50 + Seriously good denim refashions


Very shortly I shall be taking back control of my blog (after a few days in Italy sans kiddo that is!). But before that, I really really really wanted to collate some of our makes for this years series of The Refashioners in one place, for posterity. A one stop shop for jeans refashioning inspiration if you like. ¬†I seriously can’t include everyone’s (there were over 700 posts on Instagram alone!!) So I’ve included a large selection (60) of them here for posterity. Including some that haven’t been shared on here before. (All the rest can be found on the various Pinterest, IG and FB pages). I have a question for you at the bottom of the page too….

Just click on the image to go to the source….

Elisalex - By Hand London Erin - Calivintage Gabby Young - Gabberdashery Heather - Closet Case Files Marila Walker Portia Lawrie - Makery Megan Nielsen Zoe - So Zo... Joost de Cock - Make my Pattern Kate - The Fold Line Rosie Martin - DIY Couture Wendy Ward - MIY Collection Sasha Werner - Secondo Piano Jenna Bennet - Just Sew Jenna Colette Patterns Ingrid - We the Sewing Mirjam Liechti Rachel - House of Pinheiro Beth - Sew DIY Deborah Makes Felix Quentin Carly in Stitches Deepti Sews for Sanity The Secret Costumier Salty Mom Stitchless TV My Petite Sophie Mindy Brown Emma Bajema The Petite Cat Stitch & Cappucino Men Sew Rosa Lemos Rosa Lemos Thumblenina Helen's Closet Selmin - Tweed & Greet Stitch Remedy Morris Sews Messy Essy Makes Trish Stitched Lady Sewalot Falafel & Bee Susan Young Sewing Sewing with Kate Sara Keel Vision of Ashlar Handmade by Carolyn Natasha Sniatowsky The Silk Hills Think Tran Vera Luna Vera Luna Martiarti Linzi Taylor Denim Biker Jacket Vicki Halliday Denim Sandals Fadanista Saskia van Dantzig

So, that was jeans. We did shirts last year. So my question to you is…..what in the hell do we do next year?? Any ideas?? I want your input for The Refashioners 2017. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see us tackle next. And who knows, that may just be the theme next year!

Back in a few days after some pasta and vino in beautiful Italy!

Big hugs!

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Refashion: Fleece Sweatshirt to Minimalist Cropped Jacket

refashion a fleece sweatshirt into a cropped jacket

It’s been all about the cozy around here. Temperatures as we know have been less than balmy and Shedquarters has been a little chilly to say the least. So an extra layer (or two) has been a prerequisite recently. Enter this oatmeal coloured “blah” fleece!

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan (1)

“Blah” because of the shape. But the fleece itself is super soft and has the appearance of felted wool….except way way softer! So I set about chopping it up….and this is what I ended up with!turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

A cute little cropped cardi/jacket with simple lines, that sits just on the hip at the front and dips down at the back. Couldn’t be simpler really. No raw edge finishing required as the fabric doesn’t fray. Just a few cut’s and minimal sewing. You can apply this to any similar fleece or sweatshirt. Here’s what I did…turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Trimmed away the neckband close to the stitching and rounded off that V shape a little (optional)…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Cut straight up the middle to create the opening….

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Cut a dipped/curved hem, removing the hem band in the process…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Cut the sleeves down to my preferred “bracelet” length, leaving a little extra for turning…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Turn and hem the cuffs and bottom hem…

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Turn and stitch a narrow hem arround the neckline. This would normally be a no no but as this fabric had a degree of stretch (and I didn’t have any fabric left for a facing) I went with it and it worked fine ūüôā

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

Then turn under and stitch¬†either side of the opening….

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

In all instances stitch as close to the raw edge as poss. This will give you a super clean finish and as you can see, that rule breaking I did with turning rather than facing the neckline? Not a problem ūüėČ Still a nice clean corner there . You can also see a double row of stitching along the vertical edge of the opening. (Partly decorative. Partly functional)

turn a aweatshirt into a cropped cardigan

And that’s that! It’s a perfect little extra layer to chuck on and much much less blah than the original! Even better, it takes about 30 mins. Gotta love fleece/sweatshirt fabric! More sweatshirt stuff coming up this week. Watch this space!

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Top Tips: For “Skinnifying” Jeans & Trousers

tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

When looking for jeans or trousers I have the relatively¬†common problem (especially when you’ve had kids!) of trousers that fit me in the waist/tum/bum area being waaaaay to big in the legs for my liking. Luckily I sew ūüôā So for years I’ve been addressing this minor annoyance by buying (usually thrifting) jeans than are super comfy in the waist/tum/bum area and simply reshaping the legs to fit my style. “Skinnifying” them if you like. I’ve been asked a few times if I am going to do a tutorial on the subject. Well, yes and no. This is a tutorial of sorts. But I hold your intelligence in high enough esteem to know that you probably get the gist that narrowing trousers means pinning the legs. Sewing a new seam and cutting away the excess. So while this post touches on that obvs, I wanted to focus on some of the other considerations you might want to take into account….

Fabric & Stretch: The “jeans” predominantly featured here are not jeans in the truest sense. They are not constructed in quite the same way as “traditional” jeans. (I’ll touch on that a bit further down) But they are made from a stretch denim. In my experience, denim with stretch is by far the most forgiving and easiest to work with when refitting the legs on jeans. And lets’s face it, the most comfortable to wear too! It’s also not a heavy denim. Another consideration when you’re using a home sewing machine which simply won’t have the power of the industrial machines that would have been used for heavy denim when they were originally produced…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers (2)

Seam Construction: Both the inner and outer leg seams of this particular pair of jeans were constructed using standard straight seams. These are your friends when it comes to reshaping the legs on jeans or trousers; because it means you can easily narrow the leg evenly on both sides. Traditional construction uses a flat fell seam, usually on the inside leg, which is tougher and harder wearing. If you can avoid those….do. ¬†I’ll touch on that a bit further down…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Prep: To prepare the legs for reshaping it’s easier to completely unpick the hems then press the hems and the sides seams completely smooth and flat. Put on inside out, then pin to your desired fit. Take them off and even out the row of pins. Watch out here that you don’t narrow soooo much that you can’t get your foot through the ankle. Yep….done that. ūüėČ

At the ankle, where you are going to hem, the pins should be at right angles to the original hem fold for the whole hem section. That section needs to be the same width above and below the hem fold in order to allow for proper hemming….tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Blending: In order to make the new and old seams blend seamlessly (so you don’t get an obvious dimple or tuck on the outside once you’re done) pin then start¬†sewing within the original seam allowance and gradually cross over the original seamline to your new line of stitching…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers (4)

Back & Front Leg Ratio: The back leg of a pair of jeans/trousers in general, will be wider than the front to allow for the calf muscle. You’ll want to retain this ratio in order to keep the side seams completely vertical when wearing. So when you press and pin make sure that this excess fabric remains distributed at the back leg…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Ensuring Even alteration: You’ll want to ensure that you take away the fabric evenly on both legs. To do this I pin one leg to my desired fit. Then I line up both legs along all seams and use those pins to pin through both legs at the same time…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

So essentially you have both legs pinned together with the pins on top marking an identical line on the other leg underneath. Make sense? ¬†You can also see in this pic the additional fabric of the back leg all bunched up in the middle…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Marking: Obviously I can’t sew it like that! So I mark on top and between the pins on both sides to mark my new seam line…I have a set of pastel pencils that make an awesom alternative to tailor’s chalk btw!tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Sewing: Then simply remove the pins, sew on top of my chalk line, zig zag close to that line, then trim off the excess and hem…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Considerations for “traditional” Jeans: So I mentioned flat fell seams. ¬†Traditional jeans will generally have a standard seam on the outside (your friend) and a flat fell seam on the inside leg (not your friend!).¬†You can see below the amount of stitching involved in a flat fell seam. This makes it super sturdy which is fantastic for the longevity of your jeans but not so great if you want to take it in at that seam. It is not possible to smoothly narrow ¬†and blend that seam without unpicking all that stitching first. Even then you have that point wher the crotch and inside leg seams intersect to contend with. I have¬†tried in the past and I will never bother again! So to my mind, and in my humblest of all humble opinions, it just isn’t worth it. I prefer to accept the limitations of traditionally constructed jeans and only narrow the leg on one side…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers (15)

This does of course limit the amount you can narrow the legs by before it starts looking uneven; and that is just a matter of trial and error and personal taste. When narrowing just one side of a pair of jeans I will always use a long stitch to baste my new seam line and test the fit first before committing to cutting away the excess fabric.

If you are altering traditional denim then another consideration is the thickness of the fabric; especially at the hem. To retain the original hem you’ll likely be sewing through 3 layers of denim (see the pic below) plus an additional 3-4 layers when you sew across the intersection of the flat fell seam!¬†tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers (14)

My machine is not powerful enough to do that on sturdier denim. So I reduce the strain by removing that bottom section of hem…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

And opting instead for a single fold hem with the raw edge zig zagged or overlocked…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Another area where it can get pretty bulky is up in the hip pocket area. If you are beginning your blended seam as high up at that then there will be studs, pocket bags and top stitching to navigate. Which is why when I select jeans to refashion…I opt for those that don’t need taking in at the hips (these were the other half’s jeans)…tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers

Tools/Equipment: I thoroughly recommend using the right tools for the job. In my opinion and for my machine, denim needles make a difference in the ease of sewing and the quality of the resulting stitch. For an authentic looking hem, then top stitching thread matched to the original colour will¬†give a professional finish. For sewing over the bulkiest part of the hem, placing a shim at the back of the presser foot will keep your presser foot horizontal and help avoid the skipped stitches that occur when sewing over bulky seams and the presser foot has to “climb” at an angle over the bulkiness of it all. You can buy shims. But a folded piece of card does the job for me. Also, machine needle cases are almost the perfect thickness to do the job; and if you’re lucky your presser foot may have a little button on the side that locks it into the horizontal position.tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers


So that’s that. My top tips for skinnifying jeans and trousers. Anything you want to add?? Please feel free to share!!!

Happy refashioning!

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Refashion: Contrast Texture Sweatshirt

This sweatshirt has been sitting in my refashion pile for several weeks. I have a preference for raglan sleeve sweatshirts as I find the fit more flattering. But this sweatshirt was so soft I nabbed it from the charity shop anyway. What’s more the underside of the fabric was really interesting to me (loopy terry texture and a pinkier colour than the right side) and even as I was lifting it off the rack in the shop, I knew I wanted to play with contrasting the wrong side of the fabric with the right side…sweatshirt refashion (1)

Whilst I am not overly sold on the final fit of this garment, I am in love with the contrast elements of it. I think it’s a really effective way of adding some interest to a plain sweatshirt and has applications for both refashioning and “from scratch” dressmaking. I’m sure it’s not just me that looks at the “wrong” side of the fabric and thinks….well that’s just as interesting as the intended right side. In fact I often spend time deciding which side of the fabric I prefer and want to use. The answer could be…..use both sides!sweatshirt refashion - contrast texture detail

The sleeves were a simple case of removing the ribbing cuffs and creating a turn up to display the underside of the fabric.

The triangular panels are also pretty simple. I did wing this a bit as it was an experiment. So there’s a couple of areas where I’ll tell you what I should have done to make things easier. But hey, the outcome is pretty much the same!sweatshirt refashion (14)

I began by opening the whole thing out. I knew I was going to need to reshape it at the side seams anyway. So began by cutting it open along the side seams and underarm seams…from the hem all the way to the cuff. Both Sides.

In this pic the whole thing is opened out (like a big cross) and then folded along the length, lining up sleeves and side seams so it lays flat and I could deal with the front and back of the sweatshirt separately. This is the front. I marked out and cut a wedge from the side. From the underarm to the hem. Cutting through both layers at once…sweatshirt refashion (15)

With hindsight, I’d actually advise removing the hem and any other bulkiness like it (I had those bulky hem vents) before marking and cutting the wedge. And actually I would measure and mark each side separately rather than cutting through two layers at once. The bulk of those seams and the double layers of thick sweatshirt fabric skewed my scissors resulting in slightly “non-identical” wedges. We need them to be identical for the next step.

Flip those wedges over and apply them to the opposite side of the sweatshirt (with a scant seam allowance) from which they were cut. Essentially reconstructing the shape of the sweatshirt. But now you have those contrasting wedges either side! sweatshirt refashion (16)

Press SA towards centre and top stitch.

Then repeat that process on the back…sweatshirt refashion (17)

…and reconstruct the sweatshirt by placing RS together and sewing together from cuff to hem on both sides…

I wanted to continue the “contrast triangle” element onto the neckline and swap out the ribbed triangle¬†…sweatshirt refashion (3)

Plus I prefer a slightly deconstructed look as opposed to a thick band of ribbing…19

Pretty simple to do this using reverse applique.

First of all I made a snip up to the stitching line on the neckline ribbing…sweatshirt refashion (4)

sweatshirt refashion (5)

…and cut that ribbing away right next to the stitching line.

I’d shortened the sweatshirt at this stage so had some scraps left over…sweatshirt refashion (6)

I cut a square large enough to cover the triangle detail I was looking to reverse applique…

…and pinned it behind the triangle with the textured side facing outward…sweatshirt refashion (7)

Make sure it is smooth and flat.

Over at the sewing machine, line up your needle with the existing top stitching around the outside of the triangle…sweatshirt refashion (8)

sweatshirt refashion (9)

Then stitch right on top of that line of stitching to secure the new scrap of fabric in place…

This is how it looks on the reverse….sweatshirt refashion (10)

sweatshirt refashion (11)

Trim away the excess on the inside close to the line of stitching.

On the outside…make a snip into the “old” ribbed fabric that you want to remove being careful not to cut the new fabric behind!sweatshirt refashion (12)

sweatshirt refashion (13)

Then with small sharp scissors cut away the old ribbed fabric close to the stitching, to reveal the new fabric behind!

Hem…and that’s that!sweatshirt refashion (2)

I’m planning on revisiting this concept with my preferred raglan sleeve sweatshirt shape as I don’t feel 100% comfy in this shape. As I said, the fit part of this I’m not entirely content with. The contrast element concept though??sweatshirt refashion - contrast texture detail

Well, I think I should call that part a win don’t you??

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