I love the look of distressed denim on babies — if you haven’t noticed Aiden is a total hipster. As a child of the 90s I remember distressing my own jeans and thought I would try the technique on some Aiden size jeans. I had all the materials at home already so the only expense was the jeans. The process of distressing jeans is a bit time consuming but I did my first pair while watching tv after Aiden went to bed. It’s fairly mindless which I actually found relaxing. Anyway, I think they came out great so here are step by step instructions for making distressed denim for babies and toddlers.
First, check out this video:
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What you need:
- Non-stretch jeans — this might be the most difficult part. It took me awhile to find a pair of non-stretch denim. You are looking for 100% cotton denim. Not anything with spandex or nylon (even if it’s a small amount). I found this pair at Gymboree and this pair at Oshkosh.
- Chalk marker
- Box cutter or Xacto knife
- Microplane (cheese grater or zester)
- Fray block
- Fabric square (optional)
What to do:
- Put the jeans on your baby and use a chalk marker to mark 1/2 inch above and below the knee.
- Take the jeans off and place them on a hard surface.
- Place the cardboard between the pant legs and use the Xacto knife to cut slits about 1/2 inch away from each other. For a more natural look make the slits into a diamond shape meaning the slit in the middle is the longest and the two end slits are the shortest.
- Using the tweezers, pull the vertical blue threads. Do this slowly so that you don’t rip the horizontal white threads. This step takes a good amount of time, especially if you are going slowly. You can use your thumb to hold the horizontal white threads so that they don’t break as easily.
- Once you’ve pulled all the vertical blue threads, go to the top and bottom edges and pull some of the horizontal white threads to give the edges a frayed look.
- Use the Xacto knife or scissors to cut any broken white horizontal threads.
- Repeat these steps on the other leg. I made the hole on one leg larger than the other for a more natural look.
- Use the microplane to scrape the fabric along the pockets and hem line to create a more distressed look. Don’t forget the back pockets!
- Use fray block around the edges of the holes if you don’t want additional fraying to happen.
Tip: On the first pair I used the cheese grater, but it broke so the second pair I used the zester and found it worked a little better for the distressed look I was going for.
Some optional things to do:
- You can sew a piece of scrap fabric behind one (or both) of the holes.
- Play with sandpaper (220 grit or higher) for light distressing.
- Carefully add a few drops of bleach for a more distressed look.
Don’t have time or patience to distress your own denim, but still love the look? Check out Farm Fresh Denim an Etsy shop with a great selection of distressed denim. There is also Freshy Pantz (with removable patches) a shop I haven’t ordered from, but have heard good things about. Both take a few weeks to turnaround orders because each pair is hand distressed, so keep that in mind. If you need something faster, Zara has a few options too.
I hope you will try this and post the results on my Facebook page!