This year’s challenge for “The Refashioners” refashion series is to remake a pair of jeans into something, with the majority of the finished project coming from the source garment, that is, it should be a mainly denim item.
Personally, I rarely work with denim as I do worry that I’d get carried away and end up with something like this (below), that is, something very obviously having been made from a pair of old jeans. It looks a bit strange because there are very few garment types that are typically made from the same heavy denim as jeans are – even denim jackets use lighter weight denim.
So, my target garment for this fabric had to be another pair of jeans. Cut up jeans to make more jeans, you ask? What is the point?
Well, the look I’m hoping to emulate is a designer pair of jeans which is made from… old jeans. These Vetements Fall 2015 jeans originally retailed at $1450 (images borrowed from Net a Porter) and they came in several different styles. The label basically bought up loads of vintage Levi 501s (!!) and cut them up using their own pattern to make an interesting new style.
Key to the look is the ‘pocket within a pocket’ shapes on the back (no actual back pockets), seams down the front and back legs, and uneven, unfinished hems.
These were absolutely everywhere at one time… like you could barely read a fashion blog without seeing them at some fashion week or other.
I actually read quite a few articles praising these jeans before coming across one that mentioned they use TWO pairs of vintage Levis for each finished pair. Two! Pairs! Of vintage, wearable jeans!
Of course, I’m going to emulate these using something ugly and turning it into something… interesting, if not 100% beautiful.
I started with a pair of ordinary jeans.
These particular jeans are bog standard Marks and Spencer dad-jeans of absolutely no fashion merit of any kind (no vintage Levis were harmed in the making of this project). The only criteria for selection were that they were a little big on me (but not massively outsized) and they are a fairly light wash (so the pocket shapes will show up once the pockets are removed).
I picked these up in my local Cancer Research shop for £2. Bargain!
First step obviously was to remove the back pockets and remove the lint (urgh). Note the lovely colour difference between the washed areas and the original denim (this is key to getting the look).
I unpicked the waistband everywhere except the centre front section (that would be hard to sew back on).
I unpicked also the back seam.
I merrily cut up the back legs and at ninety degrees into the centre back seam.
Sewing the back sections in gave me the look I wanted for the pocket sections, but my overenthusiastic seam allowance left me with a bit of a gap at centre back, as it turns out.
Trying them on, I made a new centre back seam.
Because of the aforementioned gap, I ended up with a dark blue stripe in the middle. No big deal.
I cut up the front legs, making sure to cut far enough away from any rivets that I could sew it back together without having to sew over any.
I included the pocket bags in the seams, so the front pockets still work.
The slight colour variations in the wash help emphasise the new style lines, I think.
I made some fitting adjustments on the back seams to make them a bit tighter, but overall the fit was OK.
The only issue was to shorten the waistband accordingly.
I cut it and reattached it in two places (to avoid bulk from seam allowances at the join between the centre back seam and the waistband). I actually ended up sewing the belt loop back on by hand as it was more than my machine could take!
And here are the finished jeans!
There is room for my phone in the front pockets, just about.
I left the hems uneven and unfinished. To get them to unravel a bit, I just ran them through the washing machine.
The back pocket pattern I think looks great!
Thank you Portia for asking me to be part of this series again!