Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hippy Chic

Back in the 70's my uber-crafty mother made my sister (desperate-to-be-a-hippy) and I (follower of-all-things-my-sister) a pair of jeans like these. If my memory serves me, mine were Holly-Hobby calico. I think my sister wore hers until they fell apart.

Here's a quick & dirty tutorial on this shabby patchworked blast from my past!

First you need an assortment of fabrics. I used quilting cottons, because woven cotton ravels well. Cut your fabrics into random shapes & can always adjust later when placing. I like to use fabrics with a "motif" because those can be cut out and layered for a fun look!

Next, you need to remove the inseam stitching of your jeans.

Lay out your scraps and patches until you like the arrangment. I like to tack mine down with Sulky KK 2000 spray glue or a temp glue stick. You don't want to fuse the patches down because they won't ravel nicely (which is kinda the point.)

I work in "layers", one leg at a time. When my first layer is arranged nicely, I take the jeans to the sewing machine and sew down these patches. Since the KK2000 is repositionable (limitedly) you can lift your patchs & motifs to get the perfect arrangement!

You can use whatever stitch you like, but I like a zigzag or featherstitch...and a straight stitch for those little pieces. Leave about 1/4 inch outside of your stitching (to fray).

When your patches are stitched down, you can further embellish with all the little motifs from your fabric :

When both legs are all finished, you're ready to restitch the inseam. I chose to crop these jeans for Lu, so I featherstitched around the bottom of the jeans to prevent too much fraying at the hem.

After all the stitching is finished, throw them in the washing machine & dryer. And voila! Truly adorable one of a kind jeans!

Here's the back:

and a close up:

You could add machine embroidery, bits of lace & trim, pieces of vintage linens...Use your imagination and make your own hippy chic denim!

...this tutorial compliments of my mother. Thanks mom!


  1. [picking jaw up from floor] Must. Try. This.

    As if I didn't already have more sewing projects than I can reasonably accomplish in the next few weeks.

    I see so many possibilities...clothes for DD, Christmas

    Thanks for the inspiration and the how-to!

    I think. ;)

  2. LOL Lisa! I think I might want a pair for myself ;) Wonder if there's an age limit?

  3. Oooo, love these! Showing my age here, but brings back memories of junior high and how my girlfriend and I patched and ripped and bleached and embroidered every pair of blue jeans we owned. Everybody wanted our jeans but they were one of a kind - just like this awesome hippy chic pair you posted. I'm with Lisa - I'm gonna use this tutorial on *something* - just don't know what it is yet :-)

  4. Absolutely beautiful!
    I'm already thinking of making "clubbing" jeans with scraps of glam fabric and maybe some sequins.
    Thank you for a great idea!

  5. oh so cute! and your fabric choices are wonderful. I think I need a pair of these for my birthday

  6. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Love them! What a fab idea.
    The cake on my site was a shop bought vanilla muffin which I sliced and added raspberry jam (jelly?) and whipped cream. Very naughty but sooo nice!

  7. This is so cool! I gotta try this!

    Shannon F

  8. Anonymous6:42 PM

    hey Ang -- I was a REAL hippy in the 60's and we never did jeans like these. But we did embroider the bejeezus out of 'em:-)

  9. LOL nina! I remember my sister doing that too!

  10. WOW!! My daughter would just think she was the cat's meow in pants like these! Great. Another project. How will I ever get them all accomplished?!!

  11. Those jeans rock!! Thanks for the tutorial! I must try that!


  12. awesome jeans! Must try! Thanks!

  13. Wow! This is sooooo groovy! I now know what to do with a pair of ratty cords my brother gave me!!! yippeeeee!! Thanks for posting this!

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  15. I'm totally going to make these for my princess using Hannah Montana fabric, she'll flip out! Thanks so much for posting the tut, was the inseam hard to sew back together?

  16. Oh, my goodness. I have embellished jeans before and I never ever thought to rip the inseam out. What a MUCH better way to do it. (I always try to do things the hard way- LOL!)

    Awesome tutorial! Thank you!


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