Friday, May 31, 2019

Softening Denim & A No-Sew Cold-Shoulder Top

Hello Readers. I wanted to do an experiment. I read online that you could soften denim with salt water. Was it true? (Short version - Not really, no. Don't do it.)

I found these stiff jeans at a clothes swap and it turned out that they were not very comfortable. They were young men's jeans and very heavy weight denim. I thought I could break them in and make them more comfortable. I also wanted to do something with this shirt that was making me look 5 months pregnant. I liked the stripes but the fit was awful.
Why shirt? Why do you hate me?
I cut them off into shorts because they were so thick and unbending to wear as pants. I figured less denim could only help.

I followed the directions I found using Google by adding salt to a gallon of water and...

soaked the shorts for a few hours. I couldn't feel any change to the fabric. I soaked the shorts longer.  And longer. After 3 days of soaking, I gave up.

The directions also said you could use your washing machine. DO NOT DO THIS! I added salt to the wash like soap and washed the shorts. My washing machine got very upset and refused to work at all. I eventually got it working again but I thought it really might be dead. The shorts didn't feel much softer to me. I can't call this salt idea a success.
I wanted to make the shirt a cold shoulder top. I cut the shoulders out and used scraps of the shirt to tie at the neck and sleeve to gather the fabric.

The shirt is like a tank top with little sleeves that hang down. They look like little bows with the ties on them. I took the sides of the shirt in a little to help it fit better too.

Are the shorts softer now? Maybe, but not much, but it was not worth the fear I experienced thinking that I broke the washer. They just look like basic denim cut-offs. All I can say about them is, "Blah."
 The shirt was fun and different for summer. With the shirt resized and tucked in I don't look pregnant anymore.

Thanks for reading along, now go make something fun for yourself. 
But DO NOT put salt in your washer!
 ***Year End update-All I can say is I learned not to put salt in the washer. I ended up with plain out cut offs. I was not impressed.


kitblu said...

Your denim sorts need to be beaten up to soften them - unless you like wearing them as is. I have some ideas - I didn't find them anywhere, they are just ideas I had. You will have to work around the zipper and rivets.
Anytime you can get them wet and put in the drier with tennis shoes (any shoes that can be washed) with a load of towels to dry. The shoes will help the towels tumble and provide some friction against the denim. If you are on a rocky shore, beat them against the rocks or throw rocks on them (careful with the zipper) over and over again. Pin them up against a brick wall (you figure out how) and throw rocks at them. Attack them with a grater, rasp or sandpaper. If kids are available, involve them to make a game out of it.
Basically, treat them to rough handling. If all else fails, keep putting them through the washer and drier.
I don't know what techniques are used to "weather/age" or make holes in denim, but that's what you need.

I Can Work With That said...

Hi kitblu,
Thanks for the comment. I think you are right, they need to be beat up. I like your idea of getting the kids to do it. Very clever.

Liz Haywood said...

I heard that Coke is what you need to soften stiff denim, according to Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns. Has to be original Coke, low water, no soap, repeat several times if required. See Mr Google for more info.

I Can Work With That said...

Thanks for the comment Liz! Maybe the acid in the soda softens the fabric. Sounds like a fun experiment. I will post results after I try it.