My love for jackets of any kind is not a secret. I’ll be the first to admit that I own way too many of them and that I don’t really have the self-control to stop buying them. It’s an addiction. I’m constantly adding denim and leather and varsity jackets to my collection and, to be quite honest, it’s getting excessive. I have so many piled onto a couple hooks that an avalanche of denim occurs every time I try to remove one from the stack. But I’m not complaining. It’s a good problem to have.
The fact that I love DIY-ing the heck out of my clothes isn’t really a secret either. The majority of my shorts are jeans that I cut the legs off of, and I own more than one t-shirt that I cut into a crop top or sanded holes into or embroidered. I love creating and I love clothes, and being able to get my hands on a pair of scissors or a needle and some embroidery thread gets my heart racing in the best way possible. I like modifying my clothing to suit my style, and if I can’t find something I want in a store, I’ll usually figure out how to make it. It’s also a great way to cut costs – trust me, stitching words onto a five dollar Wal-Mart t-shirt is much more rewarding than paying thirty dollars for the same thing at Brandy Melleville.
Combining my love for jackets and DIY, I found that I rather enjoy painting or embroidering things onto the back of my coats. My mum said that when she was my age she pinned a bunch of buttons into the shape of a heart onto the back of her denim jacket, but I tend to lose things and I’m scared they’ll all fall off if I do that, so this is the next best option. I’ve created a few so far, and I love knowing I’m wearing something unique and something that makes a statement as I walk around. In some ways, I feel like I’m stating what I believe in with every step I take.
I get a lot of compliments on my personalized jackets. People often ask where I bought them, and it’s cool to be able to tell them that I made it myself. I painted a new jacket today, and I figured I would document the process and share it with you so you can make your own. If anyone tries this out I would love to see what you create, so please share your photos with me!
First things first, you need a jacket. I’m using a vintage military coat that I paid $10 for at Black Market Vintage Clothing on Queen West. They also have a huge selection of denim jackets, so I would recommend checking them out if you’re looking for something cheap. Don’t spend huge amounts of money on a brand new jacket when you can buy something better for less! You also need some fabric paint in your choice of colour, an assortment of paintbrushes, a white pencil to draw out your design, as well as some cardboard or a book to put under your jacket while you’re painting it.
To start off, I laid my jacket on top of the books to make sure that the paint didn’t seep through the material and onto my carpet. This makes things less messy and saves you from being yelled at by your parents if you mess up the floor. Next, I roughly outlined my quote using a white conté pencil, although any soft white pencil should work. Don’t use marker for this because if you mess up, there’s no chance to correct it, and white paint isn’t really opaque enough to cover your lines completely. You can freehand your design or print your words onto cardstock, cut them out using an exacto knife, and use the paper as a template to trace the quote. I’ve used both techniques and I like either, it really depends on the kind of look you’re going for. My jacket with “what did you expect?” on the back was done using a stencil, while the one I did today as well as the one that says “freedom with respect for the freedom of others” were both freehand.
After drawing my design, I started painting over it. I find it’s best to completely load a large brush with paint, but if you’re painting a more detailed design, smaller brushes and less paint will probably work better. You will use a lot more paint than you think you need, so make sure you have at least half a bottle or so to work with depending on your quote or image. Once you’re ready to go, just paint directly onto the fabric, remembering to add more paint often. I painted this one with quite broad strokes, and I kept it looking messy because I like the vibe it gives. You can play with techniques as much as you want. If you’re using a stencil, I find that a smaller brush gives you the best control and allows you to keep the design as neat as possible. You may also need more than one coat, depending on how opaque you would like the words to be.
Once the design is completely painted, leave it on top of the books or cardboard until it’s completely dry. After that, you’re done! You can wear your jacket everywhere, showing off your favourite quote like the rock star that you are. Like I mentioned before, I would love to see your own creations, so send photos to my various social media outlets. Your feedback is also welcome – please let me know how you liked this post and if you want to see more.