Here we are, at the halfway point of another spectacular Refashioners series. Thank you Portia for including me again! And thank you for your patience…. I was a really naughty refashioner this year, delivering my post very late. The explanation, as you will be able to see evidence of in my photo’s below, is that my life has been in boxes for a while. The reason being moving countries for the second time in two years, starting a business, holding up two freelance jobs and planning a wedding. Oh, and finishing my masters thesis. And moving in with my mother (temporarily but still…). All of this has unfortunately meant that my sewing and blogging has been pretty non-existent.
So, carving out time to do this challenge felt SO GOOD. My hands had missed the feeling of fabric, and my ears the buzzing (although perhaps not my boyfriend’s…) of my sewing machine. Although, the denim theme of this year’s challenge had me puzzled for a while. I love jeans. Wear them all the time. It’s so much my go to piece of clothing that I’ve been accused of not being very feminine (I know, people have a lot of deluded ideas about what femininity is). But refashioning denim is a whole other kettle of fish. While there are a huge amount of ingenious upcyling projects with denim, most of them are just too….denimy? If that makes sense. So I thought long and hard (with the help of good old Pinterest) about what to make.
In the end, necessity won out. I needed a pair of dungarees. My sister and I, with whom I’m now running a Bed & Breakfast, thought it would be fun to have dungarees as our ‘uniform’ while working. Practical, fashionable and comfortable – all in one clever package. And I figured that it couldn’t be too hard to make a pair. With refashioners in mind, I decided to give myself the challenge of making some out of one pair of men’s jeans! I call the result… house moving chic! This is a very picture heavy post as I go through the construction steps.
I started with buying a pair of men’s jeans. Danish charity shops are golden, and I found a good pair of Diesel jeans for about £6!
They were a pretty large size men’s jeans, but my lovely lady hips meant I had to make them a bit bigger to be able to take them on and off easily. Dungarees obviously don’t have a functioning zipper or button on the waistband… Luckily, these jeans already had these strange inserted side panels as you can see in the below image. I decided to simply take them out and insert ones that were a bit wider in order to create a looser fit that I could pull on easily.
Wanting to use as much of the jeans as possibly, I cut off the jeans at a nice short length, and used the cut off bits to create the bib and a few other details.
I was going to try to also create the waistband and straps out of the same material, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric. I had to cheat with some old denim from my fabric stash.
I looked at a load of photo’s of dungarees on Pinterest and estimated roughly how wide the bib should be, and started cutting. I also cut out a pocket to add to the bib. I finished the edges with a simple overlocked seam, only folding the edges in by about ¾” to save fabric.
The trickiest aspect of the construction was the waistband. Initially, I thought I could just keep the original one, but it would have looked too strange with the button and button hole still there. So, I simply took off the old waistband, and use it as a pattern piece for a new one.
I did keep the original belt loops, only ripping the top seam as in the photo’s below. Oh and before I added the new waistband I added the slightly wider side panels I cut out using materials from the jeans. Without having done much measuring, I lucked out and had managed to cut out pieces that were wide enough to create a decent enough fit. I could also have used a contrast fabric as in this image – something to keep in mind for next time.
Once the waistband had been added to the bib, I attached it all to the shorts. I topstitched the waistband all the way around and re-attached the belt loops.
The final step was cutting out and attaching the straps. I simple measured the length I needed and cut out 4 panels around 3 inches wide and sewed two straps. Rather than using dungaree fasteners (or whatever they are called) or buttons I went for a speedy solution and simply stitched them on.
As you can see the waistband and the straps are a slightly darker shade of denim thanks to using a store bought fabric. I’m thinking about dying the dungarees black to create a more even look. What do you think? Either way, here is the final product!
I have pretty much lived in these since I made them. They have been PERFECT for all the schlepping about we’ve been doing, and they have done several rounds at the B&B too. They aren’t perfect. The bib is a bit loose thanks to a sliiightly dodgy waistband construction and there is quite a gap in the back. And if I would do it again I would have added a small panel at the back, rather than having the straps attached straight on the waistband (something like this). But all in all, a successful refashion! They look great with a slightly baggy vest top underneath, like the jersey Bantam top (from Merchant and Mills Workbook) I’m wearing in the photo’s.
Refashioning is such a brilliant thing to do. I don’t do half as much of it as I should, most likely because I’m too lazy for all the problem solving involved in the process. So thanks Portia for yet again reminding me (and all of you) how much fun it is!
I love a refashion that solves a problem. And that’s exactly what this has achieved by yielding a really current and wearable wardrobe staple from a pair of jeans that didn’t fit. Total win. If it had been a larger pair of jeans no doubt Ingrid would have been able to squeeze the straps and waistband out of the original denim; or if she didn’t have the time pressures that a deadline imposes (I know, I’m evil) then she may have been able to source some denim in a similar colour wash to the source garment. But actually, it’s just perfect as it is. What a brilliant way to reconfigure a pair of jeans!
You can find Ingrid here or here. And if you’re inspired to get your refashion on and enter the Community Challenge and be in with a chance of winning some epic prizes…DO IT! Deadline for entries is 30th Sept. Midnight GMT.
….I think you’ve got the idea now right? Essentially we want you to refashion some jeans! (You can find the full details/small print of the brief here). BUT, if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these amazing prize packages you need to SHARE that refashion with us in one of the following ways:
- On Instagram: Share a pic using the hashtags #therefashioners2016 and #jeanius
- On Pinterest: There is a community board here where you can pin your makes. (You will need to request an invite to join)
- On Facebook: There is a community board here where you can post your makes (You will need to request an invite to join)
Only entries shared via the above 3 methods will be entered into the competition. Closing date for entries is 30th September 2016 Midnight GMT. Good luck!!