Friday, November 7, 2014

Haphazard Sewing Lesson: Old Jeans into New Vest

I'm not big on patterns. They are so ridged and it seems to add useless steps for me. Plus, you have to pay for the pattern... yeah, I'm a little tight with my wallet. This lesson will also include the mistakes I made along the way. I hope that you don't mind that your teacher is not all-knowing. Also, if you have very large boobs or very skinny thighs these instructions may not work for you. Oh, and if you a very blood-phobic you might want to stop reading. 

Anyway, take an old pair of jeans you don't mind sacrificing and a vest you like out of your closet. 

My jeans had a nice little curve in them so I lined up the waist curve in the vest to it. Yours might, too, so utilize that. Then cut the legs off to the length of the pattern substitute vest. 

Try to be careful when doing this. I accidentally cut into one of the pockets I was going to sew on to the front later... oh well

Cut the waistband off the jeans and down what will become the inner seam of the vest. This will probably be the inner seam of each leg.  I left most of the seam that was already there on the front so I would not have to re-hem it. 

Then pin the pieces together and sew up the back seam.

Cut the arm holes to match the ones on the vest. I didn't leave quite enough jean on the top, so I had to add a little. Not a problem. Extra pieces of fabric add interest. Hem the inside of the armholes. 

Pin the shoulders up. Make sure the edges of the armholes line up. Try it on in the mirror. Do the armholes droop? Pin away more fabric. Are the armholes cutting into you? Either re-cut the armholes larger or add an extra piece of fabric on top like I did. Sew it up when you are happy with it. 

You can double stitch these seams for added stability, durability and interest.   

Add some shaping seams. I like the diagonal-across-the-top-of-the-boob ones. Does that type of seam have a better name? Probably. Do I know it? No.
 Be sure so try on carefully before you sew. If you have extra fabric in the waist area you can take it in vertically there. Just make a triangle shape starting right at your boob going down. If you are a man, do not bother with this step.

Oh - and be careful when trying on clothes with pins in them. I ripped my finger open on one.

Sew the waistband on the bottom. It's okay if the button side spills over a little, but not too much.
Also hem the neckline. If you want to add a collar, do so. I did not.

Sew on some buttons and some holes. Try to make sure the buttons line up with the button from the waistband. I do not have any pictures of this because the buttonhole setting on my machine was pissing me off too much. My buttonholes are not pretty. Luckily they are mostly covered by the buttons. 
Don't forget to add some pockets. Sew along the seams that are already there. 

Then you are done. Whore-ray! 


  1. I literally looked up "haphazard sewing style" online to see if there was anyone else with the same diy mindset as me.. delighted to find out I'm not alone in disliking patterns (for the same reasons) and bring okay when mistakes are made! I agree - added fabric adds interest.

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