Okay – here it is! I told you I would :-) And I have! Yay! The following tutorial is from when I stitched Abby’s jeans on Sunday morning – they take about 3 hours. You think they will be quicker ’cause it’s only a few pieces of patchwork fabric, but there’s a bit of fiddling and pinning so set aside a few hours.
1 :: Choose your jeans and trim them to the desired length – I made these sit 1 inch above Abby’s ankle. Before you trim, make sure you leave 1/2 inch on the jeans for the seam allowance.
2 :: Measure the width of the bottom edge of the jeans, then measure 8 inches up the leg of the jeans, and measure the width here. Note both these measurements. At this point, I cannot stress how important it is to note all your measurements and stitck to them – otherwise, your bands won’t end up the same size and then they’ll look funny. They will. Trust me – and the 45 minutes of unpicking I had to do to make the bands the same size!
(btw – in the picture it says the band is 6 inches deep – I changed this to 8 as indicated later in the tutorial – and I dropped the second top border from Abby’s – what am I saying here – ignore the numbers in the picture – it’s just to make you grab a pen and notebook!)
3 :: Choose some key fabrics – or have your little person choose their favourite bits. These were some of the half yards I bought on Friday when we visited Funky Fabrix. Abby loves all of them – I thought the green with the kokeshi dolls would be her favourite – or the pink pigs – but she loved the nursery one best – reminds me of the new baby cards my mum and dad received when I was born – same style of illustration. The rest of the fabric for the bands will just be scraps. Make them as varied as possible and try not to use the same one more than once.
4 :: From the fabrics you have gathered, choose four pieces for the border – I like strong fabrics for the border – they add a good frame.
5 :: Now cut your borders. Cut the bottom border 2 1/4 inches wide (this includes a 1/2 inch seam allowance). Cut the upper border 2 inches wide (this includes a 1/4 inch seam allowance) . Cut them both 1 inch longer than the width of the bottom edge of your jeans. The bottom edge of Abby’s jeans measured 18 inches, so I cut the bottom border 2 1/4 inches by 19 inches, and the upper border 2 inches by 19 inches.
6 :: Next is the fun bit. From the scrap fabrics you have gathered, chop them into random sizes and place them in a pleasing pattern. I made them into units. So in this picture you can see I started on the left with the purple floral and aqua polka dot – each unit has to be at least 5 1/2 inches long (to fit in between the two borders) and whatever width you like. Don’t worry if your units are longer than 5 1/2 inches because we can trim them to size later (this eliminates the need for tricksy arithmetic – well, you know, I can be challenged by this – maybe you’re not :-).
Then I made a unit from the white floral, red floral, and yellow pattern. Next I added a nice big square of the special piggies. Then a narrow strip of blue. Then I made a unit of of the yellow bird and orange geometric with the red floral and aqua ladybugs. Then a strip of pink cowgirls and finally the red and pink apples. Make it as scrappy as you can. I don’t measure the exact width of the patchwork but just make it between 1 1/2 and 2 inches wider than the borders. Again, this is so you don’t have to add up as you go along ;-)
7 :: Piece together your units, and then stitch the units together to form a long band, making sure you keep either the top or the bottom straight (if some of your units are longer than 5 1/2 inches). Press your units as you go.
8 :: Trim your pieced band so that it is precisely 5 1/2 inches wide.
9 :: Time to add your borders. Pin and stitch them. It is important to pin – if you don’t, you run the risk of pulling the border as you go – or letting it get held on to tight by the feed dogs and they’ll wind up wonky. If you are using directional fabric, make sure you keep it the right way up! I needed to keep my piggies and ring-a-ring-a-rosy children standing up.
10 :: When you are ironing your borders over, here’s how I do it. I lay the band right side up; leave the right side border folded over and then carefully press the left border open, making sure I keep it straight and the seamed edge sharp.
11 :: Then I turn the band around and carefully press the left border open, making sure I keep it straight and the seamed edge sharp. By doing it this way, I don’t bump one side clumsily while trying to iron the other side.
12 :: Now, fold your finished band in half length-wise. Then measure along the bottom edge of the band till it’s half the finished width of the bottom band. The bottom edge width of Abby’s jeans was 18 inches, so I measured along the folded-in-half-band 9 inches and placed a mark. The upper edge width of Abby’s jeans was 16 inches, so I measured along the folded-in-half-band 8 inches and placed a mark.
13 :: Draw a line between the two marks – this will be your stitching line. Stitch along it and then press the the seam open.
14 :: Give the upper edge of the band a squirt with some water and then fold it over quarter of an inch and press. Squirting it first ensures it will stay in place while you’re wiggling the band onto the jeans and stitching the bottom edge.
15 :: Turn your jeans inside out. Leave the patchwork band inside out. Then slide the patchwork band up the leg of the jeans, with the upper edge at the top, and the bottom edge of the band at the bottom edge of the jeans. The right side of the patchwork band will be against the wrong side of the jeans. Strange but true.
16 :: Pin (this is important, because most likely your jeans will have some stretch in them and it is important that the band and the jeans line up) and stitch with the jeans at the bottom so they are held firmly by the feed dogs (again, to avoid stretching). Oops – you need to stitch a 1/2 inch seam – remember – you added that much to your jeans at the beginning and to your bottom band.
17 :: Turn the jeans right side and pull down the patched border. Doesn’t it look funny! But not for long … now you are going to fold the patchwork border back so that it covers the lower 8 inches of the jeans! And you’ve already pressed over your 1/4 inch seam allowance on the upper border.
18 :: Iron the band up, making that bottom edge nice and sharp. You want all the (in this instance) pink on the outside, and all the denim on the inside. Give it a really good bash with the iron. Give the top a good bash too. This is one of those stages in sewing when a good bash with the iron will give you a lovely polished finish.
19 :: Top stitch the bottom edge of the bottom border – I like a shy 1/4 inch. Then top stitch the upper edge of the bottom border – again, a shy 1/4 inch. Then pin the upper edge in place – keeping the patchwork band smooth, smooth, smooth. Top stitch the bottom edge of the upper border. Then top stitch the upper edge of the upper border.
A-ha! You have one leg finished. Now do it all again for the second leg. Cool huh! They will look gorgeous – each place Abby has worn them in the last two days, people have asked where I bought her jeans!
Even the doggles like them … :-)
p.s. if something is unclear, please do email me and I will do my best to help out!