UP-Cycled Scarf-Bottomed Jeans Skirts
The idea of long scarves pieced together to create the lower part of an up-cycled jeans skirt turned into spectacular skirts for these 2 young sewing students. My student gets the credit – finding a picture inspiring this skirt design online.
Start with Jeans that fit at the waist. Cut off legs below the pockets (maintaining inside pocket parts on the front). Un-stitch the crotch seam in the front up to the zipper, and at the center back up to where the curve of the crotch begins. Fold one side in a vertical fold, overlapping the other side. Re-stitch by topstitching. W e used a matching navy thread instead of trying to duplicate the heavier topstitching thread, as the colorful scarf bottom part is the ‘eye-catching’ part anyway. The time we had to complete this project was just 3 hours, so we had to ‘make haste’. On top of that, I’d never fashioned a skirt like this before…
The girls wanted to maintain the entire back pockets, but that really made the silhouette too ‘under the butt’ in the back. We determined that the most flattering line for the bottom of the jeans to which the scarves connect was one that was longer at the center front and back, subtly curving up at the side seam. This can be seen clearly upon closer inspection of the blue-toned ‘softer’ skirt on the blonde gal.
This next picture shows that the longest we could make the jeans part on the back was THROUGH the back pockets.
Cut & Piece the Scarves
Also in the first photo above, you can see the placement of the scarves. Most scarves were split lengthwise into 2 or even 3 lengthwise pieces. Note the light aqua with white fringe. In fact, the light aqua started as a sheer jacket with white fringe at the hemline. The placement of the scarves was a good exercise in design and symmetry. I had them first decide which scarf was their favorite for the center front placement. The length available in the scarves proved to be plentiful for what was needed to be floor length after attaching to the jeans’ lower edge. Therefore, I had the gals pay attention to the very lowest edge, having it align as they liked the look…knowing that we’d cut the upper edge off straight before attaching to the jeans.
This quick video shows the girls serging the scarves together. Neither of them had ever used a serger before! I set them for a narrow 3 thread stitch – so I used the right hand needle on the serger + upper looper and lower looper. (I know there are 4 spools on the sergers, but they were using just 3 spools as described above.)
The student making the ‘blue’ skirt’s serged each together for their total length (most of the time) – while the darker primary-colored skirt’s owner elected to only serge them together partially as you can see in this ‘twirly’ shot.
Once the scarves are pieced, I had the gals put on the jeans upper portion so that we could figure out how long the lower portion needed to be trimmed down in order to yield a full-length skirt. Laying the scarf skirt down at the cutting table, we simply cut off the upper edge to the determined length.
As I recall, each gal came with about 6 scarves. By the time they pieced them together (and this was NOT rocket science or exact by any stretch of the imagination!), they had a HUGE upper edge – like about 7 yards long! I figured that just meant that the upper scarf edge would be so very full, that whether it was gathered or pleated (or whatever) truly didn’t matter as there was SO much fullness.
HOWEVER, attaching the scarf portion to the lower edge of the jeans ‘to9p’ was a ‘divide and conquer’ math division hands-on lesson!
- Divide the skirt into 4 equal parts, taking care to designate the planned front scarf center as the center front. This exercise was similar to ‘folding a blanket’ – needing 2 people to accomplish.
- Key up those marked quarters to the center front, center back, and both side seams.
- Progress then in each quarter, dividing the scarf portion in half, matching it to the center of each quarter of the jeans edge.
- Those ‘key points’ matched and pinned, pleat/smoosh in the remaining fullness. Since the scarves are lightweight, this will work!
- Stitch to attach to the Jeans portion of the skirt.
This turned out to be a project that was easy, rich in design principles to learn, an exercise in handling ALOT of fabric, and an introduction to the wonders of a serger… So – grab a Teen, go shop at a thrift store, and have some creative FUN!