Monday, August 7, 2017

Jeans Vest

This project was inspired by a recent article in Threads magazine - Jeans to Jacket by Mary Ray (July 2017 Number 191. I love almost everything that Mary designs. And I've been wanting to play with the Tabula Rasa jacket pattern again. Also I found a pair of DH's jeans in the trash. He thought they were too worn to even give to charity. But they were just right for a remake.

First I took the jeans apart, as much as I could. DH helped me remove the rivets. As mentioned in a previous post, this created fabric with all sorts of interesting resist patterns from the years (and years and years) of wear. I took one belt loop apart but tossed the rest. I kind of wish I had kept those too. They would have made such interesting closures for the front. I used the one on the back:

Stitching added to one shoulder area where the knee was extra worn.

Because of the fairly narrow pattern pieces in the Tabula Rasa, I was able to cut most parts with a minimum of piecing. Of course, I wanted some piecing to show the interesting patterns. But, I was unable to cut out the sleeves from this one pair of jeans.

I purchased another pair of cotton jeans from the thrift store and tested the sleeves but they were so much heavier than the other denim that I had to remove them. I'm glad I did.

I'm guessing that even thrift stores don't want jeans as well worn as DH's. After removing the sleeves, I rearranged some pieces and did the finishing work. I cut a front band facing from a light weight denim remnant in stash. I cut bias binding from a piece of cotton shirting and used that for some of the seam finishing, as well as the hem. I added the small ticket pocket to the front at the chest level. It is the only functioning pocket. So far.

This vest is surprisingly light weight but obviously there are a number of worn places. These are great opportunities for boro stitch, patch and sashiko. So that's next.

I am particularly fond of the Lee leather patch. That must be used somewhere. And I have just discovered another pair of pants that really need to be recycled, don't you think? But I do not have permission. Yet.

This was a fun project and, as usual, I learned some things. Denim is not so easy to sew, but it's easier when it's old. It's surprisingly easy to disassemble with a good seam ripper. And I think I will actually wear this. It will be another work-in-progress that can be worn in the meantime.

This worked out just like those stash-busting contests. I have more jeans parts now than I did at the beginning.


  1. Love this! and love that it can keep on evolving--with boro etc.

  2. Another great garment idea. Reminds me of your seed stitch jacket that you can wear yet keep working on. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Fabulous! Great use of all the pieces of fabric.

  4. I have found very worn jeans at the Goodwill by the pound store. You can also request that a local thrift shop save jeans which are too worn for them to sell for you.

  5. This really would have been a strong contender in a Jeans refashion contest, it is fabulous!!

  6. I really like your vest. No sleeves necessary! Nice that you will continue to stitch on it. If it were me, it would be stuck where it is because if it was wearable, in my head I would consider it "done"!

  7. Great job! Very artfully designed and inspirational to me! Thanks for sharing!!!