Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jeans + Jeans + Skirt = Refashioned Dress

I love a good upcycle project. It is the source of much creativity (and clutter) in my life. I have a hard time getting rid of stuff because I "know I can do something with it someday". The older I get, the more I am facing my mortality and the reality that I will need to live forever to get it all done. I recently released many potential projects to someone with a longer life expectancy than I, but saved a gem or two for myself. Pattern Review is having an Upcycle Contest and it was perfect motivation to knock out one of my refashion plans.



This dress began as its' life as two pairs of jeans and a skirt. I wanted a new creation that hinted to its original form.


The key element of this dress are these beaded jeans that I found at a resale store for $1.75! They are a brand called Sassy Thai a fair trade Thailand based company that employs local artisans. Each garment is custom made to order by one or more specialist in their craft. I cannot imagine the hours that went into making these jeans.  I knew I wouldn't wear them as they were because they are not my style. I bought them and hoped for an inspired project to come to mind that would honor the work done by the original artist.




I scoured my stash and found McCalls 7187. It was a good candidate for upcycling because of the shape of the inset and the option for contrasts. I love that the inset would use most of the bead work showcasing its' beauty. 
 Image result for 7187 mccalls
I chose to make view A because I could use the segments of the pattern with the three "fabrics" I chose. The length of the inset  corresponded with the length of the beaded leg panel of the jeans. I like the version with the gathered skirt as well, but could not imagine that bulk in denim on my hips. 


Image result for 7187 mccalls

Once I decided on the pattern, the trick was to figure out the best way to cut the jeans then,


a game of Tetris with the pattern pieces to make it fit while looking cohesive.



I decided to maintain the original hems from the jeans and skirt. I liked the lace border of the jeans and did not want to disrupt that. I decided to keep the hemline of the skirt so it is consistent with that of the lace in the jeans.



When I cut the inset from the beaded jeans, the edges had some of the side leg seams visible along the edges (see cut panel photo above). Those seams did not look good alongside the even seams from the upcycled skirt. I narrowed the inset slightly to remove those seams reducing the lower inset by 1-inch on each side. I top-stitched all of my seams to reduce bulk. 

I considered a three color back, but opted to skip it given the sparkle in the front. In a stroke of fortune, the seam lines from the skirt lined up with the back darts of the back bodice.


I liked the look of the neckline as it is in the pattern. When I tried it however, I felt it was too close and sat uncomfortably on my collarbone. I cut the front collar on the fold of the leg seam. That factored into the comfort and led to me lowering the front and back neckline by 1-inch.
                                

The drop waist on this dress is not a style to which I normally gravitate. I think however, this pattern is a perfect match to maximize the beaded leg panel.



I am really pleased with this finished dress. Do you know what the best thing is? Jeans have two legs! I have another panel to use on another refashion! I don't know what it will be, but I know it will be fun! 


Voting is open now. Click here to cast your vote! I appreciate it! 

Happy Sewing,
Bianca

43 comments:

  1. Use the other jeans leg on the back of a denim jacket -- to take this amazing dress into another season, when you wear it with its matching jacket.

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  2. You are so talented and creative! This dress is fantastic.

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    1. Thanks Tomasa! I'm pretty happy about it.

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  3. wow! this is amazing! thanks for posting!

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  4. I'm in love with this dress! Those jeans were pretty fabulous before, but the new life you gave them is so amazing!

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    1. Thanks so much! I knew I could do something with the wonderful beading.

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  5. Such a wonderful job as always ... FIESTA ;)

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  6. So much creativity and skill! What a fabulous outcome.

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  7. Your dress is amazing!!! I enjoy upcycled projects when you can't figure out what it started out as. Great job!!!

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    1. Thanks Sherri, I was going for a subtle nod to it's previous life.

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  8. That is beautiful and you are very smart.

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  9. I love your creativity. Your dress is sooooooooooo cute

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  10. This is wonderful. Love, love, love it. And You never fail to amaze me with your creativity.

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    1. Thanks! I am very happy​ with this dress.

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  11. Wow! Great upcycle/refashion of jeans! The dress is lovely and fit looks perfect!

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    1. Thanks so much Linda! The fit was tricky because of the varied fiber content of the 3 pieces, I am glad it worked out.

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  12. Way to go Bianca! Beaded denim is on my hit list, and that you found it and didn't have to go through the amazing amount of hours to bead it yourself is even better! I'm going to go looking for some more pins for my Altered Denim board! The drop waist is a great balance for the different colors of the denim. You worked out the fit well too and the style is perfect on you!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I really lucked out with the bead work on these jeans. I knew with the level of work put into them and the price I couldn't pass them up. I saw your IG post and I'm really intrigued by your entry. Can't wait to see it all.

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  13. So creative! (Of course :)) Question - since the whole dress is bottomweight denim, does it feel heavy to wear? And were any of the jeans stretch denim, or were they all regular denim? It's been years since I wore a pair of jeans, and can't imagine turning them into a dress. It's so fantastic! Excellent job.

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    1. Thanks so much! And such good questions. I haven't worn it beyond trying it for fittings and the photoshoot. The limited time I wore it did not feel too heavy at all. I think the fact that the heavier part is the beadwork and it goes down the center front, it balances without weight. The upper back bodice and beadwork sections are a spandex denim blend. My guess is probably 3% spandex. the lower skirt portion is 100% cotton lightweight denim. The combinations seem to play well together. The seams are double stitched. Once on my regular machine, and a second time with the serger. That combination feels like it's stable and will counterbalance any fabric content differences.

      I don't normally gravitate toward denim for dresses either. I just took inspiration from the beaded jeans and had to go this way. I am very pleased with how it came together.

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  14. Bianca, this is amazing! You find the best garments at thrift shops! I hope to come across something this lovely some day! I love what you've done....truly amazing!

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  15. Thanks so much Sue! I do make some good thrift store finds. I love what you are doing with denim weaving! I can't wait to see the end result.

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  16. Bianca, I love this outfit. Especially since it's denim. You did forget to mention an important detail in your post. Ladies, follow the link and VOTE for Bianca! It looks like voting starts on June 1. I will be heading over to vote for you tomorrow morning!

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    1. Thanks so much Marina! Voting is open, I will update it with the voting link! Thanks for your vote.

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