Use your jeans to update your denim jacket


Creative way to DIY a denim jacket

Use your jeans to update your denim jacket
Refashioned denim jacket

A strong wardrobe foundation definitely includes a denim jacket. Make yours extra special with this tutorial. We see many denim garment mashups on the web and I wanted to explore a creative way to DIY a denim jacket with a pair of jeans with a contrasting color. I wanted to demonstrate how to use your jeans to update your denim jacket and how to make a denim flower brooch with the left over fabric. I also made quilt knots on buttons to embellish this denim jacket.

This is my second refashion using denim. If you are curious to see my first one DIY handmade bag from old jeans

Let’s start with this  one!

Use your jeans to update your denim jacket

For this refashion I am looking for a classic “bleu-blanc-rouge“, a red, white and blue combo.

Upcycle your denim jacket
Remove the collar and the waistband

Use a seam ripper to carefully remove the entire collar and the waistband from the denim jacket.

Upcycle your old jeans
Remove the waistband from the jeans keeping the belt loops

Use a seam ripper to carefully detach the bottom part of the belt loops from the jeans. Then remove the entire waistband from the jeans, keeping the belt loops attached to the top part of the waistband.

Use jeans waistband to make a mandarin collar
Sandwich the jacket neckline between the jeans waistband

The above picture is to demonstrate what we want to achieve; use the jeans waistband to make a mandarin collar on the denim jacket. We will sandwich the denim jacket neckline between the jeans waistband.

Use jeans waistband to make a mandarin collar
Measure the waistband against the neckline

To make our made-to-measure collar, we need to measure the circumference of the denim jacket neckline. You could measure the neckline with a tape measure, but for more accuracy I preferred to pin the jeans waistband directly to the denim jacket.

The mandarin collar will start and end where the original convertible collar was sewn on the jacket (meaning that the mandarin collar will not overlap at the center front).

First mark the jacket center back.

Pin the jeans waistband at each end of the jacket neckline.

Continue to pin the waistband to the jacket neckline until you reach the jacket center back.

Mark the junction point on the waistband.

Use jeans waistband to make a mandarin collar
Add seam allowances and cut the waistband

Add seam allowances and cut the waistband to the needed length.

Iron the waistband to flatten the seam allowance.

At this point you could machine stitch both sides of the collar together, creating a center back seam, but I chose to hand sew the collar pieces together (I was too lazy to walk up to my sewing room).

Either way, sewn by machine or by hand, we will arrange for the collar center back seam to be hidden under one of the belt loop.

Use waistband from a pair of jeans to make a mandarin collar
Pin the mandarin collar to the jacket neckline

Pin the inner part of the collar to the jacket neckline.

The seam allowances of the jacket and the collar are both clearly visible, simply follow them; the jacket seam allowance has to be inside the collar and the collar seam allowance has to be visible outside the jacket neckline (as we want the collar raw edges to fray). Make sure that the waistband is longer than the neckline seam to ensure that the end of the waistband is flush with the neckline.

One side of the collar needs to be aligned with the jacket button placket, the other side of the collar with the buttonhole placket.

Make sure the center back seam of the collar match the center back of the jacket .

Use hand baste stitches to temporarily hold the collar in place.

Below, the extra step if you have decided to hand stitch the collar center back seam like I did.

Use waistband from a pair of jeans to make a mandarin collar
Hand sew the center back collar seam

I simply over lapped the two collar pieces and hand stitched the layers together with a matching thread.

Use waistband from a pair of jeans to make a mandarin collar
I machine stitched the collar with a matching red thread

Machine stitch the collar in place through all the layers of denim.

Use waistband from a pair of jeans to make a mandarin collar
Hide the collar center back seam with one of the belt loops

Now we want to hide the collar center back seam. To do so unstitch one belt loop from the jeans waistband left over fabric.

Then machine stitch the belt loop at the top of the collar, making sure it covers the center back seam.

Machine stitch the belt loop to the denim jacket

Next machine stitch the bottom part of the belt loops directly onto the jean jacket. Making sure to flatten the belt loops before sewing them.

Use waistband from a pair of jeans to make a mandarin collar
Collar back center seam well covered with a belt loop

Here wee see all the belt loops sewn to the jacket and perfectly covering the collar center back seam.

Use waistband from a pair of jeans to make a mandarin collar
Flat view of the mandarin collar

And this is the jeans waistband transformed into a mandarin collar. Pretty neat!

Now, I want to use the jeans back side pockets as front patch pockets for the jacket.

Use jeans back pocket for denim jacket patch pockets
Remove the back pockets

Use a seam ripper to carefully remove the back pockets from the jeans.

Use jeans back pocket for denim jacket patch pockets
Press and even-out the seam allowance

Iron the pockets to flatten the seam allowances. Cut and even 5/8 ” (1.58 cm) seam allowance around the pockets.

I wanted waist pockets slanted down and towards the center to make it easier to put my hands inside the pockets.

Blue and red denim refashion mashup
Pin the pockets to the front of the denim jacket

Try the jacket to find the best position for the waist pockets. Pin the pockets in place.

Blue and red denim refashion mashup
Machine stitch over the faded lines

Machine stitch the pockets in place following the faded line where the pockets were folded.

Blue and red denim refashion mashup
Contrasting waist patch pockets

Here are the waist pockets sewn onto the front of the denim jacket. Perfect, easy access cell phone pockets!

Next, I want to use more of the red denim on the jacket.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Undo the hems and iron the pant legs

The pant legs have a very large hem which is faded and discolored once unfolded.

This is going to look great to make two-color sleeves. I will use the red jeans to make the bottom half part of the sleeves.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Decide the length of the two-color sleeves

I measured how long I would like the red part to be. I opted to cut away 7” (17.78 cm) above the wrists cuffs. I want the bottom half to start past the elbow.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Open the pant legs inner seams

Unroll the legs of the jeans and cut along the back side of the inner seam. Iron the fabric to flatten the folded lines.

Measure 7” (17.78 cm) on the pant leg and add 5/8 ” (1.58 cm) for the seam allowance.

Cut across the pant leg.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Measure twice cut once!

I placed the red denim under the bottom half of a sleeve to visualize and confirm that I liked the look before cutting off the jacket sleeves.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Cut the sleeves below the elbows

Measure 7” (17.78 cm) above the wrist cuffs and add 5/8 ” (1.58 cm) for the seam allowance.

Cut off the bottom part of the sleeves.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Make the pattern for the bottom sleeves

Use the cut off denim sleeve as a pattern. Place the jeans flat-felled seam on top of the sleeve for an added detail.

Cut straight lines from the top of the sleeves to the bottom part of the sleeves (see the image above). We need to make the bottom of the sleeves wider than the original ones because we won’t use the original blue sleeve plackets.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Fabric glue residue

Assemble the sleeves right sides together. (Fabric glue was used to hem the original jeans, leaving the white residue. The glue was found on the inside of the original pant legs and won’t show).

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Press open the seams

For an added contrast and ripped details on the two-color sleeves I will assemble the sleeves with the seam allowances showing on the outside of the jacket.

How to use flat felt seam Denim jacket refash
Machine stitch wrong sides together

Insert the bottom part of the sleeves inside the jacket sleeves (wrong sides together).

We want the flat-felled seam of the red denim to be visible on top of our arms. To do so align the flat-felled seam with the top of the jacket sleeve (the side opposite of armpits).

Machine stitch through all layers.

Use jeans pant legs as jacket sleeves DIY
Press open the seams

Pull out the bottom of the sleeves and press seams open.

How to use flat felt seam Denim jacket refash
Detail of the flat felled seam for the bottom of the sleeves

We now have a two-colored sleeve with detailed flat-felled seams on top of the arms.

I want to add bands of contrasting red denim to replace the jacket waistband; to make contrasting basques and to add more fraying edges.

Use red jeans to refash a blue denim jacket
Trying to use most of the red denim fabric

In the left over pant leg I cut a few fabric stripes 2.5 ” (6.35 cm) wide on the grainline.

When I pinned the red bands against the denim I decided to cut the bands at each jacket seams; the two lateral seams and the back princess seams. To make basques and overlays and at the same time add fraying edges.

Use red jeans to refash a blue denim jacket
Pin the bands

Pin the red bands right side of the red against the wrong side of the blue denim (both seam allowances will be on the outside of the jacket).

Machine stitch the two layers together along the jacket waist.

Use red jeans to refash a blue denim jacket
Machine stitch over the previous seam

Turn the jacket on the right side and press both seam allowances down over the red bands and top stitch with a red thread through the seam allowance layers.

Use red jeans to refash a blue denim jacket
Shorten the bands

I tried the denim jacket I thought that the red basques were too wide and I reduced their width to 1.5” (3.81 cm).

Add contrasting underlay basques to a denim jacket DIY
Basques sewn to the denim jacket waist

In the above picture we see that the contrasting basques are open at all seam junctions.

Our next step; distress both the red and the blue denim.

How to distressed jeans

How to distressed jeans
How to distressed denim

Fraying and distressing the denims will bring the elements of the jacket together, as opposed to look as if the red parts were just added to the  blue denim jacket….. if that can make sense. But I want to keep the frayed and distressed parts on the denims to a minimum, keeping the focus on the contrasting denim and thread colors.

Pull some threads here and there with a pin needle on both the red and the blue denim. Cut very small 3/8“( 1 cm) holes and pull threads with tweezers.

Let’s throw the jacket in the washer and drier to see how it will turn out.

How to distress denim
Lightly distress denim after wash and dry

I like the look of the blue denim distressed parts adding white contrasting areas and I also like how the red denim frayed in long fringes.

Iron with Speed Starch
Press the basques with starch

The waistband basques edges were rolling and were in need of a good pressing. Using my favorite speed starch spray to do the job (not sponsored).

I like the metallic studs pinned around the jacket flap breast pockets, these studs were also found on the denim jacket original collar. Hum….. I would like to have a reminder of these studs somewhere on the jacket…. I will make a denim flower brooch with the collar!

How to make a denim flower brooch

This brooch won’t require much sewing skills and will be done in 20 minutes.

The best way to showcase the metallic studs is to make a ruffled flower.

Make a denim flower brooch DIY
Use the denim jacket collar to make the flower

Cut off the bottom part of the collar on the discolored line.

Thread a hand sewing needle and tie multiple knots. Sew a long loose stitch about 3/8(1 cm) from the collar raw edge. Do not cut the thread and keep the needle threaded.

To gather the fabric; grip the threads and start pulling it against the fabric, create the ruffle by moving the fabric down towards the knot (do not pull too hard or the thread might break).

The collar will roll-up creating the flower.

Grab a thimble, turn the flower to the backside and put a few stitches through the bottom of the flower to hold it together using the threaded needle. Keep stitching through all the denim layers (work the needle in and out of the flower) until the flower shape is secure.

For a matchy-matchy look I will add a small piece of red denim in the center of the blue denim flower.

DIY Make a denim flower brooch
Use the red jeans for a contrasting flower center

Cut a strip of red denim, no need to be precise just eyeball it. Thread a hand sewing needle and simply baste and ruffle the fabric the same way we did with the collar.

How to make a denim flower brooch
Attach the pin brooch and finish with  a metal button

Sew the red flower in the center of the blue flower stitching through all the layers.

Cut a small 1.5” (4cm)  circle in the blue denim (ensure it is big enough to cover the stitches at the back of the flower).

Hand stitch the brooch pin on the denim circle.

Hand stitch the denim circle on the back of the denim flower.

I used Fray Stop on the back of the pin brooch to prevent the denim from fraying (not sponsored).

To complete the denim brooch I sewed a metal button in the center of the red flower.

How to make a denim flower brooch
How to make a denim flower brooch

Et voilà! How to make a denim flower brooch from a denim jacket collar.

At this point the jacket could of been finished……..

Creative way to DIY a denim jacket
Creative ways to DIY denim jackets

However I was looking for a stronger “bleu-blanc-rouge” statement. To obtain it I will add red buttons on the blue denim and I will decorate them with white yarn mimicking quilters knot.

How to make quilt knots on buttons

The quilters buttons reminds of my elderly aunt’s handmade crazy quilts. Her winter quilts were the dark colored ones and they were mostly made from worn-out hand me down wool coats. My aunt used the garments own buttons to attached the quilts and she made her quilters knots with light colored yarns.

(In my entire sewing career I only made one quilt, you can see it here if you are curious Quilt made from loved ones clothing.)

First I prepared my quilt knots on buttons embellishment by threading 150 buttons with white cotton yarn. I dipped the yarn ends in water to facilitate the threading through the button holes and to save my fingers.

How to make quilt knots on buttons
Plastic mass produced buttons, I had to file down the snagging parts

I cut pieces of yarn about 5” (12.7 cm) long (the knots are easier to make using longer strands).

Working from the back of the button; thread one yarn end’s through the first buttonhole. Then insert the other yarn end through the second buttonhole.

How to make quilt knots on buttons DIY
Cut your ties at the same length

Tie the threads on the top side of the button (I tied two simple knots).

Keep the tails of the ties on top of the the button.

To ensured that all the quilters knots are of the same length; pull the yarn ties until the button touches your fingers and I cut the yarn just above your fingers.

Quilt knots on buttons
How to sew the quilt knots buttons

Sew each button the usual way on the denim jacket. Use white sewing thread and make sure that you do not catch the quilters knot with the sewing thread.

I decided to sew the buttons on the blue part of the jacket sleeves.

DIY decorate denim jacket with buttons
Mark the buttons placement

The button pattern; I used a quilting ruler to mark the button placements. Each button will be spaced 1.5 ” (3.81 cm) horizontally by 2 ” (5 cm) vertically.

First use sewing pins to mark the placements, then remove the ruler and mark the placements using a fabric marker. (I used a sharpie, my fabric marker was dried out, you will see later how using a permanent marker turned out to be a mistake).

DIY decorate denim jacket with buttons
Hand sew the buttons one by one

Start sewing the buttons in place! One sleeve down (39 buttons) one more sleeve too go….

Mimicking quilt knotted buttons
One sleeve done!

I didn’t sew any buttons right under the arm, it’s a location that gets too much movement friction.

How to hide pencil mark on denim
Well, don’t use a permanent marker like I did  :  (

And I made a little booboo…. I made a mark at a wrong place (the distance is too close from another button) and it is in an obvious area in the front of the sleeve…..

How to hide pencil mark on denim
Fixed  : )

Quick solution; Cut a little hole and fray the fabric edges to hide the mistake.

Quilts knots on buttons to embellish denim jacket
Mark the buttons placement

Why stop after 2 sleeves and 78 buttons?  I want to balance the visual and will add some buttons to the back of the denim jacket. But because of the curved princess seams I will place the buttons in diagonal lines.

Quilt knots on buttons
Overview of the denim jacket with 111 sewn buttons!

Here’s the back view with it’s 111 buttons. I am happy with the results, the jacket looks pulled together and the white knotted yarns on the red buttons really add a nice finishing touch.

Knots and buttons are a very nice way to decorate both quilts and garments, I found this nice article written by Rachael Daisy for Craftsy  where she demonstrates different knots used in quilting.

Refashion denim machup
Front view of finished denim jacket

 

DIY Denim mashup
Back view of the finished jacket

 

Denim mashup DIY
Side view of the finished jacket

Below the Pinterest format for you to pin  🙂

Use your jeans to update your denim jacket
write ALT

I really liked doing this refashion and I hope that it will inspire you to make your own denim mashup DIY.

Thank you for passing by

Au revoir!


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