Jeaneology: Crafty Ways to Reinvent Your Old Blues

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What to do with all those old pairs of blue jeans? They no longer fit, or they’re no longer fashionable, but somehow you just can’t bring yourself to toss them away. Jeaneology is the solution. From cool flapper skirts and hair bands to laundry bags and handbags, Jealeology features 25 innovative sewing projects aimed at turning boring old blues into hip fashion news. From clothing to accessories to great gift ideas, the projects inside all have detailed step-by-step instructions and helpful illustrations that ...

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What to do with all those old pairs of blue jeans? They no longer fit, or they’re no longer fashionable, but somehow you just can’t bring yourself to toss them away. Jeaneology is the solution. From cool flapper skirts and hair bands to laundry bags and handbags, Jealeology features 25 innovative sewing projects aimed at turning boring old blues into hip fashion news. From clothing to accessories to great gift ideas, the projects inside all have detailed step-by-step instructions and helpful illustrations that make sewing easy, even for the beginner. Packed with full-color photos of the finished projects, and fun sidebars on jean trivia and history, Jealeology is the ultimate craft book for a girl and her blues.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Beth Karpas
Flynn's book does a good job of speaking directly to teens rather than down to them or with too much complexity. The author provides clear, detailed instructions for recycling and reusing jeans. The introduction starts with a list of necessary tools and project-specific terms. Subtle dotted-line arrows point from definitions to basic illustrations of items. The color illustrations throughout the book are simple and clear but not childish. Early on, Flynn recommends using a sewing machine for most of the book's projects, after which directions will say only sew or hand-sew. Because sewing denim "can be a chore" as Flynn states, more emphasis in the actual instruction section on using a machine might have been advisable. The majority of the book contains step-by-step instructions for projects as diverse as skirts, placemats, and flip-flops. Photographs illustrate the end result. With the same arrows and clear illustrations found in the introduction, the instructions should be relatively simple for any teen familiar with a sewing machine to follow. A few projects rated at single difficulty, such as the "Get Your Glitter on Earrings" and distressing jeans, will provide pleasing results for the beginner, but this book is really a blue jean recycling guide for the experienced teen sewer. Periodic pages devoted to blue jean facts (e.g., some nineteenth-century jeans sell for $100,000 at auction, bell bottoms originated in sailor uniforms) are an added bonus and are accessible through the index.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780977266036
  • Publisher: Zest
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Edition description: SPIRAL
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 834,322
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Flynn is an editor and former columnist at She also designs her own line of handbags. She lives in San Francisco, California, with her husband and two daughters. Nancy’s favorite pair of jeans are dark wash, low-rise, and boot cut.

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Read an Excerpt


Crafty Ways to Reinvent Your Old Blues
By Nancy Flynn

Zest Books

Copyright © 2007 Nancy Flynn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780977266036


Jeans are a girl’s best friend. Your favorite pair never lets you down and can make you feel pretty on even the ugliest of days. Jeans are simply perfect for everything — dressing up, dressing down, or just plain lounging around. And while everyone already knows that jeans make great pants, Jeaneology will show you they also make great skirts … and key fobs and coasters and pillows and purses. Have a beat-up pair of tapered blues that needs new life? Turn them into funky flares. Have a pair too tattered for patching? Refashion them into a belt and matching hair band. Just like blue jean styles, cuts, and washes, the options for re-creating your blues are endless — and Jeaneology includes 25 fabulous ways to get you started. Whether you’re a sewing whiz or an amateur whose last project involved popsicle sticks and finger paint, the projects in Jeaneology will have you falling in love with your old blues all over again.

Toolbox and terms
Necessities for All Projects

These are items you will need for nearly every project in this book. It is a good idea to have them on hand in a little kit or container. (Try making a zippered pouch like the one on page 64 to carry them in!)

Chalk pencil: You need this to mark off measurements with
your ruler. Go for a pale color, which is more likely to show up
on dark fabrics.

Flexible measuring tape: The best kind of measuring tapes for sewing look like long, sturdy, flexible ribbons marked with inches and centimeters. Typically, they are yellow, though they come in a variety of colors. They are inexpensive and easy to find, and indispensable for measuring around curves.

Iron: Any household iron will do. You can either use an ironing board or put a towel over a hard surface like the floor or a table.

Pins: These are key for holding things in place before you sew them. Long pins with little balls on top work well. When you sew your pinned-together layers in place, remember to take the pins out as you secure the layers together with stitching!

Ruler: This is needed for measuring lengths and widths, and customizing the
projects to fit you and your stuff.

Sewing machine and/or heavy-duty sewing needle: Because jeans are so sturdy, sewing them by hand can be a chore. Some of the smaller projects in this book are a breeze for hand-sewing, but everything will go faster if you can get behind a sewing machine. Either way, be sure to use a heavy-duty needle.

Sharp scissors: Jeans are thick and sturdy, so sharp shears are a must.

Thread: Some projects call for thread to match your jeans, others for contrasting colors (hues that will stand out), and some for both. These are just guidelines. Get creative and experiment with different thread colors whenever you think a project calls for it.

Special Tools and Materials

These are things you’ll need for only some of the projects in the book.

Batting: This is a thick, squishy fabric made of either cotton or cotton-polyester fibers that quilters use as an inner layer to make their quilts puffy and warm. Batting is specifically meant to be sewn between fabrics so that you don’t see it; therefore, it isn’t pretty to look at. You can buy it by the yard or in a large package at a fabric or quilt shop. Use any type of batting for the projects in this book.

Bias tape: Though it is called tape, bias tape is not sticky. Packaged bias tape is fabric that has been cut, folded, and ironed specifically to be used for finishing off the raw edges of seams, or binding multiple sewn layers of fabric.

Decorative extras: Some projects are only really finished when you’ve added your own personal touch. So when you are at the thrift, fabric, or craft store, keep an eye out for buttons, pins, patches, ribbons, sequins, and any other add-ons that reflect your style. By attaching these extras, you will make your projects truly individual.

Seam ripper: This is a nifty little gadget that makes pulling out seams much easier. You can find one at a fabric or craft store. It is basically a handle with a hook on one end that rips out the stitches of the seams you wish to pull apart. Seam rippers typically come with instructions included.

Zippers and zipper tape: You can buy zippers of different colors and lengths at most fabric stores. The zipper consists of two sets of teeth that hook together when you pull the zipper closed. Each set of teeth is attached to a fabric strip that you stitch to the project you are working on. This fabric strip is called the zipper tape.

Sewing Terms

Below is some sewing vocabulary you’ll want to know before you get started
on the projects.

Alternate fabric: This means any fabric being used in a project that is not
blue jeans.

Contrasting fabric: This term refers to a bright or patterned fabric that looks very
different from your blue jeans fabric.

Contrasting thread: This is thread in a color that will stand out against your
blue jeans.

Clip corners: This expression means to cut off the pointy triangle of a newly sewn corner. The cut will
end up being on the inside of one of your projects.

The reason you do it: When you sew a point or an angle on the inside of your project (a corner of a pillow, for instance), you want that corner to be pointy and smooth when you turn the project right side out. Therefore, you’ll need to clip away the seam allowance before turning the fabric right side out, so that the inside of the corner can not bunch up. To do this, simply take your scissors and cut off the little triangle that forms the point of the corner. (The book will instruct you when this is necessary.) Just be careful not to cut across the stitches themselves.

Edges (long and short): Many of these projects include roughly rectangular-shaped pieces of fabric. As we learned in grade school, rectangles have two long sides and two short sides. In sewing terms, we call those sides long edge(s) and short edge(s).

Hem: The hem is the name for the seam sewn at the bottom of pant legs, skirts, and shirts. Hem can also be used as a verb when you’re talking about changing this seam to make pants or a skirt longer or shorter — for example, when you shorten your jeans, you hem them.

Pattern: People who sew often buy paper patterns to help them cut out pieces of fabric the right size and shape for what they are making. You can find these at most fabric or craft stores. You won’t need to buy any paper patterns for the projects in this book, but you will be making patterns of your own by tracing shapes onto paper, and sometimes right onto your jeans fabric. Sometimes these are referred to as pattern pieces.

Raw edge: This is a cut edge of the fabric and will fray if left unsewn. Cutoff shorts have raw edges.

Right and wrong sides: "Right side" indicates the good side of the fabric — for example, the denim that shows on the outside of your jeans. "Wrong side" is like the inside of the fabric, or the part of the fabric that is washed out or without the design. For some fabrics, either side will do. But for many, there is a right and a wrong side. This book will frequently direct you to place pieces right sides together or wrong sides together.

Note: When the instruction has to do with right and left, it will say "right-hand side."
Right sides together/wrong sides together: Sometimes you will be instructed to pin pieces of fabric "right sides together," which means that you will place one piece of fabric right (or good) side up, and the other on top of it good side down and then pin. "Wrong sides together" indicates just the opposite, one piece wrong side up, the other on top of it wrong side down.

Seam: This is a line of stitching that joins and holds two, three, or more layers of fabric together. When we talk about the "inseam" of a pair of jeans, we’re referring to the single continuous seam that holds the jeans together under the zipper and along the inside of the legs. The seams that run down the outside of your legs are the outer seams.

Seam allowance: This is the distance between the raw edges of fabrics you are sewing together and the seam.

Turning: Sometimes turning just means flipping something from side to side or turning something inside out. But there is another meaning for turning that’s specific to sewing. When we don’t want the seams to show after we’ve sewn two pieces together, we first sew them inside out and then turn them right side out. In these cases, we leave a hole in the seam for turning, and we pull the whole project through that hole to turn it right side out.


Excerpted from Jeaneology by Nancy Flynn Copyright © 2007 by Nancy Flynn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction     6
Toolbox and Terms     8
Rockin' Rags: Talking Old Blue Jeans from Tear to Wear     14
Bohemian Chic Skirt     16
Short and Sassy Skirt     20
Oh, Daisy! Shorts     24
Funky Flares     28
Embellish It!     32
Get Distressed     34
Tie One On Necktie     38
Mean Jean Accessories: Letting Your Accessories Sing the Blues     42
Headstrong Hair Band     44
Girl on the Go MP[subscript 3] Player and Cell Phone Pocket     46
Plentiful Pockets Handbag     50
Boogie Down Belt Bag     54
Stash Your Cash Wallet     58
Multipurpose Write-On Pencil Pouch     64
Waist Not, Want Not Belt     68
Spicy Slippers     74
Get Your Glitter On Earrings     78
Cuff, Em Bracelet     82
Garden Blues Flower Choker     84
Blues You Can Use: In Jeanious Gifts and Fun Things for the House     88
Suds Your Duds Laundry Bag     90
Cordon "Blue" Place Mat     92
Crafty Coasters     96
Hot Stuff Pot Holder     100
Get Comfy Cushions     106
Blue Jean Bookworm Book Jacket     110
Key to My Heart Key Chain     114
Index     116
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