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Unrelaxing jeans

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by j, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    I have a pair of jeans I want to alter. I don't know if this can be done, but I am willing to give it a shot. What I want to do is take in the outside of the thigh and possibly the seat to "unrelax" them. I want to taper to about a 1" or so removal on the widest (relatively) part of the thigh, to as-is at the knee or so. My question is, is there anything I need to watch out for? Do I need a special type of thread for this, for example, cotton so it will shrink some and pucker the seam a bit? The current seam is not felled, so it shouldn't be that hard to blend it in. Also, how should I go about trying to match the fading along the edge of the outseam? Sandpaper, dilute bleach...?

    Am I just crazy? This is my 'favorite' pair of jeans, but that's not saying much at all.

    Thanks.
     


  2. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    BTW, I know the seat will be a very different operation, and I probably won't attempt it. It has a felled seam, more visible, probably more risky. But tips are welcome.
     


  3. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    Well I can say that if you rub with sandpaper, use a very fine grit and rub lightly until you see the fading you desire. Takes extreme patience but if you use too rough a surface you will hurt the texture of the denim instead of taking out hte indigo. I've never had this done before, I would just get a new pair of jeans [​IMG] If they are on the newer side, maybe take a shower with them on, then keep wearing them and dry yourself quickly by standing in front of some sort of... hot air machine? This will cause them to shrink a bit but the areas which your skin is touching will stay stretched.
     


  4. amirrorcrackd

    amirrorcrackd Senior member

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    (j @ Mar. 01 2005,14:18) I have a pair of jeans I want to alter. I don't know if this can be done, but I am willing to give it a shot. What I want to do is take in the outside of the thigh and possibly the seat to "unrelax" them. I want to taper to about a 1" or so removal on the widest (relatively) part of the thigh, to as-is at the knee or so. My question is, is there anything I need to watch out for? Do I need a special type of thread for this, for example, cotton so it will shrink some and pucker the seam a bit? The current seam is not felled, so it shouldn't be that hard to blend it in. Also, how should I go about trying to match the fading along the edge of the outseam? Sandpaper, dilute bleach...? Am I just crazy? This is my 'favorite' pair of jeans, but that's not saying much at all. Thanks.
    Well I can say that if you rub with sandpaper, use a very fine grit and rub lightly until you see the fading you desire. Takes extreme patience but if you use too rough a surface you will hurt the texture of the denim instead of taking out hte indigo. I've never had this done before, I would just get a new pair of jeans [​IMG] If they are on the newer side, maybe take a shower with them on, then keep wearing them and dry yourself quickly by standing in front of some sort of... hot air machine? This will cause them to shrink a bit but the areas which your skin is touching will stay stretched.
    But wouldn't this only be a temporary fix? Wouldn't they stretch out again over time? And would this even work if the jeans were too big to begin with. It makes more sense if they are too small, no? Dan
     


  5. Brian SD

    Brian SD Moderator

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    (Brian SD @ Mar. 01 2005,17:25)
    I have a pair of jeans I want to alter. I don't know if this can be done, but I am willing to give it a shot. What I want to do is take in the outside of the thigh and possibly the seat to "unrelax" them. I want to taper to about a 1" or so removal on the widest (relatively) part of the thigh, to as-is at the knee or so. My question is, is there anything I need to watch out for? Do I need a special type of thread for this, for example, cotton so it will shrink some and pucker the seam a bit? The current seam is not felled, so it shouldn't be that hard to blend it in. Also, how should I go about trying to match the fading along the edge of the outseam? Sandpaper, dilute bleach...? Am I just crazy? This is my 'favorite' pair of jeans, but that's not saying much at all. Thanks.
    Well I can say that if you rub with sandpaper, use a very fine grit and rub lightly until you see the fading you desire. Takes extreme patience but if you use too rough a surface you will hurt the texture of the denim instead of taking out hte indigo. I've never had this done before, I would just get a new pair of jeans [​IMG] If they are on the newer side, maybe take a shower with them on, then keep wearing them and dry yourself quickly by standing in front of some sort of... hot air machine? This will cause them to shrink a bit but the areas which your skin is touching will stay stretched.
    But wouldn't this only be a temporary fix? Wouldn't they stretch out again over time? And would this even work if the jeans were too big to begin with. It makes more sense if they are too small, no? Dan
    Yes, the jeans would stretch out until you washed them again. I am getting the impression that they are not too big, they are just too baggy in the seat? In which case my method is at least worth a shot. If they were too small, it makes sense to stretch them out, yes, but if you were able to dry the jeans with hot air while still wearing them - although desperate and stupid sounding - it seems like it would work. [​IMG]
     


  6. ken

    ken Banned by Request

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    I've done it a couple times. If you haven't already thought of a way to do it, here's my method:
    Turn the jeans inside-out and put them on. Use safety pins to close the gap of the fabric you want to take off. Take off the jeans and use a marker to draw a line along the points where the pins are. Then just use a sewing machine to sew along that line, cut off the excess material, and finish the stitching however you want.
    It actually works surprisingly well. I'd recommend it before I'd recommend buying a new pair of jeans, but I hate spending money on clothes. You're probably better off with a new pair, but it's fun and rewarding to fix an old one.

    I've also tried the seat (rise, which influences how tight the butt is) a couple different ways. First I did pretty much the same thing as the thighs, just drew a line along the crotch and sewed it up. On another pair I chopped off the waist and reattached it a little lower. Neither worked spectacularly. Next time I try I think I'm gonna sew up the butt-crack seam.
     


  7. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    if it's flat-felled, doesn't that mean you'll have to re-sew the entire length of the leg? ...then again maybe not, if you match the thread, stitch length and location, etc...

    don't most jeans have just an overedge stitch seam down the outer leg? it folds to one side (the rear, i think) along the thigh, then it turns and folds the other direction (front) somewhere above the knee.

    on at least one of my jeans, the top portion is welted along the thigh (a visible yellow stitch), then that stitch ends and the seam folds over like i just mentioned.

    one more point - you probably know this, but you can get thread designed specifically for sewing denim; comes in the yellow color, and blue, and maybe white. dunno if i've seen it in red, but that would be cool.

    /andrew - with his mind in the sewer.
     


  8. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    i just re-read your post where you said the seam was *not* felled. so, that's good at least.

    one more thought - take care you know where the seam is going to end up. this probably means taking in equal amounts from both front and back.
     


  9. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Wow, I kind of forgot about this thread today. Thanks, everyone. The seam is welted (is that what it's called?) down a little bit, but not where I would be messing with it. The problem is that the thighs are too wide/big. The seat is a separate issue, with a more complicated solution. But Ken's method will probably work. That's essentially what I was planning, so thanks, that gives me some confidence.

    We give each other strength.

    Shrinking them would not work in this case because firstly, they mostly shrink in the length, which would be bad, and secondly, they stretch back out quickly. I tried this when I first got them.

    BTW, if anyone is wondering, they are RL Haydens from a couple years back, and they have held up amazingly despite the fit probs. Very minimal damage despite my relative mistreatment. I wash them nicely, but fix cars in them, load trash, work, etc.
     


  10. StevenRocks

    StevenRocks Senior member

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    Buy a new pair of jeans. Unless you paid more than $100.00 for them, the alterations will be too costly to justify, and a little shaky even above that price level.
     


  11. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    ...except that DIY is cool.
     


  12. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Yeah, I'm doing it myself. Also, I have had no luck finding a new pair of jeans. And not that I'm doing it for the cred, but there is none to be had in having alterations done for you.
     


  13. ken

    ken Banned by Request

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    Just remember to rip off the tag in the back when you're done. They ain't RL jeans no more.

    Or just sign your name at the bottom of it. Hilarity will ensue.
     


  14. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Maybe I will flip it over and then use a blowtorch and a fork to make my own brand. It is actually leather, at least. Good point, though. [​IMG]
     


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