Recycled denim Felix jacket

In 2016 I made a recycled denim jacket as part of a refashioning challenge. My blog post at the time tells me that I used five pairs of jeans to make this jacket, as that weaving took a lot! If you want more details you can check out the post here.

The jacket was really heavy but I quite liked it. However, a friend’s daughter absolutely loved it, so it went off to a new home and for the last five years I have felt strangely bereft, thinking I’d make another. Every time I saw one on Instagram, I thought that I would begin, but it wasn’t until I needed the shelf on which all my scraps resided, that I thought I’d tackle it.

The box was overflowing, so I pulled it all out and sorted the elements into pockets, yokes, belt loops, etc. I also had a lot of new fabric scraps left from recovering chairs and making jeans, but decided against using those. I had the jeans tops, from which I unpicked waistbands and fly guards, etc.

The only plan I had was to use the Pattern Union Felix jacket pattern. I chose this pattern as I know it well and know that it has simple lines, a good fit, and is quite hackable, this last item was in my mind as I wasn’t sure what changes I would need to make.

My initial plan was to harvest enough fabric for fronts and a back. I had some partial legs which did this job well. A bit of cutting and pasting and I had three pattern pieces. However, I wasn’t sure I could live with that upside down blue pocket “shadow”.

I faffed and fiddled, trying a bit of block printing, which didn’t do anything, considered embroidery but thought that wouldn’t look good either, and in the end decided to appliqué three yokes across the back. I added a couple of belt loops for whimsy.

I was really pleased with the outcome. In fact it’s my favourite feature.

I added my fronts to the back, sewed a pocket on one side, and then began a frantic hunt for sufficient fabric to create a pair of sleeves. I have already got a two piece sleeve pattern for the Felix, and this proved to be really useful for this make.

I had to do some extra piecing and once again finished up with one of those pocket marks on the sleeve. This time I distracted with a badge I had bought in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

I added a front zip, which came from my stash and which I had bought several years ago at the Fibres West garage sale. I had found this at the beginning of the make so that I could ensure the length of the jacket was right.

You can see that I have a hole where I took out the satin stitch. I thought about how to deal with it and in the end just appliquéd an interesting piece of denim over the top.

I was then confronted with final details, such as how to finish off the neckline and the hem. I once again faffed about – can you see my lack of a plan? In the end I drafted a collar, which I cut from the back of a pair of the “shorts” left after cutting the legs off. I folded them at the centre back seam and cut the collar, finishing up with an unexpectedly nice bit of symmetry where the back pockets had been. I had wanted to create a collar with a built in collar stand, but I may have made it a little bit too big. I still like it though.

I used a waistband around the bottom, cutting it to fit. I was able to keep the button, buttonhole and the belt loops. I added a label at a join point. I also used some waistband pieces as cuffs on the sleeves, I just sewed them with the seam, although I had considered putting buttons on them.

I wore it unfinished as I wanted to make sure I was quite happy with all the details.

It turns out that I didn’t like the Kylie and The Machine label I had sewn on so that has since come off. I also decided I wanted to make my own little label. So I embroidered this on my sewing machine.

I pinked the edges, and used variegated blue and yellow thread as a nod to what’s happening in Ukraine. I sewed it over a previous label site – I probably harvested that label for another make.

I didn’t top stitch as I went as I wasn’t sure what was staying. I went back and did it, using upholstery thread. My machine likes this much better but it doesn’t have the heft of topstitching thread, so it’s not very obvious. I may go back and sort something out. I can see this jacket will be a work in progress!

I like this second jacket much more than the first one I made, and I am looking forward to wearing it a lot.

Oh, and how much of that box did I use? You be the judge!

I had another go at wearing it, this time with a naturally dyed yellow dress (oxalis) that I happened to be wearing. I think it will be really useful to take me into autumn.


12 thoughts on “Recycled denim Felix jacket

  1. It’s lovely Sue 😍. I have a similar box for a jacket from jeans fabric which has waited way longer than I’d hoped. Sadly my sewing mojo is still MIA. Maybe one morning I’ll wake up raring to go…
    If the eventual results are as good as yours it will have been worth the wait.

  2. Good job. Creating on the go. I checked out the Felix pattern and looks great for some simple makes.

    1. Thank you Vicki. I love the Felix pattern, I’ve done many hacks of it, it can be anything I want it to be. I’m pleased I now have a workable collar pattern for it. I think I might turn it into a swing jacket next!

  3. This is a great remake/recycle and I love your personal label. I will have to sort through the jeans bits box.

    1. Once you start you can’t stop! I love the fact that these sorts of garments are completely unique and that if there’s a hole, a piece of something interesting can be sewn over the top. Thank you so much Jo!

  4. Excellent job, Sue! Your new jacket looks amazing. I’ve also collected a pile of jeans from friends and family. My goal was to piece them and make a rug, but now, I’m also tempted by a jacket like yours. What an inspiration!

    1. I love the idea of a rug too! You’ll find that you will probably have enough bits to do both. I feel as though I didn’t even make a dent in my box which was just leftovers from other makes. Thank you so much Hélène x

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