My Eldest has her own personal style. I love the fact that it’s a little bit quirky. Forget “different drummer”–some days, she’s at an entirely different parade.
One frustration we’ve had is trousers. Specifically: she’s not a fan of shorts. She prefers capris, and she prefers them to be mid-rise, and she prefers them to be “not something a person could buy at Waldemart” (our own personal nickname for the Mega-Store That Shall Not Be Named). But, meeting all those criteria, along with her final one of “I don’t want to spend more than $5 on a pair of pants, Mother!” can make for difficult shopping, unless one is willing to get a bit creative.
Fortunately, One is willing.
This remake started out as a getting-ratty pair of jeans that fit her fairly well, but were beginning to die in the hems, because, while I’ll remake clothing, I really hate, hate, hate hemming jeans, so my normal process is to buy the jeans, and let them roll up the hems or walk ’em off. (My Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neanderthal Fellow’s method is more direct: he pays a friend of mine to hem things. He’s lovely that way.) This remake neatly removes the hem, and doesn’t require me to put in a new one, so I’m very pleased.
And, the finished project looks a lot more complex than it is. So, I get Molly Bonus Points without having *done* something really complex, which is like cheating, or, as I prefer to think of it, rebelling in really small ways.
Cut your trousers off at your desired length. Slice open the discarded lower leg along the inseam. Open it out, and cut into bias strips (on a 45* angle). The cool thing about bias strips is they don’t fray out. They’ll soften over time, but the angle of the cut precludes actual fraying. That means: no hemming! The picture below shows the edges after four months of weekly laundering, and no edge finish save the natural bias angle of the original cut. See? Softened, not unraveled!
The cut-off leg of the jeans is on a straight grain, so it can be expected to fray a bit, but by the time you have the frill on, it’ll have a double-stitched row to stop it eventually. If you dislike cutting off fraying threads after washing, just go ahead and run a bit of a zig-zag stitch around the raw edge, or zip it through a serger if you own one of those (I don’t.)
Piece the bias strips together as needed to get two strips, each about three times the circumference of the (now) capri trouser edge. You don’t even have to sew this strip into a loop; leave the short ends free.
Start at the outseam, placing the strip about 1/2″ overlapping the capri edge. Pleat the strip to fit the trouser leg. Pin as you go. If you’re having a hard time keeping the frill more-or-less even, use the Divide & Conquer method:
Match the center points of the frill and trousers, and pin.
Then, divide each smaller section in halves, and halves again, matching the center points each time, until you have short sections that are really easy to just fold and pin by eyeballing it.
Close counts. These are *not* haute couture!
When the frill is pinned all the way around, just overlap the short ends at the outseam point (or, at whatever point YOU prefer… this would be terribly cute at the back of the calf, front of the calf, or just a little bit forward of the side. It’s entirely up to you.)
With a sewing machine (and a heavy-duty needle!), stitch the frill flat to the capris, about 1/4″ from the top edge of the frill, and again 1/4″ below that. You could get really fancy and sew a ribbon on at the same time, but again, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Hand-sew a button or two at the overlap point. I had four nice red buttons lurking in my stash, and opted to add them in pairs at the overlap, which I think really sets off the hem. You could also use ribbon bows, or ribbon rosettes, or a “lace” rosette… whatever you like.
These bias-frill capris have thus far weathered just over four months of near-constant use and laundering, and they’re holding up beautifully. Though I’m not terribly fond of wearing trousers, I may have to hit the thrift store for a pair of jeans next spring (original length won’t matter a speck!) and make myself a pair of bias-frill capris to pair with really cute sandals, and show of my rather (if I say it myself) cute ankles.
Rebel against Corporate Fashion Buyers… march to your own (modest) style parade!