4 jeans denim dress

While I loved the denim chevron chair I saw on pinterest years ago……it was highly unlikely I was going to actually make it – but I was accumulating the denim just in case.  I always seem to get drawn to regular patterning, and while I really like the Victoria Beckham dress -I was thinking of a 70s take and make something similar to my chevron halter pattern when I saw this one – the ‘log cabin’ construction looked a lot more interesting than the chevron!  (and I would not have big bumps of denim on the way)

I was half way through the cut of the denim top refashion, when I figured to expand pattern to make the dress, change darts and get the denims laid out.  I had the denims on the table for a day while I sewed up the other projects, and then thought I would just rip them up to try out the lay-out, and after an hour or so, had sewn up the back of the dress!   Seriously this dress had a momentum of its own from the get-go.   I made the front the next morning.  I did know that the jeans legs front and back were not equal and should have been a bit more patient with measuring (as if – in truth, I also figured its easier to power ahead, and make something or forever dither) so I did have to put an extra piece in a lower panel (I figured if I mirrored it at the neckline it could look balanced).   I also had to patch in 2 small bits onto the sides of the back as I had miscalculated the cut, and so I could sew the side seams, but they are tiny

Future Fixes

  • the darts could be incorporated better into the seams
  • seams could be top stitched
  • pockets could be added to the next one (yup I think I will make this again

I was really surprised at how quick the dress went together, I sewed it/patch-worked it up from the bottom triangle, and I finished the seam with a zig zag.    The neck, armhole, and hem are all finished with bias tape.  There is a side zip (and I have 4 jeans zips to add to my harvested zip collection)

The biggest challenge of the dress was trying to figure out the denim and this I think is a general ‘conundrum’.  Only one pair of the jeans had stretch in them (the denim at shoulder) and it did not rip that true to grain.  The rest were roughly the same weight.  I think getting weight and tone similar is the most difficult as some are a truer indigo than others, but when it all came down to it, it was a lot easier once I got sewing.  I played about with the length and went for knee length in the end, but it seems to work nicely at a variety of hem lengths.


I am totally enamored with this dress, and apologies for the creased look in the photos, I had just been wearing it all the morning!.    What I really love is that the diagonals look like huge brush strokes and when a friend suggested how well it would go with  chunky beads..I started to consider getting red chunky beads, or even crocheting a necklace! (I don’t really wear jewelry).  Its also a dress that I hope to wear summer and winter….and I probably would not have made it only for seeing the fantastic refashioners posts on my facebook feed, they are all so inspiring.  Big thank you to Portia at Makery for hosting!


4 jeans denim dress







lots of plans but I changed them – first denim refashion

I had a very good plan for the next month, but when the refashioners came out, and I was seeing all the wonderful makes – they were happily swept to one side so I could finally attack the stash of denim.


I did a denim dress last year, and it was meant to do a patch work version of a McCalls pattern, but found out not all denims are equal, and matching them was a bit overwhelming, so I made something simpler.  At the same time, I also thought I could make a tonal denim quilt, so I had asked my sister to give any used denims from her family  (which would have been for a textile recycle) to me, so I got a fair bit over the past  2 years.  I also had just made a cute pattern for a cap sleeve top, and upcycled some linen shorts (which are not still waiting to be ‘faced’ as I started sewing this denim in the middle of it all!) – and I also started making a denim dress which I am now just finishing – I really did get distracted by the refashioners, and it was also a great chance to make something from the denim stash.

The denim I used is from a pair of jeans I intended to use last year, so they were already taken apart.  They seem to have a purple rinse and did not really ‘go’ with much else, the shade has great depth.

The sew for both was straightforward, and neither need closures as its a boat neck.  The neckline and arm holes are finished with some bias tape.  I have quite a few sleeveless tops but liked the idea of a small cap sleeve so my arms would not feel bare, and I could wear a tee shirt underneath!


The darts give it some shaping at waist – and worn here as double denim….. I have not tried it on with much other stuff yet, I think it should work well with culottes or gauchos?

a summer jacket (from a euro coat)

coat upcycle simplicity 5256We went for a midsummer picnic this year.  It was rather brave as it was well wet and very windy.  Some years ago a group of us went one amazing midsummer picnic in the Burren (Limestone hills in neighbouring county) and it was a spectacular sunset, and every year since we have tried to do one (and each time it doesn’t come off).  This year we made it a definite, and decided to go to a lovely beach and cliff nearby.  And I wore my ten-year-old-2-sizes-too-big windcheater.  Which I have had for years and its awful.  Its mank.  Fine for walking woods and doing firewood, but really……I decided that night I was not going to go to next years midsummer in that jacket.

Two weeks later, there are coats on the euro rail, I bought 3 (which means I now have 5 coats to upcycle…no pressure).  I had great plans for this green coat, but in the end went for a simple make using Simplicity 5256 as one or two small holes appeared in the fabric when the 80s detailing was removed.  The worst hole was a few inches up the sleeve, and I decided while sewing that to sew an obvious patch, which could look like a deliberate  detail (and I am sticking to this).


There were no darts, so I ‘graded’ the pattern by tracing it without seam allowance (how technical is that!).    The only concessions I had to make, were the sleeves had to have a seam down the centre, and the hood has a small insert in the back.  The sew was straight-forward, and the only changes are that the pockets are side opening, and I did originally put them in -wrong….   I was going to reuse the strange lining (and padding) but didn’t (I thought it would be ironic, but luckily there was insufficient fabric), so I used some green lining from the lining scrap bag for hood and sleeves, and left over check lining for the main.  I had hoped and thought I may re-use some of the epaulets etc but it was beginning to feel a bit fiddly and was simpler to leave as it was.    Its turned into a useful jacket – very pleased with it, as it will also serve as a working model for the next coat to jacket remake!