Introduction: Recycled Denim Dress
I created a version of this dress for a friend. I’m not exactly sure who the creator is, or where you can buy the original, but none the less, this was the inspiration.
I started with a denim shirt and big pile of jeans.
I knew the top needed some visual interest. I did not want her looking like Little House on the Prairie, so I added a faux underbust corset style panel. You can find basic corset instructions online. It's really pretty easy. The gist of it is you take the measurements, in this case the underbust, waist and hips. Divide the measurements by the number of panels you want, here I did 8. Use these measurements to create your pattern pieces using you desired length measurement. You should wind up with pieces that resemble an hour glass. The you sew them all together in the proper order and adjust as necessary.
Next you start building the skirt. I chose to make first row plain light weight denim from an old pair of jeans with no buttons or pockets. I pinned it to the bodice placing large pleats every few inches to help build the fullness in skirt. To attach it I simply zig zagged it on because she likes a more rustic look, but you could certainly pin it and sew right sides together and hide the stitching.
To finish the dress I kept adding row after row of jeans. For this particular dress I chopped off the top of the jeans just above the center of the crotch seam, and them cut the front and back apart. In between each front/back section I added in a section of plain denim that I pleated so that the skirt would get progressively fuller as it went down. There's no rhyme of reason for how many pairs of jeans you need, or how many rows of denim. You simply keep adding until it's the desired length, or you run out.
When I made this I pinned and sewed as I went. I really didn't plan ahead, which worked fine for me since I was letting all of the raw edges show. If you not letting the raw edges show, then I would advise sewing each row together in big circle with the seams on the inside and then sew it on. Once you sew each row on you I would also advise trimming it so that it is the same length all the way around. If you're using jeans that are all the same size then this probably won't be much of an issue, but I had a wide WIDE rnage of sizes.
Don't forget...have fun with it. I had a couple pairs of rather large men's jeans so they were substantially longer than the smaller ladies jeans. When I was using the back panels I left the back pockets whole and over lapped them on the row below. In the last picture I tried to enlarge where I did this so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about.