This refashion has been such a long time in the making, I am so excited to share it with you! The story for how this came about it a little long, so I wanted to share my photos in-between all that text!
Before this refashion, the only denim jacket in my wardrobe was from middle school. I feel like I’ve mentioned that before here on the blog, but it’s true, my Gap Kids denim jacket is still getting its wear in my wardrobe. The sleeves are way too short, and the body looks awkwardly short with pants and shirts, so the arms always stay rolled, and I only wear it over dresses. I don’t wear it all that often, but I haven’t found a RTW version that I liked to replace it.
So when Seamwork Audrey came out, I knew it was a pattern to go on my “make list”. My initial thought was to make it out of recycled materials, because there is a crazy amount of used denim in the world! The only old jeans I had in my stash were a mix of light and dark denim and I just didn’t want that much shade difference to make it look super upcycled. Not having the proper pieces, I decided to wait to make it.
A few weeks ago I was thrifting for some jeans for another project (I’ll share soon!) and had some leg remnants left over – as well as an extra pair I didn’t end up using for the other project. So I finally had a good amount of fabric to play with!
The plan was in place, the materials gathered, I was ready. Then I saw this beautiful photo on pinterest and a little lightbulb went off in my head. I would finally be able to use this fabric remnant I’ve been dying to use!
We all have those pieces in our stash that you have a general idea for, and even though it doesn’t feel 100% right, there is an eventual purpose for that fabric. No, just me the hoarder? Alrighty then. Well, I had this remnant I got from a friend and the print was so beautiful, I wanted to make a shirt for myself to enjoy the print. I was struggling with finding the right pattern and fabric to mix with it, and (if you zoom in on the photo) there were grommets on each panel, so the only true usable piece was the top corner. So this piece sat until I could spend more time on it. (I should also mention it’s similar to a quilting cotton)
After seeing that inspiration, I knew this fabric was destined to go with my new denim jacket.
I have a huge problem when it comes to sewing projects, because even if I have a whole pile of unfinished things, I need to start new ideas to constantly keep my mind flowing. So I left behind a dress due in a few weeks and cutting out new backpacks to make this jacket.
Seamwork’s goal has always been about quick projects you can finish in a few hours, and I’m not sure why my mind accepted that to be true for something like a denim jacket. They shifted their pattern’s a few months ago to be a little more detailed, so this project took way longer than expected. I was hoping to finish last week, but I really wanted to take more time to make it perfect, so I waited to share and I think it was worth it.
Audrey has a lot of pattern pieces. And since I’m tiny, my jeans are tiny, so I had a lot less fabric to work with – and I really had to stretch my thinking when cutting out the fabric. I used one pair of remnant jean legs, one full pair of jeans, and had to make the sleeves and a few other pieces out of fabric leftover from my handmade jeans, as well as using the fabric remnant for the back piece and pocket linings. If you want to make your own recycled denim jacket, I would suggest to get 4-5 pairs, to be safe.
I have seen versions of recycled denim jackets (scroll down to see more inspo!) and knew I wanted mine to have symmetry and purpose, not just a bunch of scraps thrown together. I made sure each side “matched” denim (ex. each center middle panel were cut from the same pair of jeans). When it comes to using multiple pieces to make something new, it really comes down to fabric placement to create the final look.
Details about Audrey:
Cut: Size 2
Modifications to pattern: Added 1″ to the sides of Back Center Panel & removed 1″ from Back Side Panel.
Problem Areas: The welt pockets. I’ve made welt pockets before (Refashioned Bomber) but they are not commonly on my radar. Once I read the directions about 10 times to let them really sink in, it all clicked. Seamwork does have an article about Welt Pockets, which is a great resource as well.
Everything else went together smooth. I also ran out of topstitching thread, so not all areas have the pretty gold stitching, but I think it works out well that way.
Details about my back modification: My fabric panel had this beautiful border and I wanted to use at least a bit of it on the back. To make this happen, I extended the back center panel 1″ on both sides, and took 1″ from the back side panel to account for the modification. I also quilted my back fabric to give it a little more body. It was a simple quilting, but adding batting and a backing, definitely gave the back a sturdier feel.
I added this lace leftover from my refashioned kimono right under the panel. Originally I had it going cross the entire back, but re-did it to go across just the panel as it looks cleaner.
My hope for this jacket is to rough it up a little. It does have a worn in feel since it’s almost all used jeans, but taking some sand paper or a razor to a few sections is something I’m looking into. I also wouldn’t mind adding more trim if I come across cohesive trim I like. I really feel like this could turn into one of those pieces that stays in my wardrobe until I’m old and grey and my kids want to borrow it for a “retro feel”. I’m excited to see what adventures there are for this jacket in the future.
This etsy shop is filled with “festival style” denim jackets and it’s huuuuge embellishment inspo!
Add a little colored denim for a more unique look.
The next jacket isn’t super related but I have to share because it’s amaaazing!
A girl after my own creative heart: Once Upon A Lauren was featured on Hoboken Girl awhile ago and I’ve been in love with her work since! Tell me this hand-painted leather jacket isn’t drop dead GORGEOUS! Thrift Upcycling at it’s finest!
If you spot a great denim or leather jacket at a thrift store, or have one gathering dust in the back of your closet, I hope this inspires you to have a little fun!