Trust me: You're going to love this customized denim jacket. Denim makes a fabulous neutral backdrop for almost any sort of embellishment. As a result, the possibilities are endless. Using embroidery, iron-on patches, and appliqué touches, you can make this jacket exquisitely tailored to you, and it will become the perfect statement piece for your wardrobe.
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I wish I could show you my brainstorming notebook of all the fun things I wanted to add to this jacket. My tween daughter started jumping up and down at the possibilities. We came up with all sorts of ideas including tassels, crochet edging, a dog iron-on patch, flowers, stars, and lots of sayings and quotes. (Needless to say, we had to edit it down.)
For this version, I settled on a motivational saying across the back shoulder, an iron-on peony patch, and a pretty hand-embroidered floral design added to the front. But first, here is what you will need.
Appliqué iron-on patch
Paper, printer, and font of choice (I used Bombshell Pro)
Embroidery thread (DMC Pearl Cotton 5 for letters and DMC six-strand 25 for flowers)
DMC Embroidery Tracing Paper
Rose Embroidery Pattern PDF
Air-soluble marking pen
First, I started by hand-embroidering "Get it, girl" across the back. Doing this by hand allows for flexibility in font choice. These words across the shoulder remind me to be brave and ask for what I want, but also just to get it done. No hemming and hawing and delaying with all my perfectionistic tendencies, but more of an execute-and-execute-now mentality! I wanted my version of the jacket to be fun and funky, but simple and pretty too. I love having the unique script instead of the typical patch letters. Certainly, there are a lot of available patch letters if you want to go the fast route. I chose colors that complimented the jacket, but also matched the appliqué patch.
1. Using desired font, print out saying in desired size. Cut and place on jacket.
2. Use embroidery tracing paper and a pen to transfer words to jacket. Put fabric down, then tracing carbon paper, then desired shape or word. Draw over shape or letters with a ballpoint pen to transfer design to jacket.
3. The carbon tracing paper method lets you see it fairly well. However, the more intricate the design the more difficult it can be. If you're having trouble, you can use Sulky Solvy as another transfer method. With this, you trace the design to the material and stitch right through the material to your fabric. Then, it melts away in water when you're done, which is pretty awesome.
4. I like to go over my carbon transfer with an air-soluble marking pen, so I can see it as clearly as possible. Use the stem stitch for thin lines and the satin stitch to cover wider areas.
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Iron-On Rose Patch
Next, I ironed the rose patch to the back. This was fantastically fast. So fast, in fact, that the entire jacket can be done in a half-hour or less if you stick to using patches. You can find lots of floral patches online. I liked these thistles too. Think about all the sports clubs, favorite characters, or symbols that you can find all over the internet. My daughter and I decided that making an embellished denim jacket is a lot like getting any tattoo you want, but without the permanence. I suggest using the hottest iron you can get, with no steam.
1. Place the patch in desired location.
2. Position cotton pressing cloth between the patch and the iron.
3. Press down on patch for 30 seconds without moving the iron. Try to cover the whole patch with one iron press. Otherwise, repeat until you have covered the entire patch with heat evenly. Turn your fabric over and repeat from the other side of the fabric.
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Finally, I added hand-embroidered flowers. This sweet little floral design with "grow strong" compliments the large flower and saying in the back, but on a smaller scale. The color scheme is the same, but the detail of this embroidery seems like just the thing to finish off the jacket. Use it also on other items that need embellishing, like hand towels, aprons, totes or pillow cases. Find a summary of basic stitches you will need to know here.
To embroider stems: Use two strands of DMC 25 (it comes with six strands in the floss) and stem stitch.
To embroider leaves: Embroider with two strands of DMC 25 and the lazy daisy or detached chain stitch.
To embroider buds: Use two strands of DMC 25 and the satin stitch to form the bud shape. Use green to wrap around the bottom of the bud with a straight stitch.
To embroider open wild rose: Embroider with two strands of DMC 25 and the satin stitch in each petal. For the center, use a straight stitch and french knots.
To embroider long stem roses: Use the full 6 strands of DMC 25, and make overlapping straight stitches in a circle shape.
Try each of these techniques, or mix and match as you like. Either way, it's bound to become your favorite new item. Enjoy your new favorite jacket!