Making a dress from jeans – V1316

When I started teaching myself to sew as a teenager,I didn’t have easy access to fabric. I mostly altered shop-bought clothes to fit my shape. I also cut apart old clothing to use the fabric. Things haven’t changed much and I still have a bundle of clothes waiting for a second chance….

Like these jeans for example –


The key to reusing fabric is to find a pattern that has alot of panels or smaller sections. This makes it easier to cut pattern pieces according to the correct grain, while also avoiding the original seams on the old clothing.


The pattern I’m using is V1316.


Which I bought after seeing this beautiful version on Handmade by Carolyn.

I’m using 3 pairs of blue jeans and a pair of light grey. They all have a small amount of lycra, which should make this comfortable to wear.

I made a cutting plan by grouping the pattern pieces into light,medium and dark.

I cut a size eight after comparing my measurements (approx 34-28-37) to the finished measurements printed on the pattern pieces. I added an extra 2cm onto the centre back seam allowances as a safety measure! I also added some extra fabric at the shoulder seams as I usually change the shoulder slope on patterns (for straight shoulders).

I am using both the outside and inside of the denim depending on which shade looks better, or has less signs of wear-and-tear! The wrong side is marked with a chalk.


I didn’t muslin this dress as I mostly prefer to make fitting changes by trying on as I sew. (Another bonus with using free fabric is that it’s not a big deal if things don’t work out)…. Plus not sure I want the headache of adjusting the paper pattern..too many pieces!


The instructions are clear to follow. The pattern allows for a lining (a simpler shape without all the little pattern pieces!). But I have been overlocking seams as I go, as I’ll most likely leave this unlined.

I played around with the right/wrong side of the denims before stitching:


Dark center panel


Light center panel

Here’s how it looks as I was attaching the shoulder yoke-


I have tacked the zip and tried it on. The back is gaping a little at the neck, so I’ll need help adjusting the seam, and pinning the shoulders.

Ps…. If you’ve never read Carolyn’s blog before, then I suggest making a big cup of tea….. There’s alot of good stuff there!

33 thoughts on “Making a dress from jeans – V1316

  1. This is a very neat idea and the shades you’ve chosen complement the pattern. I look forward to seeing this completed.

    I was much more industrious when I was young and poor. I too bought thrift shop clothing and embroidered it or added leather patches or altered to the extent my skill permitted. I also used to unravel thrift shop sweaters and then knit the yarn up into new things. Oh to have that kind of patience again…

  2. Wow, this is going to be a hit! I’m not a big fan of many pieces pattern. But I think this one is very well designed. Can’t wait to see your finished version!

  3. I remember Carolyn’s dress and I almost bought tha pattern too after seeing it. It looks like yours is going to be just as nice 🙂

  4. I too was wowed by Carolyn’s version of this dress. But yours is even more appealing as it upcycles old denim. I love the way you have chosen the colours to work together. Very exciting project.

  5. This is looking great and an excellent post that I am sure has inspired many to have a go at this, I’m looking forward to trying.
    Your blending of the shades of blue and the contrast of the white is lovely.

    • I put off making it for quite a while as I thought it would need to be muslined first – but the thought of making it twice put me off! So I jumped in and just measured all the pieces to be certain it would fit 🙂

  6. This is really exciting. I also made the pattern after seeing Carolyn’s and I loved the way it came together. Such fun to make. Yours looks like it’s going to be fantastic!

  7. Pingback: Vogue 1316 – A dress made from jeans | make & wear

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