What you need:
A pair of ripped jeans, scrap fabric, freezer paper, pritt stick (or equivalent), iron, scissors, sewing machine.
1. Take one pair of ripped jeans.
So, there’s a thing called a six minute circle, in quilting. It’s where you can insert a round fabric shape INTO another piece of fabric. There are lots of ways to make curved shapes into fabric but this is specific because you don’t cut up the fabric in sections. I found it on Instagram but couldn’t find instructions for a long time. I must have been blind, because I’m finding loads now, consequently making me wonder why I’m writing this now. Sigh. The video link that was posted up on the internet was a blank dead-end to me at least. It is credited to Dale Fleming. I thought for a moment that this was a big secret skill that I would have to pay money for in order to learn. But it’s not rocket science so I thought I would eventually work it out. Which I did. First I did a practice piece with some jersey (nice and stretchy!!) which worked. But I like a practical application so I decided that this was how I was going to demonstrate my new skillz. My pal Craig donated a pair of his jeans to the cause. His right knee must be particularly boney or something.
2. Cut freezer paper into shape required.
This freezer paper is a strange and particular beast to quilting/crafting. I’ll not bore you with the technicalities, suffice to say it’s multipurpose, reusable and very handy .
I cut a curved shape from a piece of freezer paper to cover the tear with space around it to make a seam of about 1cm, give or take. And then ironed it on to the reverse side of the jeans. The magic of freezer paper is that when ironed to fabric it sticks but then can be removed and then ironed on fabric AGAIN and it will stick to that as well! Plus it doesn’t leave a residue. It’s like magic.
Now you cut out the fabric from the middle leaving roughly 1cm seam allowance. I hit a snag because the rip in the knee went right up to the seam in the jeans but this was my first shot at repairing jeans so we’ll just glance over that. No-one said this was going to be perfect.
3. Just a little snip…
Curved edges need to be opened up so they can be eased round when you sew them. You cut regularly spaced little snips into the seam allowance just shy of the edge of the freezer paper. I cut closer spaced snips at tighter curves to give a smoother round. Then you need to iron the little buggers flat.
4. Glue down firmly.
This part confused me because I couldn’t get my head round using glue for sewing. It’s definitely a thing I seen used lots when it comes to basting fabrics together or gluing fabric shapes for patchwork but I’ve never used it before for anything like this. I was stuck at this point how to continue without the use of glue but once I did this, it made so much sense. It’s washable, not fiddly, sticks firmly but can be moved and dries quickly. I glued straight onto the freezer paper making sure the snips were adequately covered.
Then you take your scrap fabric which is big enough to cover the folded out snips, lay it right side down over the hole and press it down firmly onto the glued fabric. Check the grain direction of the fabric to make sure you get the right stretch.
5. Get thee to a sewing machine!
Right, this is where I have to think a little because I forgot to take photos. You need to turn this sandwich upside down now. The scrap fabric needs to be on the bottom with the snips on top. Then comes the rest of the main substrate (in this case the jeans).i left the freezer paper stuck to the jeans so i could use it as a sewing guide, but this isn’t necessary. I used a zipper foot for this because a regular foot will press too much fabric down on both sides even with the needle positioned right at the edge. God knows why I didn’t take a photo of this part. I will update that later.
Your sandwich should consist of (from the bottom up) scrap fabric/snips/freezer paper. Lower your zipper foot down on the edge of the freezer paper so that your needle will be stitching on the exposed fabric side (in the ditch), using the freezer paper edge as a guide to your curve. You can use a smaller stitch if you want. Ease the fabric (the jeans) round the inside of the hole as you sew and I left the needle in the down position so that I could maneuver the fabric round without disrupting the flow of the curve, where necessary. (When I have a photo of this, I can take my long winded explanation out…)
This is all quite a handful when you have an actual pair of jeans attached to the hole (so to speak) and not just sewing a flat piece of lightweight fabric. But like I said, I wanted to use this for something practical and this was a good subject.
6. Press with a hot iron and enjoy.
I trimmed the excess scrap fabric away and lay it flat to the outside of the hole. This way the jeans fabric will overlap the scrap fabric, when you turn the jeans to the right side. If you want the scrap fabric to appear as an overlaid applique, you snip it like before (remember, curves need give in them which is what happens when you snip the fabric, essentially giving it more length) and iron it inwards. The inside of the hole will ‘pop’ up over the jeans fabric.
The photo on the left shows the right side of the jeans. There are some points where I sewed too close to the snips and you can see the curve isn’t so smooth because of it. But my scrap fabric was slightly stretchy and the jeans were clumpy and it was my first shot.
The right hand photo is me doodling with some hand-sewing. I couldn’t reinforce the patch with machine sewing because of where the patch was so I fancied some darning with embroidery threads.
So there you go. It’s been an age since I wrote anything and seemingly this six minute circle isn’t as mysterious as I had imagined so, I guess I wrote this rather indulgently for me. Never mind. I have some ideas for Christmas presents using this technique. It’s very neat and tidy looking from the back which gives me ideas to try it on a fleece blanket. That’s my plan anyway…..