Just my Favorite Jeans.

This is a little story about my favorite jeans. Old jeans. They were my "fat" jeans after Stephen was born, nearly 13 years ago–so called because they were the first jeans I could wear after maternity clothes. After Sarah was born (my second baby in my forties), they were my "goal" jeans, as in "if I could just wear those jeans again, I'd be very so grateful." These are well beloved jeans, probably the last jeans I ever bought that don't have at least a little "stretch" woven into them. 

They survived the "great jean purge" a few years ago (how I wish I could have all those jeans back). I just couldn't bring myself to give them away. And I wore them pretty much every day for a two blissful weeks last spring. My favorite jeans, my favorite jacket, my favorite place.



My happy jeans.

I got a notion to do something with these jeans, to cover up a pretty intense mud stain (not the one in the picture). How hard could it be? To applique and then to embroider and give these old jeans some new life? So I recalled an embroidery tutorial and set off a bit haphazardly. I cut a flower from a favorite Heather Bailey fabric and then cut some Heat and Bond to "glue" it to my favorite jeans. 

I might have been a little reckless.

I bought Heat and Bond Ultra. Ultra. Just as I finished ironing, I caught this line in the package directions:


Hmmm. That's pretty harsh. It doesn't say, "sewing not recommended." It says, "DO NOT SEW." Just like that. In all caps. I thought about it. What could happen? My jeans will spontaneously combust?

I could not peel the fabric off the jeans. They would look "unfinished" without the embroidery. That would be just a random patch of fabric. No dimension. No handwork.I had no choice but to press on. These were my favorite jeans.

So, I proceeded with the plan.

I might have rushed a bit.

I had read through the tutorials on Wild Olive several weeks prior. I confess that I didn't go back and reread them. I just forged ahead. Through concrete.That stuff was not intended for sewing. Needles broke. My fingers were killing me. The embroidery looked pretty much beginnerish. Beginnerish through concrete. I thought about re-doing it. My stepmother kindly suggested that a thimble would help. I kept on keeping on. 


What was the alternative? These are my favorite jeans. And really, they will do very nicely for mucking about in the mud at Bull Run.


And with the rest of the floral fabric? Why not the next Stitch-by Stitch project: a hipster belt?

Sure. Why not? Let's just rush right in. Let's make this thing. It was pretty easy. I did want to do a little variation. Instead of free-motion quilting. I wanted to hand quilt it. Just around the pink flowers. Why not? Some project needs to be my first handquilting project. 


Because, newbie, you just stuffed super stiff interfacing between those layers. Again with the sewing through concrete?

This wasn't quite as bad. Oh, and I found the tutorial after I quilted. That is one very beautiful tutorial. I look forward to the next project.

Ladies, so far, I'm not finding hand needlework to be very relaxing.

And there was one more little problem. I didn't check the size when I cut the pattern for the belt. I just assumed.

One size fits all.

Um, no. Despite the fact that my jeans fit, the belt doesn't fit the way it's supposed to fit. These hips have cradled nine babies. Move that button over an inch or two. Now it looks ridiculous. But I can button it.


 I learned a lot.

Katie's belt was second. We altered the pattern. She tried freemotion quilting. She loves her belt!



Skills we Learned:

freemotion quilting

buttonholes and buttons

(and a little embroidery and a little handquilting)

Stitch-by-Stitch projects so far:

An Eye Mask and a Whole Wardrobe of Aprons

Reversible Totes

See our knitting needle cases and Kindle case here

See our Fancy Napkins here.



  1. says

    I’m impressed too! Very inspiring, especially hand sewing through interfacing, LOL! Maybe sewing the embroidery before adding the interfacing would have worked? Anyway, I think these pieces are beautiful.
    I plan on embroidering ornaments as Christmas gifts this year. While I pretty much know how I will put them together, reading this post has given me few different ideas that might make them better. Your post is giving me food for thought… Very nice!

  2. says

    In my new sewing adventures I was just introduced to the Heat and Bond products. The lady behind the counter made very clear that there were two kinds and I was to never use the other one. A lucky bit of advice I happened upon. Two weeks ago and I didn’t even know such a product existed. I was so afraid when reading your post that you were going to say you used your sewing machine before reading the DO NOT SEW. In the end, I was relieved- though I can only imagine what your fingers felt like.
    I don’t think I have owned a favorite pair of jeans since I was in my early twenties. In fact, I don’t even try anymore. My closet is jeans free. Good for you and your determination to make the project work- I imagine those jeans are even more beloved now than before!

  3. jodi says

    oh, elizabeth, those jeans/belt are beautiful, you are beautiful, katie is beautiful and your humor gave me the perfect laugh out loud ending to a very long, draining day (taking care of my elderly in-laws amidst homeschooling and physical therapy).
    many many blessings-
    jodi in pa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>