Denim Revolution: Dozens of Ways to Turn Denim Cast-Offs into Fashion Must-Haves


Denim Revolution: Dozens of Ways to Turn Denim Cast-Offs into Fashion Must-Haves

By Nancy Minsky
Denim RevolutionDenim Revolution

Denim has always been universally cool, but the renaissance that this adaptable, comfortable, stylish fabric is now experiencing is unprecedented. Never before has the all-American blue jean had such infinite possibilities—both in how you wear it (as stylized jeans, belts, cuff bracelets, or bolero jackets), what you embellish it with (lace, appliqué, metallic braid, leather, paint, or bling), and the occasions it’s appropriate for (downtown partying or uptown dining).

But before you pay hundreds of dollars to get the latest denim looks (like celebs do), learn how you can actually create your own chic pieces from recycled denim in your closet, vintage stores, and thrift shops. In Denim Revolution, former Calvin Klein design assistant Nancy Minsky offers dozens of patterns for novices to experienced stitchers that fuse recycled denim with cool embellishments—mixing together old, new, vintage, antique, rugged, and modern to spice up your wardrobe. And you don’t have to be a master seamstress to get these fresh looks; many of the projects are designed for beginners and don’t even require a sewing machine. All have step-by-step instructions, sketches, and photographs to guide you.

In each of the six sections, you’ll find something to suit your personal style—be it “Denim Destroy Jeans” (for raw, reckless types), a twenty-first-century“Downtown Babe Jean Jacket” (for savvy city girls), “Alice in Wonderland Appliquéd Pedal Pushers” (for a feminine, spring look), or “Victorian Romance Lacy Cuffs” (for a fanciful bohemian flair). Not ready to take on a project from scratch? Then learn to artfully add wear and tear to jeans you already own or easily convert a pair into a skirt.

Also included: A sewing tutorial and tips and techniques on everything from cutting fur and fraying edges to embellishing denim with embroidery, other fabrics, ribbon, lace, or paint.


It’s time for twenty-first-century dressmaking! And you’re on the forefront of cool by being part of this evolution revolution, adapting dressmaking to our globally shared values and to fashion’s delicious whims. This revolution is about enjoying and appreciating the beauty of recycling old into glamorous new, within the realities of our budgets, abilities, and free time. Denim is the universal numero uno fashion statement because it’s so adaptable, no matter how diverse our lifestyles may be from continent to continent. It transcends political barriers, fills our pop culture, and clothes fashion stars, hip- pies, and rebels. By reinventing them—recycling jeans into new looks we are making individual choices and creating a fab twenty-first century statement about personal style and freedom.

Whether you are a no-experience, all-thumbs type or a craft-nik who made her own wedding dress, if you love fashion and love denim, you can succeed with Denim Revolution (DR) projects. With your own two hands, you will lovingly and stylishly mix together old, new, vintage, antique, modern, rugged in hip ways, to spice up your wardrobe that designer price tag. Some of the projects take no previous experience and others require skillful craftsmanship. Whatever your level, just stick with me. I will guide you step-by-step, giving you the know-how to choose the projects that are right for you and the tools to adapt the designs to different body shapes and the variety of materials we will be using. Stand up to the suffocating stream of banali- ty, the endless sales, and the piles Of commercial clothes, Express your uniqueness and make your own individual statement!

Intrinsically cool denim is the perfect canvas to dress up, to re-accessorize, to reinvent. You will use lots of different needle crafts, which offer a heart- warming relief from the high-tech, automated world that surrounds us. Embrace them, experiment, release your passion—you will reap the satistying feeling of accomplishment and catch the de- signer bug.

Denim Revolution is divided into three sections. The first section lays the foundation. This is where you get started, with some basic denim background and useful tips and techniques. Please read it all! Then you move into the projects, which are laid out in five Chapters—trashed-denim fashions followed by winter, spring, summer, and party clothes. Whatever your look—rocker, sporty, flirty, or sweet you’ll find it here. Finally, in the back you can refer- ence some basic DR know-how: ways to paint, destroy, and reconstruct your denim.

My hope is that you take pleasure in the whole creative process. Enjoy creating your wish list, dreaming about the projects you will make, and gathering the materials—bask in the pride of crafts- manship and the ability to say in response to compliments, “Oh, thank you! I designed it and I made it!”

Remember, it’s your party. Wear your new wardrobe like a star designer! We’ve styled the pho- with lots of ideas for wearing your projects, and zlong with my fashion sketches, we hope they z.zspire you to flaunt your handiwork. I am already your biggest fan and supporter and would love to see images of what you make.

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