Saturday, September 26, 2015

An experiment

"Scientist by day, seamstress by night." That's how I describe myself in my profile. Of course, these are not completely separate identities, and sometimes my sewing activities are strongly influenced by my academic nature. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I like to experiment. Sometimes the result is great, sometimes it's rather, well, explosive.... (read the story about exploding wool here).
Anyway, I came up with a new idea and thought it would be a nice experiment to see if I could turn it into reality. And since I was on a roll, I decided to write this post in a scientific way too. At least some of you - fellow researchers- might appreciate that.

So here we go...

Is it possible to turn discarded jeans into a wearable and cool quilted vest?

The envisioned design is sketched in the Figure below.
The aim was to design the vest with a continuous pattern. Thus, there would be no side seams or shoulder seams. The hood would be created by attaching the two back middle strips to the front middle strips. The pockets would be hidden in the pattern.

Materials Several pairs of discarded jeans, in various shades of blue, thread, a 50 cm zipper, half a yard of lightweight knit, half a yard of batting

Procedure. The flowchart of the procedure is displayed in Figure 1.
  1. As a first step, the jeans were cut into parallelograms (width: 13 cm, height: xx cm, angle: 36*). Next, several lay-outs were tried. The optimal lay-out was determined based on peer feedback gathered through a small survey on Instagram.
  2. Then, the parallelograms were attached in long strips, and next the strips were sewed together.
  3. The fit of the garment was tested on the end-user. Several seams were opened using a seam ripper, and the fit was adapted.
  4. Step 3 was repeated multiple times
  5. The zipper, lining and waistband were added
  6. The armholes were finished
  7. Step 3 was repeated (grumble...) 
After completion of the process, end-user feedback was gathered. In return for payment (2 marshmallows per end-user), photos were taken (weather conditions: slightly overcast, 18 degrees Celcius)
The end result of the experiment is shown in the remaining Figures.
The envisioned design was realized completely. With respect the wearability, the experiment was quite successful. 
The vest turned out slightly too big for end user 1, and way too big for end user 2, but considering the growing rate of both users, this is not too problematic. 
With respect to the coolness, the first end user gave a score of 6 out of 10, whereas the second end user gave a score of 10 out of 10.  
The experiment shows that it is possible to turn discarded jeans into a wearable and cool vest (according to two end users). The process took a fair amount of time, and the seam ripper was used frequently. Nevertheless, I'd like to conclude that this experiment was successful.


  1. Amazing!!! Genius!! Wow! Love it!

  2. Na alle wetenschappelijke literatuur die mijn proffen verwachten dat ik lees (wat ik braafjes doe, natuurlijk), is dit een aangename afwisseling! Met voorsprong het leukste artikel dat ik al las, en met het beste resultaat! Respect voor al je geduld, maar wat een geweldig idee!

  3. Amazing! I give it an 11 in the coolness department. :) your scientific blog post cracked me up. It brought so many memories of my college research days. :) I gave been out of school way too long!

  4. Hahahaha! Geweldig zo'n wetenschappelijk naaiblogbericht! En wat een geweldig resultaat met dit experiment. Wow!

  5. Lol, fab scientific reading! And a great end result of course.

  6. Een topstuk! Leuk om te lezen dat jij ook een wetenschapster bent...

    1. Ja inderdaad. Van jou wist ik het trouwens ook niet.

  7. Heerlijk om jouw kwaliteit over kwantiteit projecten te zien, deze is echt helemaal geweldig! Als mede wetenschapper moet ik natuurlijk wel even opmerken dat je sample aan de kleine kant is om aan goed gefundeerde conclusie te trekken over coolnes, gelukkig gezien de vele datapunten qua fit zal je op dat gedeelte wel goed zitten ;)

  8. Gelukkig valt er met weinig data vaak nog wel een stevige multivariate analyse te doen, komt vast goed met die significantie.
    Dank voor de inspiratie; ik doe geen enkel stukje jeans meer weg!

  9. This seriously gets a bajillion in the coolness score card! It's brilliant and so amazing! I LOVE it!

  10. Wow. What so much work. But also so much coolness. Love it!

  11. This jacket is easily one of the most fabulous sewing creations I have ever seen! And your son must love it!

  12. Love, love, love this! Is it because I'm a scientist too???

  13. WOW! This is so cool, love your post and the way you wrote it too!

  14. This is totally amazing! Way tooooooooo cool to even be on the chart! Thanks for linking up to our Top Stitchers sew along.

  15. One super successful experiment! This is fantastic, and I hope your boys realise how rad it is!

  16. Love the vest and I really, really enjoyed the blog post. I'd say with a 95% confidence interval that this is the blog post of the year!

  17. Wow, that looks awesome!! So much work!

  18. Love the experiment and the outcome! Now we will all wait with baited breath for a pattern!

  19. Love the experiment and the outcome! Now we will all wait with baited breath for a pattern!

  20. This was my best scientific reading to date! And while your design was tailored for "younger" end users i believe it can be adapted to slightly "older" end users, too :) (like me) I love it.