Denim Month: Searching for Inspiration?

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

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.)

An older man stands outdoors on a dirt path surrounded by ferns and fallen leaves. He is wearing a pair of jeans, a red/white/blue plaid button-down shirt, a white t-shirt, and brown shoes.
Thread Theory Fulford jeans. Link.
A man works on an older vehicle; he is wearing rust-colored work trousers, navy suspenders, a long-sleeved gray knit tee, and brown work boots.
Thread Theory Jutland pants. Link.
A red-haired woman models a pair of Cashmerette Ames jeans, which are paired with a gray v-neck tee and black patent court shoes. She is facing the camera, smiling, with her right hand on her hip.
Ames jeans. Link.
A young woman models the Workroom Social Claryville jeans. Her jeans are cuffed at the ankle, and she wears black leather shoes. Her jeans are paired with a black and white checked button-up shirt; her dark brown hair falls over her right shoulder.
Workroom Social Claryville jeans. Link.
A young woman models her self-made pair of denim Philippa pants, which she has paired with cognac-colored leather shoes and a warm-toned floral tee.
Philippa pants. Link.
A model wears the Seamwork Tessa jeans, which are paired with black mule slides and a white knit long-sleeved tee. Her light brown hair falls over her right shoulder and she smiles at the camera.
Seamwork Tessa. Link.

Shorts

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.

A model wears a pair of True Bias Lander shorts in a gray fabric, featuring nickel-colored buttons. She also wears a bone-colored hat that reveals her silver ombre hair, a black tank tucked into the shorts, and tan-colored gladiator-style sandals. Her hands are on her hips and she has turned her head to the right, smiling slightly.
Lander shorts that would look awesome in denim. Link.
A model wears the Seamwork Heidi shorts, which are paired with an ivory knit camisole and tan leather sandals with a low heel. Her left hand lingers in her shoulder-length brown hair, and she is smiling.
Seamwork Heidi. Link.

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.

A young woman wears her Closet Case Patterns Fiona sundress, which she has made in a denim fabric. She is standing on a paved walk near trees with green and aubergine leaves. A child plays in the background. She is wearing dark tortoiseshell sunglasses and vertiginous tan wedge sandals. She is facing the camera in profile, with her right hand--which she has tucked into the dress pocket--visible.
Amazing tester Fiona from when the pattern was released. Link.
A woman stands on a deck, wearing her Style Arc Sally skirt that she has made in a denim. Her white top features lace sleeves and a yoke. She is also wearing gray tights and dark brown leather calf-high boots, as well as multiple coordinating necklaces. An adjacent house, a fence, and a tree can be seen behind her.
Style Arc Sally jean skirt. Link.
A young woman models a Cashmerette Ellis skirt made of denim. She is also wearing black clog heels and a sky blue knit tee with a scoop neck. A silver-colored pendant necklace hangs midway down her top. She holds her left hand on her hip and smiles while looking directly at the camera.
Cashmerette Ellis skirt. Link.

Jackets

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.

A young person models the Friday Pattern Company Ilford jacket, which is bone-colored and features tortoiseshell-esque buttons. A pair of glasses and a pencil are placed in the right breast pocket. The jacket is paired with a pair of rust-colored trousers and ivory sneakers with a green stripe along the sides. They are striking a fun pose, balanced on their right leg with their left bent at the knee and not touching the floor; they are sticking their tongue out playfully.
Friday Pattern Company Ilford jacket. Link.
A young woman models her Closet Case Patterns Sienna Maker Jacket, which she has made in denim. She pairs it with a mustard-colored top and dark navy bottoms. She stands outside, with various plants and other houses in the background.
Closet Case Patterns Sienna Maker Jacket. Link.
A model wears a Grainline Studio Thayer jacket made of denim. The jacket features a contrasting white collar and facing. The model wears black pants and a camel-and-white striped tee, and her long black hair cascades behind her shoulders as she smiles into the camera.
Grainline Thayer jacket. Link.
A woman models an In the Folds Hove jacket made in dark denim. Her hands hold the top of the zipper opening, and the open neckline reveals her narrow-striped top underneath. She is also wearing dark trousers.
In the Folds Hove Jacket. Link.
A woman models the In the Folds Flynn jacket as a sleeveless jacket. She is smiling broadly and her eyes are closed; her right hand pulls back the side of her jacket to reveal the wide facing and her sky blue boxy top. She is also wearing a pair of dark-colored trousers.
In the Folds Flynn jacket/sleeveless version. Link.
A young woman wears a denim jean jacket that she made using the Seamwork Audrey pattern. Her trousers are mustard and high-waisted, and she also wears a warm-toned floral top. Her right hand is held up at her head, swinging that side of the jacket open; her left touches a home decor display in a jug or vase that is next to her.
Cropped Seamwork Audrey by @Bibbity_bobbity_buttons

Bags

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.

A Noodlehead Crescent tote sits on a white armless chair in front of a white wall. The tote is made in a navy-and-white large-scale print and has ivory woven handles. The zipper tape is also ivory, and a tan leather pull has been added to the zipper.
Noodlehead Crescent tote. Link.
Two Indigobird Designs Sierra totes sit on a white wood plank floor in front of a white wall. One bag has traditional "loop" handles that are off-white in color; that bag is made of a charcoal gray fabric with a white "chain" print. The second bag is narrower than the first and is a knitting project bag; it is sewn in a white and gray graphic print featuring rows of short lines, and the handles are flat against the face of the bag. Multiple skeins of ivory yarn can be seen resting inside.
Indigobird Designs Sierra tote. Link.
A Costa tote by Helen's Closet is shown, made of recycled/upcycled jeans and workwear. Three shades of denim are visible in the body and handles, and an exterior pocket has been made using a piece of a pair of Dickies workwear in their signature light brown color with their brand tag visible. The tote rests on a small table against a sage-colored wall.
Helen’s Closet Costa tote. Link.

And more!

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!

Grace's Closet Case Patterns Pouf sits on a rug in her flat. The pouf is made from multiple pairs of recycled or thrifted jeans, with many colors and finishes visible. A back jeans pocket has been sewn to the "face" of the pouf to serve as a handle for maneuvering the pouf.
Look at it! (Photo from Grace.)
Grace's pouf is seen in a close-up, which shows a cat's paw hanging over the edge as the rest of the cat, out of frame, sits atop the pouf.
It’s even more adorable colonized by a cat. (Photo from Grace.)

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.


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