recycled jeans Cora

I’m not going to write a post for every single Patten Union Cora Blouse I make, but I’m rather pleased with this one, hence the post.

I found a pair of jeans from a stash I bought in an op shop in Hobart – six pairs of jeans for $5 – can’t say fairer than that! I bought the biggest ones I could find, which included this pair of Billabong jeans.

I normally cut the jeans up but this time I unpicked them to their component pieces. It took two evenings in front of the television.

I had to wrestle with numerous rivets and buttons, but I got there in the end. Here the pieces are washed and pressed.

I then got out my Cora pattern and started thinking about what would go where and what I needed to piece. I had to have centre front and back seams, and add pieces into the side fronts.

I had thought about using the back yoke pieces as a back yoke on the top, but in the end they went naturally into the back sides where I was short of fabric.

I fiddled around quite a bit, until I fitted all the pieces on. Then we played spot the original piece!

I used the tiny coin pocket as a breast pocket. This is the only piece that I didn’t deconstruct as I knew I wanted to reuse it as it was.

The waistband became the bottom band and I resewed the Billabong label on.

I used my trusty Elna Stella for all the topstitching as my Bernina can’t deal with topstitching thread.

I had to take a waistband off another pair of jeans which I had previously cut up. This I used for the neckband. I had to have a seam in it which I didn’t really like so I covered it up with a belt loop.

I still haven’t managed to get rid of all the old topstitching, so there are stray threads everywhere!

I also used the belt loops as a feature at the back. I can get the top on and off without needing to undo them so they are sewed down on both sides.

I managed to cut the sleeves too short as I originally wanted elbow length and then didn’t like it. I used a two piece sleeve initially and then had to add another five pieces to each side to make them full length. A seven piece sleeve! I managed to use the hems for the bottom of the sleeves and there is some lovely wear evident.

The tops of the sleeves are cut from the back of the jeans so the dark blue spots where the pockets were are quite evident. I didn’t think I would like these dark patches and would have to disguise them somehow, but I decided that I didn’t mind them, so they’ve stayed.

I had mere scraps left, which have all been saved, including some of the threads which pulled off. I really like using these threads for sewing and embroidery. I can feel some sort of quilt being made!

One of the things I love about the Cora is the bust darts, but I had to add pieces to each front side, and the seams of these were interrupted by the darts. I thought about whether I could get a straight line instead of this slightly jagged line, but decided that no-one would notice.

It is surprisingly difficult to find things to wear with a denim top. I did the double denim thing and then found these really old Birkin jeans by Paper Dahl made from stretch corduroy, they are so comfortable and I love the colour with the denim.

Every time I make a new Cora I think it’s going to be my favourite, but this one will definitely be in regular rotation. I love the quirkiness of it, and the fit is spot on.

As with all Pattern Union patterns, the pdfs are layered to reduce ink usage, there are cup sizes (no more full bust adjustments!) and the sleeves are an absolute dream to set in. I would much rather use a set in sleeve, sewn in the round, than sew a flat sleeve and then sew the side seams, as I believe that they wear better and sit better. These sleeves need no pesky gathering or easing, they just slot right in.

This isn’t my last Cora, I have a rather fabulous hack to share with you soon.


25 thoughts on “recycled jeans Cora

  1. Nicely done, Sue! Looks like a great choice for colder weather. And such a good way to upcycle!

    1. Thank you, I can actually get a thin merino top under it, so it is perfect for our winter. I love that these jeans were destined for landfill and now they have a whole new life.

  2. This is exquisite. Love everything about this and your choices for various parts of the jeans to form certain design elements.

  3. LOVE -And “the smile says it all”, as they say!
    I have to ask if you have seam ripper preferences? (That’s a lot of seam ripping!)

    1. thank you so much Lodi. I have a couple of beautiful seam rippers, but my favourite is a brass one I bought in India. It’s so sharp.

  4. Truly amazing. All that unpicking was some work, and to get practically the whole top out of only one pair of jeans, I am in awe. And it looks so fabulous.

    1. Thank you Helen. I have come to the conclusion that unpicking the jeans is the way to go. There is so much fabric to be harvested from the little pieces. I’m always going to do this in future, even though it’s time consuming and very messy.

  5. Well, you have gone and done it again!!!! Fabulous remake and clever use of denim patches, waistbands, etc I am in awe of your creations, and this one is over the top. This is truly one of the best denim recycles I have ever seen. Thanks so much for your creativity and inspiration. Now, I am off to my stash.

    1. Well, that is one of the nicest things anyone has said! thank you so very much. It is a fun thing to do, and I am currently unpicking another pair of jeans to make a jacket.

  6. A stellar make! I simply love this pattern too, it is such a versatile warm and cold season pattern, you have really done yourself proud with this and the bomber!

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