fly by…dress – denim jeans to denim dress

I am slowly building up a collection of old denim jeans as I hope in the future to make cushion covers for a sofa (have to make the sofa) for a room (which also has to be ‘made’) in the house (all on this pinterest board).  In the meantime, I thought a summer dress would be good too.

I had fully intended to make a denim dress using this butterick pattern, and in my head it was going to take no time as I had the pattern and lots of denim …..what could possibly go wrong?

Well, it turns out, not all my denims are the same, and whatever about shade, the fabric weights would have to be the same for this dress, and enough to get the skirt width and moreover, I wanted to make it in the traditional heavy dark denim – so I would need two pairs of jeans to make the dress, and I didn’t find any matching dark denims.  So plan b was called for….. which was just to run up a fun summer dress

Everyone has their own sewing history, and when I was about 15 I started really sewing for myself and it was the total opposite to the sewing I did in school.  My own sewing, was fast fly-by-seat-of-your-pants sewing, a dresses made from old bedsheets and taking in jeans (the original jeggings) – too tight at times and that the seam ripper was used to take them off.   It was also when I started trying my hand making my own patterns (which was a mixture of maths, and freehand cutting).   I remember at the time a relation of mine commenting  that if I wanted to go to fashion college I should learn to sew in matching thread, and while she may have been correct, she was mistaken.  The non-change of thread was my lazy choice and the pattern and trousers were totally made by me and worn by me and I liked them  – they were uniquely mine.  

I do still think that  there is no right way or wrong way to sew anything.  Sewing is just fastening bits together.  There are ways in which the skills of sewing and drafting can be learned in order to execute the concept nearer the vision, but really its just sewing and sewing is creating your own authentic. 

denim upcycle

As I have been doing this blog, I have been enjoying sewing a lot more, and the idea of creating my own handmade wardrobe reminds me of how much I used sew at 16, so that’s why I thought I should try to sew a quick dress for fun, a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants  type sewing, as I think sometimes trying to find the right pattern for the fabric is a bit slow and slightly tedious.  Obviously, I am more cautious about wasting fabric now and I tend to match thread now but I still figured I should try a freehand type cut….so I marked out some measures – and used a sharpie – just to give it the edge!

denin refashion

I marked a bust dart and had narrowest part of dress just below (as in an empire line) and made the hem as long as I could.  I misjudged the armhole (dreadfully), and ended up patching that later.    The back was cut to match the front – except the back skirt was wider as the back legs of jeans were, and the back did not go out as wide on the bodice.  and  I did put some shaping on the centre front seam,(when I put the dress on inside out, pinned at waist and angled out to centre front seam.   (Truth be told, it would have been more efficient to use a block, but I trying to recreate my measure and mark approach from back when – so in effect the photo above is how not to.)

jeans to denim dress remake

I have not put straps on yet, or made pockets but I do see this as either a sundress, or a jumper dress for winter.   The waistband could also make an interesting detail, or the top of the dress and potential pocket could be trimmed with ric-rac, but it may look odd in winter so will defer for a while on that.  There is enough fabric for both!

It also took about an hour and a half, and I am sure my 16 year old self would have taken far less time (I didn’t do fell seams then).   

and just one more thing

as I said in the post earlier, the more this blog is going on the more I am enjoying sewing.  When I started the blog, I figured that I should just do it rather than overly worry on name and layout and concentrate on content and the rest could settle later.   It is now later!!! As I have to even explain the name rudai deata to friends that can speak irish I have decided on a name change so that should happen in the next few weeks……………..

3 thoughts on “fly by…dress – denim jeans to denim dress

  1. Bobbi says:

    What a great idea! I have several pairs of jeans that my boyfriend was going to throw away but I couldn't bear it. A denim dress is perfect. Now my brain is going crazy with ideas. Thanks!


  2. Eimear Greaney says:

    Thanks very much Bobbi -That sounds like me (not letting anyone throw anything out until I get to ok it!) You may like to check this one out as I think something like this could work very well and if I hasd seen it earlier, I may have tried it this (and adjust the fit would be just moving some buttons!) I would love to see the dress you make -


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s