Jul 15, 2014

Old Blue Jeans, Part 1

I was a child of the 60's. Some of you may remember the 1960's and others may only know about that decade from movies and music. The '60's was not an easy decade. No, it was fraught with rebellion and hippies, long hair, sit-ins, anti-war demonstrations, riots, civil rights' unrest, assassinations...

And denim blue jeans.

Now while people wore blue jeans prior to the 1960's I think they took on a life of their own during that decade. I wore blue jeans way back then. In fact I still do. I think I wear jeans every single day. Every. Single. Day.

When you wear jeans that much you eventually wear them to the point that you cannot continue to wear them. They get holes, they get too faded....although a good faded, broken in pair of jeans is almost irreplaceable.

What do most people do with old blue jeans? They toss them or maybe donate to Goodwill. But me? What do I do with old blue jeans? I save them. I have been known to have boxes of old blue jeans. There are so many things that can be made from old blue jeans! 

So what's a girl to do with old blue jeans? Glad you asked! You can make things, lots of useful things like pot holders, quilts, vests, jackets, tote bags, rugs, place mats, and purses, etc. The sky is the limit.

Many years ago my friend, Michelle, who is amazingly creative, took old jeans and made a jacket for herself. I'm talking a lined, zippered jacket in a patchwork style. It was beautiful! She cut the pattern pieces for the jacket itself from muslin and simply appliqued the denim pieces randomly on top of the muslin. She included random zippers and belt loops and attached them in various places on the jacket. As I recall she used the zipper from the fly to make a pocket on a sleeve. Very creative. I wish I had a picture of it to show you. But that was well over 20 years ago and that jacket is probably history by now.

I was so inspired by Michelle's creativity that I decided if she could do that then I could too, or at least I'd have a stab at it. So I took her basic idea and made a vest...a jacket was out of my league. I labored over that vest getting more and more excited about it with every piece of denim I attached. You see this would be a gift for my daughter who was in high school at the time and I just knew she'd love it.

I used an old sheet for the basic vest pattern but didn't line it. The zig-zag stitching is visible on the backside of each piece. I went through a whole spool of thread!

Or so I thought.

She wasn't particularly impressed with it. She didn't wear vests she told me, and it was too big for her, and it wasn't her style, etc, etc. OK, I can take a hint. In retrospect I should have realized this vest was just not her. It's OK, I told myself, maybe when her younger sisters get older, just maybe they will like it. Well, they got older. And no. They didn't like it any more than she did.

All in all it is a bit over the top, especially if you weren't a teenager in the 1960's.

I added labels from the various brands of jeans, as well as button and tab flys.

That zipper fly on the right is fully intact and can be zipped up and down, and the pocket on the left is a real pocket....of course since it's on the back of the vest it's not very practical as pockets go.

I still have that vest, as you can see, although exactly why, I cannot say. There are no more daughters to attempt to give it to. I pull it out every once in awhile and my girls and I laugh over it. would have been nice if at least one of the three of them wore it, even once.

But wait....I do have granddaughters!

Next time I'll share some more blue jean projects.


  1. That vest looks like you put a lot of work into it. It's too bad none of your daughters felt it was their style. I've had similar situations with my own daughters. I'll save something for one of them, then when they were the right size, I'll offer it to them, only to have them tell me that it's really not their style. Oh well. However, they do like my jewelry, so I've been able to pass pieces on to them.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Lili. I have to say just making the vest was fun and creative. Even if no one ever wore it the creative process of making it was rewarding in and of itself. And it does make us all laugh. One of my daughters suggested I try to sell it on ebay! Now there's an idea.


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