The Refashioners 2016: Joost

The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

When asked to take part in the 2016 edition of The Refashioners, this was the sales pitch:

*The aim is to validate refashioning as a companion to conventional dressmaking.*

Wait… you want me for… conventional dressmaking?

Conventional effin’ dressmaking? Are you for real?

Turns out Portia was for real, but it wasn’t conventional dressmaking she was looking for. Or at least that’s what she told me as she tirelessly massaged my ego about how it would be so great to have me participate and blablabla.

Long story short, I can’t say no to women, so here we are with my bid for refashion immortality. Or as I like to think of it, that time I had to explain to everybody that no, I was not going to make a Canadian tuxedo.

**The design brief**
The brief this year is to make something out of jeans. You know, denim. But not denim shirts or jackets. Only jeans.

The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

The pants simultaneously known for hugging girls’ behinds in a way that makes you realise there is a God, and then being draped of a builder’s behind in a way that makes you immediately question your newfound belief system.

Given that I don’t buy clothes and only make them, I didn’t have a stash of unloved jeans tucked away somewhere. So the first challenge was getting something to work with.

The thrift store was the obvious starting place, or was it? The jeans for sale in the thrift store are perfectly fine, and cutting up a garment that might be somebody else’s thrift store score just seems wrong.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

So I talked to the staff there and asked if there was maybe any chance they’d have some jeans that weren’t fit for sale? Turns out all of the clothes they deem not suitable for sale are brought to a central place where they are sold by weight. Jeans are dumped in a big box there, and they go for 2 euro per kilogram.

I got 6.
Well, I got 10 pairs of jeans, which was about 6 kg.

High on excitement about my score, I promptly made a pledge to only use jeans for my creation. The refashioners rules allow for some other fabrics to be used in combination with the jeans. But you know, ice-skating uphill and all that.
So new rule: Nothing but jeans.

**Part 1: Waistcoat**
Let’s first establish that I am not going to make trousers. Making jeans out of jeans seems counterproductive.
Whenever you make something out of denim that isn’t jeans, the dark shadow of the fashion faux-pas that is the Canadian tuxedo looms on the horizon. Whatever I would make out of these jeans, should not be worn with jeans.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock


As it happens, I was preparing to make my Wahid waistcoat pattern available when Portia contacted me. It felt right to me to combine the formal feel of a waistcoat with the informal nature of denim.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

Obviously no pair of jeans is large enough for the pattern pieces that are required. So I decided to extend the front darts into some sort of prince-seam (as in, the male equivalent of princess seam) that would allow me to work with narrower parts.

I had to slash the back horizontally and add another vertical slash at the bottom part to piece everything together.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

Lining the waistcoat in another layer of jeans denim would make it too heavy. Not to mention that piecing together the pattern pieces from reclaimed jeans twice didn’t appeal to me.

Given that I was not allowing myself to use lining fabric, I had to put facing on all edges so that I could wear the waistcoat unlined, yet neatly finished.

For pockets, I felt welt pockets to be a bit of a odd look on jeans. Not to mention that making a welt pocket through a flat-felled jeans seam is probably not even possible.

So I carefully salvaged a coin pocket from one of the jeans, making sure to keep the top stitching and rivets intact, and hand-sewed it to my waistcoat.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

Apart from these modifications, this is just your standard waistcoat. If you’d like to make one like this, I’ve explained in detail how to do so in the pattern documentation.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

**Part 2: Tie**

You shouldn’t wear a waistcoat without a tie. So while we’re at it, might as as well throw in a jeans tie right?

Turns out jeans are a great source for tie material, as you need long and narrow pieces of fabric to make them. So all you need is some jeans legs.

Normally ties have tie-interfacing at their core. But I wasn’t going to bend my ‘*only jeans*’ rule. So I made the core from a single layer of jeans, and then wrapped the outer jeans around it. Given that jeans is such a heavy fabric, there’s really no need for more interfacing than that.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

Oh, and ties are lined too. But as it happens, the lining on the tie (that part of fabric you see at the back of the tip) is quite small. So I was able to make the lining from a reclaimed pocket bag from one of the jeans. Success, as I did not have to bend any rules for this.

Once again, if you’d like to make this: You can find my timeless tie pattern here, and the instructions on how to make this tie are here.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

**Part 3: Shoes**

It would have ended here, if it wasn’t for one shrewd move by Portia that forced my hand. When announcing this year’s line-up, she wrote this:

> *Welcome the first ever “bloke” participant of The Refashioners! Joost has great style and totally mad skills.*

Oh crap. Mad skills? Now people are going to have all sorts of expectations. Not to mention that all of a sudden, I seem to be representing the entirety of masculinity.

So yeah, I have a waistcoat and tie. But let’s be honest, on the spectrum of skills, ‘mad’ doesn’t have ‘waistcoat and tie’ as an example.

No way around it, I needed to up my game. Preferably in some sort of “*and that’s how a man does it*” kinda way. Like, use powertools and stuff.

So I guess we’re making shoes from only jeans now…
The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

I started with outlining the shape of my foot on paper, making it a bit more shoe sole -shaped, and transferring it onto a MDF board I had lying around. Then, I used a jigsaw to saw the shape out of the board, and cut the board through so I had two halves.
The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock
Powertools: Check!

The board was 18mm thick, so I cut a bunch of jeans up in long strips of denim 4 times that size (72 mm). I folded them double and then double again and sewed them down so I had 18mm wide thick strips of denim.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

I rolled these strips around a variety of nails and bobbins until after some trial and error I ended of with a shape that was slightly larger than the hole in my board. I then put the denim in my home-made sole mold, and screwed both halves together.

I applied glue to the surface of the shoe sole, and used a hammer to bang the glue into the fibers. An exercise I repeated on the other side.The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock


As the glue dried, I cobbled together a simple upper for the shoes from what denim I had left. I sewed the upper to an insole I cut out, and hand-sewed the entire thing to the shoe soles.

The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock


To finish things, I make a new strip of denim, this time with the bad/gray side of the denim out. I carefully measured around the shoe and made a loop of just the right size. Then, I wrapped the loop around the shoe sole, thereby hiding the stitches where my upper was sown to the sole.

The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

A bit of glue between the outer layer and the rest of the sole, and tadaa, jeans-only shoes.

The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

Obviously these are more beach party than job interview. But they are, if nothing else, 100% refashioned jeans.

The Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de CockThe Refashioners 2016 - Joost de Cock

That’s it for me. Now get refashioning yourself!

You heard him! Get to it!! So this is where I would usually write a little paragraph to close off the post. But frankly….I’m speechless. I saw this for the first time a couple of weeks back and, well, I’m STILL speechless!! SHOES people! As if that lush waistcoat and tie were not enough…freakin SHOES!! You can catch up with Joost here and here. His site is one to keep on your radar too, seriously.  I’m off to dig out my powertools. In the meantime, if this has left you inspired (and how could it not?!) to enter the community challenge, then read on….The Refashioners 2016 - Huge Prize Package

Simple as that! ….I think you’ve go 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!!! Get refashioning. And I’ll see you back here tomorrow with yet another refashion to inspire!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+


  1. Helen S August 3, 2016

    Ha! you are not the first, and probably not the last to set yourself a challenge within a challenge in this series. I think men round the sewing world can still hold their heads high, but 3 items made from jeans, well that’s just showing off, but that’s men for you.

  2. Le fil à la gratte August 3, 2016

    I am so impressed, it’s so creative and beautiful !

  3. Sam August 3, 2016

    Wow! Love, love, love all three pieces that Joost made. Those shoes are stupendous.

  4. Peta Louise August 3, 2016

    Truly amazing!! The tie and waistcoat are fantastic of course, but those shoes – wow!!! I’m so impressed with how he even made the soles!! Very inspiring indeed!!!

  5. Ingrid August 3, 2016

    Mind. Blown.

  6. Sarah August 3, 2016

    Dude. That is cool. Direct quote from my husband, and I concur, completely.

  7. Jane August 3, 2016

    These pieces are extraordinary!

  8. Lisa August 3, 2016

    This is crazy!!! Crazy in the best possible way. I can’t wait to show my husband. He’ll be impressed, and undoubtedly inspired.

  9. Susanne August 3, 2016

    Seriously awesome.

  10. debbie August 3, 2016

    Very cool. Love the added extra’s – tie and shoes, just amazing…

  11. Ruth Mendum August 3, 2016

    Superb. And love that Antwerp train station.

  12. Melissa August 3, 2016

    Not one but three wonderful refashioned wearables! Fantastic!

  13. Claire August 3, 2016

    This is amazing! I think you’ve beaten us all already with your mad skills. Incredible innovation and great job.

  14. Johanna August 3, 2016

    I just swooned a little… ha ha! Amazing, inspired job, and I love the labels. I would love to know how those shoes feel to walk around in.

  15. Sue @ A Colourful Canvas August 3, 2016

    Completely brilliant, eh.

    I mean. The garment. The Tie. The shoes. The writing….

  16. Wouter August 3, 2016

    Simply amazing. You’re an inspiration!

  17. Karen August 3, 2016

    What a great refashion. You are an inspiration to all.

  18. chuleenan August 4, 2016

    OMG – the shoes are amazing, the vest is lovely, and the tie is awesome. Congrats on a great refashion!

  19. Macinic August 4, 2016

    I bow before you. Awesome x 3

  20. houseofpinheiro August 4, 2016

    I already mention how gobsmacked when I saw your project for the first time. You are LEGEND now….

  21. Angelle August 4, 2016

    I love this!!!

  22. Tasha August 4, 2016

    <3 Joost

  23. Michelle August 4, 2016

    Absolutely and utterly FANTASTIC! I am off now to check out your patterns, sir. I would love to outfit my husband in an ensemble like the one you’ve created here.

  24. Marilee August 4, 2016

    I give up. Hands held high in surrender to a guy with mad imagination and the requisite skills to turn his jeanspiration into wearable reality. And that’s the key, eh? His creations are very wearable and practical as well as being great looking.

  25. Helen August 4, 2016

    Wow. Just wow!

  26. Kathryn August 4, 2016

    I was impressed enogh by the waistcoat and tie, then the shoes!! Amazing refashions! These posts are just inspiring!

  27. Maggie August 5, 2016

    Absolutely amazing!

  28. Kate August 6, 2016

    Amazing, amazing! He is my sewing hero.

  29. Sasha August 7, 2016

    Impressive! love the cut of the waistcoat, I can’t think of a cooler accessory than a denim tie … and those shoes, better yet the soles – I’m blown away!

  30. Carlee August 7, 2016

    I wish there was a way to show the look on my face…my jaw just about hit the floor! Joost has taken the *Canadian Tuxedo* and somehow made it look fashion-worthy!!!!!

    • Portia Lawrie August 7, 2016

      I know…right???!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *