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Customise your clothes: denim skirt

Customise your clothes

Learn how to customise your clothes with this tutorial from Elena Pintus. Elena is a Fashion and Textiles designer and the founder of the London Waterloo based sewing school Sew It With Love where together with a team of talented dressmaking tutors, she teaches a range of sewing courses for stitchers of all levels including modern and vintage dressmaking as well as alterations and upcycling workshops.

Welcome to my customising tutorial where I will be showing you how with the use of needle, thread, and a few embellishing materials and tools you can transform a plain garment into something unique with a true WOW factor! You don’t need to be a proficient sewer to transform a garment this way. All you need is some very basic hand sewing techniques such as the simple running stitch and a little imagination.

The customising supplies used in this tutorial were provided by Josy Rose who are a London based and online haberdasher, specialising in customising supplies:

Supplies for customising clothes

What you will need 



Dressmakers pins

Sew-on motif

Beaded cord

Metallic yarn

Press-on pod studs

Diamantes (either stick-on or sew-on)

Drop pearls

Vanishing fabric pen

Hot fix wand (if you choose stick on diamantes)

Lace edging

Embroidery scissors

How to customise your clothes

Decorate a denim skirt

Step 1

Measure the pocket’s opening by placing the tape measure upright and moulding it to the curve whilst taking the measurement.

Add a lace trim to a garment

Step 2

Cut two pieces of lace edging about 3cm longer than the pocket’s opening.


Sew with lace

Step 3

Fold one end of the lace edging under by 5mm and place it under the belt loop slightly snipping at the point where the lace meets the loop so that the lace can be tucked under the loop.

Clothes transformation

Step 4

Fold the upper edge of the lace behind the pocket’s opening by a third of its width and pin it on the outside making sure the pins go all the way on the inside.

Pin the lace all the way along the pocket and fold the remaining end by 5mm as done with the opposite end.

Sewing lace on a pocket

Step 5

Secure the lace edging on the inside of the pocket with a running stitch using doubled up thread with the ends knotted.

Hand sewing skills

Step 6

Once you reach the other end of the pocket, sew your last stitch leaving a loop and pass your needle through it a couple of times to allow your thread to wrap around the loop. Pull your thread all the way up until the loop closes into a knot.


Decorate a jeans pocket

Step 7

Secure the outer side of the edging this way:

a. Tie a knot at the end of some matching single thread.

b. Insert you needle from the inside of the pocket in order to hide the knot.

c. Take the needle through to the right side and stitch a tiny stitch on the denser part of the edging.

d. Sew a stitch about 1cm long on the inside and come out again on the denser part of the edging and repeat as above. The idea here is that by sewing tiny stitches on the right side and longer ones on the wrong side you will have your edging securely stitched to the pocket without being able to se the stitches on the right side.

Using studs to transform a denim skirt

Step 8

Take the studs and push them into the fabric around the lace edging and on the belt loops. Push until you can see the spikes come through to the wrong side and with the help of some tweezers or scissors bend the spikes so the studs are secured.


Step 9

Using a vanishing fabric pen or some chalk pencils draw your design onto the fabric and start placing your embellishments on the outlines with the help of some tweezers, until you are happy with how it looks. Take a picture of the result which you will need to refer to later to recreate the same design.

Attaching beaded cord

Step 10

Take a piece of beaded cord and start placing it on the flower stem outline, securing it with evenly spaced studs using the same method illustrated in Step 8 to apply and secure the studs.

How to customise denim
Free sewing ideas

Step 11

Cut a flower out of the sew on motif and sew it at the top of the stem making sure to make the stitches on the right side small using the same method as on the lace edging in Step 7.

Refashioning skills

Step 12

Cut a piece of metallic yarn and place it on the leaves’ outlines securing it with pod studs the same way as applied in Step 11. Once the pod studs are in, stitch the metallic thread using matching colour thread and making small stitches on the right side and bigger ones on the wrong side as illustrated in step 7. * Tuck the ends of the metallic yarn under the beaded cord and secure with a few small stitches on the wrong side.

How to refashion garments

Step 13

Mark the points where your diamantes will go with a vanishing pen. *Mark inside the leaves and around the flower.


Adhesive gems

Step 14

Using a Hot Fix Wand and following your wand’s manufacturer’s instructions, stick the diamantes on the marked points or sew them on using the same technique used for the pearls if you choose the sew-on ones.

Adding beads to clothes

Step 15

Using double thread knotted at the end insert your needle right next to the edge of the larger diamantes from the wrong side to the right side. Insert a drop pearl on the end of the needle, pull the thread all the way through the pearl and come back through to the wrong side so that your pearl is now secured onto the fabric. Repeat until you have stitched four pearls around each larger diamante making sure to secure the threads with a knot on the wrong side of the fabric once you have finished attaching the last pearl around each stone.

Transforming clothes with beading

Step 16

Cut 2 pieces of beaded cord about 2 ½ inces long and place them under the two flowers in the top right corner so they create stems. Secure the top and middle of the stems with a couple of stitches in between the beads and the bottom with a pod stud. Make sure to secure the stitches and studs on the wrong side of the fabric as illustrated in steps 8 and 15.


Add beads to make a skirt unique

Step 17

 Mark a few dots in between the flowers using your vanishing pen or chalk pencil.


Lace and bead skit customisation

Step 18

Stick diamantes on the dots using a hot fix wand as illustrated in step 14.

Et voila! Here you have a beautiful customised denim mini! This process can of course be used to help you customise other clothing too.

TIP: Make sure to only hand wash your customised garment to avoid spoiling the delicate embellishments.


Happy customising!

 Find out more about the London based sewing classes taught at Sew It With Love by visiting:

Why not ready 10 ways to upcycle your wardrobe for several other customising ideas?