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!

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4 jeans denim dress

 

 

 

 

 

62 thoughts on “4 jeans denim dress

    • theupsew says:

      Thank you so much, I was so happy with this, I am hoping to try another with the ‘future fixes’ and I am also hoping the weather improves so I can wear it ‘properly’ (its been dull and drizzling here for a week now)…..wearing it today with a huge cardigan over it as I wanted to take a few photos outside so I could put it up on blog….

      Liked by 1 person

    • theupsew says:

      Thank you, I am sure I will as I think it will work well all year around, and as one of the pairs of jeans had an unrepairable rip, its great that they are also getting worn again! There are so many cool remakes being posted now, I am going to try a version of that full zip skirt posted yesterday………………. thinking black denim if I see it in the charity shop………….

      Liked by 1 person

    • theupsew says:

      thank you – there was a bit of luck involved as I was just trying to see if I could make it and did not get bogged down on detailing, so just placed them as I went along (I did decide on which denims for level 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the dress as I put the lightest denim at the bottom) so each half of the herringbone/chevron/corner is from the same jean.

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  1. wrong doll says:

    THIS IS OUTSTANDING!!! I absolutely love it Eimear. I totally see what your friend means and I agree a hundredfold. I’m so glad you are happy with it – I would be over the moon if I’d made it. Wear it all year round with pride 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theupsew says:

      thanks Aimee, I really think its the best thing I have made in a while, but I think when a sewing project goes smoothly it helps! I am going to try another version and try and incorporate pockets and darts……. Totally loved that sweatshirt you made…. that shade of purple is so perfect. hope you are feeling better

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fabrickated says:

    Eimear – this dress is outstanding. Honestly the top was pretty impressive but this is brilliant. I agree there are things you could do differently next time such as the darts and pockets, but this is a design to repeat and learn from. It has worked out so nicely with the fading and colourways – much better than the rather contrived VB number.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theupsew says:

      Thank you so much. I am getting rather obsessed about accessorising it and think chunky beads look best. I want to remake it only to perfect it and the pattern. even for lengths of satins etc I think it would adapt. picked up another euro pair of jeans so wont be long till I get another. I wore it today ‘down the town’ while I looked for beads, and very happy with it! (I am that shallow that I was rather chuffed with some compliments I got!)

      Liked by 2 people

    • theupsew says:

      Thanks Linda, I liked the short version too…… the refashioners has gotten quite addictive as everytime a new thing is posted I want to make it! I am thinking of another dress, with patchwork as realistically much and all as I should/could be sewing for the house (still have to make sofa covers) I am rather slow to…… looking forward to your black denim and lace

      Liked by 1 person

  3. helentristam says:

    Jaw dropping original refashion. The diagonal effect is outstanding. Quality of refashioners this year is so high generally. I didn’t know jean legs were different sizes at the back and the front.

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    • theupsew says:

      Thank you, I didn’t factor it in either, but I was also a bit gung-ho when I started making this so I wasn’t stopping to refect on anything. The reafashioners this year is so inspiring, and I am getting to tackle that stash of denim so all good!

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    • theupsew says:

      yes, I was a bit daunted by that the last time I tried a denim upcycle, but this time I jumped in and it worked out. I am trying another and as the jeans are now a euro a pair and I have a better stash, its a lot easier! (but now I have a to make list thats getting longer too!)

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    • theupsew says:

      Thanks very much, I got to wear it today again as the weather was sunny and potentially dry, and I now have paired it with red beads so it feels ‘fierce swanky altogether’. Its a very comfortable dress and warm, so rather suited it irish summers!

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  4. Carolyn says:

    that is fabulous!! I really like how you described the diagonally placed pieces as like brushstrokes; that does describe the effect perfectly. LOVE how the blues all fade together and contrasting shades all together, it looks fabulous all round. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theupsew says:

      thank you so much – I am dying to make another – and will as I want to tweak the pattern a bit, so I am looking for unsuspecting deserving recipients! it was such an easy sew as I was sewing on grain, and I love wearing it!

      Like

  5. Marlise says:

    Great dress! Just today, I earmarked this Reet Aus dress in Sass Brown´s “Refashioned” book to use up some denim scraps that I have from making jeans. And your dress is another motivation to go ahead. It looks stunning and I like that it´s not topstiched. I think this is what you would expect with denim and being not topstiched makes it more special (does this make sense?). Great job!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. theupsew says:

    Thank you very much, I took apart an upcycled demin dress experiment I tried last year (think it will be a skirt) and that I topstitched ….took ages to take it apart! also advantages to not top stitching, but I do know what you mean, the top stitching would have brought it back to jeans and I think taken away from the lovely grain lines….. – Just checked that Sass Brown book on amazon – looks divine…..

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    • theupsew says:

      Thank you very much Barbara, I was just going thru the additional jeans I have picked since to figure out my next version. Still wondering on the pockets, I am thinking of pockets in a seam with zips to make it hang right as the current construction works very well….. its so comfortable to wear

      Like

  7. Jennifer Walkley says:

    This is a beautiful dress! The picture came in my email from Pinterest and I had to save it for a few days until I could read it thoroughly. Would love to make both top and dress. They are unique and stylish! Can’t ask for more!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sylvia Bellucci says:

    Quite by accident, I ran across your post. Omigosh! What a fabulous design, gorgeous dress, creative idea!!! Might you ever do a tutorial on the making of the dress. I’m a fair seamstress but this design has me slightly puzzled. Hints on how you accumulated your denim? Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • upsew says:

      hi – I make up the ‘fabric’ by patching together long strips of denim – from the legs of jeans – our charity shop sell denim occasionally for 1 euro a pair and I find mens or straight leg the best. the dress uses about 4 pairs but it can be tricky to get the shades right as synthetic indigo dye wont look right beside natural dye – and I usually place them side by side and photograph and judge by that. hot wash jeans before cutting and the fabric is patched together using the ‘log cabin’ block as starter – ie use a triangle as your first shape. I have a diagram of the sew in this blog post —–https://theupsew.wordpress.com/2018/09/16/denim-jean-dress-figs-and-blackberry-cough-syrup/
      best of luck

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  9. upsew says:

    I drafted this one – and it is very basic. – you can use any a-line pattern with bust and shoulder darts (no waist darts just side shaping) – you should be able to adapt one you have or use a simplicity vintage (or modern) one. I did not use facings in the neckline or armhole – just bias binding, and side zipper. and for this dress I just continued the shoulder seam line down by about 2.5 inches and did away with the armhole, just joining the line up….you may want to do a sheet muslin on that if you are unsure!

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    • upsew says:

      It genuinely is an easy sew, although my friends accuse me of always saying ….its soooo easy!!
      I dont have a pattern to share on this but intend to upload instructions on adapting a pattern and sewing this shortly (by end of june) – please see the pattern tips tab for this if you want to give it a go!

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    • upsew says:

      There is no pattern available for this. I do have a basic size 12 A-Line Dress block which I hope to get scanned once Covid restrictions are lifted here – but this will be the pattern I used for mine – each dress will be unique depending on the widths of your denim lengths.
      You can use any A-line dress pattern as your base for this, so perhaps you can adapt patterns you already own?
      The main thing is to make your chevron patchwork first (please see my instruction sheet in the pattern section) and then lay your pattern on this. Kind regards

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    • upsew says:

      I am due to scan the pattern block I used for this – and was supposed to do a workshop for fashion revolution week showing how to make these, but due to covid that was cancelled.

      The instructions are in the pattern page for making up the chrevron fabric, which you then cut out. You can use any a-line dress pattern you have already once there are no waist darts (as these will add bulk) and my recommendation is to use large strips of denim (again cutting out bulk and weight)

      Like

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