The Refashioners 2016: Mirjam

The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

Hi, this is Mirjam from and I’m wearing a top made out of a pair of jeans!! But first things first. I was so excited when Portia asked if I wanted to take part as a blogger in this year’s refashioners. Of course I wanted to! I really got a kick out of last year’s community challenge, and contributing my piece as a blogger this year is just a little bit mind-blowing. So here I was, with a piece of thrifted and washed but unwearably frumpy clothing: the old pair of jeans.The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

Last year I made trousers from a shirt, so this year I would go the other way and make a top from trousers. I set myself two challenges. Firstly, I wanted to use just one pair of jeans to make a new piece of clothing (I only used a second pair of old jeans to produce some contrast bias binding for the neckline). Secondly, I did not want to leave any waste from that one pair of old jeans I was using. I used up practically everything from my original pair of jeans, except for some tiny scraps and offcuts. I got enough material from the jeans to make a top and was even left with some shorts to wear it with.

To begin with, I cut my jeans four times and reassembled the pieces to make the top and shorts.The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti


So simple, right?! This is what I love most about refashioning: It really doesn’t take much at all, just some bold cuts and a little constructive rearrangement. I used the bottom parts of the trouser legs as sleeves, leaving the original hem intact. The mid-part of the trouser legs I turned upside-down, so the wider parts of the legs would be sitting around my belly – I haven’t told you yet, but I’m making a maternity top here, so I’ll need the extra belly room!The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

I ripped the inner leg seams to expose the dark edges. Then I joined the two legs to form the bodice. I’d only just gotten a new toy – my very first overlocker machine – so I played around with the stitches a bit. To close the centre front and centre back seam I used my overlocker’s flatlock stitch. For this you stitch two layers of fabric together and then lay them flat open and wiggle and jiggle the layers of fabric until the seam is all flat. Magic!The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

Next, I attached the sleeves, adjusting the fit a little by cutting off bits of fabric here and there. To give shape to the sleeves and to make them sit on my shoulders I opened half the shoulder seams, taking in a bit of fabric when restitching. To finish the neckline I used bias binding made from another old pair of jeans.The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam LiechtiThe Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

At this point, my top was really boxy, if not huge. A good thing around the growing belly, but not very flattering. So I added bust darts, but left enough room so I wouldn’t have to add any closures. I can easily pull the top over my head. And there’s still enough room for my belly to grow (at the time of writing I have four months to go!). I finished the hem by folding it over and inserting a thin elastic strap to keep the stiff fabric from sticking out too much.The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti


So that’s the top – what about the shorts, though? Well, these were basically just left over, as I’d only used the trouser legs to make the top. I left the shorts as they were after the first cuts.The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

They fit nicely around the hip and I like the length I cut them in the first place. The edges are left raw and for that decent denim look I’m now waiting for the shorts to fray with washing and wearing.The Refashioners 2016 - Mirjam Liechti

Thank you, Portia, for creating and organizing such an inspiring challenge for the sewing community. I really can’t wait to see what everyone makes of it!

Well first of all…HUGE congrats Mirjam on your impending new arrival!!  Secondly…do you know what floats my “oooooh that’s clever” boat most about this make??  The way Mirjam has cut the armscye curves/sleeves out of those leg cuffs, and that the “opposite” curve in the leftover leg then informs the shape of the neckline. Flipping those larger pieces upside down with the wider part at the bottom. Doing it like this gives maximum use of the fabric available.  And when it comes to refashioning jeans, (where flat fabric is at a premium) it’s a very clever approach and one worth noting! Replacing those flat fell seams with the less bulky flatlock approach also makes the seam more fluid. Nice touch!

You can find  Mirjam 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.

The Refashioners 2016 - Huge Prize Package

….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.

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  1. Kirstin August 2, 2016

    I’m seriously so amazed with how simple this seems and how well it fits together into a shirt!

  2. Ty August 2, 2016

    Really clean and simple!

  3. Sue August 2, 2016

    I love the fact that you only used one pair of jeans. This is a great example of sustainable refashioning.

  4. Kerrie August 2, 2016

    love the top and the shape of the sleeves and congratulations!

  5. Hélène August 2, 2016

    Love the neckline and the bust darts you added for shaping. Bravo for acheiving an almost zero waste project.

  6. This is awesome! A great no-waste project. And I love the flatlocking to reduce bulk, brilliant idea!

  7. Melissa August 2, 2016

    Another fantastic refashion! I love the idea of the flat-locking though I’ve never seen that before so I need to check my machine for that. Congrats Marjam on your refashion, and your little one to come!

  8. Elisa August 3, 2016

    Amazing refashion–very creative and carefully finished.

  9. Helen S August 3, 2016

    You really nailed the two challenges within a challenge that you set for yourself. The top idea looks so simple but that’s because you have complete mastery of the fabric and shape of the original garment.

  10. Kathryn August 4, 2016

    This is such a clever refashion, and so well thought out!! I love how little waste there was too!

  11. Sasha August 7, 2016

    Very nice combo! Love how you used the entire pair – so clever1

  12. Kelly August 11, 2016

    Loving this beautiful neckline, Mirjam. Thank you Portia for highlighting just how clever it is. Very inspiring!


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