These men's, hip hop style, Guess jeans have been languishing in my sewing room forever waiting for a good overhaul. The denim was pretty nice and there was a fair bit of it in those legs, despite the waist almost fitting me. I recall with a smile the
skater boys sk8r boyz of the 90s getting about in similar ludicrous styles and thinking they were the beez kneez! It was time to do something with these and with the Aussie Sewing Guild's Castaway to Couture competition currently running, now was the time.
Had I known how much work it was going to be I may not have embarked on this project. I nearly scrapped it halfway through when it was a shapeless, disjointed muddle, but I'm rarely one to give up on a sewing project so I pressed on. It took many hours, but I think it turned out alright in the end.
I believe that a successful refashion incorporates some features of the original garment into the new one. I wanted to make a dress from my jeans and, after contemplating many options, I decided to use the upper part of the jeans for the skirt and the legs for the bodice. I thought a front-opening bodice would tie in nicely with the skirt and I found this vintage Simplicity pattern with a zip front that I used to start me off. By the way, that small pile of scraps above is all I had left of the jeans when the dress was finished!
My first step was to cut off the legs leaving enough fabric for the bodice and skirt in the two sections. That first cut was a bit scary.
I then cut along the crotch seam so I could start forming the skirt. It ended up being really tricky to get the front and back centre seams of the skirt sitting nicely. I had to unpick nearly all the original seams to finally get it looking ok. Since the original waistband almost fitted me, I left that as it was. I managed to cut the bodice pieces out of the legs and the unpicked jeans cuffs became the collar. You can see the fading where the cuffs were originally turned up.
I adjusted the bodice to fit the waistband, while still fitting me, and sewed the bodice to the skirt. The button stands were cut from small scraps and their insides were pieced together as there weren't big enough pieces left! I redid the unpicked topstitching on the skirt and used similar topstitching on the bodice seams to match the original as closely as I could. The armholes were finished with bias binding, from the op shop of course. The seams above and below the armholes at the back are the original jeans seams.
The final touches were the front snaps and some rustic sashiko-style stitching here and there (with op-shop embroidery thread) for some added interest on the plain denim. The belt is the original jeans belt.
And now for some pictures!
I am so pleased that this competition pushed me into doing this refashion as it's been ages since I did one. I really enjoyed how the process evolved and changed to suit the challenges imposed by fabric quantity and existing seams. I also loved using nearly every last scrap from those jeans and embellishing with recycled bias binding and thread. The five metal snaps are the only new thing I used. I am very happy with the final dress and I look forward to wearing it proudly!
If you would like to enter the competition or see (and vote for) the entries, visit the Australian Sewing Guild Facebook page. You need to like the page to vote. Entries close 31st May 2016.