The Jeans Issue


How inspiring has Portia at the Makery’s Refashioners Challenge been this year? If you don’t know what it is all the details are here. Basically, it’s a challenge to turn old pairs of jeans into something new and I have surprised myself at all the ideas I’ve been having. If you’re stuck for ideas check out the blogger line up on the Makery. So many different makes yet all. so. good. For this refashion, I’ve used two pairs of jeans from a charity shop.

This challenge has actually come at a good time because patchwork denim is really in at the moment. Apparently there’s a thing called the Vetements Trend where the brand have been sourcing vintage jeans, and patching them together, which I actually REALLY want to try to replicate.

I wanted to go for an intentially messy look. Something clean-lined but with a wild and free edge to it. Also I just really wanted to give a nod towards the 90s. I was born during the middle of that decade and I loved my dungarees SO much when I was a kid. AND we had the Bananas in Pyjamas golden era! What a time to be a child.


After gathering up all my Pinterest inspiration I knew exactly what I had in mind so I decided to give drafting a top a go. For my first attempt at bodice drafting I don’t think it turned out too badly in the end. I did two toiles and boy did those armholes give me so much bother! I just couldn’t get them right. There was so much gaping above the bust at the armhole and I tried to tuck it out but really I had no idea what I was actually doing here. I fixed it a little and with the fraying at the armholes it isn’t very noticable but if anybody could point me in the direction of a Craftsy course or a good book on this I would really appreciate it!

Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

The whole garment wants to ride to the back over my shoulders. I think I would probably have needed to add length at the back shoulder seam, to fix this because when I pull it to the right position, the back armhole (armscye?) seems a bit tight.

Overall though I’m really happy with how it turned out. I really like the free back. It’s not very bra-friendly and I don’t happen to have a backless one so I’ve just been wearing this bra-free. Let me be the first to tell you I have never worn anything bra-free since my boobs arrived. They aren’t very big (at all) so support isn’t really the issue but usually I like that little bit of extra padding a bra gives. And I’d be terrified of my nips showing through. As much as I want to be a feminist and embrace bralessness, I still have my own insecurities. But with the thickness of the jeans denim I don’t have to worry about any of this. Wahey! Also, I did a stretch test with my arms in a number of positions. No peeking either!

The Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

And the structure of the top kind of skims past nicely. I think with the high neckline going on too, it doesn’t really draw your attention to it.

Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

But em, don’t mind my very bare, very pale back though! Sorry if it’s vampire state blinds you.

I just roughly cut waistband pieces off one of the pairs of jeans and topstiched it on, leaving the edges so that they can distress over time. I actually can get this top on and off over my head which is a blessing as I don’t have a maid to help me do up that button in the morning.

The Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

I stitched 5/8 in around all edges of the garment and then frayed the denim back to the stitching line. This takes an insanely long time so if you’re going to do this, don’t enter into it lightly.

The Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

On the patches I wanted to continue the frayed look so they didn’t seem out of place. On each patch I seamed one edge properly and then I topstitched the other edge without seaming it, leaving it to fray itself.

The Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

On the inside I, again, didn’t wanted a very finished look so I didn’t trim any seam allowances. I just stitched a line either side of the seam line, so that the seam allowances can fray over time, without getting anywhere near the important stitches.

The Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

I am so happy with this top! I’m glad it didn’t end up looking too patchworky and I can actually get away with wearing it with jeans without looking like Britney and Justin 2.0.

The Refashioners 2016 Denim Top

You have until the end of September to have a go yourself and I seriously encourage you to. This was my first refashion and it makes you think in a completely different way to approaching a ‘normal’ pattern with x yards of fabric. Especially with the jeans, I couldn’t have cut full pieces out of one pair so you have to think around it. I have more ideas on this but who knows whether I’ll actually get around to them in time!

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A Skirt Out of Season

Well, my plan of moving my sewing machine to London with me didn’t happen to say the least! It’s been one hell of a year and I’m glad to be home for a few weeks before the madness all starts again.


This is a self-drafted skirt I began in April but have only just got finished. While it’s only a simple skirt it was my first time making something that wasn’t from a pattern and like the first time I took my measurements, I was more than a little bit generous and had to take it in a good couple of times.

I made it from a 40cm length of wool fabric I got on the clearance rail in Craftswoman Fabrics in Carrickfergus hence the very short hem but I do actually like it that way. I think if I was going to make it again I might move the waistband up slightly. Especially as the fabric’s so thick at the waistband, I’m not sure quite how flattering it looks. It’s a little like a cube on me but a little cube I still quite like.


I did learn a few new techniques in this one. I successfully inserted an invisible zip on my 3rd attempt. Unpicking that was not fun. My problems with the first two goes were because I hadn’t uncurled the teeth enough to get close to them. I also blind stitched the hem on my machine. There are a couple of gaps where I didn’t quite catch the fabric on the right side but the hem’s not going to fall down anytime soon so I just left it.


It’s fully lined with a plain black lining fabric and the waistband is just interfaced, folded over and slip stitched by hand so that it didn’t look like a waistband. You can see in the photos that the fabric layers there are so thick that you can see the line where it stops anyway.

I’m really glad to be back home with my family and friends for a short time. It’s really tough moving away for the first time. Everything’s a new experience and I even had to Google search how to sort out colours, darks and whites, and whether or not I could tumble dry jeans. Well I can now say that I’ve made it through a year of independent living with only dying my bedsheet blue in the wash, and successfully removing many ice cream and chopped tomato stains. I don’t know what my Mum would have to say on that front but I’m calling it a success.