ForeWord Reviews

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Jeans Style

Must-Have Looks Using Embellishments

Foreword Review

Pay $189 for a pair of jeans that look like they’ve been attacked by a pit bull, run over by a tractor-trailer, and dropped in a puddle of bleach? Not with this do-it-yourself guide to turning bland everyday jeans into the trendiest looks. Twenty-eight designs ensure that there is a look for every fashion sense and skill level.

Beginning with miners and cowboys and popularized by Marlon Brando and James Dean, jeans are an American original that spread around the world and now appear in the collections of designers like Calvin Klein and Gucci. To create these looks, there’s no need to be as experienced as the seamstresses at Tommy Hilfiger. This book, formatted to stand on its own for hands-free viewing, includes a materials list, professional tips, and step-by-step directions illustrated with photographs for each project.

For beginning crafters there are embellishments that require little more than fabric glue or a bottle of bleach. For example, “Crystal Insignia” shows how to add rhinestones to back pockets using glue and a pair of tweezers to create a subtle, yet stylish, look. “Worn Out Whiskers” gives detailed instruction for using bleach to create the popular whiskered look on the front of dark jeans. More ambitious fashionistas will find directions for adding removable faux fur cuffs to capris, a diagram for sewing on chains and beads to the front of a leg, and a pattern for embroidering a colorful ’60s-style dove over the entire seat.

What to do when the dryer shrinks that favorite pair of jeans? Directions for transforming them into Daisy Dukes, capris, or a pencil skirt are included, along with how to turn boot cuts into skinny legs and scraps into a rose pin. Readers with no crafting skills whatsoever can turn to the back for in-depth instructions for each of the techniques used, including beading, embroidery stitches, and distressing.

The author’s wide crafting experience—her work has appeared in Handcraft Illustrated and other publications—allows her to write clear directions and give advice that helps even the most novice crafter achieve professional-looking results. The detailed instruction on various techniques provides readers the know-how to create their own looks, making this book valuable long after the current trends have passed. It would have been helpful to note on all projects whether they are machine washable, rather than just a few, but this is a small flaw in an otherwise creative and instructive guide that will help readers save money creatively for years to come.

Christine Canfield