How to Make Jeans Smaller

Go Gingham: How to make jeans smaller

How to Make Jeans Smaller

Remember our trip to “The Bins” and the stack of clothing I bought for $18.20?  My family loved everything but several items needed altering.  Altering clothing, especially jeans, is easy and takes very little time. The jeans, which were brand new Gap women’s jeans, were too wide at the leg for the wearer, who wishes to remain nameless.  This project only took about 15 minutes and the jeans probably cost about $1.00.  If you’ve ever considered sewing your own jeans, this is an excellent alternative.

These before and after pictures really show the idea of tapering jeans and making them smaller.

How to Make Jeans SmallerHow to Make Jeans Smaller

Making jeans smaller is easy by following these steps.

1.  Wash and dry jeans. This takes any shrinkage of the item out.  Turn pants inside out.  Lay a pair of jeans that do fit on top of jeans to be altered.  This will help give you an idea of what will be eliminated.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

2.  Line up seams. Inside seams to inside seams, outside to outside seams.  You’ll want to take the jeans in a bit on each side of the pant leg.  Each of the pant leg seams will be altered a small amount.  This will make the pant legs straighter and look better when you’re done.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

3.  Pin jeans flat. Make sure the fabric is smooth through both layers.  Mark with a pin where to stop altering or tapering the leg.  Again, make marks from pair of jeans that do fit.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

4.  Place ruler and mark. Use a pencil to make a line of where your machine will be stitching.  Pencil marks won’t show after you’re done.  A serger works really well here as it cuts and hems in same step.  A regular sewing machine will also work.  With a regular sewing machine, sew seam first and then trim edges.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

5.  Sew on marks. Ease hem into the original seam of jeans.  As you can see below, the hem matches up with the jeans seam.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

6.  Stitch seam and test. Here is what was cut off one side of the jeans after stitching the seam.  This is a good time to have your model try on the jeans to see if they fit correctly.  Remember, you can always take more off but you can’t add fabric back to the pants.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

6.  The finished product.  Reinforce your stitches at bottom and top of pants.  Be sure and trim any stray threads.

How to Make Jeans Smaller

7.  All finished!

How to Make Jeans Smaller

With pants, even if the project is a total failure, you can always make them into shorts.  My daughter buys all of her clothes so she was thrilled with the result here.  Once these jeans are too short, we’ll make them into shorts.  Altering clothing is simple, but practicing is a good idea. Altering kid’s clothing before they have strong opinions about what they will and won’t wear is a good place to start.  You can also practice on jeans you wear for painting or gardening.  You can do it – Go Gingham!

What have you altered lately?  Do you have any suggestions to this tutorial?  Are you eager to give it a try?

 Go Gingham related links:

Thanksgiving table-cloth made for our dining room table
Matching napkins for the table-cloth – made from an old skirt
How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!
Sew your own homemade lunch sack
How to sew a Harry Potter cape complete with wand pocket
A little wine cozy sewn from an arm of old dress shirt – that was turned into a paint shirt!
This began as a joke but it’s super cute: wine bottle slipcover from an old dress shirt
A tray table with a slipcover – because tables need slipcovers, too

My Daily Indulgence: Perfume

Go Gingham: Indulging: Issey Miyake perfume

Issey Miyake PerfumeEvery day, I indulge.  I give myself a squirt of perfume.  Every single day.  Even if I’ve run around in my work-out clothes all day (ick!), showered in the evening, and put on my pajamas, I always use perfume.  Why?  When you’re careful with money, time, and resources, you need a little daily indulgence. I love how it makes me feel:  pretty, fresh, and sexy.

One day while at “The Bins,” I found a bottle of my perfume in the glass case.  Of course I bought it, but was thinking about where it may have come from and how it may have arrived at “The Bins.”  When I got home, and put on my reading glasses so I could see the bottle, it read “For display purposes only” and realized it had most likely come from a department store.  It was the perfume sample bottle.  Can you believe my luck?

My perfume is Issey Miyake. I like whatever is at “The Bins” or whichever one my husband gives me for an anniversary gift.  Our anniversary was yesterday.  I didn’t get a bottle of perfume this year.  We gave each other new tires for our car.  Tires do not make me feel pretty, fresh, or sexy but that’s what we needed this year.  Happy anniversary to my biggest fan and favorite editor-in-chief!

Image credit: Issey Miyake

What’s your daily indulgence?  Do you like practical gifts?  Do you use perfume?

Go Gingham related links:

How to organize a dinner group – why not start one? It’s frugal, fancy & fun!
Our dinner group followed Bon Appetit’s menu last fall
The last time we hosted diner group – in between decorating seasons
Dinner group in spring – well, it felt like winter

The Loot From Our Goodwill Shopping Trip

Go Gingham: Goodwill bins sign

Finds from our Goodwill tripHere’s what I bought for my family at The Goodwill Outlet Store, otherwise known as “The Bins.”  The total is listed at the end of this list but just try to guess how much money I spent…

  • Ice grabbers (a reader said they’re really sugar cube grabbers)
  • Tennyson poetry book
  • 3 handkerchiefs (which I’ll use to wrap gifts in)
  • Men’s leather belt
  • J. Crew khaki men’s shorts
  • Nike basketball shorts
  • Old Navy women’s trousers
  • Gap women’s jeans
  • Adidas women’s yoga pants
  • Banana Republic women’s tank
  • Women’s blouse with floral print
  • Women’s cotton plaid skirt
  • Women’s wool plaid skirt (I’m using the fabric)
  • Mat for framing/picture project
  • 4 loaf pans (for gift giving and baking in the holiday season)
  • 2 pinch bowls
  • Ikea wall bracket (I’m using it to fix a bathroom soap fixture)
  • Outdoor chair (which I gave to our neighbors and now they have 8, matching chairs)

The grand total for all of this?  $18.20

All of the clothing was in really good condition and was promptly placed in the washing machine, even the wool plaid skirt.  Since I’m making a pillow cover out of the wool plaid fabric and not wearing it as a skirt, I skipped the dry cleaner.

Finds from our Goodwill tripAll in all, this was a good day at “The Bins.”  Please consider wearing used clothing.  It’s much less cost on a household budget, is good for our environment, and is very stylishly frugal.  Or should I say…Very Go Gingham!

Do you buy used clothing?  Are you a thrifty shopper, too?  What’s your best find?

Go Gingham related links:

Strategic frugality: our life approach to living and time as a luxury
Kid’s birthday party gifts that are budget friendly and very sweet
How to handle the group gift for teachers – bowing out gracefully
Frugal and easy gifts to give – very easy
Frugal and green wedding gifts – simple gifts with an upgrade element, too
Wrapping paper alternatives – old maps!
Mother’s Day gift giving – frugal and fancy gifts to give
Displaying holiday cards – don’t put them away, just leave them out to enjoy

Notes From the Class You Missed

Go Gingham: Finds from Goodwill

Notes from the class you missed - Go Gingham finds at GoodwillDid you miss the class last month on “How to Shop at the Goodwill Outlet Store” or more commonly known as “The Bins?”  If so, here are the notes from the class you missed!  We’ll do another one soon.  We doubled the number of attendees and had fun.  Matt Buxton, from “The Oregonian” newspaper missed it, too, but did a note about it on-line, at Oregon Live.

Thank you to everyone who came!  We even had two Portland bloggers join us.  Lane’ Richards, from The Living Green Solution and Katy Wolk-Stanley from The Non-Consumer Advocate were in attendance for my how-to-clinic as well.  Between the carpooling, dropping off our non-curb-recycling at Far West Fibers, and chatting, we had a good time-saving money and the environment.  Can you ask for more from a morning?

Want to know what I bought for my family?  A poetry book by Tennyson and those very interesting ice-cube grabbers.  They look like chicken feet.  Stay tuned for the rest of the loot.  I’ll keep you posted.  Literally.

Do you like to shop at Goodwill? What’s your favorite spot to thrift?

Go Gingham related links:

Matching napkins for the table-cloth – made from an old skirt
How to make a waistband smaller without pins!
How to turn jeans into capris – easier than you think!
How to make skinny jeans from wide leg jeans – make your own “jeggings”
How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!
Pretty lanterns – perfect for a backyard or a wedding celebration

Frugal and Easy Gifts

Go Gingham: Frugal and easy gifts

Frugal and Easy Gifts - Roses in CupGiving gifts to friends and family members is something I love to do. I’m always on the lookout for gifts when I’m “shopping” at my usual spots. By “shopping” I mean the haunts I frequent – garage sales, estate sales, and second hand stores. With a little imagination, simple sewing, and a spin in the washing machine, I’ve been able to put together stylish, frugal, lovely, and easy gifts.

Need some ideas for stylish, frugal, and easy gifts? Here are three do-it-your-self projects to get your creative juices flowing! They’re easy to give and the recipients will be happy – I promise!

Frugal and Easy Gifts

1.  Doll clothes made from newborn baby clothes. These little doll pants were sewn from newborn baby pajamas. Newborns wear this small size for such a short period, if at all, that the clothing is hardly worn. In most cases, it hasn’t even had enough time to be stained. I cut these little pants down along the side seams and then put a new (shorter) hem in the bottom. It helps to know the size of the doll when working on this project.  Find out total length of doll and then make pants 1/2 the size. Total time not including washing the garments was about 20 minutes.

Frugal and Easy Gift Giving - Doll PJs
These used to be infant pajamas that I sewed with my serger to make them doll-size. Super easy and super cute!

2.  Bags for the pre-school set. What pre-schooler doesn’t like to carry around the essentials with her? These bags were brand new (perhaps they were a cosmetic companies gift with purchase leftovers?) and I just bought initials to sew onto the outside.Notice how the letters I chose match the “feel” of the bag? They both have a collegiate, varsity look. Letters were stick-on but I sewed them onto the bag just to be sure they stayed put.

Frugal and Easy Gifts - Pink Bags with Letters
Adorable bags personalized with a letter!

3.  Silver cups for flowers. These silver cups are everywhere. You’re lucky if you can find them without engraved lettering but don’t let that deter you. They’re just right for taking flowers to a neighbor or giving to someone as a thank you. The pretty roses are from my yard. This is my go-to-gift.Frugal and Easy Gifts - Roses in CupYou don’t have to spend a lot of money to give heart-felt gifts to friends and family. Stylish, frugal, lovely gifts can be given quite easily. Just re-do it!  Go Gingham!

What are your stylishly frugal gifts you like to give? Do you have go-to-gifts?

Go Gingham related links:

Kid’s birthday party gifts that are budget friendly and very sweet
Frugal gift ideas for teachers – lovely and homemade
How to handle the group gift for teachers – bowing out gracefully
Frugal and green wedding gifts – simple gifts with an upgrade element, too
Wrapping paper alternatives – old maps!
Mother’s Day gift giving – frugal and fancy gifts to give
Displaying holiday cards – don’t put them away, just leave them out to enjoy

Store Security Tag Still Attached to Coat

Go Gingham Question

This question comes from my dear friend, Darcy.  Darcy loves it when I call her from an estate sale or garage sale and say, “Get over here, fast!” – she comes running!  She’s one of my regular partners in crime when I head to “The Bins” for some shopping fun.  Our field trips to the “The Bins” always include a stop by Far West Fibers, which is on the way.

Darcy writes, “A couple of years I ago I purchased one of the kids a multi-layered coat with multiple pieces that zip in and out. Well, my son promptly took out the inner layer and wore only the shell.  Fast forward to today; the jacket no longer fits and I am rounding up all of the pieces to launder and hand down. Problem: the inner layer still has the anti-theft device on it.  How do I get it off without damaging the jacket and without having to take the jacket to a store to have the anti-theft device removed?  Thank you in advance for your words of wisdom!!”

First off, I love that you are passing this jacket along.  Kids don’t normally wear their clothes out – they simply out grow them so great job sharing the used clothing love!  Honestly, I’d just go back to the store and explain the situation.  Most stores have the same security devices so you can most likely take it to whichever store is closest to you.  You could try to remove it yourself if you had a bolt cutter (no, I don’t have one but my neighbor does.  It’s always good to know what tools your neighbors have.  Why buy new tools when you can borrow?) and I wouldn’t try a hack saw because they would probably damage the garment.

Thanks for the question, Darcy!

Looking for more readers’ questions? Check HERE. The answers are there, too. Do you want to ask a question? Check HERE. Do you have something you’d like to share? Check HERE.

Learn to Shop at Goodwill Outlet Store

Go Gingham: Bins field trip

Bins-Field-TripOne of the best ways to save money at home is by purchasing used items, instead of new.  If you’d like to learn to shop at one of my favorite used clothing, furniture, and book stores, come join me for a field trip adventure!  Read on for details and see what I love to purchase used and I’ll only purchase new.

Hope to see you there! Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 from 10am – 11am

Have you wanted to learn to shop at the Goodwill Outlet Store but needed someone to show you the ropes? Here’s your chance to learn my secrets! Meet at “The Bins” at 10am, near the front door. I’ll be wearing an orange jacket, my hair will be in a pony tail, and I’ll be waiting for you.

It’s more fun with a friend – bring one!

Here’s what I don’t buy used:

  1. unmentionables (underwear)
  2. socks
  3. running shoes
  4. bicycle helmets
  5. holiday string lights (I’ve been burned on this too many times.  You can’t tell if these work at the store and mostly, they don’t.  BUT, I have taken lanterns from one and used them elsewhere and that works!).

Here’s what I love to buy used:

  1. wool blankets (or any other fabric) that I can cut, sew, staple gun, grommet or turn into something else.
  2. books (yes, I guess it’s considered “old school” but until e-readers smell like books…).
  3. cashmere anything (preferably without holes).  Again, see #1.
  4. frames for artwork on walls or a snapshot.
  5. dishes, vases, bags, baskets – all that can be cleaned up, spruced up, or sewn to turn into a gift.

Details:  Goodwill Outlet Store, 1740 SE Ochoco, Milwaukie, OR  97222

Will you be joining me at “The Bins” for this fun trip???

Go Gingham related links:

Using nature to decorate your home – frugal and fancy decorating
Dumpster diving woes: please don’t put a cover on dumpsters!
Green living: once a month garbage collection
Found treasures for decorating your home
A free chair – that was rejected!
Wrapping presents with free maps makes for pretty gifts
Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet