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Bolero jackets are inspired by the Spanish style of dress worn by Empress Eugenie of France in the mid 1800s. This very short jacket is worn open over a blouse or dress. The front edges of the jacket are usually curved, and the bottom hem falls to approximately the middle of the back. Some bolero jackets are made with beads and lace, and thus suited for fancy occasions, while other are made from denim or cotton to make a casual outfit a bit more chic and stylish.
Lay your jeans flat, with the back side up, on your work surface. With your chalk, draw a straight line across the back of both legs just under the crotch. Wherever your line hits on each hip, carry it around to make a mark on the front hip on each side as a starting point on the front side.
Flip the jeans over and lay them flat on your work surface with the front side up. Line your ruler up with the chalk mark on one hip that you carried over from the back side. Angle your ruler so it is about 3 inches below the crotch and draw a line with your chalk. Repeat on the other leg.
Make the line you've drawn on the front legs of your jeans into a curved shape, rather than a straight angle. Use the chalk to draw a line just outside the inside seam of the jeans and then make a slight curve where the point of the angle meets that line. This will contribute to a better fitting, more comfortable bolero.
Cut the jeans apart on the lines you've drawn. The legs of the jeans are the sleeves of your bolero jacket.
Pin the straight, back side edges of the jeans together, right sides facing each other. Sew the edges together and be sure to double stitch for durability. It should look like you have a tube of denim with an oval hole in the center of one side.
Put on the bolero jacket. The sleeves will most likely be too long and need to be shortened. Turn the cuff of the jeans up to the length you would like your sleeves to be and make a mark on each sleeve with your chalk.
Lay the jacket back, flat, on your work surface. Measure from the edge of the sleeve to where you made your mark and then draw a straight line across the sleeve. Repeat on the other sleeve and then cut off the sleeves on the lines you've drawn.
Cut your quilt binding into three pieces. You will need one piece long enough to cover the raw edges of the body opening and two pieces to cover the raw edges of the sleeves on your bolero jacket.
Sandwich the edge of the body opening into the folded edge of the quilt binding and pin in place as you work your way around the opening. When you reach the point where you started, fold the end of the binding under to give you a finished edge and overlap the ends of the binding. Follow the same process to apply the binding to the ends of the sleeves.
Sew the binding to the jacket opening and ends of sleeves, making sure to catch both sides of the binding as you stitch. Double stitch for durability.
- The Dictionary of Fashion; V. Cumming, C. W. Cunnington and P. Cunnington
- 99 Ways To Cut, Sew & Deck Out Your Denim; F. Blakeney, J. Blakeney, E. Schultz
- Francois Durand/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images