Dress · How-To's

Dungarees Denim Dress from 2 Pairs of Jeans and a Belt

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Sometimes wonderful things can come about by accident.

By accident, I mean things that are unplanned, that occur serendipitously, by chance, or simply because you were willing to play. And let go.

2016 was the year I decided to start this blog, to teach myself to sew, without formal instruction, just fuelled by my passion. If nothing else, I’ve learnt two things. One, passion informs. You constantly surprise yourself by how much you already know.

And two, creativity itself is a series of happy accidents. If you allow it to take you by the hand, and follow where it goes, you can end up in some surprising places. Even though you thought you’d planned it every step of the way. Because you’d soon discover that even the act of planning is a process of discovery. And making is a process of discovery.

Sometimes you come by an accident that keeps on giving. This happens after you’ve made something, and find how you use it is an act of discovery too.

In this case, it all started with this remnant jeans I had. It was a UK size 24 (US 20 or EUR 52). After harvesting the legs for another project, I still had all this left.fotor_148793597506162

I could’ve turned it into a bag, I suppose, but I was aching to make a dress. And I also had this other pair of jeans to play with, which was a UK size 14 (US 10 or EUR 42).fotor_148793654581390But how do I make these 2 jeans into a dress?

Me, I’m a great believer of ‘stare at something long enough and epiphanies will come’. So, after a long bout of staring, this was the answer that came.infinity-dress-sketch2-1I’ve always been intrigued by the asymmetrical shapes of lagenlook tunics. And also loove the idea of a hem with a zippered slit. And to combine the two and represent them in denim? Just heaven.

Well, back on earth, it’s basically a case of ripping the inner leg seams of both jeans and flipping them on their sides. Then turn the remnant jeans upside down and tuck the other pair (right side up) inside. Adjust the position of the inner jeans until the sides more or less line up. Like so …untitled85

Naturally, the sides won’t match up perfectly and there’ll be one or two gaping holes but let’s not worry about that for now. Pin and cut off parts of the top jeans that overlap with the bottom jeans and put aside for later. Remove all pockets and set aside.

Find the edges where both jeans meet and stitch right sides together. fotor_148819962087345

Remember the leftover denim? Use it to patch up holes and then add double topstitching in yellow all along sewn edges.fotor_148819946847949

This is how the dress looks so far.untitled87

Let’s give this dungarees dress some straps! Now, I’m one who loathes interfering with what’s already working. Read: I’m a lazy cow. So instead of opening up the top waistband, making new straps, inserting them into the waistband and stitching it back again, I just sewed four buttons along the top waistband and cut up an old belt into two. In faux braided leather, as a nice contrast. I attached 4 squares made of denim and printed fabric to the ends of the 2 straps and these became the buttonholes.untitled89As you can see, a pocket was embellished with some leftover zipper tape in yellow and patched back onto its original position. Another one like this is attached on the reverse, halfway down the dress. 

The 2 pockets of the other jeans have been sewn together to form a removable pocket and given an additional buttonhole.2017-02-27-20-50-45

And speaking of buttons, 2 more are sewn at different heights on either side of the dress.fotor_148823533827044

Let’s have a close-up of the daisy appliqué with button centre, shall we? It has a vinyl overlay to give it that glossy lustre.fotor_148823688173629

Have you noticed that these 2 buttons have short orange strips below them? They’re actually elastic tape with their sides sewn down. The idea is to loop the tape over the button so the dress can be worn at various lengths and also create lovely folds. Crazy, right?

And in case you’re wondering, no, that’s not the only reason it’s called the Infinity Dress. Because I made the straps detachable, out of sheer laziness, I’ve found even more ways of wearing this thang!

For starters, any of these 4 sides can be the front (or back) of the dress.untitled92untitled93

Most importantly, let’s not forget there are 6 buttons you can attach the straps to. Just think of the possible combinations … straight at the front cross at the back, cross at the front straight at the back, cross back and front, straight back and front, one strap halter, one-shouldered straight back and front, one-shouldered straight front diagonal back, vice versa, and on and on … it’s giddifying!

And that’s not even counting all the places the removable pocket could go …fotor_148827264499494

Want to see this baby in action? Here are just some of the myriad ways to wear it.fotor_14883135128324fotor_148831356746790fotor_148831363794380fotor_148831369825433fotor_148831947877385fotor_148831952411895

Now you see what I mean about an accident that keeps on giving? I keep finding new combinations with this thing. It’s like a golden goose in dress form. A hundred dresses in one. As seen above, you could even wear it as a skirt!

Because it’s denim, it’s a multi-seasonal. Wear it long over a turtleneck and warm tights and boots for winter, or short over a bikini or tank top in summer or even on its own, and everything else in between for autumn and spring. It’s improvisable for day and night – it even inspires you to make up new words! – and can be sexy or modest, depending on your mood. In other words, versatility is its middle name.

So, let me ask you this: could you see yourself wearing a dress like this? If so, what’s the desire level? If ‘let me at it now!’ is 10 and just ‘meh’ is 1, where does it standI’d love to hear your thoughts.

Before I go, here’s one last photo.untitled106-1It’s also a teaser for the next blog post. I know the posts have been rather sporadic lately and that’s because I’ve got a few things in the works.

Want to know more? Do stay tuned.

If you do, I’ll be more than …

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