Distressed denim for your Levi jeans

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by Linda Davis

azfamily.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 22 at 12:47 PM

Distressed Levi jeans

Distressed denim for your Levi jeans - Hold onto your Levi jeans gang ? I just saw a photo of a pair of $3000 hand distressed levi jeans ? totally ripped, shredded and worn down to the bare threads! Three grand!

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Hold onto your gang - I just saw a photo of a pair of $3000 hand distressed levi jeans - totally ripped, shredded and worn down to the bare threads! Three grand!

Time to figure out how to do some of these tricks myself. And, as I see more and more of them lately in boutiques, I've realized that with older teens this is a project waiting to happen as they beg you for the "more affordable" hundred dollar pair of jeans.

Some of it's easy, knowing the right tools to use. Other techniques are still easy but take some labor or a special tool. Regardless, given the dollar saving motivation - you just might want to take this on. Watch the Distressed Denim for your Levi Jeans video for the techniques but here's what you'll need to achieve each individual jean look.

To start the distressed denim jean look:

Get a piece of chalk, put on your jeans and mark where you want each cut, abrasion or bleach mark to be. DO NOT skip this step. If you just guess, you may be surprised where they end up once on your body.

Desired distressed look circa 2009: Abrasion This is the most desired distressed look circa 2009. It's when there's almost a hole in your jeans but most of the little white threads are still intact in an underneath layer. This took a lot of digging to figure out how to do this, but it requires the kind of small paint scraper that holds a single edge razor blade. I found one in the painting section at a discount store. Put a glove on the hand that isn't going to hold the blade for slip protection. All you're going to do is literally hold the scraper perpendicular to the jeans and start scraping off the top layer to reveal the white threads. I found if I put a very small hole in the jeans first, very small, like 1/8th of an inch small, it helps get it all started. This is a slow process but works to produce that look of abrasion.

Desired distressed look: Slits and Tears Just use scissors to cut a slit in your jeans. Hold back a little on the size you want the actual slit to be because once you wash them it will fray and spread.

Desired distressed look: Worn Areas Grab different grades of sandpaper for this trick. I always thought this was done by bleaching but not so. After selecting the area you want to be a lighter color, just start sanding at the jeans. You'll pretty quickly notice a lighter area showing up. Keep in mind that after washing, this will lighten even more. If your jeans have Lycra in them, you'll want to use a finer grade sandpaper to avoid any pilling as you work. This works really well on denim jackets to add areas of lighter/darker interest.

Desired distressed look: Bleached Streaks and Spots I started by just dripping on pure bleach with an old eyedropper to re-create white spots that I saw on a cool looking pair of jeans. Worked well. But for the whisker effect so popular these days pick up a bleach pen at the grocery store. Just mark on the jeans (on your body with chalk, remember?) where you want a bleached out mark and use the pen to make it permanent. After marking, just toss them in the washer with warm water and tumble dry for full effect.

Desired distressed look: Frayed Pockets, Hems and Seams You can easily use a razor blade or Exacto knife to simply scrape away at the edges but if you really want to have some fast fun, see if you have a Dremel tool in the toolbox. If you do, you can fray up a pocket in no time. That's a blast!

As we said on the show, this is one of those segments that would have left our grandparents shaking their heads. They tried everything to KEEP their jeans in tiptop shape. So, I've decided I'm taking the stance that this creates little works of original jean art. Plus, get your teens involved and they'll have the jean looks they crave without the steep price tag.

Live and Learn

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