Blog Archive

7/29/12

Repurposed denim: Bleached ombré effect.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love denim. Cleaning out shoes, shirts, knick knacks, pantry items, bathroom things; Easy. But a pair of well fitting jeans that are hard to come by are equally hard to get rid of. Even on their last leg, with holes, faded knees, grass stains, I keep them (A conclusion you would come to on your own if you only saw the top shelf in my closet). To challenge myself in this area, I've decided to repurpose those jeans that are well loved. I can openly admit, that an armful of those jeans in the closet stack are barely worn because they are so old; use it or lose it right? Exactly. Hence, the wonderful world of repurposing! My first denim experiment, a bleaching process for a faded effect!

You will need: Jeans or jean shorts, scissors, bucket, bleach, distilled WHITE vinegar (NOT regular vinegar), water, shorts hanger.

My old jeans: Worn in knees and too short. (Originally from the Gap. I still like how they fit around my hips and legs, so I knew they would still be flattering as shorts).
Cut the jeans to length. I cut mine long with plans to hem and roll them up. Remember, that unless a seam is sewn, the cut offs will continue to fray after each wash and dry. Adding a simple seam will keep them the desired length and from fraying to their ultimate shorty short's fate.
Soak the shorts in 2 parts water to 1 part bleach. Soak for 5-30 minutes depending on the bleached effect you want. I soaked mine for 30 minutes and left the waste band out of the bleach solution to keep the true denim blue at the top of the shorts. (It created a neat ombré effect! You could make a more drastic ombré effect by first soaking a majority of the denim and every few minutes or so lifting the denim out of the bleach solution. This will make the waistband a darker shade with the bottom of the shorts completely bleached.) Next, dip your shorts into 2 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. This stops the bleaching process. Let dry and then wash on cold/cold and run them through the dryer. (If you bleach your shorts completely, you could even soak them in dye to make colored shorts. I plan on doing this for my next pair! I have RIT yellow and orange dye at the ready. Wouldn't yellow ombré shorts be adorable?)

The beauty of this bleaching process is that you can do it to any denim piece! I have a denim dress from Target circa 2007 that I may try this on. A little tip, if you repurpose old jeans for this project, save the scrap denim, bleach it as well, and do some sample runs of using RIT dye. This is a perfect way to play around with color shades for a future denim dyeing endeavor. You can also save your scraps to make a denim headband, braided denim belt, a denim rosette, and even more ideas I am sure you crafty readers out there could come up with!

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3 comments:

  1. What a great idea. Brings back memories of bleaching my jeans back in high school. They turned out great!!!!

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  2. This is SO cool Lauren!! I really might be trying this soon!! Thanks for the inspiration!

    -Mary
    www.happilygrey.com

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    1. Thanks Mary! I'll have to share with you the stylings I make out of the left over denim if they turn out the way I hope. Let me know how it goes if you end up trying it out!

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