For those of you who want to participate in our Denim Theme Month but are unsure of where to start, we’ve rounded up some patterns for all your inspo needs! There is at least one size-inclusive pattern for each of the garment categories, with sizes going up to a women’s 30 in some cases.
Pants are the OG of denim! Levi Strauss designed riveted denim pants specifically for miners working the California gold rush, and they’ve only gained popularity for their hard-wearing nature ever since.
Thread Theory has two great patterns that use denim: the Fulford jeans and the Jutland pants, which would require a slightly lighter weight denim (probably 9oz or lighter).
The only pair of jeans I’ve ever made were Ames jeans by Cashmerette, which offers pear and apple shaped views and, my favourite, the ability to grade between sizes in the calf area. I love them, but have sized out of my original pair and must recopy the pattern. Workroom Social released the Claryville jeans last year and taught them at Camp Workroom Social and darn it, eventually I’m going to win the lottery to get there. Eventually!
Don’t forget about Anna Allen’s Philippa (and Persephone!) pants. I love this version by Bibbity Bobbity Buttons: her denim work is out of sight! Finally, the Seamwork Tessa is a great basic jeans pattern that is very size-inclusive. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to find good, size-inclusive denim patterns, but it is. I wanna wear jeans too, y’all. Get on that. (Seriously. Get on it.)
Don’t forget about denim shorts! Long stuck in fashion purgatory, “jorts” are back. New types of denim mean that they don’t have to look like your old cutoffs did back in the 1980s. Wait, was that just me rocking the knee-length old jeans Bermuda shorts? Oh well.
True Bias Lander pants also make excellent shorts, and I don’t know if you’ve seen any made in denim but they are super cute. I can’t quite get past my 80s-induced trauma to try them but people in their 30s and younger (and all those whose brave hearts survived 80s fashion!) should get behind this trend! I also love the Seamwork Heidi shorts. I have a hemp and cotton blend denim with a lot of drape that would be perfect for these, and am tucking this pattern in my stash idea box right now.
Skirts and Dresses
Denim skirts and dresses are true classics! The Closet Case Patterns Fiona sundress was made in denim by many of its testers, and their garments turned out amazing. (And props to the testers willing to put in that many buttons!) Cashmerette and Style Arc each have a classic denim skirt that has been made with very positive reviews.
Chore jackets and traditional jean jackets normally call for a heavier, structured denim or canvas, but others like the In the Folds Hove jacket call for a lighter weight denim blended with alternate fibres, or even a chambray. Recent pattern releases from Friday Pattern Company, Closet Case Patterns, Grainline Studio, and In the Folds all have great new takes on the denim jacket, while the Seamwork Audrey provides a traditional take for the purists among us.
Totes and project bags are perfect projects for leftover and smaller pieces of denim! They’re also excellent if you want to recycle or upcycle jeans that no longer meet your needs. Bags calling for canvas can always use denim instead. And since you’ve perfected your zipper insertions with your new jeans, you’ll be a star at adding them to a simple tote! I’m a particular fan of using denim for knitting project bags, as I think they bring a little something-something to my bookshelves and a little street cred when I pull them out in public. The Noodlehead Crescent tote, the Indigobird Designs Sierra tote, and the Helen’s Closet Patterns Costa tote (shown below in an awesome upcycling project) are all great designs for highlighting denim leftovers or for repurposing your jeans.
And then, there’s the infamous Closet Case Patterns pouf. I’d like to highlight this amazing version by Grace (@Wzrdreams on Instagram), who documented the way she repurposed many pairs of donated and old jeans to make this free pattern–including remaking waistbands into piping and placing old back pockets as handles (because this pouf is pretty heavy when it’s filled with scraps). This is a great scrap-buster and a way to hold your denim leftovers after all your making is done!
What designs did we miss that you’re itching to make? What unconventional ways have you found to use denim?
Kerry enjoys knitting and sewing and baking all that domestic goddess crap because there’s a beginning, middle and end to each of those projects and aren’t we all missing that in our non-fibre lives? She can be found at @gymnauseous on Instagram and at her blog, The Year of Living Easy.
I was wondering about the Cloudsplitter Summit Bag, but the pattern suggestion is quilting cotton (! for a bag I’m going to work hard?), which suggests it needs a much lighter denim or canvas than repurposing my denim scraps and usable bits of worn out jeans.
Assuming I have much time after the quilting project I have been lumbered with, my current thought is a denim jacket because I want to replace a much loved jacket that went out a couple of years ago. Being too damn small, I’ll use a Ottobre Kids pattern from the 1/2011 edition. (Ottobre have kids’ jeans patterns various designed for denim, which is the pattern I’ll make myself; the magazine with both girls and boys to 170cm is spring 2014, and that’s sold out). The current, just out, Ottobre kids has a pattern for dungarees and a bibbed denim skirt.
The pattern discusses using an upholstery-weight fabric and how to modify the interfacing plan to accommodate it. I bet it would work for denim, too!
I’m DEFINITELY going to make the bag with a heavier outer fabric. Because, jeez! Quilting fabric outside? I’ll murder it in about a month.
Megan Nielsen has the Ash and Dawn jeans patterns that are nice. Ash is for stretch denim and Dawn is not, and they both have different leg options. Two size options to go from 24″-38″, and 32”-48″ waist.