Saturday, 20 August 2011

Designer Denim - Cajame Style

What to do on a drizzly afternoon when you have no car, an unkeen tween, and precisely 78 pence in loose change rattling around in your purse?

I decided I had to do something creative or I'd be up for the world record attempt in hours spent wasted on Twitter in a day.  Looking around for inspiration, I spied the denim jacket that my daughter Sophie had dragged on earlier when we popped out to the Post Office.  It fits her perfectly, but hasn't seen the light of day for months and months.  I don't know what it is about denim jackets.... they never really go out of fashion do they?  I love the style and have several, albeit none are plain denim - I find the colour drains me.  I prefer pastel shades, corduroy or suede.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to the point of the blog!

Take one jacket (originally purchased for £1 at a car boot sale)

A piece of pretty fabric.  A fat quarter would be ample.  I'm using a patchwork wrap-around skirt.  Purchased for £1.50 (yes, you've guessed it - I won't bother telling you where).
Assorted trimmings:- I'm using my own printed fabric patch, 
scraps of bargain bin ribbon, and a few lengths of vintage lace -
(my usual source - & so cheap, I won't upset you by bragging about the price).

Total cost of materials - approximately £3.25

I've decided to add a fabric panel to the centre back of the jacket.  After adding a liberal amount of fabric spray adhesive to the denim,

I cut an overly sized piece of fabric from the skirt and smoothed into place, adding pins around the edges and a few n the middle to hold it securely whilst machining.

Sewing on the reverse side.  I then machined all the way around the panel, keep the needle as close to the inside of the original stitch line as possible.

Next, a quick flip over and it's time to trim away the excess fabric.  I'm using a pair of Applique scissors to do this.  Funnily enough I found these at a car-boot sale too!  If you haven't got a pair, I can truthfully say I don't know how I'd manage without them now.  They are super sharp, relatively heavy - and the shaped back piece helps ensure the fabric you need to keep uncut is out of the way.  I love them.   So then, if you haven't got a pair of these... make sure your scissors are super-sharp, and cut as close to the stitch line as you can, being very careful indeed.

So far, sew good.  Adding the back panel took less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
I've received a grunt from the tween.  I can only assume the raised eyebrow is an appreciation of my efforts, and she truly loves it.  I now ask for suggestions for embellishments.
A shrug of the shoulders, and head buried back into I-pod.
I shall take that as permission to proceed with my vintage lace and patch.
Hope she likes it when it's finished - it's only a size 8.  Cut me in half, and I still couldn't fit in it.

Throughout this little project, I haven't used any more pins.  I'm a major fan of spray adhesive.
If there was ever a wonder product for sewing, it's this stuff.  Gone are the days of tacking.
Sewing used to be such a bind, the modern time savers are a true boon and delight to use.
I've added a few strips of vintage lace.  I have so much of the stuff, I really need to start using some of it.  Holding firmly in place and using the jacket seams as I guide, I whizz around.

With the back looking super stylish, I needed to add a bit of zing to the front.
I know I need to be a little careful here, or Sophie won't wear it.  She's at that age!
I'm already knowing I need to do one of these for myself - and I know if I do it will be a garment suitable for a dandy.  I have no worries whatsoever about wearing things that are a little odd.  
I'd much rather that than follow the crowd.  
So..... the rest of the family walk on the other side of the street to me.  It's their loss.

Uh-oh, drifting away from the point again.  So sorry, but I'm awfully good at that.  
Get me on a forum, and I bring a whole new meaning to thread drift - to the point that it would be impossible to know what the original topic was.

Where was I.....  the pocket!
After toying with the idea of a lace hankie dangling, I decided to save that idea for my own creation - and instead set about hacking off a corner of the wrap-around skirt.  
(no hemming required - genius)
Folding the corners of the triangle into the middle, I roughly bunch it up and stitch across the top to hold.  After checking it's the right size for the pocket I I then stitch it to the top flap leaving the pocket  still able to open.  With a little ribbon trim - I think it's pretty hunky-dory.

By now I've really lost myself in this project.  I could happily carry on until there's no denim visible.
That's the beauty of this jacket shape.  The panels are so simple, they are the perfect sewing guide.
I resist the urge to go totally OTT and instead add a little strip of pale blue polka dot ribbon to the collar, and pocket top, and a few more strips of lace.

Don't you think this pocket looks totally darling?

And this is the back panel - I just love it.  Wish it fitted me.
The little "Irresistible" patch, is taken from a vintage advertising poster - scaled right down and printed onto washable printing fabric.  (the stuff of dreams for an active imagination).

Wish me luck.......

It's finished, and I'm heading tentatively in the direction of the lounge for the verdict.

Do you know what?  I think I've only gone and won the bingo!  Smiles.  I even got a "That's Lovely".
Even better - I got a quick agreement to slither off the sofa in amoeba like manner to come outside and pose for a photo.  (If you read my blog from this morning, you will already know that the home is out of bounds for photo studio purposes, due to the appallingly slatternly ways of the the housewife living there).

I am absolutely delighted how this has turned out.  A super quick project, and a real transformation from a boring denim jacket, into a truly unique Cajame original.  I do hope you've been inspired to have a go yourselves.  If you do, be sure to let me have the link so I can have a peek.  I'm nothing if not nosy.


  1. You are truly a genius Jan, I bow down to you i am not worthy.
    I wouldn't know where to begin. I had a lovely denim coat many moons back (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) it was a bit large and would need 3 patchwork skirts to cover the back.
    fab job
    Gill xx

  2. Sophie and her new jacket are both adorable!

  3. I'm so glad Sophie like it - well done!

  4. That smile says it all, looks wonderful, I love that madras check patchwork, had a shirt in it many moons ago which I wore till it shredded in the wash :(

  5. just catching up on blogs so please excuse the lateness of this comment - but i LOVE that! fab way of making a plan denim jacket a proper original... :)


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