When Portia first told the group that the challenge was going to be jeans, I was really nervous. The last thing I wanted was to end up with a garment that really looked like it had been cobbled together from old pairs of jeans. I went through the grungy 90s and I was not eager to return.
My first thought was to make a Nita Wrap Skirt, thinking the panels of the wrap skirt would lend itself well to recycled fabric. I did a bunch of research on what’s happening with denim this season and for a while even thought about trying to make overalls (denim jacket cut away for the top and a pair of jeans for the bottom). But it was too hard to find a jacket and pants that perfectly matched.
Somewhere in my research I stumbled upon skirts that had lighter denim in the front and darker in the back. So I found two pairs of jeans and set to work.
Initially I was going to do a button front pencil skirt but decided that the button placket would use too much fabric so I went for a zip front instead.
I cut apart my jeans and laid my skirt pattern pieces on top. Annnnnnd, they did not fit. So, I took my basic one dart block and adapted it for princess seams, eliminating the darts. More patterns pieces meant I could get one skirt panel out of each pant leg piece (8 skirt panels, 2 jeans=8 pant pieces). And no darts is ideal for a heavier fabric like denim.
I also added some curved front pockets for an extra bit of interest. I did try reusing the pockets from the jeans on the back of the skirt but it didn’t look great so I left it clean.
I ended up taking in the skirt quite a bit to get the fitted look I was going for. By the way, princess seams are quite nice for getting just the right fit. A princess seam shift dress was actually one of my first sewing projects way back in high school. It was so satisfying to be ale to take in all those seams in just the right places to create the perfect fit.
To attach the zipper, I applied interfacing to the seam allowance of the center front and pressed it to the wrong side. Then I basted and stitched the zipper to the center front. I took my time with it and it went in pretty easily. Be aware, that when your denim has stretch, this is a place where the fabric could warp and your zipper can look warped. I think mine probably did warp a bit actually. This zipper is a 24 inch metal separating zipper. So if I want to get undressed really fast, I can just unzip all the way. 😉
The light colored jeans came with a precut, frayed hem that I reused for the front center panel. I had to give it a couple tries to get the frayed edge even but I really like the stair step look.
To finish the waistband, I made a simple facing again to save on fabric. The only fabric I used that did not come from the jeans was a cotton I used for the pocket bags and the waistband facing.
And the final touch, to give it a little extra RTW polish, was to add rivets to the pockets. I’ve only installed rivets one time before when I made a pair of Birkin Flares. I definitely feel like I have not mastered it yet. Hopefully, with a little more practice I’ll be able to attach a rivet without smashing it. You really can’t see the bit of smashing unless you look very closely though.
During the refashioning I thought of a few tips that might be helpful as you start your own jeans refashioning adventures.
Tips for refashioning jeans
- If you’re buying, try to buy the biggest size you can, more fabric same amount of money. Also look for straight or wide legs as opposed to boot or skinny cut
- Look for jeans with little to no stretch. I’ve had unfortunate experiences, even with premium denim, stretching in unfortunate ways and refusing to go back into shape.
- Look for jeans without any fading. As you cut them up and rearrange the denim, the fading could look unnatural in its new incarnation.
- Most jeans have at least one seam that is constructed with a chain stitch. If the threads are not too meshed together from years of washing, you can clip the thread and pull to unravel the entire seam. It will only pull going one direction so try both ends of the seam.
This was a really fun project and I’m so thrilled that Portia asked me to participate. I really love the design of this skirt and I’m already thinking about playing around with it more.
I’m a lover of simplicity of design combined with little details and, even as a trouserphile non skirt wearer, this is really floating my boat! Love the separating zip. LOVE the stepped and frayed front hem and the contrast of light and dark denim between the front and back. AND the princess seam tip is a great one. Both in terms of fit AND creating multiple narrower pattern pieces that fit onto narrow jeans legs 🙂 Thank you so much Beth!!
You can find Beth here or here. And if you’re inspired to get your refashion on and enter the Community Challenge and be in with a chance of winning some epic prizes…DO IT! Deadline for entries is 30th Sept. Midnight GMT.
….I think you’ve got the idea now right? Essentially we want you to refashion some jeans! (You can find the full details/small print of the brief here). BUT, if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these amazing prize packages you need to SHARE that refashion with us in one of the following ways:
- On Instagram: Share a pic using the hashtags #therefashioners2016 and #jeanius
- On Pinterest: There is a community board here where you can pin your makes. (You will need to request an invite to join)
- On Facebook: There is a community board here where you can post your makes (You will need to request an invite to join)
Only entries shared via the above 3 methods will be entered into the competition. Closing date for entries is 30th September 2016 Midnight GMT. Good luck!!