There are lots of ways to personalise clothing, in this post I am doing a very simple up-cycle of my plain white - and rather boring - denim jacket.
You will have lots of ideas of your own, I am just giving you something to think about . Girls and boys too would love to help with their own ideas for their clothes too. This is a fun project even for somebody with no sewing skills (yet!)
This embroidery was done on my embroidery machine, but don't worry if you do not have one, alternatives include applique - which is easy to do, or stick on embellishments.
To do an applique, find a design that you like, or letters to form a name or word, iron them onto some medium weight interfacing and work a small zig zag around them. What if you don't see yet?
There is a product called Bondaweb which will easily fix any applique to your garment just with your iron, although it is better to use this together with zig- zag stitching around the outline.
You can get ideas and free templates from doing an internet search.
If that is too much then there are ready made iron or sew on patched that are easily accessible to purchase.Motifs and appliqué
This is just a very small selection of what is available, do take a look.
Some are large, others small, and I chose this image deliberately as it shows that boys are not left out! What little boy wouldn't like a tractor on his jacket? And don't you just adore the sewing machine?
If you are as lucky as I am and own an embroidery machine then you may want to embroider a design onto your jacket. The design choices here are totally endless!
My embroidery machine is the Brother Innov-is 800e from Jaycotts.co.uk
This is an amazing machine and I have a blog post which shows just some of the things that my embroidery machine is capable of so do read the post My Brother Innov-is 800e
If you have room for only one machine then there are wonderful machines which convert easily from a normal sewing machine to an embroidery machine, so I would definately contact Jaycotts on the number at the bottom of this post and they will happily talk you through the different options and prices. If you fancy visiting the store in Chester then you can try a few machines out, just let them know you are coming beforehand.
Whatever method of decorating the back of your jacket you choose you need to find the centre of any designs you are going to incorporate . I use a cross of tacking thread, measured with a ruler, so that my design is not only centred but level .
Then iron the fabric until it is perfectly smooth using starch to stiffen it as it makes it easier to work on.
If you are going to do machine embroidery then you will need to somehow attach your garment to the embroidery hoop and stabilise it so that it does not move at all during the embroidery process.
The jacket is bulky and you will not be able to get it into the hoop so we must look for an alternative option
I used a two-fold approach and ironed on some Gunold iron on stabiliser to the back of the area to be embroidered.
Then I inserted a piece on Filmoplast stabiliser into the hoop. Filmoplast is a self adhesive stabiliser so once it is tightly hooped use a pin to score the backing paper and remove it leaving the sticky side facing upwards. Position your jacket very carefully onto this, ensuring that your tacking stitches are level and for further security put a few pins OUTSIDE of the embroidery hoop. It is very important that the fabric does not move at all during the embroidery process.
Insert the hoop into the machine, folding and rolling the rest of the jacket out of the way.
When you are satisfied, start to embroider your chosen design. There are several designs built into your embroidery machine already and more can be downloaded from the internet.
At one time, when I first got my embroidery machine I covered everything with embroidery, now I am a lot more conservative and choose smaller designs, but you can be as bold as you like! I have seen fabulous jackets with the back totally covered in a design!
When you have finished remove the embroidery from the machine and tear away the stabilisers. You may need a pin or tweezers to get the tiny bits out.
Cut the threads between each area of the design too
This is the design I chose, but you will have your own ideas!
You may want to go over some of the top stitching already on the garment with a different colour.
For that you will need to put a top stitching needle into your normal sewing machine and choose a top stitching thread in a colour which complements your design.
The links to purchase are
Needles Top stitch needles
Thread Top stitch thread
If you prefer you can hand sew a running stitch but do use a Thimble to avoid hurting your fingers
It is very difficult sewing denim,especially when trying to sew over bulky seams . One little tool which I use a lot is this one the Jean-a-ma-jig Put it under your machine foot when you come to a bulky seam and it helps to keep the foot even, making it easier to sew.
I chose a yellowish colour for my top stitching.
You may wish to use ribbon to decorate your jacket along the seams instead of top stitching them, there are plenty to choose from , just look at the choice on this link. Ribbons
Another thing you can do is to change the buttons.
The buttons on denim garments are normally fastened on with a metal back and they are impossible to remove without leaving a hole. If you do want to risk removing them and stitching up the hole then there are lots of decorative buttons to choose from,Decorative buttons
Personally I think it is better to cover them with small circles of fabric. This is easy to do, cut out circles of fabric twice the diameter of the original buttons. If the fabric is very fine or frays then iron on some interfacing before cutting out and make the circles slightly larger.
Using strong button thread (top stitch thread is fine) in a matching colour run a small gathering stitch around the outside of your circle of fabric. Put it over your button and gather the thread evenly, smoothing the top down so that it is taught and flat.
Sew around the button shank a few times making sure that the fabric is neat and that it is secure and fasten off.
I use Fray-check liquid all around the button shank so that the stitches do not come undone. This will not come out even in the wash.
Jaycotts web site is Jaycotts where you will find opening times and details of how to find them, workshops, new products and much more! Sign up for emails too.
To telephone them ring 01244 394099 during office hours.
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