Introduction: Distress Your Jeans!

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A customer requested that I distress a new pair of jeans that he brought in. He gave me a couple of pictures as a guide, which I toned it down a bit, knowing that washing/wearing and age would further distress whatever I did. Here's how I went about adding some stylish scars and tears.

Step 1: Get Yourself Some Jeans and Pins

I believe these were new jeans, or barely worn. They have plenty of factory fading so they are perfect. It doesn't make sense to distress a new pair of black or dark blue jeans; it just doesn't translate.

I also wasn't going for an 80's look. Something a bit more natural and subtle.

Using his pictures as a guide and my own ideas about how tears would actually happen, their placement and pattern, I put pins in those various places.

My thinking was along these lines:

1. Bicycle accidents

2. Tears from jumping over barbed wire fences

3. Skateboarding mishaps

4. OCD

5. and occasionally hula hooping with the bike chain that fell off from the first accident

You know, just normal, everyday wear and tear.

Step 2: Tools and Methods

Here is an 'ible that I did on modifying a sewing machine to turn it into a belt sander:

It is what I used to help create these jeans.

I used various rolling and pinching methods to produce different looks.

Sometimes I just lightly ran the jeans over the sander to produce fade lines.

I used a thimble when working from the inside of the jeans.

Well, at least after I inadvertently filed some of my nails down and fingerprints off. The thimble also worked nicely as it has hard edges which made it easy(and less painful) to do lots of little holes and scars.

Step 3: Before and After

Here are some examples of what I created.

The first pic is a before pic of the back pocket.

The top front of the pants I focused on certain areas, especially the waistband, any protrusions, and near the hip area, which got uncomfortably cozy with barbs and concrete.

Step 4: More Scars and Tears

Some close-ups of the legs.

I mainly focused on the front and sides. Any wearing on the backs would really just be on the derriere. You want to avoid symmetry and just put a little thought into what would have caused it. You're creating stories!

As you can see from the photo of the sewing machine/sander, this process created a LOT of lint! I vacuumed up what I could, then used Blow Off to clean up the sandpaper.

When I thought I had done enough, I then did a little more, and then stopped. I figured the wash and dry cycle would open up a lot of what I did, but had no idea...

Step 5: ... of How COOL It Would Look!

The wash and dry cycle really made everything blossom!

Here is the happy customer modeling his new threads.

Show some pics in the comments of ways you have added artistic distressing to your threads!

Oh, and clean that camera lens once every now and then.

; )