Western Inspiration: My Denim and Plaid Dress

      This dress is about 2/3 refashioned, 1/3 regular fabric store remnant, and 100% creativity between myself and my husband. What is so cool about this dress is that it’s not “in-your-face-western”, but subtle enough to suggest a feminine twist on the days when plaid was a staple for cowboys and denim was the next toughest thing to rawhide 🙂 Never intended this…it’s just how it came together…but y’all know that I love this here project!

100_0669      I don’t technically know how this project started. I had a yard of denim floating around the basement and a lingering pattern idea which I was determined to make work. This dress was made from McCalls 6324. Now, I knew I wanted the short sleeves of view C, with the contrast bodice of view B, and the ‘no-contrast’ bottom hem of view A. Ah, the wonders of a designer’s inspiration! I love mix and match features on patterns.

    However, when I laid the pattern pieces out, I realized I only had enough fabric for 4 of the dress panels. I did laugh at myself at this point for completely disregarding the amount the pattern said was needed. The dress is put together with 6 panels front, and 6 panels back, and I really didn’t feel like running all over to our fabric stores for something matching. I did happen to remember I had an old pair of flare leg jeans (never really worn) that never fit quite right. I planned on giving to Goodwill. Luckily for me, I hadn’t donated them yet and was able to find them again without too much digging.

     The denim of my jeans was a perfect match-just close enough to work and besides, I felt good about up-cycling into something more useful and fashionable. These jeans weren’t an easy answer though. We were going to have to use a lot more inventiveness. Here’s the pants turning into my dress.

100_0186-0_0398     The dress panel pieces were a little too long, so I used my seam ripper to take apart the pants’ hem, pockets, and side seams from knees down. For best look, I figured on using my jeans for the 2 middle front and the 2 middle back panels. I threw my own and my husband’s caution to the wind and go for a wild idea. The undone hem of the front pant leg panels was used along the bodice seam for the 2 center back panels, while the back jean legs were used for the 2 front dress panels with the darker marking from the missing pockets along the bodice seam also. Here are close ups of what I did. The left is the front of my dress, while the right is the back.


     My husband practically gave me the bodice idea. I was digging through my fabric stash for a good contrast fabric, when he mentioned ‘plaid’ (which he loves) and I went to a bin where we keep all his old ‘rag shirts’, which normally have a stain or a hole in an obvious place, but I could cut around something, so I thought.

100_0302     Then my husband pointed out an old Eddie Bauer shirt he wasn’t going to wear anymore. He’d had this shirt since late high school, and his mom had already shortened the sleeves a long time ago. By the way, this shirt is from a time when he was, let’s say, a lot more optimistic about his future size. He is-and always has been-a skinny guy!

I used the bottom front and the bottom back (with careful matching) for my bodice, and I used the shirt sleeves to cut out my new sleeves. Then I lined the whole bodice in a soft white 100% cotton scraps in my stash. I’m quite proud of how nicely the bodice is lined and how well I matched up the plaid across the front. Hubby’s plaid made my dress’ ‘look’ seem a bit tough, so I went and bought small cotton lace for the neckline without having the dress on hand with me. I eye-balled how much I needed and I was only 7 inches extra!100_0303  Hot dog!

The exposed zipper was so easy and fun to put in the dress. For an added touch, I even added a small panel to cover the inside bottom of the zip.

100_0667     McCalls 6324 is an easy and very slimming pattern, but there are a number of things to change on this pattern. #1) THE NECKLINE- I added 2 1/2 inches along the neckline to make it higher. It would have been quite revealing otherwise. This includes the back, too. #2) THE SLEEVES- In my opinion, they need to be wider and fuller. The sleeves are awfully small and tight. The sleeves are the one bother to this dress and I will get around to fixing them (making them fuller) one day yet…

100_0664      Our little Gunther is in this picture!
I feel my 2nd refashion was another unique success, and my husband loves to tell others about this project. I’m also glad I saved two items from floating around Goodwill.

100_0671THE FACTS:
McCall's 6324
THE FABRIC: 1 yard of dark wash denim from stash, my pair of dark & gently used jeans, my  husband’s cotton off-white & navy plaid shirt, and white cotton scraps for lining –all practically FREE

NOTIONS:  I had everything already but the exposed zipper – only a couple $$ – and the neckline lace

PATTERN: McCall’s 6324, year 2011, view A, B, and C combined

FIRST WORN: to see a movie (“Pirates” in Clay-mation) with hubby at the same place where we had our first date

TIME TO COMPLETE: about 10 hours


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