Jessica Sews | Made Again Patterns Joey Tank

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First things first - you guys are the best. Thanks for the encouragement on the launch of Made Again Patterns. I’m soaking in loads of good vibes and putting them to use on the creation on the first clothing pattern. And this is it!

Introducing the Joey Tank! Inspired by summers from the late 90s - a time when days were spent at the neighborhood pool, with tan shoulders and daisies in our hair, cruising around with way too many people in the backseat of the one guy who had his license, 11 pm curfews, the sound of dial up internet and managing 26 different conversations… and finally… cue the Dawson’s Creek theme song.

To me, this tank captures all of that! It’s upcycled from a men’s button down (check out that pocket in back) and so easy to throw on with a part of shorts (which do not pass the regulation finger tip length circa 1999).

So here’s where I’m at in the development phase - I have the digital base pattern created plus the written and illustrated instructions drafted. What you see here is version one. I’ve made a few updates like continuous straps and binding which will be in the final version. Plus there’s a straight hem cropped version as well! I’ll be grading it and sending out to my testers in the next week with a hope to debut in July! (if you’d like to volunteer to stitch a sample and make notes in exchange for a free pattern, you can do that here) You can also follow Made Again Patterns on Instagram and Facebook for release updates. I’m also doing some behind-the-scenes of the process there too. Until then… happy summering, sewing and spending your time doing what you love doing most!

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Jessica Sews | Made Again Patterns + Jane Dress

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Hey guys! It’s a good old fashioned What I Wore post! Because nothing says I give AF like curling your hair on a Tuesday morning. Actually! I’m pretty excited because today I want to tell you about a new project I’m working on!

In the past few weeks I have been focusing my time and energy on a new endeavor - Made Again Patterns. Here’s the deal. Y’all know I love thrifting, sewing and combining the two to create one of a kind clothing for myself. I’m also at the point in my life where I am out of the weeds of caring for teeny tiny people as a SAHM into being a mom of more independent children ready to enter their school age years. Thus - I’ve been craving a new gig with the hopes that I can spend time growing my talents, challenging myself with new skills and if I pull this off, also making some money.

I’m in the development phase for clothing patterns - draping, sewing samples, grading, and writing and illustrating instructions. Although you can use flat fabric, my goal is to pattern these styles in such a way you can cut them from harvested secondhand fabric. I’ll also be creating how-to videos for a range of sewing techniques (so let me know what I can help you with!)

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The dress I’m wearing is my own pattern and believe it or not, made up from a thrifted bedsheet! And it’s a full circle skirt!! I was initially going for sort of an 80s Pretty Woman polo match, but it ended up being a bit late 1950s. Either way, I love it!! I have a few kinks to work out but this is definitely something I want to offer you guys. There’s also a cute 90’s style halter that I think will be my first release this summer and later this fall I’ll be releasing a moto jacket. In the meantime, I have a free throw pillow already up in the shop as a printable PDF download.

I’ll also be looking for pattern testers, so if you’d like to sign up for that, please drop me a note here.

I am so thrilled to do all of my favorite things - sewing, thrifting and teaching others how to do something that has brought me so much joy over the past 25 plus years. I cannot thank you guys enough for the comments and messages that have been so encouraging with the projects I’ve been stitching up over the past 6 months. I really feel like I’ve found my groove and am so excited for what this could become!

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Jessica Sews | Upcycled Swiss Dot + Refashioned Levis

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When it comes to my sewing projects, I usually finish them within a couple of days of starting. If it gets set aside for too long, it becomes lost in the abyss/I feel guilty and hide it with other fabric. These jeans were just about to meet the same fate until I found myself nearly caught up in my sewing agenda and thinking… maybe I can get these to work. But before I tell you about that, let me rewind to the beginning.

If you’ve seen my last handful of posts, you know I am really into harvesting fabric from thrift store pieces to remake into modern styles in my own size. I LOVE DOING THIS. There aren’t a ton of local options for fabric near me and we have a really two really great Goodwill stores in town. I’ve found typically expensive fabrics - wool, silk, linen, Swiss dots, seersuckers, eyelets - the list goes on and on.

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After making a good assortment of tops (like the one in this post!), it crossed my mind I might be able to find some men’s jeans that could be upcycled into a new pair that fit me. Raw denim is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but it takes a lot of wearing and washing to get it to fade into a soft vintage blue. And that’s what I had in mind for this pair of jeans, so imagine my crazy good luck when I found a pair of men’s Levi’s in a size 50 for under five bucks.

I wanted to try to keep some of the original elements - the red tab, big back pockets and front coin pocket all came along into my new pair. I was able to cut most of the rest of the jeans out but had to go cross grain in some places, or use different fabric all together - like the inside waistband and belt looks. But I LIKE the way all of the different elements come together. I finished the bottom edge with a raw hem and the fit on these is really relaxed. Perfect for milling about the house, working outside or whatever.

The issue that gave me trouble was using thick thread in conjunction with thick fabric. My home machine just couldn’t wing it. I finally thought maybe regular thread would work and I’m glad I did because it came through. With the extra bar tacks and top stitching I think this pair will be plenty sturdy and I don’t mind going back into mend if need be.

So both the top and denim in this post are upcycled plus the band on my self made hat! You’ve seen the blouse worn here (Simplicity 8391, out of print) and the jeans are my favorite denim pattern (Dawn Jean) from Megan Nielsen patterns (literally every pair of pants i make are this pattern. What am I up to? Eight versions?)

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Jessica Sews | Chambray Refashion Dress

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Guys, this is one of my favorite sewing projects of the year and I’m so excited to tell you all about it. A couple weekends ago I was revisiting my spring outfit ideas page on Pinterest and on a whim did a search to see if one particular vintage sewing pattern (Butterick 6079) may be floating around on ebay or etsy. In a stroke of amazing luck, I tracked down the exact pattern I wanted in my size! Plus it was uncut and never used, so for six bucks I placed my order and waited patiently for it to arrive.

In the meantime I did some sketching and brainstormed ideas for fabric to use on the project. I’ve been wanting to do some seventies stye prairie dresses a la Gunne Sax, so the idea of using little ditty print cottons was one that would have definitely vibed with the pattern cover illustrations. As I jotted down ideas I started to think that chambray could be pretty, maybe in various shades. Since I’ve been thrifting multiple times a week lately, I also knew there were a lot of plus sized skirts just waiting to be used for fabric.

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I visited both Goodwill stores in my town and bought four different skirts, all size 18 or larger. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I picked up two of the same skirt (one slightly more faded than the other)- one at the east side location and the other across town.

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While I waiting for my mail carrier to deliver the pattern, I started picking apart the skirts. The elastic waistband on one had amazing depth from color loss after washing (that’s what I used for the top band and straps!) The pair of matching skirts had these tiny eighth inch pin tucks and a nice one inch hem that I picked out. Although I didn’t have any full yards of fabric, by sewing panels back together in an alternating triangle pattern (hem up, hem down, hem up) I was able to get plenty of usable fabric with the grain running straight. I even picked off the back pockets of the darkest chambray which you can see closely if you look! I love this detail!

Once I was able to open my pattern and start cutting I ended up finishing the dress in the same day. I mean, as I saw it coming together I just couldn’t put it down! This turned out even better than my greatest expectations. I love that I refashioned and upcycled second hand pieces, used thread and notions I already had and got use from a vintage pattern that would have otherwise sat in someone’s attic for years. I am so proud that my self made wardrobe is at least half made from repurposed fabric and truth be told, it’s the only way for me to get really unique and high quality fabric where I live.

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