took in the sides of the skirt, 5 inches on each side. I even snipped the laundering tag and reattached it in my new side seam.
Finally, I pinned the inside-out waistband to the right-side-out skirt and sewed all around using a zig-zag again.
Et voilà! The waistband fits perfectly.
The length is spot on.
And just look at that white denim jacket!
As I suspected, the stitching remained tan, and in some places where I hadn't even noticed the stitching before, it was actually a very pale blue and stayed that way.
Not bad for a freebie!