Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Denim Skirt

I wear jeans a lot. When I say a lot, I mean almost every day. The trouble with this is I tend to wear through a pair in just a few months, and most of my pairs go the same way. A hole will appear, normally on a seam somewhere. I'll think about mending them and then notice that there are two or three more baby holes just ready to spring into life, so I just pop them to the back of the wardrobe and buy a new pair. As the holes are all fairly localised to one area and most of the material is fine, I feel bad throwing all the old jeans away and so I hoard them. Then I feel guilty for taking up so much space with useless clothes. What to do?!

Then I found this:

Skirt made by Christephi at 'Christephis Sprouting Flowers'

I got quite excited. A whole new skirt make from all those jeans at the back of my cupboard. I dug them all out and totted up - five pairs of jeans all with plenty of usable material. So, last month, I thought I'd give it a go.

I drew out a pattern according to the instructions and based on a 72" hem line (maybe I should have gone bigger with this?), and cut out material from four different pairs of jeans. I decided to try and utilise the existing hems as this would save me time later - though this did mean I had to reject some of the material being rather worn out!

Next I had to decide how to arrange my strips. I had eight pieces that were all a fairly similar dark blue, and four paler, striped bits. I laid them out in a regular pattern and then rearranged them using a random number generator, and decided that I preferred the regular arrangement (no surprises there).

The next stage was to think about waistbands and pockets. I wanted to make these from a contrasting material rather than more denim and so delved deep into our material box and found some bits left over from making my handbag last year.

Everything now assembled I started sewing together the strips, starting at the hem end of each to try and get as even a hem as possible.

Once I'd sewn together six of the strips (half way there!) I considered the pocket. You've guessed it - I found an online tutorial and whizzed up a pocket set between two of the navy strips. Then I continued to sew the pieces together until I had eleven pieces attached.

Then the zip. I was so pleased with my a-line skirt that I copied this technique, and then finished off the side seam. Finally I made it into the round by sewing along the last of the long seams.

Having then tried it on I decided that the fit wasn't quite right and decided to tighten the seams between each of the panels across the back of the skirt - the equivalent of putting in a couple of darts - so that it fitted snuggly around my waist.

All that then remained was to tidy up the waist. This proved trickier than I had originally thought, mostly due to my stupidity. When I had cut out the waistband I had made it rectangular based on the measurement at the top of the skirt. I think this would have been fine before I tightened the seams, but in doing so I added quite a bit of tapering between the measurement at the top of the skirt and one inch further down. I attached the waist band either side of the zip, then sewed along the top with no problems as this was the length that had been measured. It was only then that I discovered that there just wasn't enough fabric to stretch zip to zip at the bottom of the waistband as it was that bit further down the skirt. Make sense? Probably not - I'm rambling!

After a lot of easing the material into position and careful pining I added a couple of snips to the waistband and hand sewed it to hold it in position on each of the seams so to hide the stitches.

So what should have been a quick finish turned into a bit of a faff. But its all learning - I certainly won't make that mistake again!

Casual skirt made out of old jeans. I've been wearing this one a lot since I finished it, denim wearing habits don't die so easily! What do you think?


  1. My favourite skirt of yours to date I think. Definitely no surprises in the regular pattern...! Made me smile when I read that :)

    1. Thanks, I think I prefer it to the other one I made too. If nothing else it has a pocket and that's a big bonus :)

  2. I love you for using a random number generator in your dress-making AND for deciding it was too random for you. Looks great. I need a good denim skirt - getting a bit old for the minis of my teenage years. If only I could actually sew (still on my second learner project, having messed it up completely once).

    1. Book yourself in for a weekend with some sewing! We would happily help you through it :)

    2. I wonder now if I should have tried a psuedo-random arrangement, playing with them until they were a suitable mix of patterned and random, but not sure if it would have worked.


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