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Blog

DIY Bleached Denim

Kendle Starcher

Yea, yea. I'm aware that we are currently in a nationwide "chill" and it's only 26 degrees today in North Carolina, but so what. I'm a Summer, through and through, and this project just couldn't wait.  

 

I saved up a few vacation days and gave myself a terrific Christmas Break and spent every second of them doing whatever I wanted. This is what happens when you don't have kids and you're also a hermit. I had gotten these two really cute pins from the Girl Tibe Pop Up I was in a few weeks ago and wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them yet. If you don't follow the Girl Tribe, do it. Anyways, a Pinterest idea piqued my attention right before break and inspiration struck. I was going to bleach some denim. There's been this denim jacket in my closet for a while now that hasn't been worn because, well, it's boring. And there are still quite a few pairs of old work jeans upstairs leftover from Luke's previous company that haven't been worn in years. I already had some bleach, let's do this. 

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Here we have the boring jacket in it's natural habitat, the floor.

Here we have the boring jacket in it's natural habitat, the floor.

I thought I would use the cheese grater to add destruction, but regular scissors worked just fine.

I thought I would use the cheese grater to add destruction, but regular scissors worked just fine.

First, I pulled out two pairs of denim from the bag that kinda fit me and cut them into shorts. (Perk of your husband being the same size as you? Endless supply of "play jeans".) Then I grabbed the jacket and headed to the upstairs tub. On Pinterest I had found three different techniques I wanted to try, fully dyeing, dip dye, and splatter. One article mentioning the full dye technique said to mix 1 part bleach with 4 parts water, another said 1 part bleach to 8 parts water. I wanted to be able to better control how light the fabric got so I started out with the 1/8. I filled my bathtub with 16 cups water and 2 cups bleach. This was just deep enough to submerge the jacket. Then I poured a little bleach in a glass measuring cup, laid a plastic trash bag on the bathroom floor, grabbed a brush and pair of newly cut shorts and got to splattering.  This took a few tries to figure out. At first I was being too polite about it and only scooping up a little bleach. Not working fast enough for me. So then I got a little reckless and basically started slinging it, much better. The most fun part was getting to watch the drips change colors almost instantly. I dripped bleach all over the front then flipped them over and did the back. 

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Note- I rarely used bleach before this. I really underestimated how strong those fumes are. I think I might have been really high during this experiment because a lot of it is a blur. On the plus side, my bath tub is super clean now.  

V important note - when an article recommends wearing gloves, do it. My hands were so dry for days because of all the bleach and my ignorance. 

You can see that the shorts are starting to change!

You can see that the shorts are starting to change!

Back view right before going in the washer.

Back view right before going in the washer.

At this point, it's almost midnight so I let the shorts process and dry and left the jacket in the tub because so far nothing had happened and went to bed. The next morning, my shorts were starting to look awesome but the jacket still showed no signs of change even after 12+ hours of soaking. I decided to add a little more water and a lot more bleach to get this party going. The mixture was probably closer to 1/4. I went back to the shorts and splashed more bleach until I was happy with it. The trick with soaking something in bleach is to make sure it's fully submerged. The jacket wasn't in some places and it got a little streaky. I flipped it over for another hour or so to try and even it out, but since I was getting close to almost a full day of bleach fumes, I decided to just go with it and pull it out of the dye. 

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I figured I wouldn't waste my bleach mixture so I took the other pair of shorts, hung them sideways on a hanger and dipped them into the mixture until only one side was submerged. I let them sit over the next night and in the morning, they were perfect! Into the wash they went.  

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I washed the jacket and the shorts in cold water with an extra rinse because, I'm telling y'all, strong fumes. Actually I think I ran them through another rinse cycle after that. Seriously, the strongest fumes.  

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Once everything had had been rinsed really good, I got to decorating. I used fabric scissors and a needle to rip up the jacket and then ironed on the patches I'd bought from Walmart a couple days before. I might've gone a little patch crazy because I added some to the shorts too. In trying the shots on, I realized they were a little uneven and too long so I shaped them up too. Not too short, I am almost 29 and my butt is started to resemble a pancake so I still need some mystery.  

I washed and dried everything thing one more time just to get out those last fumes and see how good my patches would hold. A few didn't make it and their edges curled up so I just sewed those down and voilà! New clothes! Here's a few pictures of the final products. I appreciate your applause. :)

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I hope you got a few days off from work, and if you did, what did you do with them?