Re-fashioners 2016 : Patchwork Denim Dress

Re-fashioners 2016 : Patchwork Denim Dress

Posted by Helen | September 19, 2016 | Into My Closet, Refashion
Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

I could not be more excited to share my latest creation with you today, it is my contribution to this year’s Re-fashioners 2016 Jeanious challenge! Every year there is an exciting new challenge and every year there are incredible refashions to swoon over.  This year, the challenge was to refashion jeans and I decided it was high time I participated in this awesome event.  Any type of jeans will do, as long as they are jeans (pants) and not other denim garments. You can use as many as you need to complete the challenge, so there is no shortage of fabric to work with.  If you want to read more about the Re-fashioners challenge, head over the the Makery for oodles of inspiration and more details.Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress
Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress
Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressRe-fashioners 2016


 

For my refashion, I used three pairs of Sam’s old jeans that didn’t fit him anymore.  He had about eight pairs to choose from, but I ended up going with the three pairs of Levis because the denim was a similar quality and feel on all three, and the construction was consistent.  I knew I wanted to make a loose dress with some diagonal design lines after seeing Megan Nielsen’s inspiration post, so I did a quick sketch and fell in love with the idea of hidden pockets on the diagonal lines.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016

I drafted a quick cocoon shaped dress with a slashed neckline and began drawing lines on it until I was satisfied with the shapes.  I planned to open up the jeans along the inseam and work the outer seam into the design to save me some time and effort. I marked all the edges that needed a seam allowance added so that when I traced it out, I would be sure to include it. Once ready, I cut up my pattern block and got to work tracing!

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016

It turned out I had JUST enough denim to make this work with the three pairs, so it was a bit tight.  That said, it forced me to use every bit of the jeans and work some of the flaws into my dress, which turned out to be my favourite thing about it!

I sewed the denim pieces together, inserting the pockets (using the inseam pocket method), for each side of the front and the back.  I then sewed up the center front and back seam, followed by the side seams.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016

The top front, back, and armscye were constructed separately and sewn onto the rest of the dress last.  I did this because I wanted to fully line the top to allow for a nice clean neckline. I also included the Levis logo and tagline “good quality never goes out of style” to the inside back of the dress.  I pulled this from the pocket lining of one of the pairs of jeans.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016

I won’t sugar coat it, this dress was very challenging to pull together.  The denim seams were so bulky, my poor sewing machine could barely make it happen.  With much trimming and reducing, I was able to sew and serge all the edges of the dress to ensure it wouldn’t fray to pieces on the inside. The points where the diagonal lines meet are quite stiff, but I am happy to report that they aren’t uncomfortable, nor do they detract from the shape of the dress (I think).

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

I honestly wasn’t sure if this dress would be amazing or a hot mess, and I was prepared for either.  Thankfully, when I put it on for the first time when it was 90% done, it looked amazing!  It is really comfortable, which I was not expecting.  I’m not sure why, since jeans are so comfortable, but I kind figured the bulky seams would be awkward.  On the contrary, it is like being wrapped up in well worn denim and I love how it feels.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

I could not be more pleased with this project, it is easily one of my favourite things I have ever made.  Huge thanks to the Re-fashioners 2016 team and to Portia for organizing it, I love love love my dress and would never have made it without your encouragement! <3

Now, please forgive me while I bombard you with pictures 😛

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

One of the things I knew I wanted to include in my dress design was pockets!  The temptation to use the back pockets of the jeans was strong, but I didn’t want to over complicate the design and detract from the nice, clean lines I had going on.  I opted for secret pockets hidden in the diagonal lines, inserted using a basic inseam pocket method.  They ended up being the perfect height and angle, and I made them nice an big (of course).  I also used this darling printed cotton with crossed scissors on it, perfect for the refashioners challenge!

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

I did include one of the existing pockets from the jeans in my design, a small one from the inside of the front pocket. I had originally planned to use it as a breast pocket (like in my sketch), but after pinning it in various places I liked how it looked lower down.  It is still a good height for my hand and big enough to put a bus pass or something small in.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressAnother little detail I pulled in was the leather Levis patch from the green jeans.  It was a black patch instead of the usual brown, and It looks great on the side of the dress.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

One of the most challenging parts of the dress was the top portion, which I fully lined. It was pieced together from small scraps and included some of the back pocket (once the pocket had been removed).  It was going to be too thick to make the shoulders connect and lie flat, so I decided to show off a raw edge here, my only raw edge in the whole project surprisingly!

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

For the hem of the dress I simply serged the edge and turned it up 2″ before sewing.  I considered doing a blind hem but decided it would be OK to have some topstitching on the project….and I was tired….ok, mostly I was tired.

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

I had a lot of fun wearing my dress inside-out to get some shots of the construction.  We were just outside our apartment, so I didn’t have to go far, but I think it actually looks pretty awesome either way, what do you think?

Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress  Helen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork DressHelen's Closet Refashioners 2016 Denim Patchwork Dress

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Blog Comments

Amazing effort! Love the pockets!

Thank you!

Stunning! I love how you put the pockets in those diagonal seams!!

Thanks, meg!

Such a fantastic dress, Helen! It’s stunning and I also admire your precision in lining up all those seam lines!

Thank you!

Oh Man! I love this – especially the neckline. and the lining. and the pockets. Soo damned good, and a VERY efficient use of the recovered fabric! I’ve never seen the inseam pocket used vertically – great adaptation!

Thank you! I am loving the vertical inseam pocket too!

Megan’s dress was truly inspiring! And you did a great job with yours too, Helen! The pockets are jeanius! LOL

lol! thanks, Abbey!!

Woo Hoo! What a great refashion Helen! I love your cocoon silhouette. And…well…pockets! Those pockets are jeanius! I’ve just finished my refashion…I had as much fun as you did.

Thanks, Sue! I cant wait to see yours!!

Great refashion and a good description of the make. Well done.

Thank you!!

its gorgeous – love the symmetry, and incredibly neat finish…..and pockets… what a bonus. looks lovely on you

Thank you so much!

It turned out amazing Helen!! I love all those diagonals, and I imagine it feels wonderful to wear. My Aunt used to make denim quilts out of old jeans, and they were always so soft and comforting.

Thanks, Heather! I so want to make a quilt or maybe just a cushion cover with some denim scraps, it makes such a unique piece and so durable, too!

Wow, Helen, that is fantastic. You did a great job! Your diagonal seams are so well matched.

Thank you Cathy! That was the hardest part for sure!

[…] Wednesday, makers!  I’ve got my sew-jo going full strong these days since my refashioners success.  I want to make ALL the things before my trip to New York in October. I’ve also begun work […]

This is lovely!! I love how the lines work for this dress. And I think the insides look fabulous too!

Thanks so much!

This is gorgeous! I love how much it looks like your hand drawn design and it’s super cool 🙂

Thanks!

Love it! Easily my favourite refashion by far. So well done!

Awww, thanks, Jillian!

Oh, I love this dress! A fabulous refashion

Thank you!!

This is amazing! I love the pockets and the dress <3

Thank you, Sara!

This dress is absolutely ingenious, a masterpiece and very inspirational. Excellent Job, you should be very proud of yourself!

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