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Learn to Sew Updated Jeans Jackets

Classic details take you beyond denim.
Threads #123 – Feb./March 2006
Jeans jackets for all occasions—(from left) organza: Neue Mode 22873; cotton velvet: Jalie 2320; corduroy: Vogue 7610. Photo: Jack Deutsch; hair and makeup, Sylvia Pichler.

Tailored blazers, tweedy designer jackets, ladylike twinsets, and slouchy hooded sweaters may cover myriad fashion requirements, but there’s one jacket that can replace them all: the jeans jacket. With the right pattern, proper fit adjustments, and a gorgeous—or funky, sophisticated, or casual—fabric, you can make a jeans jacket that suits any occasion and nearly any body type.

Sewing a jeans jacket isn’t technically much different from sewing a blouse with a convertible collar; an advanced beginner with a bit of patience can easily make one. To get you started, I’ll survey a number of patterns for traditional and updated jeans jacket styles that I’ve tested. I’ll also walk you through the basic techniques for constructing a jacket. Once you’ve made your first jeans jacket, I suspect you’ll be tempted to sew a closetful to take you through the seasons.

Choose your pattern by silhouette and features.

Jeans-jacket patterns aren’t difficult to find, both in commercial pattern catalogs and in the collections of independent designers. You’ll discover styles ranging from the multiseamed Levi’s-type jacket to simplified versions that are quicker to sew. Don’t be daunted by the number of pieces included in a traditional-style jacket pattern; simply keep the pieces labeled as you cut them out. And remember that the multiple torso seams provide numerous fitting opportunities.

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Previous: Repurpose Jeans into a Denim Jacket Next: Learn to Make Your Own Designer Denim


  1. christinalg | | #1

    Will the "Self-bound and felled seam" method result in a 5/8" seam allowance? Or would there be an additional 1/4" added to the width of that part of the garment after using this method? e.g. if two 10"+5/8" pieces of fabric were joined in this way, would the final width end up being 20" or 20 and 1/4"?

    The first line of sewing is at the 5/8" mark of one piece of the fabric (the one being folded over), but I'm having trouble envisioning what happens with the 2nd line of sewing relative to the piece that was offset by 1/4"....it seems like that 1/4" is not "removed" by the sewing because the 2nd line of sewing would be on top of the 5/8" mark which leave 1/4" between the two lines.

    edited: I think that if the fabric is offset slightly more than 1/4" then this would 'use up' the additional 1/4.

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Sew Your Own Jeans

Sew Your Own Jeans

Creating the perfect pair of jeans is easier than you might think!

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Why and How to Make Jeans
Repair and Alterations
Denim Creativity
Jeans Patterns to Try