Tag Archives: Sewing

Recycled Jeans

In 2020 I began to receive what I have been laughingly calling “commissions”. It began with some socks and some mending, but it seems to be increasing in a rather interesting and pleasing way!

It is a rare kind of person who asks if you will reproduce their favourite cotton shirt, but in denim from old jeans. Yet, this happened! I admit, I was a bit intimidated at the thought of constructing plackets from denim, for a start. But I called to ask the questions I needed to reassure myself about attempting the task, and then I began. I ripped a LOT of jeans into component parts. I ran out of those I had been given and called out on the local Buy Nothing group, and got a pile of someone’s husband’s cast off jeans.

Step 1: draft a pattern. This is not my first attempt to draft a pattern from a finished garment, but it is always instructive to make things for other people. It tells me about the limits of my confidence, for a start. And, it is fair to say I don’t make perfect things! After a lot of checking and re checking (I love how I’ve written my reasoning on the pattern as I go here), I had a pattern. Step 2: cut out the component parts from jeans, and then patchwork jeans together to create pieces big enough for the bigger components. This is not a small shirt, it’s a really big one.

Eventually it started to come together. One of the big design decisions was settling on how to finish seams inside, to prevent fraying and ensure strength–but also, given the huge number of seams–to ensure they would not be too bulky. Solution: zigzag the layers of the seam allowance together, then topstitch flat. Honestly, another design decision was taking the person whose shirt this was to become seriously. Taking seriously what they wanted and what they cared about. Surely this is at the heart of a bespoke garment…?

Then began the construction process. I have never made a shirt with this kind of front placket, but I figured it was essentially just like the one on a cuff, only larger. Reverse engineering the plackets gave me a lot of pause (by which I mean, anxiety!) But succeeding in generating the pattern and then creating them made me feel highly competent. Just as well I’m not too convinced my emotions should be in the drivers’ seat of my life, or I’d stay in bed every day and sew only simple stuff forever, apparently.

I warmed up on the sleeve plackets.

Then the front placket and the pocket and such…

On with the sleeves… then on with the cuffs. And pretty soon, it was all done. The time consuming jeans-acquiring and -ripping part was a significant part of the entire time I spent making this garment.

I can’t say that I managed a good image of the whole thing. I’ve struggled with images at times on this blog: the things that take most time and effort to create in sewing and knitting are the hardest to photograph well. But here are attempts. I have to say that I admire the grunt of my machine (and the effectiveness of a jeans needle) in getting through pleats set into a cuff in denim and other similar feats.

Happiest moment of all was the review from the recipient, however! What a grin.

And I am all the more confident… because he wanted a second one. Here it is from the back…

And from the front.

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Other things

Dear readers, here is a little post I wrote and overlooked weeks ago, while I try to create some new posts 🙂

This is just a little round up of things at my house in the last few weeks, that aren’t especially crafty. I pruned the lime tree. Also the nectarine and the peach, but they are not fruiting! I used the sugar I had and made marmalade. Then later my parents were shopping and brought me more so I made a second batch!

I got a crisis call for support from someone new to town who needed seeds. Into the post!

Our suburb is showing the love and solidarity with rainbows. So I made this. The last two triangles are made from a friend’s dead jeans, given to me for reuse!

I opted out of the toilet paper drama in this country for the most part, with a reused squirt bottle and some dead t shirts. Thanks to the friends who posted about this and inspired me.

The slow conversion of indigo dyed fabric to hankies continues and was massively assisted by new ‘fine’ needles and a service of my sewing machine.

I mail ordered prepaid postage satchels when it became clear that I wouldn’t be seeing some people for a long while. I could not resist this Australia Post postcard. Although it depicts the biggest open cut mine in the hemisphere (apologies if some other horrible project has since overtaken it)–it has been made to look like a work of art. Many years ago I went there (Kalgoorlie, WA) with a friend on our way to Perth. I had not really understood what the SuperPit was even though I’d known many open pit mines, and when my friend asked where we used to live–I had to point into the hole that had swallowed the entire town, many other mines, the house we used to live in, and so much more…

Finally, success with (dwarf) dyer’s coreopsis!

And there you have my little photographic round-up…

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A book for the grandbub

There is a thing that’s happening a lot lately. Like the day I thought I’d work on a quilt, and then I constructed most of this book. And the next day, when I thought I’d finish the book, but actually made a yoga bolster out of old jeans. Go figure.

But in the end, things get made and it’s all good and no one else cares about what order things happen in, most days!

I think it was just that a memory of a book a little bit like this from my own childhood came floating through my mind, and I’m the kind of person who acts on those thoughts!

So I got choosing and cutting and ripping up old pillowcases and stitching, and ended up with this, which I hope will brighten some days and be impossible to pull apart!

And there you have it, a book for the grandbub, who is way too little to be learning to count. At the moment!

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Beloved trees

This tree has had several beloved tree banners in the last few years. This one is well and truly eucalypt dyed at this stage, and the fact that it is made of biodegradable fabrics is showing too.

I had been planning a new banner for a bit, and found companions for the ceremony one fine evening. So we added a new one.

So now it has two banners!

And the tree is as glorious as ever. Long may it stand.

river red gum

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Filed under Craftivism, Eucalypts, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures, Sewing