Monday, February 17, 2014

Vintage Lace Trim Jeans Tutorial - One Hour DIY Boutique Jeans

Do you have any blue jeans in your closet that are too short?  They're still like brand new because you never wear them. We used to call them "High Water Jeans" because whenever you wore them people asked you if you were expecting a flood.  In other words, short pants won't get wet as quickly as pants that are longer when the water starts rising. 

I've had a pair in my closet for about two years now.  They shrunk after being laundered.  The hem barely touched the tops of my ankles, and when I sat down they showed quite a bit of leg.  Honestly I was so embarrassed about the length that I barely ever wore them....until yesterday.

It was one of THOSE days. Procrastination changed the entire meaning of "Doing Laundry" and not in a good way.  It had evolved in from a normal item on the "TO DO" list to an absolute NECESSITY. All the blue jeans that actually fit me were in the hamper waiting to be washed. The hairdo was beginning to look frumpy and unkempt, too. The tell-tale gray roots were much too obvious.  

Well, I wasn't about to wear sweat pants to the hairdresser.  I grimaced and tried on my "high water" jeans.  Looking in the mirror, I could see my ankles peeking out from beneath the jeans hem.  Perfect.  Just perfect.  High waters are the perfect jeans to wear..... IF YOU'RE EXPECTING A FLOOD.

What to do, what to do? Why not add some lace trim to achieve the desired length on the jeans legs? I've seen lots of DIY blue jean projects over the years. Never before had it occurred to me to use my old tablecloth to make my jeans prettier and longer.  

DIY Vintage Lace Trim

I had quite a bit of the lace tablecloth leftover from making DIY Vintage Lace Trim .  My high water blue jean makeover was a surprisingly quick and easy project.  I love the way they look now.

FYI, here is a link to the tutorial for creating repurposed lace trim from tablecloths, curtains, etc: DIY Vintage Lace Trim just in case you need it. 

Vintage Lace Trim Jeans Tutorial


Lace Trim
Tape measure
Fabric marker or chalk
Sewing Machine
1 /4" to 3/8" width ribbon


1. Cut off the hem on both legs of jeans as close to the edge as possible.  

2. Machine stitch around each leg near raw cut edge.  This will help prevent fraying.

3. Measure circumference of bottom of one jean leg.
Multiply x 2.  Now add two inches to that number.  This number is the length of lace needed to attach to jeans.

4. Cut lace to desired length. Fold lace in half and cut again to achieve two equal lengths.  Each one will be about an inch longer than the circumference of the jean leg.

5. Cut two pieces of ribbon to be the same length as the lace.

6. Machine baste ribbon to each lace piece about 1/2" from top edge.  

NOTE: The orange grosgrain ribbon basted on the lace is shown as an example because it contrasts nicely in photographs.  When choosing ribbon for this project, try to match the color of your lace or the color of your jeans as closely as possible. 

7. Fold raw edge of lace over ribbon.

8. Stitch folded over lace to ribbon.  The ribbon adds stability to the lace and makes the top edge of lace more even. This is the part of the lace to be stitched to jeans.

9. How much above the raw edge of jeans do you want the top edge of lace to be sewn?  How much length do you need?  How wide is lace?  Knowing the answers to these questions gives you the right guidance on where to attach the lace.

Locations of dashed blue ink pen lines atop lace edge are indicated by red arrows.

10.  Measure desired distance between raw edge at bottom of jean leg and top edge of lace and mark jeans with a little dashed line ----- using a fabric marker. (Because my blue denim jeans were quite dark, I used a blue ink pen to mark the dashes.)  Move your tape over an inch or so and make another mark. Repeat all the way around both jean leg bottoms.  This is your guide.

11.  Put folded-under edge of lace against right side of jeans, place lace on jean so that top of lace just touches bottom of dashed lines starting at inside jeans seam.  Machine baste lace to one jean leg.

12. Try on jeans.  Do you like the finished length? If the answer is yes, then machine stitch lace to both jean legs.  If the answer is no, then remove basting stitches, adjust lace accordingly, and then machine stitch.

13. Allow lace to overlap itself up to 1/4" or so after you stitch around full circle of jean leg and come back to inseam. 

NOTE: Stretch lace may overlap at the top first before it overlaps at the bottom as shown in the photo below. If this happens to you, simply adjust the amount of overlap accordingly.

14. Machine or hand stitch top layer of lace over bottom layer at overlap.

15.  Trim any excess lace on top near stitching.

Now you have some cute, boutique-style jeans.  Wear them and enjoy the compliments.


  1. I never thought of this either. I love lace and I live in jeans. I can't wait to make a pair of laced bottom jeans of my own. Great post. Love it.
    Thanks for sharing at Turn It Up Tuesday.
    PS: I liked your FB too.

  2. I thought of doing this to a shirt of mine once where the sleeves were a bit too short but never, ever thought to add it to my jeans.Thanks so much for sharing this and giving me a new idea. I love them but for me, I would sew the ribbon in the middle of the lace as well so the ribbon was for the hem as well as for a design when turn right side out. Maybe add a small cluster of roses with some mini pearl strings ....oh man, See what I mean about giving me a new idea......Thank you ever so much!

  3. I've been wanting to do this type of refashion! Pinning yours:) Stopping by to like and follow you!

  4. Great idea :) Love it and need to do this to the kids pants - they always grow tall too quick!

  5. Great idea! Feminine, elegant, and practical. Lovely!

  6. They look beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I'll be passing this on to my fashionista daughter.

    Happy Sharefest!

  7. What a fabulous idea to use a tablecloth as lace for the edge of the jeans!!! Love this idea and wish I hadn't given away lace tablecloths, Pinning in case I find some more tablecloths.

  8. Smart idea...happy that I visit you. I can do this to my daughter's jean,they just grow up too fast!


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