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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Lengthen Jeans with Denim Fringe

Updated: May 26, 2022

Honestly, I'm not sure if I like this 'creative' solution or not, but it was fun to do and this solved the issue of my favorite-fitting jeans having become too short. The idea is NOT original - I saw it on some jeans of a friend of mine. That being said, here's how I executed what turned out to look like what you see below. I've now worn these jeans in their new 'altered state' for about a month, and generally get positive comments whenever I wear them, asking where I bought those neat jeans!

In my generously-sized Studio, I have a Trunk full of denim jeans for up-cycling/repairs. It was hard to whittle my 'collection' down to just 1 trunk from 3 HUGE boxes when we 'down-sized' in 2016 in our move from IL to TN.

I keep my stash organized into 3 sections: full jeans, generous parts, and smaller parts.

I'll add at the end of this Blog Post some of the many items that my Jeans Trunk has spawned....... but for now, back to the task at hand.


The first thing I did was to rip out the original hem - actually thinking that if I did just that then I'd have the needed additional length. Alas: the lowermost edge had worn totally through in many places, so that alone wouldn't work.

In the picture to the right, you can see this worn edge, and the first step: covering it up with a 2.5" wide strip. Of course, the strips came from the lower edge of jeans found in that precious Trunk...

Below, you can see that I decided to use a 3-step ZigZag Stitch with settings of

stitch width: 7 stitch length: 1.2

with which to attach the strip AND to strengthen/mend the torn edge. As shown below, the leg is on the free arm of the machine with the wrong side of the leg up.

In total, I added 3 strips on top of the original jeans: 2.5", 2", and 1.75" wide. As I cut these from old jeans from my trunk, it was not necessary to make these exact in width - by any means as you can see in the first photo below. I pined them all on with their uppermost edges aligned.


Thread: Since these Calvin Klein jeans had the jeans gold stitching, I went to my container of Jeans-stitching threads. As you can see in the 1st photo below, in this container I keep both white and Jeans Gold heavy thread. The brand I keep and sell is: Jeans Stitch from YLI. Oddly enough, I like and carry the TOPAZ color rather than the one they call, Jeans Gold. This thread is polyester (great for strength) and is a heavier weight/size thread - requiring at least a size 90/14 needle. HOWEVER, do not use this heavy thread in the needle - but instead a matching regular weight thread. What I have stored there in my container is: Mettler Art 9161 - Color 1131. In the 3rd photo below, I've shown that for stitch length, 3.5 but also note that I've used the WIDTH control to move my needle to exactly where I want it. I have a video all about that - check it out here:

Needle: When stitching on denim - pay attention to the TYPE and SIZE of your needle. I used a Schmetz Denim/Jeans Size 100.

The needle you put into your sewing machine is the MOST important part of your sewing machine! Instead of repeating all the info I learned as a machine dealer and teacher for many years, check out my Video all about needle selection and storage at this link:

A note about pricing on needles..... This package as shown below is sold for $8.49 at JoAnn Fabrics!!! With regular mark-up - I sell a package for $5.25. Just sayin'..... those huge and constant 'sales' on items can only happen with consistently higher 'regular' prices.

When doing ANY kind of top-stitching, I always pull the needle threads to the back side, knot, and then thread all of these threads on a big needle, and then 'bury' the threads - THEN cut close to where the needle emerges. I teach that if you cut close to a knot - count on it to come UN-done. See a picture of this - a BIG picture, below.

At this point, my jeans looked like what you see at the lower left. They would have been just fine like this - raveling at only the lowermost edges. Perhaps I should have stopped here and test-washed.....


Alas, the jeans that were my inspiration had been clipped, so I charged forth and clipped as well. My clipping was done using my favorite scissors for trimming and clipping, the KAI 5135

I clipped approximately every 3/4" and in about that far as well, alternating in the rows as you can see above in the 3rd photograph.

Of course, a final wash and dry with more jeans was the only way to see the 'real' result, which then needed a bit of a 'haircut'.

I'm open to your opinions. However, these are still my favorite jeans, and so far, they've received compliments, sew-----

Here is one of my Denim UpCycling Creations - currently offered for Sale Here - $95

And a PDF of Denim UP-Cycle Projects I do with my students in the Sunroom Sewing Studio:

as found HERE for $8 - PDF immediate delivery.

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