Wednesday, 15 May 2013

DIY Western Applique'd Denim Shorts

Denim is huge this summer.  Indeed, when is it ever not?  But in recent years we've seen denim in every single incarnation known to man from raw and tailored all the way to bleached, ripped, studded, ombre, embroidered and everything in between.  Just as long as we don't start seeing any of this again, denim is a good thing to be in right now.

So here's my contribution to the many denim-related DIYs out there:

Quilted, applique'd denim cut-offs.  These are inspired by a combination of all the navajo inspired denim around this season as well as Indian textiles and Indian quilting techniques.

You will need:
  • A pair of jeans in need of a new lease of life! - These old baxter's are a size too big for me and as skinny as I thought they were when they first came out, I much prefer super skinnies these days.
  • Fabric of choice - The floral stripe and red on this Indian suit piece I thought was suitably western-themed, without being so yee-haw as to date it by next season.
  • Pins
  • Fabric shears
  • Matching thread and needle
  • Tracing paper
  • (Optional) Tracing wheel - this is handy but not essential.
  • (Optional - not pictured) Pinking shears or a sewing machine

 Using my favourite cut-offs as a guide, I cut off the legs of the jeans.  Always overestimate!  More than you think you need to, trust me, you will not regret heeding my warning.

Fold the garment in half, and use as a guide for cutting the other side.  Yours should look a bit longer than these!!
 And just in case they don't, keep the excess!  Not wanting to flash a load of cheek, I ended up needing to add a little bit extra on, as despite adding a whole inch extra, it wasn't enough.  I neglected to allow for the fact that even though both denims are the same size, these were a skinny fit and the other a more relaxed fit, so they sat higher up.  It's always handy to keep the legs anyway, for saving your favourite pair of jeans when they start to develop a crotch hole!
 Cut a piece of tracing paper larger than the exposed part of the pocket bag and pin it over.
 Using the tracing wheel, or a pencil, trace round the shape of the exposed pocket bag, making sure to give yourself an extra 1cm allowance around the outside.
 Cut around the line you've just traced and use this pattern to cut out the shape from your fabric.
 Fold over the 1cm allowance just at the top and side and press with an iron.
 Pink the curved edge of the fabric using pinking shears.  If you don't own any, you can also sew a zig-zag stitch around the edge or hand-sew a blanket stitch.  This step is important to ensure this edge doesn't fray over time and will help your DIY last so I don't recommend skipping it.
 Pin fabric in place.
 Cut around the rivets and tuck raw edges underneath.
 Blindstitch the fabric to the denim using matching thread.
And here's a fun, optional detail- I added a vertical running stitch, just like on Indian quilts and bedspreads to ensure the fabric is secured to the denim and won't wear away (as my applique is made from quite a flimsy material) over time.  I love the look of this, but you don't have to do it if you are using a more heavy-wearing fabric.
Shorts: DIY;  T-shirt: Gilly Hicks;  Waistcoat: H&M;  Boots: Clark's;  Shawl: Pakistan;  Silver bracelet: Ebay;  Silver ring: antique store in Munich (now lost after my birthday shenanigans!)

photography: Leon Roy

Have you done any denim-related DIYs?  Let us know in the comments below or tag me in your instagram pics: @patterns4life.


  1. These look fantastic - love the fabric you've chosen to contrast with the denim!

    1. Thanks, Alex! Was just one of the ones I had knocking around, but I was quite pleased with how it turned out so glad you agree!


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