Deconstructed denim jeans header

Deconstructed Denim Jeans

November 20, 2013 · 32 comments

Hello everyone, I hope you are all having a good week so far?

I whipped up a pair of dark blue denim jeans a couple of weeks back that I have been wearing nearly every day since (although fear not, they have made it into the washing machine a couple of times!) I always think that’s a great judge of a creation- if you are reluctant to part with it for long enough for it to be laundered then you know you have got something right!

The pattern was actually one I worked out from a beloved pair of old Topshop jeans back in the summer. I picked up the jeans for £8 on a random sale rack in the store, I knew they would be tricky to wear when I bought them as they were a stone background with a rose print on- but the shape and fit were perfection to me. The jeans are high waisted, side zip jeans and slim through the leg without being legging- tight. They have enough retro charm to them to pair really nicely with most of my clothes but are still really classic and simple- well except for the print of course! Having put them on several times, wished they went with some of my clothes and removed them, I finally decided to sacrifice them and use them as a pattern.

I cut carefully along the seam lines, pressed each panel and then pinned each piece to some pattern cutting paper careful to keep the fabric smooth and flat. I traced around the panels along the seam lines (so not including any of the seam allowances), punched through any important markings using my stiletto (aka dart lines, pocket placement and zip end) and then added my own 1.5cm seam allowance using my pattern-master. Easy peasy!

Topshop denim jeans side

I made the jeans up in some lovely dark indigo denim from Truro fabric, one of my favourite online fabric shops. I was careful to make sure the denim had a small elastane content as the original Topshop pair did. The jeans took less than a morning to construct and I love them.

I plan to make them up over the next couple of weeks in a gorgeous stretch grey wool- super cosy and soft and I think as trousers they should get an extra vintage look to them.

denim jeans back

I am wearing them here with my Agnes and Normal heels but have also been wearing them with my little ankle boots and liking that combination too- plus it means I get to wear socks which pleases me greatly in this current chilly weather. Here I am also wearing my Kate Spade sweater and my Boden cardigan and can I just say I was SO nice and warm this day I suddenly wished I had a wardrobe entirely of twin- sets. They really were onto things in 50s!

In my last post a couple of you lovely readers very flatteringly enquired about my make- up. I was wearing my regular daily make-up, as I am in the pictures in this post. I have listed the products below:

Clarins Teint Multi Regenerant foundation in their palest shade which is 103 applied with my Real Techniques buffing brush that comes in their Core Collection set and is the softest brush in the world and synthetic so doesn’t absorb any of the product- super!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla (one of the big downsides to being so pale is that tiredness shows up so easily on me. This is a great under eye concealer- and I have tried a whole bunch.)

Diorskin Rosy Glow Blush- the only blusher I will ever buy again, ever.

Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in the lightscape shade (the palest one) as a highlighter and as my eyeshadow.

Bourjois Pinceau Eyeliner in dark brown which is such a dark brown it looks pretty much black on me but seems less harsh against my skin/ eye colour.

Lancome Doll Eyes Mascara in black on my upper lashes which I bought purely on account of liking the name but then kept buying because it works really well on my really fine lashes- I think it is because it has quite a dry consistency and so it doesn’t weigh them down like all the wetter mascaras do.

Last but certainly not least one of my favourite Revlon Lip Butters- this one is a soft pale pink called Strawberry Shortcake (what a great name for a lippie!) Its quite a nudey shade on me so good for everyday.

Those are my favourite daily cosmetic bits. If anyone has any other makeup related questions then I can happily talk about the stuff all day so please let me know.

Have you ever used a favourite ready- to- wear garment to make a pattern?

Thanks for reading!

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

nicole November 21, 2013 at 12:55 am

These are great! the fit is spot on, Love your whole outfit :-)
Do the pants have a back yoke or darts? I have been wanting to make something similar for ages, Do you think the Clover pants could work? I’m a little bit intimidated by all the fitting horror stories lol

x Nicole

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Hi Nicole, thanks so much!
The pants have small little darts at the back that extend to about midway behind the pockets. I did make the clovers up (blogged here: http://sewinglondon.co.uk/colette-clover/) and did a diagram of all the things I changed to make them fit- there were a few! They were never as comfy AS comfy as these ones though- but the denim I used for them was not as soft. If you want high waisted style pants then one thing you will def have to do to the clovers is add some extra length between the crutch and the waist as the pattern is surprisingly hipster! :)
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Roxanne November 21, 2013 at 3:01 am

Love those jeans! The dark wash, simple design and ankle lenght make them really chic. They would also look awesome during the summer with a gingham tie knot blouse, wedge sandals and pair of cheeky sunglasses.

Now that you’ve gone and spilled the beans about your makeup… are you going to do a post about that gorgeous mane of yours? More specificaly, could you tell us (me!) how you achieve those amazing retro curls? I have been toying with the idea of curling my hair for a while, but I’m a curling iron virgin! Maybe your tips might give me the confidence to try it out…
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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Aw thanks Roxanne- oooo I can totally picture that outfit and I love that idea! I have some paler denim in my stash that I think I will have to recreate these in come summertime too! :)
I would love to do a post about all things hair! I have hair that does NOT stay curled from heat and so have recently been experimenting with different kinds of pin curls and rollers on damp hair. It stays curled which is fantastic but also doesnt have the horrible element of feeling a bit like you are melting your hair! Its surprising quick and easy too after a few practise runs! Better not write a whole blog post in this little box tho, hehe, but I will definitely do a hair related post very soon :)
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erin November 21, 2013 at 4:11 am

The jeans fit like a glove, and looks great! I’m loving my diorskin rosy glow blush too :)

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Its such good stuff right?! Its so non powdery/ cakey, LOVE it! :)
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Katalin November 21, 2013 at 8:45 am

Lovely jeans, they look perfect on you!
I was so excited to see a new post from you! I love Truro Fabrics also, I’m going to visit their shop soon and really excited about it. I think I should leave my purse at home…

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Thanks Katalin! Aw lucky you! I would love to go there in person at some point, and to Stone fabrics too! Hehe, yep bit dangerous for the purse tho…!
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Tialys November 21, 2013 at 9:40 am

These look great! Love the fluffy jumper and little brooch too – very 1950s American coffee bar style. I did draw round a Boden dress once that I liked and made a copy for myself but, as I didn’t want to actually cut up the original, it wasn’t 100% accurate (to say the least) but it was wearable. I went back and had a look at your blue coat, by the way, a post I missed somehow, which is stunning. It reminds me of an article I saw in the Telegraph recently about M & S’s duster coat which was selling for only £89 but they only had it in their ‘flagship stores’ and, of course, they flew off the shelves. I think they had it in pink in their t.v. ad but the one they photographed was the same gorgeous blue that you have used.

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Ooo I like the sound of a similar coat but in pink! I did notice a few pastel coats about after I got the pale blue fabric actually- hopefully it might mean some more pastel coating in the fabric shops next year!
Yep its definitely harder without cutting up your original which is obviously not something you want to do if you are still wearing it! Boden have lovely shapes don’t they, so many 60′s- esque styles :)
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Suzie November 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Ahhh – Beautiful! What a great fit, and the perfect silhouette for your style. It’s a fantastic skill to have to be able to draft a pattern from a RTW item – it almost feels like the world is your oyster! I have only attempted it once, but I was pretty pleased with myself! lol.

And thank you for the make-up info. I went off and googled every product straight away! I’ve been meaning to get a real techniques make-up brush or two as I’ve heard good things about them, so may give them a go. And the Diorskin rosy glow looks amazing! I couldn’t find the Clarins foundation you mentioned though. Does it have any other name?
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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Thanks Suzie! Yes I know exactly what you mean- and it certains alleviates that horrible feeling you have when you realise you are wearing one of your favourite garments out!
The brushes are LOVELY!! So so soft and easy to clean too, and for once woth good things not too expensive! Sorry for some reason I wrote out the french part of the clarins foundation name- its the Extra- firming one. Not sure it does any ‘firming’ but its really good stuff anyway! The rosy glow is fantastic, it seems to give you colour but with no trace of there actually being any powder on your face! Perfect!
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Ginger November 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Ooh, I can see why you love these! The fit is stunning– definitely worth sacrificing some hard-to-wear jeans to get such a great pattern!
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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Thanks Ginger! :) Yep they were that elusive well fitting pair of jeans- typical they would be in a crazy print!
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oonaballoona November 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

you look like a perfect confection. gorgeous!

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Aw I love the idea of being a confection! Hehe! Thanks :)
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Angela November 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Amy you’re a stunner! Perfect fit jeans!

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Aw thanks Angela! :)
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Evie November 22, 2013 at 2:45 am

I love the jeans! I made myself a similar pair a couple of years ago and they are my absolute favorites. I’m also a big fan of the Nars concealer (I wear vanilla as well).

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Thanks Evie! Just been having a read of your lovely lovely blog- lots of posts for me to get stuck into! Yay! I noticed you have started knitting the V-neck sweater from a stitch in time volume 2 and this is on my VERY long lists of vintage knitting projects. How did you find the pattern? :)
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Joelle November 22, 2013 at 6:43 am

These looks amazing! I still haven’t attempted trousers, as I find the idea of fitting quite daunting. I’d rather spend the time sewing (and finishing!) a pretty dress instead. Lazy me! You are not the first one though to use the idea of using a pair of already fitting trousers as a base, and I must say it is very clever! I can see why you wear them all the time!

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Thanks Joelle- yep it was incredibly nice to KNOW they were going to be a fab fit before I even cut into the fabric! Trousers do seem a bit dull compared to pretty dresses to sew don’t they, although I think the amount of wear they get from me makes up for it :)
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poppykettle November 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

Gorgeous pants, and goodness you wear them well. Loving the fit, the fabric and the length!

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Thank you! Just had a look at your blog and will be headin straight back over to have a really good read through all your posts! I hope your wedding dress sewing is going well, and I had never heard of Mafy- what incredible patterns!! :)
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Rachel Marie November 24, 2013 at 6:52 am

Great job, I have always wanted to deconstruct pants to make my own dream pair!

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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Thanks Rachel- its definitley worth doing if you have a pair you love :)
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Zoe November 26, 2013 at 1:17 am

Lovely jeans, and such a great fabric! I haven’t really used any RTW to make something for myself yet (though I plan to) but I have for my mum, with some pyjamas that were a great style but the fabric was all worn.
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amelialowden November 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Thank you! Ooo I was thinking of doing pyjamas too as my favourite ones have seen far better days :(
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foamofdays December 1, 2013 at 12:17 am

Love your jeans! It’s so clever of you – to use an old pair of jeans as a pattern.. I should definitely do this! I’ve always been scared of making jeans, but in this case you don’t need to make a muslin and worry about fit issues! I love your pictures, somehow they have winter festive feel about them..
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F. K. December 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Jeans are my favourite thing to make!

(BTW, I love your little fireplace!)
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SeeKatSew December 28, 2013 at 1:58 am

You are so talented!! Such a gift to have such talent. Those jeans are perfect, I don’t think there are pants that could fit you better. I hope you use the pattern to make more.

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Edel January 14, 2014 at 11:23 pm

You are so talented! If you ever decided you no longer needed that beautiful Kate Spade top I am sure I could take it off your hands!! ;)

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