Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Makeover Monday: Cuff ‘Em! (The Sequel)


Previously on Makeover Monday: A pair of too-short jeans gets a glam fix with the addition of deep hem bands in bronze-metallic-finished denim! But when I discovered I didn’t have enough of the contrast fabric to do a double-layer cuff, I got to thinking…

What if I added a different fabric to line the cuff? Then, in addition to the full-length look with the bronze bands, I could fold the cuffs up to capri length, showing the second fabric, and have a whole new look! I thought about the type of fabric for a minute; my first instinct (as usual) was to use something fabulous in sequins (I have lots of scraps under this heading), but I reflected that that might not feel too comfortable against my shins when I wear the jeans at full length. (Boo.) A quick rummage through my stash yielded this:

Fabric to line the bronze cuffs

Fabric to line the bronze cuffs: The new fabric (on right) is printed to look like lace, and I think it’s a great complement to both the original denim and the bronze band.

My new fabric is actually printed to look like black lace over ivory; it’s 100% polyester, so it’s laundry-compatible with the jeans. (I don’t usually buy polyester, not because I’m a fiber snob, but mostly because I often find it hard to get a professional finish with it; it seems to resist being pressed really flat. However, I simply couldn’t pass up this print. Hope I have enough left for the pencil skirt I had planned to make with it…)

Tip: When considering fabrics for your cuffs, keep in mind the total combined thickness/weight, relative to the weight of your original jeans (or whatever you’re adding bands to). In my case, the bronze-lacquered denim was a bit lighter-weight than my jeans, so the addition of the fairly-light lace print was beneficial. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that this project is a fantastic way to use up those fabric scraps that are too small for a garment, but too nice to toss out. You know you have them!

On to the project! Referring to last week’s post, I cut my lace print to the same size as the bronze cuffs: 9″ wide x 8″ high (like the original bands, I cut 4, 2 for each leg):

Cutting the new cuffs

Cutting the new cuffs: Notice that I have included the selvedge at the top. (More on that later.)

From here, the plan is simple:

Step 1. Sew the side seams of the new cuffs; serge and press.

Step 2. Attach new cuffs to the bottom of the bronze cuffs on jeans; serge, press, turn to right side, press new hem edge.

Step 3. Secure top edge of new cuffs on the inside of the jeans’ legs.

Here we go. In the photo below, after finishing Step 1, I’ve pinned my new cuffs to the lower edge of the bronze band prior to stitching. Make sure the right sides of both pieces are facing each other; what you’re seeing in this photo is the wrong side of the lace-print fabric, so the right side is against the right side of the jeans.

Tip: You can see in this photo (below) the the selvedge edge of the new cuff is not the edge I’m attaching to the jeans at the bottom of the leg; I cut my pieces this way deliberately, so that, when I fold the new cuff to the inside and attach it in Step 3, I won’t have to fold a raw edge under, which creates more bulk. This will help make a smoother bend in the layers when I want to wear the cuffs folded up into capris.

New cuff pinned to bronze band

New cuff pinned to bronze band. Note that the side seam has already been serged and pressed, prior to attaching the new cuff to the jeans.

When Step 2 is complete, here’s what I’ve got:

After attaching new cuff

After attaching the new cuff: The seam I sewed in Step 2 becomes the new hemline when the new cuff gets folded to the inside. See Tip (above previous photo) for more about using the selvedge of the fabric.

For Step 3, attaching the free edge of the new cuffs to the inside of the jeans’ legs, the plan is to pin them in place, then, working on the outside of the jeans leg, stitch in the ditch: in this case that’s the space right next to the seam where the bronze cuff attaches to the jeans leg.

Tip: My best suggestion for getting this part done is to use your sewing machine’s free-arm feature (if it has this). I hardly ever use mine, but when I need it for sewing narrow tubes like sleeve cuffs and these jeans legs, there’s nothing like it! Here’s what it looks like:

Free-arm feature

Free-arm feature on my sewing machine: The piece on the left swings out, then lifts completely off the machine, making life much easier when sewing narrow tubular pieces like these jeans legs.

Here’s what the leg looks like with the new cuff folded to the inside of the jeans leg, then pinned in place:

New cuff pinned in place

New cuff pinned in place. You can’t see the new cuff here, because it’s folded to the inside of the leg, but the pins you can see are holding the cuff in place on the inside. You’ll be sewing from the right side, as shown here.

All that’s left to do now is stitch the new cuff in place! This just involves sewing around the cuff, stitching in the ditch (see Tip below).

Here, I’m ready to start stitching in the ditch, making good use of my machine’s free arm:

Stitching in the ditch

Stitching in the ditch, using the free-arm feature on my machine to make this easier. (The fabric was scrunching up a bit on the right, so I folded the cuff back a bit to keep things moving freely.) Note: Don’t ever sew over pins! I haven’t started sewing yet in this photo, so don’t report me to the sewing police!

Tip: If you’re not familiar with the stitch-in-the-ditch concept, it just means that your stitching line will be as close to an existing seamline as possible, without stitching at all on the fold created by pressing that seam after stitching. Here’s a look:

Stitching in the ditch

Stitching in the ditch. The idea is to stitch as close as humanly possible to the existing seamline without stitching through the fold created when the seam is pressed.

And here’s the finished stitching line:

After stitching in the ditch

After stitching in the ditch: I know it’s hard to see with the dark thread I used, but you can just make out my stitched-in-the-ditch sewing line.

And on the inside of the jeans leg, here’s what I have after this bit of sewing:

Inside of new cuffs

Inside of new cuffs after stitching. Using the selvedge of this fabric means less bulk in the area where the cuff will be folded up when worn as capris. (It’s also a little less work.)

Remember my jeans before this makeover? (That’s okay. Frankly, they weren’t really memorable.)

"Before" jeans

“Before” jeans: That’s right. Blah.

And now, the Really Big Dramatic Reveal! Here are my “after” jeans, shown in 2 different outfits to showcase the versatility of their glam new look!

After outfits

“After” outfits! On the left are my “new” jeans with bronze cuffs down; at right, I’ve folded up the cuffs to reveal the lace-print side. Fabulously versatile, no?

Tip: You might recognize the beautiful silk one-shouldered top (at right in the photo) from my Santa Fe Travel Wardrobe posts from last fall; I made this top with McCall’s pattern 6118. (I’m including this link even though the page says the pattern is out of print; but as of today, March 11, 2013, they’re having a sale on out-of-print patterns! So if you like this style, you might want to grab the pattern now!) I also made the silk top on the left, using Vogue 1195.

Oh! In all this post-makeover-reveal excitement, I almost forgot the all-important Step 4!

Step 4. Wear with cuffs folded or unfolded. Admire your handiwork, and don’t forget to feel smug about using up some of your fabric stash!

Join me again next week for another thrill-packed episode of (say it with me)… Makeover Monday!

Author: Colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, lingerie, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

7 thoughts on “Makeover Monday: Cuff ‘Em! (The Sequel)

  1. You are so talented – I love the two fabrics combination – tres chic!!

    • Merci bien, Kim! Funny how so many ideas are inspired out of unexpected circumstances— in this case, it was not having enough of the bronze denim fabric for the initial makeover. I guess I could have just bought more of it, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed the results nearly as much as I do with the 2 different fabrics!

  2. Pingback: Makeover Monday: Rethinking the Concept | Changing Your Clothes

  3. Pingback: Chicago Travel Wardrobe: Follow-up #2 (in ORDer) | Changing Your Clothes

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