How I high-waisted the low rise.

This story begins with the end:

Ahahahahha. End, see. Hahhaha.


That book I’m reading? It’s Bright Star, which is a collection of the love letters from John Keats to Fanny Brawne. There was a movie of the same name, the love letters themselves are way, way better than the movie.

The movie I really want to see though is the movie of Fanny Brawne’s second life. You know, after she has this all-consuming teenage romance, after her tragic poet boyfriend dies far far away from her and she cuts off her hair and wears black and walks the moors for years, after that, I want to see the movie of her at thirty three, when she got married and had children. What was that story. I mean, she rejoined the living and moved on, but how? What was that like? Was it love again?

Anyway anyway. Jeans:

This is the raw material. Two pairs from the thrift, one plain old perfectly average pair, and -very important- one pair of button-fly. That pair happened to be Lucky Brand, which means they were priced higher ($14 maybe?), because the thrift shop recognizes that as a fancy denim brand name.

Is Lucky even cool anymore? I have no idea. I just wanted them for the button fly.

What I do know is that this particular thrift shop is unaware of J Brand jeans, which usually run in the $300 range, which I snapped up a ~brand-spanking-new looking~ pair of for $7 that same day, and passed along to my sister.

Here is a diagram of what I did:

Red represents what was taken off and discarded, blue represents what was used, arrows show where it all went. Pair 1 is the Gap pair, Pair 2 is the Lucky’s with the button-fly.

So basically, I removed the waistband of 1, took the entire upper section of the 2 and settled it into place, tried it on, pinned until it sat right, and then stitched it together.

I also removed the front pockets from pair 2 and pieced in some denim, to avoid having four pockets in front. I did try the four stacked pockets look briefly, since it would’ve been way less work, but it looked hilarious and bad and I had to fix it after all.

I used the back pockets from pair 2, because I liked them better. Oh, and because the pockets from pair 1 had a bunch of dumb pre-distressing and holes, obviously factory made that way. Hey, Gap, quit doing that. I used pair 2 to patch all the other dumb pre-distressed holes in pair 1.

The lower diagram in the picture was drawn by a five year old who wanted to get in on all that exciting pants drawing action.

The challenge of course with adding a second story to a pair of jeans is what do you do about the zipper, so here’s a picture:

The zipper proceeds as usual, then the buttons take over, it ended up being pretty simple.

All my double topstitching is done using a cover stitch machine. Automatically parallel and even!

If I could do it over again, I’d try and do that front-pocket-replacement thing with the lighter color denim rather than the darker color, just to break up the look of the front a little. Right now it’s very obvious that it’s one pair laid above another, and I think that works in the back but looks kind of dorky in the front. But it’s not too bad. And most of my shirts cover the upper level anyway.

So that’s it. Low rise straw into gold!


9 thoughts on “How I high-waisted the low rise.

      1. I think it all cycles around, and some of it suits me or you and some appeals to others instead. I am not much of a fashion person lately, but am glad to find ways to hold in my waist area instead of having it wave in the breeze!


  1. Kudos to you as this is very interesting work. I would never have the industry to do it but I admire those who do.

    I wanted to love the movie Bright Star as I love Jane Campion but I ended up laughing most of the way through. I think Fanny grew up and learned what we all learn about how maturity aids love. :) I agree that it would be a more interesting movie. I have always preferred Persuasion to Pride and Prejudice in the Jane Austen catalogue for the same reason.


  2. I’m lucky enough to live in north London and, when the weather is fine, I like to sit in the garden of Keats’ House to eat lunch, imagining Keats and Fanny in the same place. It’s good but rather expensive to go round the house too (the garden is free).
    Like you, I’ve always wondered about Fanny in her later life. She suffered extraordinarily spiteful treatment, although she was a good intelligent woman and genuinely loved by Keats. It was like an early version of internet trolling. Even sadder is that Keats’ younger sister (also Fanny), who was her great friend, abandoned her when she married. Maybe it was the sister who couldn’t move on in her life.
    I love the jeans by the way, and always love to read about your sewing experiments. I wish I had your talent.


  3. I’m surprised it was “Bright Star” and not “Frankenstein” that was the inspiration behind this intricate jeans surgery :-)

    Awesome project. And maybe even a comment on Fanny Brawne’s life after love and loss… You patch things together creatively, and move on…


  4. Denim alchemy!!
    Bright Star was such a bla movie. So much promise so little delivery. I made husband (the boyfriend) come with as a “romantic date” and he has turned it into a relationship meme ;-)


  5. love what you did with the jeans, I have a high waist so I was always suspicious of the low rise fashion and felt it was some conspiracy…. so these jeans are exactly whats needed for my one pair of mid rise… ! I have a keats biography for years I barely started and I have a funny feeling work today will comprise of bits of work and bits of random look ups on Fanny …. Its a wonderful second act.


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