Tiny Tweaks

Little Slice of Blog Joy

Do you ever have nights where you stay up way too late working on a project? And then you can’t go to sleep and then when you finally DO sleep, you wake up every 20 minutes all night long? Just me? In that case, you should know that this post is brought to you by a giant cup of coffee.

Now, I LOVE to be asleep by 10:00. Just like the Old Lady Cart, there are things about me that are way more Grandma than Mama – like PJs on by 8:30, reading in bed by 9:30, wake up by 5:30 – “Early to bed, early to rise” and all that. But last night, I went down the rabbit hole of playing around with the layout of my blog. Nothing major, just a few tweaks here and there, but at around 10:15, I might have shouted, “YES! Eureka! I finally figured it out!” Husband was also up late working on his laptop and barely raised an eyebrow. He’s used to my random outbursts.


So if you read my posts on a blog reader or in your email, click on over to the blog today. I figured out how to organize posts into categories on the top menu bar – get this – AUTOMATICALLY, which makes me ridiculously happy. I <3 TECHNOLOGY! (Clicking on the menu bar MAY have been what pushed me past 11:00pm – I strolled down memory lane a bit too far.)

It’s just like all the projects I tackle. Breathing new life into something (a vintage dress, a broken necklace, a website that just bugs me a little) brings me little slices of joy.

Now I’m off to refill my coffee mug. Thanks for reading!

DIY · Style · Tiny Tweaks

(Not So) Tiny Tweaks: Distressed Denim

DIY distressed denim

Um, so where did November go? It seems like it was just Halloween and then, BAM, Happy December!

There have only been a couple of projects happening around here lately, one of them being today’s post. This was supposed to be a quick project for my Tiny Tweaks series, but it ended up being a doozy.

So, distressed denim. I have strong opinions. I like it, but I like it a VERY specific way. I don’t like it destroyed. I don’t like it with holes that let cold air in. (Yes, I live in California. NO, it’s NOT always sunny and 75 here! I spent yesterday afternoon at the park, and my toes were numb when I got home.)

I’ve thrifted a couple of pairs of jeans that came with the perfect amount of wear and tear, but they are really hard to come by. And most new distressed denim I find in stores just isn’t what I want. So I decided my best bet was to DIY it.


I started with this pair of jeans I got at Target. I own two pairs of these (in completely different sizes, although they fit exactly the same – more on that in another post), and I like this particular fit, which is surprising as I’ve never had luck with Target jeans in the past – or any jeans at this price point, really. (It’s no secret – I am SUPER cheap. I buy 95% of my clothes at thrift stores. But honestly, spending more on denim is usually worth it. The construction and fit are heads and tails above what you get at a discount store. And it IS possible to find really good denim at thrift stores. But it takes work. You have to shop often and not count on scoring a pair very often. It’s a treasure hunt, which is part of the fun for me.)


I used this old favorite pair of jeans as a pattern. (They were worn so much they finally fell apart.) I used straight pins to mark the outlines of the areas I wanted to distress. To minimize open holes, you need to leave the threads that run left to right in tact and only remove the threads that run up and down. (These are waft and warp, but I often get them mixed up.)


Oh! I just remembered – here’s a diagram from this post that shows more detail. Horizontal = weft, vertical = warp. Leave the weft, cut the warp for this project.


I used my handy dandy seam ripper to pull out a few starter threads.


You will need to cut the warp in two places so that you can pull the thread out. I used a tapestry needle to pick the threads out from the waft.

distressed denim

The white threads remain in tact, the blue threads are removed.

DIY distressed denim

I moved on to a larger area – the knees.

DIY distressed denim

This time, I used my seam ripper to make a large cut from left to right.

DIY distressed denim

Then, going above and below the cut, I picked out the blue threads and removed them.

DIY distressed denim

I continued to remove each thread, one at a time.

DIY distressed denim

One leg finished! To reinforce the hole, I added a patch from an old pair of jeans behind it.

DIY distressed denim

I did the same for the other knee. Hey, I might love fall and winter, but I really don’t like being cold.

Okay, these photos don’t do it justice. This was a LONG, tedious process. It took at least an hour to do each knee. I was very particular as I didn’t want any of the white threads to be cut, so that added to the time. If you didn’t care about that, you could just cut it, pick a few threads, and toss it into the wash to fray at will.

DIY distressed denim

What I love about distressed denim is that it complements vintage well. Scruffy jeans are a good juxtaposition to a pretty detailed blouse (like this “new” navy one with 3/4 sleeves I just scored).  And sequins. Roughed up denim paired with sequins are my fave.

DIY distressed denim

I like the way these turned out, but I’m not sure I’d do it again. When I was searching for a patch for these, I uncovered a stack of denim I thrifted last fall that all need a little bit of “tweaking”. But I’m not sure I have it in me. Maybe after Christmas.

DIY distressed denim

So, would you do it? Would you spend time shredding a pair of jeans or would you rather just buy them off the rack? Or do you just hate distressed denim all together? I’d love to hear your take on it.

Style · Tiny Tweaks

Tiny Tweaks: Shave Your Sweater

Hello! Happy October!

The end of September was a whirlwind, as usual. It was my birthday (37!), we had the annual preschool Rummage Sale (I wasn’t in charge this year, but I helped – and I spent a week purging our house to donate stuff – we won’t talk about the stuff I bought there yet!), and I’m helping out with BB’s school auction in a couple of weeks. BUSY!

But my project list is HUGE, so it’s time to get to work.

Today’s Tiny Tweak is SUPER tiny – as in, it takes about one minute – but it makes a difference.


I thrifted this Bass sweater dress over the summer. (Remember Bass, with their Weejuns and their Oxfords? I had a pair of each. Just seeing the label made me a little nostalgic.) It fit perfectly and was in pretty good condition except….


It was pilling. But only on one little section. It looked as if it had been rubbed with Velcro. (I know this from experience. Thanks, Puffer Vests.)


This is an easy fix. You just have to shave it.

Now my mom had a lint shaver like this one that she used all the time, but it took FOREVER.


So I use a regular men’s razor instead. (I don’t use one of my razors because they are WAY more expensive than Husband’s. And you obviously aren’t going to use it on skin again once you use it on a sweater.)


I just gently run it along the top of the knit wherever the pills are – only a couple of times, making sure to just remove the parts that are sticking out. You can do too much and wear holes into the knit.


Here’s the tiny little pile of fuzz I shaved off.


And here’s my dress, looking like new.


Last week, BB said, “I know why you love fall…”

In my mind, I ran through my list: candles, sweaters, dresses with boots, blankets, bonfires, Halloween costumes, leaves, pumpkins….

BB continued, “…because it’s your birthday!”

He’s probably right.

long necklace

Dress: Bass (thrifted)

Necklace: made my me (see others in my shop)