Upcycling a Fast Fashion Shopping Fail

My latest project came about as one of those accidental projects that just sort of evolved and took on a life of its own. It all started when in a rush of blood to the head, I bought a couple of pairs of jeans from one of those low value women's clothing shops that the malls are all full of.    Yes I got sucked in, in this instance and immediately had regrets!   It wasn't long before both ill fitting pairs found their way to the charity shop bag and I was down at the shops buying a quality pair that I would wear for years to come.  Those discarded jeans played on my conscience though and I wondered if they would work for an upcycle project.

I have wanted a blue denim skirt for a few summers now.  The only ones I had come across were way too short for my liking and fit about as well as said jeans.  For a few weeks the whole jeans upcycle percolated in my brain until one rainy Saturday I just bit the bullet and did it. 

Rather than buy a new pattern, I decided to see what I could do with my Closet Core Ginger Jeans pattern that I had altered to fit my shape well.  I wasn't sure it would work as a skirt but really these jeans were going to the charity shop anyway so what did I have to lose at the end of the day!

I knew that the jeans would not contain enough fabric to have any of the panels cut out of the legs of the jeans so on paper I drew a new pattern including a seam down both the front and back.  While I was at it, I drafted a pocket that included a stomach stay because I had found the denim was super stretchy and had dubious recovery.

Placing my pieces on the fabric was a little challenging and it seemed no matter how many different ways I placed them, I couldn't get it out of the fabric I had.  My solution was to cut the waistband in several sections.  Because I didn't want to have the seams in my waistband visible, I hid them all behind the belt tabs.  

I wanted my waistband to have very little stretch in it and also because their simply wasn't enough denim, I cut the waistband lining in a piece of cotton drill that had been in my stash since my oldest son was little which is a very long time ago.

To finish the skirt, I used some rivets and jean buttons from my stash.  The only thing I actually had to buy to make this skirt was the zip.  Jean zips are one item I am hesitant to recycle because I really don't want them to break.

This project was such a slow burn that even my husband commented on the length of time I had been making it.  I think in total it took a week, sewing in half hour increments.  Considering this was a upcycle project and I wasn't even sure whether it would work out, I am really pleased with the skirt.  I think this skirt actually vindicates my fast fashion shopping fail just a smidge.  After an entire day of wearing, the fabric hasn't stretched out of shape and I put this largely due to the stomach stay and interfaced waistband.  I can see it getting a lot of wear this spring.


  1. Well done! There is an old saying that "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Your skirt puts the lie to that.

    1. My father used to say that! He may have been right; time will tell on that score.


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