Refashion Runway: Denim!

This week’s challenge for Refashion Runway is Denim. You can see the entries from all the competitors, and vote for your favourites (including moi), here.

Going with the Denim theme, I’m starting with this pair of jeans from Scope in Lewisham (£4). They are a nice dark, even colour with a little bit of stretch.



I’m planning on making  a denim skirt. Not your ordinary, run of the mill denim skirt, but something a bit more fancy. A sectioned pencil skirt with mini-peplums at the sides.


Here’s a brief description of how to draft this flattering shape.

If you don’t have a skirt block, you may find this video helpful.

Note that my darts point slightly outwards whereas on the video they point straight down. Not really a big deal, but if you want your skirt to match mine exactly, better make them point out a bit like in the picture below. Also, this block has no ease, because I want a tight fitting skirt and my denim is a little stretchy.


Next thing to do was to take a little off the hem to give us a tight fitting shape. I took off 2cm at the hem from both sides and redrew my side curves.


Then, divide your skirt into sections (red lines below), using the dart legs as a guide but making a nice curve.


Then you can rub out your construction lines to reveal your four sections. Cut them out, or trace them off if you want to add seam allowances at this stage.


To draw the mini-peplum, take your side back and side front pieces and line them up along the waistline so that the curves match up. Then spread them apart by a few centimetres, depending on how much you want your peplum to stick out (how exaggerated a shape do you want?). I only want a slight flare, so I separated mine around 3cm, but you could easily separate more for a peplum that sticks out more. You can then trace off your peplum shape, making it as long as you want (mine is 18cm). Note that your peplum piece is probably not symmetrical.


Of course you also need a waistband; because it’s just a rectangle I didn’t bother drawing a pattern for that, just cut it out.

When I placed my pieces on my jeans, it soon became clear that there wasn’t going to be enough denim to make the whole thing. So I had to enlist some rather lovely African wax print fabric with prints of leaves on it in a co-ordinating colour. I am rather fond of this material, but it’s quite thin. I therefore underlined all the non-denim pieces with leftover black cotton sateen from last week’s stripes project.


Here are my pieces. The side panels are wax print fabric, the front and back are denim. There was only one part of the jeans that was big enough for the entire front panel, so cutting was a little tricky!


There wasn’t much left of the jeans but I may make the scraps into a matching top of some sort at some point.


The mini-peplums are lined with the wax print fabric. Sew the long curved line first, then turn and press, pulling the lining a couple of millimetres to the inside so it doesn’t show. You can then treat these lined pieces as normal.

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Here it is during assembly.


The centre back has an invisible zip which was salvaged from an old garment. The tape is dark blue/purple, but when sewn in I noticed the pull is black. Grr!


I didn’t draft a vent, just left a slit in the back for walking purposes. I actually topstitched around it, and around the hem, sadly no photo of that though.


The final step is attaching the waistband. Mine is denim on the outside, wax fabric on the inside.

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I left long tabs at the end of the waistband so they would overlap.


Because I don’t like the look of my home made buttonholes (I am not very good at them), I put the buttonhole on the inside tab, and the button on the inside of the outside tab, so it buttons up towards the inside. A little tricky to get in and out of, but it’s pretty much hidden from the outside.

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Here’s how it looks on. It’s intended to be a summer skirt, but the weather here in London is not co-operating AT ALL. So I only have indoor pictures right now… sorry.

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Don’t forget to head over to Refashion Runway and vote! Thanks in advance!



  1. Katy

    Wow, that’s a pretty amazing transformation! I love the addition of the African wax print, its a perfect summer skirt :)

    • charityshopchic

      Thanks Patti! I’m really glad I remembered I had that African wax print. I have about 8m left (it comes in 10m x 1m pieces) so I think you’ll be seeing a few more pieces with this fabric incorporated before the end of the summer… I haven’t tested its colourfastness yet though… eek!

  2. Sarah

    Amazing work! Love the combo of the denim and print and flattering silhouette. I love seeing the construction and drafting process just as much as the final product so thanks for taking the time to document it all!

  3. Amy

    I love the combination of fabrics,they compliment each other very well! I love getting your blog, so inspiring!

  4. Elizabeth

    This skirt is absolutely amazing! Excellent job! Your pattern drafting skills are so impressive!

    – Elizabeth
    aka The Hungry Octopus

  5. Tia yarbrough

    I love your blog and the way you refashion the outdated outfit and turn it into something modern everyday look, beautiful, and well made..BRAVO! I am voting for you all the way…good luck my dear.

  6. Caroline Jones

    Your creativity and vision is always outstanding! Love this refashion, absolutely gorgeous!

  7. offsquare

    That. Is. Incredible! Seriously, the skirt is amazing and the touch of peplum on a pencil skirt has me in awe. You’re legendary. Thanks for sharing the pattern too! It’s so good to see all the ins and outs of it all.

  8. zibergirl

    Your skirt is so lovely! I really like how you incorporated the African print and those fashionable peplums. You’re one of my favorites this week. Thank you for the tutorial on how to make this look. You make sound so easy.

  9. sewamysew

    I’ve got to get me some wax prints!! I’m planning to pick some up when I’m in London in July.

    I love this make, the best entry by far!!! Good luck

    • charityshopchic

      Definitely – you can get them on Goldhawk Road, amongst other places. They usually come in 10m lengths – enough to make a whole co-ordinating wardrobe, if that is what you desire ;-)

  10. photosarah

    Love the color of the denim. It looks great as a skirt, especially with the wax print.

  11. Sandra

    Love it! thank you for being such a great teacher, too. I am trying to use patterns, I free sew and never get clean results. :)

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Sandra, you are welcome. I’m glad you found this helpful. Sometimes a mixture of free sewing and pattern cutting can produce the best results – the real trick is knowing when to use each technique!

  12. Caroline

    thanks for those really clear drafting diagrams – you made sense where many (including my uni tutors!) failed!

  13. Amy

    Ooh, cute mini peplums! And a super-classy denim skirt. Proves just how much potential there is left in an old pair of jeans.

  14. Julia

    wow, I’m totally blown away! You’re right on trend and the fit is fabulous. Great job!

  15. diytotry

    Hi! I just discovered you blog and loved it immediately! Really inspiring! Went through all your refashions and this is one of my favourites! You are really talented! =)

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