Friday, 18 May 2018

5 Ways to Customise a Denim Jacket

Today I'm sharing five fun and easy ways to customise a denim jacket so you can get crafty and turn that plain jacket in your wardrobe into something really special.

DIY Denim Jacket Tutorial
DIY Denim Jacket Tutorial

I love the 90s vibe of the current denim jacket trend - I was a 90s teen and denim jackets totally make me want to start listening to mixtapes, spend hours chatting on the phone to my friends, and maybe write a zine or two!

Whether or not you're a nostalgic 30-something like me, if you've got a plain and boring denim jacket you want to customise then you've come to the right blog post. I'll be showing you how to personalise your jacket with custom lettering, sequins, patches, embroidery and badges, creating a fun and colourful look.

This post is sponsored by StickerYou, where you can create custom die-cut stickers, labels, badges, temporary tattoos... and custom printed patches!

Custom patches are great for small businesses, clubs, and for creating things like wedding favours, but there are no minimum order requirements at StickerYou so you can also use the site to create totally unique patches to match your personal style. You can upload your own artwork or even photos to their online editor, or use StickerYou's selection of fonts and artwork to create your designs.

Denim jacket decorated with badges, sequins and patches

1. Lettering.

Use felt or fabric to add a nickname or other word of your choice to the back of your jacket - I decided to add the word "CRAFTER" to my jacket in bright rainbow felt letters. If you also want to join the crafter club you can use the templates provided at the bottom of this post to cut out your letters. To write a different word, either draw your own large letters on a piece of paper to create your templates or print the word of your choice in a very large font size.

Decorating a denim jacket with lettering

If you're using fabric for your letters, back them with some iron-on interfacing to make them sturdier (and easier to handle when you sew them to the denim) and help prevent the edges from fraying.

Pin the letters along the top of the back of the jacket, using a tape measure or large ruler to help you position the middle letter in the centre of the jacket and to evenly space the other letters.

Decorating a denim jacket with lettering

Sew the letters in position with whip stitch and matching sewing thread(s).

Customising a denim jacket with lettering

2. Sequins.

You can't beat a bit of sparkle! I decided to add a few lines of sequins to my jacket, using five bright colours to create a rainbow design. You could also use sequins to make sparkly shapes on your jacket, or to further embellish the lettering.

Customising a denim jacket with sequins

If you're just using sequins in one colour, use sewing thread to match the sequins. If you're using multiple colours like I did, use blue thread to match the denim.

Add sparkle to a denim jacket with rainbow sequins

I used two stitches per sequin, so the stitches formed a roughly straight line, following the lines of the jacket. If you're sewing decorative shapes with your sequins, use an erasable fabric marker to draw the shapes on the denim then use the lines as a guide when adding your sequins.

I stitched two long lines of sequins down the back of the jacket...

Customise a denim jacket with sequins

... one line along the front...

Adding rainbow sequins to a denim jacket

... and a mini sequin rainbow on each of the cuffs.

Rainbow sequins on the cuff of a denim jacket

3. Patches.

Here are the custom patches I ordered from StickerYou (I love the idea of being in an actual Cat Lady Club, don't you?). 

Custom printed patches from StickerYou

I found StickerYou's patch editor really easy to use, and was able to put together my three patch designs from their selection of images without any hiccups or computer rage (hurrah!). StickerYou are based in Toronto, Canada, so it took a little while for the patches to reach me via the international post but they were shipped very promptly and arrived in good condition.

When you've got your own patches ready to add to your jacket, decide on the placement of the patches and sew them in position one by one. I stitched two of my patches on the front and the third on the shoulder of my jacket. Use whip stitch and matching sewing thread and take care to only sew through one layer of the denim!

Customising a denim jacket with printed patches
Decorating a denim jacket with custom printed patches

If you sew a patch to a pocket like I did, make sure you start your stitching at the top of the patch (and thus the top of the pocket) so that when you've sewn around the patch you won't have to reach too far inside the pocket to finish your stitching.

Adding custom printed patches to a denim jacket

4. Embroidery.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to embroidering a denim jacket! You could go big and bold, or just add subtle interest with a few stitched details. I decided to roll with my 90s nostalgia and decorate the back of my jacket with a retro geometric pattern - choosing embroidery thread to match my rainbow theme.

Rainbow embroidery threads to decorate a denim jacket

You can use the geometric patterns provided at the bottom of this post to decorate your jacket, sketch your own designs, or find some patterns you love in craft books or online.

Trace each pattern onto a piece of tissue paper with a fine pen. Use large tacking stitches to secure the tissue paper to the denim, then sew along the lines with your chosen embroidery thread. I used three of the six strands in my thread and stitched my geometric patterns with backstitch (for a bolder line, try chain stitch).

Adding embroidery to a denim jacket

Once your stitching is finished, remove the tacking stitches then carefully tear away the tissue paper. I gradually filled the space in the central panel of the jacket with geometric shapes, creating a colourful abstract design. 

 Denim jacket decorated with 90s geometric embroidery
Customising a denim jacket with lettering, sequins and embroidery

5. Badges & Pins.

Last and by no means least, it's time to add some badges and pins! Denim jackets are perfect for showing off your collection of enamel pins, kitsch badges from your childhood, and any other fun pins you've picked up over the years.

Badges and pins to decorate a denim jacket
Denim jacket customised with pins, sequins and custom patches

I pinned a single badge on one side of my jacket...

Customising a denim jacket

... and a whole cluster down the other side, to create a pleasingly asymmetric look.

Badges on a denim jacket
DIY customised denim jacket decorated with badges, sequins & custom patches

You'll need to remove the badges and pins whenever you wash the jacket, of course, but that just gives you a chance to mix things up and add in some new faves! I'd definitely recommend hand-washing your jacket once you've added the custom letters and other embellishments, to help keep your jacket looking at its best.

Click on the images to open the templates and/or embroidery patterns in a new window or tab. Download the image or make sure you're viewing it at full size and print at 100%.

Lettering templates to decorate a denim jacket

90s geometric embroidery patterns

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by StickerYou, where you can create custom printed patches, die-cut stickers, labels, badges, temporary tattoos, and more.

DIY customised denim jacket tutorial

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Weston-super-Mare in Pictures: January-March 2018

I live by the seaside, I go for a lot of walks... and I take a lot of photos!

I share a lot of my seaside snaps over on Instagram; I love having a space to share the lovely views and interesting details that catch my eye. This year I'm also doing a quarterly round-up of my fave photos here on my blog - I hope you'll enjoy following along as the seasons change.

It's been so cold and wet and grey this winter, I've not been for nearly as many walks as I'd have liked. The walks I have been on have been rather wonderful, though.

This grey winter day was beautiful, but so incredibly cold. I kept having to stop walking to jump up and down a bit and wiggle my fingers and toes to keep them from getting too chilly!

The light when it was sunny, though? Oh my goodness. So bright and clear and gorgeous.

The winter sunsets can be pretty magical, too.

This sunny day followed several days of heavy rain, the paths were little muddy rivers and I narrowly escaped slipping and falling several times. It was totally worth it for these views.

I get why people don't think to visit the seaside in the winter, but look what you're missing out on!

In March the weather went a bit weird, and the beach was covered in heavy snow thanks to the Beast from the East. I was particularly smitten by the combination of the snow and my favourite seaside shelters.

Later in the month, it snowed again: not as heavily as before, but with a similarly transformative magic. (I blogged about this walk - click here to see all the pics!).

Finally, at the end of March I walked a slightly different route through town and discovered a new-to-me bakery (yum) and what is now my new favourite door (you can't beat a good door).

Follow me on Instagram for regular (ish) updates from Weston-super-Mare.

Catch up with my faves shared in February to August last year, and in September to December.

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Evolution of a Rainbow Blanket

Blogging about my mini patchwork squares blanket last month made me realise that I never got round to properly photographing my rainbow blanket when I finished it a couple of years ago. I blogged about it being almost finished, and said I'd take photos of it finished "sometime soon" but, alas, never found the time and here we are two years later already.
I love my rainbow blanket, and really enjoyed making it so (as with the mini squares blanket last month) so I'm taking a look back at how it's developed over the years before having a "yay! finished blankets!" photo session.


In my teens I knitted a couple of blankets as gifts for my family, and also knitted a whole bunch of squares that never got used for anything. I rediscovered them in my 20s and began very slowly knitting more squares so I could finally turn them into a finished blanket. Or, rather, two blankets, because teen me (by accident? or by design??) had been knitting two different sizes of squares!

I finished the first blanket in 2013 (click to see pictures!), and in 2014 was busy knitting squares in assorted bright colours to add to the second blanket. All the squares were knitted in plain garter stitch, using double knit acrylic yarn and UK size 8 (4mm) knitting needle, casting on 30 stitches to make squares measuring approximately 14cm. 

At this point I had a whole bunch of dark grey squares in the mix (knitted with yarn left over from my sky blanket) and was thinking about putting the squares together in a block design similar to the one I was using for my mini squares blanket.

I wasn't totally happy with this layout, though, so I just focused on knitting squares from the yarn I already had and added in a few more colours I thought would blend in well.

In October that year I took out the darker squares and arranged the others in colour order and they just POPPED so the grey definitely had to go (I unravelled them and re-knitted them as mini squares for my patchwork blanket). 

By July 2015 I had 70 squares knitted, but the colour mix was looking a bit imbalanced.

I thought about just adding in some greens to balance out the "hot" reds and pinks, but decided to go for the full spectrum and cram in as many bright, happy colours as possible. So I bought a few more balls of yarn in zingy shades and continued slowly knitting more squares.

Frustratingly, when playing around with possible layouts for the blanket, I realised that a whole bunch of the squares were too big! (I guess I must have muddled up my knitting needles at some point?) I unravelled them all and started re-knitting them the correct size in the summer of 2015.

I spent the autumn of that year knitting a lot of blanket squares...


  ... and by November my stash of squares looked like this:

In December 2015 I finally sat down and planned the final layout. I'd been building up my rainbow spectrum stash without any real plan and was very pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to fit all the squares together; I just needed some more green!


I started stitching the outer sections of the blanket together...

... bought a final ball of bright green yarn, and began knitting green squares.

I finished knitting the very final square while watching Eurovision in May 2016 (I love Eurovision), then immediately started adding the remaining squares to the blanket.

I couldn't stop smiling while weaving the in the last few yarn ends; those colours just burst with happiness!

I wove in and trimmed the last of the yarn ends on May 25th 2016.

I've used the blanket a lot since then (I'm actually sitting on it right now as I type this) and it brings me joy on a daily basis. I hope I'll have a chance to take lots of snaps to capture that rainbow joy and properly show it off in another blog post sometime soon!

In the meantime... for more blanket-y goodness, follow the links to read about the making of my patchwork mini squares blanket, or my sky blanket.