The Refashioners 2016 : : My Jeans Refashion





Clare-Coat-Closet-Case-Files-Refashioners-2016.jpgase Files









Well hiya and welcome to The Refashioners 2016 edition. The ever lovely Portia of Makery | Random Acts of Creativity has once again rallied the creative community to….well…be creative. Last year, the challenge was to refashion men’s shirts. You may remember my make…here.  And this year? None other than jeans…and…only jeans. Denim jackets, dresses, skirts and shirts need not apply. Sounds daunting, yes? As I watched the mind-bogglingly-fabulous {my blog – my words} makes roll in, I convinced myself it was a spectators sport. ‘Nope, not gonna do this one. It’s all been done, and to perfection.’ my inner critic cried. On the one hand, ’tis true…no one wants to be a copy-cat. On the other hand, what a lame-capital-O cop out. Fortunately, somewhere…somehow…my inner dialogue changed. I knew I needed the push…the dare…to just see what I could do.  Portia’s challenges have thus far coincided with my local thrift store’s end-of-summer-clear-the-store sale…can I hear a whoop-whoop. I headed off with a mission…not any ‘ol jeans would do…I wanted dark, dark, wash blue jeans and light, light, wash blue jeans, both in fairly decent shape.  My finds…photographed above… were exactly right.  

I’ve no idea who coined the phrase, ‘Limitation is the mother of creativity.’  but it really is true.  Once I had my materials in hand… just two pairs of jeans….I began to tap into what often seems so elusive…the flow of creativity.
Yes, I admit….I lucked out with those dark wash jeans. Size 38″/32″ and almost zero fading. I basically took them apart…I removed the back pockets, the waistband, the zipper, and I unravelled all the seams {scary how easy it is to unravel a jeans seam, LOL}. The front of my dress is cut from the front legs…those are the original jeans pockets. I had to remove the rivets…I still have them…in order to sew the side front seams and the waist seam.  The back legs were used for the back of the dress. I nerded out and reused all the Levi labels….I think REAL LOOSE {the dress people, the dress} is my favourite…and I reused the zipper as well.The back label was hand sewn using the original thread from unpicking the seams. The side panels are from the back legs of the light wash jeans. The sleeves are from the front legs. I managed to squeak out both the collar and the collar facings with literally bits of fabric.
Contrary to the men’s shirt challenge…this year I used a pattern for my make. I’m wondering if any of you have guessed which one? Why yes it is….it’s my Clare Coat Pattern from Closet Case Files. I’ve wanted to make a dress out of this pattern for awhile now….and it turned out to be just right for the REAL LOOSE dress silhouette I was going for. It feels fun, comfy and it’s very wearable. 
All in all…The Refashioners 2016 was a personal win for me. There’s never a bad time to channel creativity, but the timing of this year’s challenge was sweet serendipity. As much as I enjoy playing around with graphics and minor web design…putting together my new blog was a bit of a brain drain. And. That was with loads of help from G! And a super template from Themes Art. My sewing didn’t exactly take a backseat, but my recent makes have been feeling a little uninspired. Working on a project like this…where things develop intuitively and organically…has helped me remember that I can create, rather than just sew together, LOL.  Thank you for that Portia…now…please…head on over to Portia’s blog to check out the many, many,  brilliant jeans refashions.
And enormous thanks to you too…it’s not just my makes that have felt a little uninspired. I’ve been so focused on actually getting a post published, that my writing has been a little, dare I say, dull.  So…yes…THANKS for hanging in there with me and THANKS for your continued support! I appreciate it very much!
My Other Clare Coat Makes:
 Velvet Bow Clare Coat
 My Polka Dot Clare Coat



  • Reply Suzanne September 23, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Love this look! It has a bit of a 60’s vibe to it with the collar.

    You did a great job because this looks like a piece you’d buy in a high end store, great clean lines.

    I think the added details of the patches is very fun. I cannot believe you managed to use the same thread by picking it out. That is some serious dedication!


    • Reply Sue September 23, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks Suzanne! I’m feeling the 60’s vibe too. Now where are my white go-go boots?

      The way jeans seams are can pull a thread and the whole seam unravels, so I ended up with several yards of high quality thread. The patch had large enough holes in it to make it easy to sew.

  • Reply Melanie September 23, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I bet people will stop to ask you where you got that Levi’s dress because they want one too! I love the mod vibe with these clean lines. This is such a creative interpretation of jeans. Plus the fact the dress is made from a coat pattern. And the contrasting colours between the sleeves and body means that even with the loose design there is no sense of bulk. I’m so happy you found that creative flow again.

    • Reply Sue September 23, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Thanks Melanie. I agree about the contrasting colour. Again, kinda proof that limitations can work in our favor!

  • Reply Elisa September 23, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Your sewing skills are amazing! Love this dress. You have inspired me to keep improving, and to learn new things.

    • Reply Sue September 23, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Aw, thank you Elisa. I love reading that you are feeling recharged and eager to continue learning. I think learning new things helps keep us young and happy!

  • Reply seamsoddlouise September 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Sue, you’ve outdone yourself here! It’s amazing, all those little details. Wow.

    • Reply Sue September 23, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      Louise! So nice to hear from you! And thanks for such a positive comment. Gosh, just now thinking how cute it would be to make something similar for a little girl. 🙂

  • Reply Heather September 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I love it!! I would have never thought to use a coat pattern for a dress – such a great idea!! I love that neckline!

    • Reply Sue September 23, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Thanks bunches Heather! It’s funny…I had pulled out my Clare Coat pattern just to get an idea for a raglan sleeve shape, and then I realized that the silhouette was just what I was going for…including the side panels….and…well you get the idea, LOL. It was meant to be.

  • Reply DEBORAH DAMELIO September 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I just love this. I agree with previous commenter that people will ask where you bought it! Such a great remake of the coat pattern, too.

    • Reply Sue September 23, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks Deborah! I’m so proud of this make, that I’d actually be tickled if someone asked where I bought it. 🙂

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion September 24, 2016 at 7:18 am

    I think you are a bloody genius. I already liked last years challenge result, but this dress tops it. I thought you had just bought material. But no you unpicked and put back together 2 pairs of jeans!!! I agree, creativity comes from limitations. It pushes you to find alternative ways. I really, really like this dress. In every way. The way it is sewn, the way it suits you, the colours, the creative use of the labels (sewn with the same thread….my my, what a mind for details).
    If I had to grade you, I would give you a 10+ (in USA language that is an A+).

    • Reply Sue September 26, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      You’re making me blush Greetje! Thank you so much for your accolades! Mwwaaahhh!

  • Reply jodie filogomo September 24, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Sue…what a wonderful creation!!
    I sent this over to my mom too—as she is like you—very creative and fun!!

    • Reply Sue September 26, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks Jodie!! I’m thrilled that you’ve sent this to your Mom! I hope she enjoyed the post too!

  • Reply Val S September 26, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Sue, this is brilliant! It looks fantastic – a coat pattern, really? – and I love the way you reused the zipper and added the labels. And made use of the pockets! Your imagination and your talent are certainly not limited.

    PS – love the booties, too!

    • Reply Sue September 26, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Thanks bunches Val! Ahem…new booties from Aldo Shoes! My other boots are still in storage, but it is pretty much time for the switch over.

  • Reply Flo September 26, 2016 at 5:41 am

    What a cool idea! I love how you recycled all of the little details too, especially the little pocket.

    • Reply Sue September 26, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Hey Flo! Even though I deconstructed the Levi jeans, I was so happy to utilize the little details in the dress.

  • Reply Helen Wilkinson September 26, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Amazing refashion, Sue!!! I love the style of the denim paired with Clare, it works perfectly!! Great placement of the patch on the back and the pockets are perfection!

    • Reply Sue September 26, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Thank you so much Helen! It really did work out well with the Clare Coat pattern.

      And can I add that your refashion is fantastic too!

  • Reply PsychicSewerKathleen September 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I love this dress and ironically I’ve been thinking about a denim tunic length top with 3/4 sleeves that I can wear over a turtle neck for the fall. Years I ago I had one of those and just wore it out! Inspiring! I’ve been looking this coat too by Heather but truly I love what you did with it! So creative 🙂

    • Reply Sue September 26, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Kathleen! Thanks for your lovely comment. And yes…denim and turtlenecks and tunics…some of the best things about fall clothing! I think I might be able to wear a turtleneck under this dress, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  • Reply karen September 28, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    i haven’t stopped by in so long – i love the new look of your blog! and i love this refashion. how clever to use the clare – its classic lines shine even more beautifully with the contrast. fantastic!

    • Reply Sue September 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Karen!!! So great to hear from you. You know…you’ve brought up a great point about the Clare. The contrasting fabric really does make the classic lines particularly attractive. {{{{{Wheels turning, planning a colour-blocked Clare Coat…}}}}}

  • Reply Hana September 28, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Sue, this is gorgeous! You are so talented 🙂

    • Reply Sue September 29, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Thanks so much Hana! Have a great day!

  • Reply dan September 29, 2016 at 5:22 am

    And so … another challenge for you! Great results as always and the touch of your personality! You interpreted the theme in a really creative way,Sue!

    P. S.
    Your blog looks different and beautiful! I should renew mine too … sooner or later! 🙂

    • Reply Sue September 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Dan! Yes, it felt time for a blog update and I’m giving a go at being on a self-hosted site. So far, things are going well!

  • Reply Margo October 1, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Super cute Sue!! I love that you incorporated the labels in your design. And you found the perfect location to take your pics…. so fun! So you!

    • Reply Sue October 1, 2016 at 9:01 am

      Hey Margo! Thanks for the compliments! I was joking to myself that I should have put one of my A Colourful Canvas labels on the outside, LOL. Anyways, I have been getting a lot of compliments on my dress and they lead into a fun discussion about sewing and refashioning etc. It’s great!

  • Reply Kristina October 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    So so gorgeous!!! I love it!!! The colours are awesome, the pattern choice supern and I love your label placement 🙂 Well done

    • Reply Sue October 2, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Thank you so much Kristina! The large label gave me the longest pause for thought. In the end, at the bottom of the zipper seemed the best spot.

  • Reply pao October 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    You rule the jeans world, Sue. Or should I say rock it? Probably both. Amazing. Your sewing knows no bounds.
    Speaking of which, why did you change blogs? Just wondering. Seems “everybody’s” doing it. Is something happening, coming, …?

    • Reply Sue October 2, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      Ooooh…rock and rule…hahaha, I like that. Thanks Pao.

      Yes…changing from blogspot to self hosted. Why? It would probably take too long to fully answer here, but briefly; from time to time I felt like I had less control of my blog than I wanted. So. Now I have greater control of my content and the way my blog looks, but it comes at a price. Blogger is a free platform and it served me very well for a number of years. And honestly, if my husband was not a techie, I would still be there.

  • Reply Michelle October 11, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Awesome-sauce! This challenge was right up my alley. Until you said it I would never had guessed that was the Claire pattern, I love it! Love it, love it! Great use of denim my lady.

    • Reply Sue October 29, 2016 at 11:41 am

      OH yes…this was a super challenge for you…or maybe not so much a challenge as an opportunity to really, really get your creative game on! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Carolyn October 20, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Oh my gosh, Sue, this is totally sensational!! I’m so glad you decided to give it a go after all, because you blew the challenge out of the water. I want one exactly like it! I love the way you’ve incorporated those pockets in the front, they look so good. And great work with only two pairs of jeans; that’s super SUPER efficient. I changed my blog over a little while ago too, for the same reasons as you. I’m still not sure if I’ve made a ginormous mistake! only time will tell, but so far so good 😉

    • Reply Sue October 29, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Thanks Carolyn! And so, can we expect a Clare dress in your future?

      OMG…ditto what you just said. Did we make ginormous mistakes? Some moments I wonder, but I am still optimistic that things will seem ‘old hat’ before too long.

  • Reply Highland Fashionista October 25, 2016 at 7:35 am

    THAT IS SO CUTE. I’m totally freaking out right now about how awesome that is. LOVE the placement of the Levi label on the back. Seriously, this is out-of-the-park good!

    • Reply Sue October 29, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Thanks bunches Kristin! So now that you popped by and said Hi! I admit, I’m pleased as punch with this make too! 🙂

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