This blog is a place to archive project processes and techniques from Painted Threads with descriptions of how work was produced. I am including comments that contain questions and answers pertaining to the work from many of the original blog posts.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DIY Ombre Skirt

I've had this jean skirt for a couple years and have hardly ever worn it, the first reason is the length was not flattering being right at the knee, as you can see here in this photo from quilt festival with my friend  Jane LaFazio and one of my students, Nasreen. It makes my long legs look stumpy and it was just kind of boring.

So I cut off 3 inches and left a raw edge. I'm a 70's girl at heart, I always liked that raw edge on cut offs. Then I set to work bleaching the bottom edge.
Here it is after, much improved, I think.

This is how I did it:
I used bleach, unfortunately with denim there aren't really any other good options for removing the dye, and a bucket.

First I saturated the skirt in water so the bleach wouldn't make a sharp line when I first dipped it. I put about an inch of bleach in a bucket and dipped the skirt in.

Then I poured hot water down the skirt and into the bucket, so there would be more bleach in the bucket but it would be diluted. I slowly dipped the skirt in a little deeper so the diluted bleach went up higher on the skirt. I repeated dipping and pulling the skirt out of the bleach until I got the bottom edge very light and had a nice gradation.

I ran the skirt through a long wash wash cycle to get all the bleach out and put it in the drier on hot to get the bottom nice and frayed.

Now back to work prepping for all my classes at International Quilt Festival next week.


  1. That looks like an interesting painting you're standing in front of. Do you have a bigger image of it?

  2. Judy, you look freaking GORGEOUS! I love the skirt, but I am sooo interested in this reverse-aging process you appear to have developed.

  3. Hi Carmen, you can see a couple photos of the painting here

    Thanks Ann! I think it's state of mind, inside I feel much younger than my age, so I live it, like I feel it.

    The last several years have been really hard, I've had multiple huge life changes going on and as a result lost a bit of weight (I'm an emotional non eater) I also let my hair grow out gray which you would think would make me look older, but I think it has softened my look and is more flattering than trying to maintain my original dark brown.

    Going thru, or surviving, lol, so many life changing events have in it's way freed me up to just live life more in the moment and not take anything for granted, I also embrace humor big time! If I couldn't laugh, I'd be a basket case.

    A big life lesson for me has been to try and let go of fear and have faith that in the end I'm going to be ok.

    And when I can dance, I dance, it's very cathartic!

  4. Ooooooh, you know I have a rather frumpy denim skirt myself that I might have to do this to next weekend. Thanks for posting your directions! It looks great!

  5. Judy,
    You look great in that skirt!
    I hear all kinds of things about how to neutralize bleach. What do you recommend? I guess you're not too concerned about it or you would have mentioned it?
    Thanks, Barb

    1. Well I just saw the part about the long wash cycle . . . nothing more?? That's good news.

    2. Hi Barbara,

      I used bleach because the bleach alternatives dont work with denim blue, in fact many of bleach alternatives wont affect most dark blues and some blacks. I'd rather not use bleach as well. My favorite alternative is made by Rit, it comes in a pink box and simply called Color Remover. It works with heat (boiling hot water), you should always work in a ventilated area with it, but its no where as toxic or harmful to the fabric as bleach.


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