Upcycled Clothing: Dress to Denim Jacket

I’m really excited to share this project with you:  a cropped denim jacket that was the invention of my daughter, Endeavor.

Let me begin by saying, I’m really lucky to have a daughter like Endeavor.  She’s a delight, and I just enjoy her more and more every day.  As she’s grown, I’ve been thrilled to discover that we share the same sense of humor, love of all things Jane Austen, and penchant for exotic foods.  Endeavor was born with creative abilities that it has taken me years to develop–she’s just good at making crafty things.

Well, a few weeks ago we went shopping for a spring dress for Endeavor.  She had found these darling shoes at Target, which I purchased immediately upon discovering Endeavor and I–wait for it!–now wear the same shoe size.  (We can each have twice as many shoes, right?)  So we were looking for a dress for her to wear with these shoes on Sundays.

Let me tell you, it is HARD WORK to find a dress for a 13 year old that doesn’t look like something off of a B-movie.  Enjoy those cute outfits in the toddler section while you can, ’cause I’m telling you, commercial designers out there are designing for two types of girls:  cabbage patch doll and streetwalkers.   My 13 year old (like the majority of girls her age) doesn’t fit into either of those categories.  We spent hoooouuuurrrrrssss looking for a pretty dress that met the criteria of being modest, well constructed, having a nice fit, and being age appropriate.  And not neon.

The last store we visited was Old Navy, and it had this pretty sundress–which fit all of our criteria as long as we found a fitted tee to wear under or a cute sweater or jacket to wear over those little straps.  We couldn’t find either without placing an online order.

Endeavor was excited to wear the dress for Easter Sunday, and didn’t want to wait for an order to come.  She came up with the brilliant idea of turning one of her old dresses into a cropped jacket.   Want to see how we did it?

I started out with a denim shirt dress.  It was still in great shape, but had become too short for Endeavor to feel comfortable wearing.

I unpicked the bodice of the dress from the waistband.

I clipped the button placket so that the dress could be divided into two pieces.

Then, I turned the hem of the bodice under, with an iron and pins, and I pinned some cute, crocheted lace onto the lower edge of the bodice.

The lace was a lucky find–it came with that nice ribbon-covered trim, which made it so much easier to sew onto the bodice.

That was it!  With just a little unpicking and stitching, Endeavor had an adorable cropped denim jacket trimmed in crocheted lace, that matched her new dress perfectly.

With her long, empire waisted maxi dress, Endeavor looks like she’s just come in from a walk to the Bennett estate.  She noticed immediately, “This looks like something Emma–as in Jane Austen’s Emma–would wear!”

It’s hard to tell in the bright sunlight, but the maxi dress has rows of pretty eyelet.  So summery!

And we had the jacket ready just in time for Easter.  Hooray!

What do you think of Endeavor’s suggestion to upcycle a dress we already had on hand?  Do you like the touch of lace?

Linking this post to:  The 36th Avenue, Blue Cricket Design, Somewhat Simple, Whipperberry, 30 Handmade Days, Tatertots & Jello, Home Stories A2Z, Sugar Bee Crafts, Sew Cute TuesdayIt’s Overflowing, and I {Heart} Naptime

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  1. That little jacket is adorable!! What a great idea.

  2. This is absolutely DARLING! Your 13 year old is amazingly creative!!! I love your blog and think the name is PERFECT! I’ve been to Holland and I LOVED it to pieces so I was instantly excited to learn of your blog…I think your inspiration is even more amazing!!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead Ruth!!! XO, Aimee

    • Thank you so much, Aimee! I’m so glad you stopped by–thanks for your sweet words about my blog. I’m so excited to spend more time on yours. I keep going back to my computer to see more!

  3. Thanks Ruth!!! :) Fun to have you as a bloggy friend!!! I’m featuring you tomorrow on my blog! XO, Aimee

  4. First off, your family is ADORABLE!! ^_^ I love how your daughter immediately thought she looked like a Jane Austen character – that is precious. Thank you so much for sharing such a great tutorial; my daughter has a jean jacket that I am going to pounce on the moment it no longer fits. ^_-

    ~Nicole @ http://www.shabbybeachnest.com

    • Thank you, Nicole! I’m glad that you like the tutorial. We are big, big Jane Austen fans at our house, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to emulate the Bennett sisters…except eloping. No eloping allowed!

  5. I think she is one smart young lady! What a neat idea. And I love the lace on the bottom.

  6. Great idea & it turned out beautiful!

  7. Just found your site from infarrantly creative blog. Awesome! I have a 13yr old as well and we are having the same problem with clothing. Can’t find modest but age appropriate clothing for teens.

    • I feel your pain! I’ve never been much of a shopper–I just like to run in, grab what we need, and go–but I’m learning that it’s going to take a lot more time and creativity to help my daughter find appropriate clothing choices. Personally, we tend to have the best luck at Old Navy. Another good source is a store called DownEastBasics.com. They have really good layering tees in lots of different colors that provide great coverage and really extend your wardrobe choices. Good luck with school shopping!


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