Cowgirl, Restructured

Levi 921 Restyled into Jean Jacket

Back View Jean Jacket Levi 921The idea of making a jacket out of jeans came from a picture found on Pinterest. I had a very worn pair of Levis, kept in case I needed to paint the walls (or something), so I thought I’d use them to see if it could be done. And yes, it can.  Though for full-length sleeves, you will need to start off with longer legs!  Alternatively, you can leave out or use less fabric in the ruffle.  1 Jumbo Topstitching

Levi  921 were my favourite ever jeans.  My jaw virtually dropped when I first saw them (in 2002 or 2003).  They had so-called ‘jumbo stitching’ and were a very deep blue (though later faded); the waist curved in and the rise wasn’t too low.  They felt great too.  The denim was proper cowgirl stuff, pulling the saddlebags in tightly (‘saddlebags’, if you don’t know, are the plump bits that look like hips but are lower than the bones and are actually formed from buttock overspill! 🙂  )  jumbo stitchingThe style wasn’t available for long unfortunately.  For the best part of the decade, boot-cut, stretch denim reigned, followed by the leggings-like skinny jeans we mostly wear today.  But I still buy a nearly new pair of Levi 921’s on Ebay sometimes.

Have you ever fallen in love with a design, or a product, only to find it discontinued?

Making a Jacket out of Jeans.

These notes are a supplement to the original instructions (follow the Pinterest link).

Ancient Pair of Levi 921If you want to give this a go, measure the waist of the jeans and your ribcage to make sure the waist will fit yours when the jeans are upside down.  Having said that, wearing this buttoned up (as in the last picture) just makes me feel a bit corseted so I prefer it like a bolero.

I made my first cut by measuring my waist to armhole length then cutting this from the waist down to the hips of the jeans, after first adding a seam allowance.  I put in bust darts but they weren’t necessary; in fact, the less done here, the better as you’ll preserve the rough-hewn denim effect.  For making the sleeves, I took a narrow-fitting sleeve from a dress pattern in the stash and cut them by working upwards from the hem of the jeans.

Most of the construction seams were done with matching blue thread.  Yellow topstitching was applied afterwards for decorative effect.

Step 1 The rear part will be stretched, bagging outwards so unpick the centre back seam and restitch to a flatter shape

The Beginning – The rear part will be stretched, bagging outwards so unpick the centre back seam and restitch to a flatter shape

Step 2 - Stich front pockets closed and cut away pocket bags

Don’t flap – Stich front pockets closed and cut away pocket bags

The Finetuning – Decide how much fabric to use in the collar and where to apply it. I experimented with some packing paper.

What do you think? I would like to try this again, with a different style of jeans and a neckline/hemline not so dictated by the original seams.

By the way, Happy Birthday to Moonchild Blogstalker who turns 10 tomorrow!It's the Blogstalker's Birthday

Cowgirl, Restructured

23 thoughts on “Cowgirl, Restructured

  1. This is a great story of new life. The old jeans were beautiful but the new jacket is adorable. The collar especially is just such a surprise and makes the outfit look original, feminine and covetable. Not an easy job but a fantastic outcome. Well done!

    • Thank you Material Lady. Well into middle age, he can still leap to the tops of doors and performs acrobatics on the garden lawn when he wants to show off to visitors.

  2. It looks great! What I love the most about this is that contrary to a pant to skirt refashioning, you could also use jeans that have become too small in the waist/hip. I could picture this on top of a fit and flare dress…

    • That’s a very good point, or two good points. E.g a girl’s jeans could be turned into a jacket once they’re grown out of. And a fit and flare dress would work well with this (I don’t have many things that do – yet!

  3. This is so cool!! I especially love the ruffle. You are so clever. I also love the photos in the field of dandelions.

    • That field is part of my long run and when I ran there a week ago, it was full of horses, which I’d never seen before. I came back days later with the camera but the horses were gone and the flowers, which I thought dandelions, turned out to be buttercups 🙂

      • You’re right, they are buttercups! Even better. I was reading on my blackberry and I couldn’t tell. 🙂 How lovely about the horses on your run.

  4. I, too, have a sacred pair of jeans that I …erm….just can’t wear anymore, and this is an option I can wind me brain about! I am not for ruffles (or are they not for me?) but your paper estimator / pattern piece is brilliance. As per usual.

  5. Jeanious! You are queen of saves and ‘what-to-do-with-stuff’!
    Personally, I prefer bootcut/flared to balance my hips, so I’ll have loads more fabric to utilise……

  6. This looks really good on you – I especially like the ruffles though I’m not sure whether I’d be brave enough to wear the upside down pockets and Levis label on my back. I like the fabric of your dress too – is that a ‘make’?
    I must apologise for not thanking you before for my lovely Alexander McQueen postcards. They had arrived, some time ago, in ‘the flat’ in East Croydon but neither Mr. T. nor the Mlle. had thought to mention them to me. When I was over there at the weekend, I spotted them immediately on the kitchen table and they are now safely in France. I almost went to the exhibition myself on Saturday – whilst both daughters were at Comi-Con – but changed my mind halfway there and ended up in Camden Market instead.

    • It’s good to know they’re home and Camden is one of my favourite places though I probably wouldn’t recognize it now. I keep promising my son to take him there one Sunday.

      Let me know if you want to see AM together on a future visit.

      Oh, yes, that dress is one of my favourite ever make, made of perforated cotton, dyed indigo, and backed with green lining (a bit sweaty, that particular addition) http://www.sew2pro.com/junk-stitching/
      I’ll be making that pattern again.

      • The street food in Camden looked amazing but, just as I was trying to decide what to have for my lunch, I got a call from the ExCel Centre to say my younger daughter had ‘had enough’ so I had to go over there to pick her up as she is not ‘au fait’ with the London transport system. I will return!!
        My Mum was born in Camden Town and has a soft spot for it but I daresay she would have an even harder time recognizing it now than you.

  7. Very clever and it really suits you. I have recently made a denim skirt from a pair of jeans which I love and am very proud of ! It’s my only recent attempt at making anything to wear.

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