Friday, May 29, 2009

Stepping into the Sewing Time Machine

I remember being a high school junior and realizing that I hated most of the pairs of jeans I owned. Step into the way back machine and try to remember what jeans looked like in 1987. They were tight, really tight and tapered, really tapered. I can't be the only one who remembers having zippers on the ankles of her jeans because they were so tapered you couldn't get your heel through.

So there I was, 16 years old with four pairs of jeans that were straight leg (GASP! The social horror of it all!!!) Buying more jeans wasn't an option, my measly summer camp counselor job and babysitting money weren't going to cover that. I vividly remember having an epiphany as I realized I might be able to alter them. I wasn't sure what the correct way to accomplish this was so instead, in the words of Frank Sinatra, I did it my way!

I turned my jeans inside out, put them on and pinned them the way I wanted them to fit, making sure I could get my ankle through. It wasn't much fun wiggling my way out of a tight pair of jeans pinned from the knee down but a girl can make such sacrifices for high fashion when she's 16.

Since I had no sewing machine, I sewed the jeans by hand, a tiresome task to say the least, especially since I sewed each seam 4 times to make sure I didn't wind up splitting my pants. (It's cool to say look what I did, only if it doesn't leave you half naked in the school lunchroom.) Then I cut the excess fabric off and did one more seam over the rough edge to prevent fraying.

The project was an overwhelming success. I never did split my pants open. Those seams held long after the denim began to wear out.

Flash forward 22 years (where did that time go??) and last night Leen came to me asking if I thought I could make a pair of her slightly flared jeans into "skinny" jeans. For anyone keeping track, she's 16 and a junior in high school. (Weird, very weird.)

She put them on inside out but instead of pinning both legs the whole way down, I opted instead to put a start pin by her knee and a finish pin by her ankle on one leg only. When she took the jeans off, I drew a line connecting the two pins and then pinned along this to create my seam line. Then I measured and replicated the same seam line on the other leg.

Since we machine sewed Leen's jeans, I opted for straight stitching the seam two times and zig zag stitching it once before trimming the excess off. The result is a happy teenager with a "new" pair of jeans.

History really does repeat itself.

1 comment:

Riotflower said...

Yes, I remember the jeans with the zippers. I also remember wanting desperately to alter my jeans *back* to straight-legged after the skinny jeans were on their way out...and lacking the fabric! Glad your daughter's were so easy.