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As well as having an actual patchwork quilt in progress, one of my other UFOs (UnFinished Objects) is a cross stitch homage to patchwork quilts: a colourful patchwork of blocks stitched from Xs of thread instead of fabric.


I started this cross stitch back in 2014, as a way to make use of those scrappy bits of leftover embroidery thread which aren't big enough to be worth keeping but still have a few stitches left in them.
 
By March 2015 I'd stitched 23 little blocks of colour...


... and by June that year it had grown to 40-something blocks and looked like this:


I've been working on this in stops and starts over the years. I save up thread scraps when I have them, then sit down to add a little batch of blocks when I've got a decent amount of thread saved up.

I guess I could add a block at a time, each time I have a piece of leftover thread, but I quite like spending a few relaxing hours working on this from time to time. Plus, adding a bunch of colours at once helps me make the randomness of this project more of a controlled randomness - I can spread out the colours more easily, and get a more pleasing mix of tones and shapes than I think I would end up with if I added a block each time I had a scrap of thread to use up.

I like the randomness of this project and how the colour palette (and the speed at which it's growing) is entirely dictated by what other projects I'm working on, and the luck of what size thread scraps I'm left with... but I also want it to be something I love the look of when it's finished!   

By October 2015 it looked like this...


... and it grew a little in July and August 2016.


I didn't photograph it for a while, just quietly collected leftover threads...


... and added blocks in little batches, until it December last year when it looked like this:


That photo ended up being really popular on Instagram after it got featured by A Beautiful Mess (very exciting!) and quite a few people asked me for the pattern. I don't think this is something I could really do a proper pattern for, though, as I'd have to find matching colours for soooo many random bits of thread.

I am thinking about drawing a chart of the blocks when it's finished (in case anyone wants to copy the exact pattern of shapes I've chosen) but really the best way to replicate this project would be to use your own leftover threads from your stitching projects and make your own unique patchwork piece. I find it a really relaxing project to work on, and it's hugely satisfying creating something so colourful from scraps that would otherwise have just been thrown away.

At the moment it looks like this:


As you can see, I've decided to make this piece a square one instead of filling the whole of the fabric. This is because a) I think it looks great as a square (and it'll look fabulous when its framed) and b) I wanted to reign it in a little so I don't end up cross stitching little coloured blocks forever.

Now there's a limited number of spaces left to fill up, the end is in sight... but who know how long it will take me to actually have the scraps (and the time) to fill them and get this piece finished!
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One of the great summer attractions at Kew Gardens is the giant waterlilies.


British botanists first discovered giant waterlilies in 1801, later naming them "Victoria amazonica" after Queen Victoria (because if you're a Brit and you've got something big and impressive to name during the reign of Queen Victoria, you're probably gonna name it after Queen Victoria).

Kew's Waterlily House was completed in 1852 and is small but perfectly formed.

 

It's hot and humid (the hottest of Kew's glasshouse environments) and is home to the waterlilies, of course, as well as lotus flowers, ferns, and other tropical plants.


(You can also find giant waterlilies in the pond in the Princess of Wales Conservatory during the summer months at Kew - I'll share some photos of those in a later post).

I love this little glasshouse, with its round pond and dyed-black water - though I have to admit that I found the heat a little overwhelming at the very height of summer. I definitely prefer visiting Kew's glasshouses on cooler days! 


Another of Kew's summer delights is Kew Palace, which is open to visitors from April to the end of September.


Kew Palace was originally built as a mansion for wealthy silk merchant in 1631, but was leased by George II and Queen Caroline in the 1720s. George III later bought the palace for the Royal Family and lived here during one of his bouts of "madness", and George's wife Charlotte died here in 1818 after a long illness. You can read more about the history of Kew Palace here.

I enjoyed looking around the Palace and learning more about its history, but my favourite part of my visit to this corner of Kew was exploring the Queen's Garden next to the palace. 


The Queen's Garden was designed in the 1960s, is inspired by 17th Century formal gardens, and only features plants grown in Britain before and during the 17th Century.

In any other place, this garden would be full of people enjoying its loveliness but here at Kew it feels almost like a secret garden as everyone is off exploring the glasshouses and other famous attractions in the vast grounds. 

 

As well as the standard plant labeling, the plants in this garden are labelled with what they would commonly have been called in the 17th century, "plus a virtue or quotation from a herbal (plant book)".

It was really nice spending time in this quiet, beautiful place, reading a little about the plants and enjoying the garden and the views of the striking red brick Palace. I'd definitely recommend adding this little garden to your itinerary if you're planning a trip to Kew!


Click here to see all my posts about my visits to Kew Gardens, or click here to browse my entire archive of travel posts.
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After finishing my patchwork mini squares blanket (which was a work-in-progress for six and a half years) and the Christmas quilt I made for my sister (which was a WIP for almost four years), I feel full of enthusiasm for Finally Finishing Things!

So, I've decided to tackle my biggest and oldest UFO (UnFinished Object): the patchwork quilt I started when I was a teenager. 


I started this project around 2001 or 2002, I think. It's so long ago that I can't remember whether I started it in my final year of sixth form or my first term of University - either way, it was a while ago!

In fact, I'd almost completely forgotten that this quilt existed until January 2012 when I found the half-finished quilt top stashed in a suitcase under my bed.


Back in my teens I'd used whatever cheap fabric I could get my hands on to make the squares, then sewn them together pretty haphazardly. I'm sure the fabric is a mix of loads of different fibre blends, some pre-washed and some not (i.e. probably a disaster waiting to happen when it gets washed for the first time).

It wasn't the most well-made, well-thought-out project, and upon rediscovering it I honestly thought it looked rather hideous.... but the idea of just throwing it away made me shudder.

I wasn't sure what to do about it (maybe put it back in the suitcase under the bed for another decade???) until my mum said that actually she really liked it and could I make it into a proper quilt for her. Problem solved, challenge accepted, et cetera.

At that point, the quilt top was part-stitched...


... with a few already-stitched rows ready to add...


... and lots of unstitched squares left, too.


I worked on the quilt on and off that year, gradually adding the remaining rows and squares...


... until December 2012, when it looked like this:


The squares in one corner of the quilt top didn't really match up with the rest of the quilt, so I took it out. I obviously hadn't cared about the mismatched section in my teens but on rediscovering the quilt it really bugged me so it had to go. (This section hung around it my stash for years then eventually found a new home and got turned into a fabulous monster bag!)


I decided to use the remaining squares to fill in the gap left by the mismatched piece, then added as many extra rows as I could before my stash of squares ran out.

I stitched a few squares together in 2013...


... added five more rows to the bottom of the quilt in February 2014...

 

...and filled in the "missing" corner in March 2014.


By April 2014 the quilt top was finished and I excitedly wrote that it was "finally ready to be turned into an actual quilt!"... before then packing it up and not looking at it for another four years (oops). 

 

This spring I am finally making a start on turning the quilt top into an actual quilt. I ordered some wadding and white backing fabric to complete the quilt, spreading it out on the floor of my bedroom just before we started work in there as part of my flat renovation project.


Even with most of the room emptied out, I only just had enough space!



I thought about trying to keep it a secret from my mum that I'd started the quilting, so I could just rock up one day with a finished quilt and say "ta-da!". I soon realised this was going to be impossible - it's so big and bulky now the wadding has been added that it would be very hard to hide even if I wasn't in the middle of a big DIY project with boxes everywhere and no spare space for anything.

So, I'm currently keeping the in-progress quilt and the quilting hoop in my parents' spare bedroom and working on it when I go round to visit them (and when I remember!).

I'm keeping the quilting simple, sewing a line of stitching down either side of each seam using white thread to match the backing fabric. I've got a total of 90 lines to sew, more than double the number I had to sew for my sister's Christmas quilt, which was smaller than this quilt and made up of larger squares. It took me at least 132 hours to hand quilt the Christmas quilt, so this one is going to take me... a while.

Wish me luck!!

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Time for another update from my fixer-upper flat...

You can catch up with the story so far with my posts about what we got up to in December & January 2016/17, February 2017, and March 2017.

In April 2017 the living room was still looking rather chaotic, but my dad and I were starting to get everything wrapped up in there. We did the last few repairs to walls and woodwork, and finished the last bit of painting...


... then hung up the curtains and the voiles.


These curtains (like the ones in my kitchen and bedroom) were a cheap as chips clearance bargain - they don't look particularly exciting but they're wonderfully thick, which is always a bonus in an old house.

We'd taken down the old curtain track in March to scrub it and remove years of dirt and old paint splatters, then refitted it ready to hang the new curtains. I scrubbed and reused the fixings, too. Just a small thing, but every penny helps!


The DIY-related chaos continued to make for some interesting photo set-ups as I juggled work deadlines and the flat renovation. (Click here to see how this photo turned out!).


With the living room almost done, we focused on finishing the spare room.

My dad stripped some old and knackered paint from the door (revealing some fabulous texture which I was almost tempted to keep as a feature)... 

 

... filled, sanded and painted over the patches of wall he'd repaired the previous month...


... then filled and the door, added knotting fluid, and began painting it.

Oh, and we painted the spare room skirting boards, too. 


I turned up the voiles in the bedroom and kitchen - a task which was slightly complicated by the kitchen curtains not actually being level!

I also took this photo, which I'm calling Assorted Objects Some Kid Stuffed Into The Keyholes In My Flat (mixed media, 2017).


(As well as being a delightful bit of found artwork - in perfectly on-trend millennial pink! - this is also item number 2367 on my ongoing list of "things I have used a knitting needle for, not including actual knitting".)

In early May we finished the painting in the spare room...


... then put the room back together. It's amazing the difference just hanging a lampshade and some curtains can make to the feel of a space!


I don't have proper before/after photos to share (not least because these rooms were not and still aren't totally finished) but here's a reminder of how the spare room and living room looked when I first moved in:


After five months and lots of messy hours of DIY we finally had these two rooms smartened up, painted white, and ready for carpet. Not bad and also Hurrah!
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My virtual tour of Oxford continues!

Today I'm sharing pics from my visits to the Sheldonian Theatre - which you can climb to the top of for fabulous views like these - and nearby Hertford College.

 

The Sheldonian was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, built in the 1600s and named after the very wealthy guy at the university who paid for most of it (Gilbert Sheldon). 

 

The Sheldonian Theatre is the official ceremonial hall of Oxford University, so it's the building where you receive your degree when you graduate and where a whole bunch of other University events are held throughout the year. It's also used for music recitals and other events which are open to anyone who buys a ticket.

The theatre's ceiling is pretty spectacular:


The ceiling was painted during the rein of Charles II, and apparently depicts "Truth descending upon the Arts and Sciences and expelling ignorance from the University".

The main attraction though (in my opinion, at any rate) is the fact that you can climb up to the attic then into the cupola at the very top of the building for 360 degree views of central Oxford. 


I love climbing up towers and things to get an overview of a city! There are other places in Oxford to get good birds' eye views (like Carfax Tower, which I blogged about earlier this year) but I think this one is my favourite - those ornamental rooftops are just so gorgeous.

I visited the Sheldonian for free during Oxford Open Doors one year so there was quite a long wait to get up to the cupola, but it was totally worth it for those views. There are also informational boards in the attic about the architecture and history of the building to keep you entertained on your way up.

Near the Sheldonian - and just visible from its cupola - is Hertford College. Hertford is usually closed to the general public (unlike many of the other colleges, which you can visit for free or a small fee) so it was a real treat to be able to visit it as part of the Oxford Open Doors festival.


Hertford has a complicated history! It started out life as Hart Hall in the late 1200s and expanded to become a full college (Hertford College) in the 1700s. The college was then dissolved in 1816 and the buildings were taken over by Magdalen Hall. This then became a college in 1874 but since Magdalen College already existed, they called it Hertford College instead.

 

Even if you've never heard of Hertford, you'll probably recognise its most famous bit of architecture: the Bridge of Sighs, which was built in 1913 to link the old and new quads of the College together.

 

Sadly the open day didn't include a chance to walk across the bridge, but it was still delightful to get a peek inside another of Oxford's colleges...


... particularly one with such a striking spiral staircase!


Want to explore more of Oxford and its colleges? Click here to read all my posts about the city, including Exeter college, Carfax Tower, and Magdalen College.

Click here to browse my full archive of travel posts. 
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This month's freebie for my newsletter subscribers is a tutorial for sewing a decorative rag doll from felt and fabric.


I designed this doll for a magazine a few years ago, but since the issue is long out of print I thought it'd be nice to share the pattern with you guys!


The doll has lots of cute details - a beehive hairdo complete with a flower, pretty eyelashes, a beaded "pearl" necklace, and Mary Jane shoes. You could also easily adapt the basic doll pattern to give her a different look, or make a set of dolls with different hair colours and patterned dresses.

 

Please note: this doll is designed as a decorative item, not a toy. Make sure you display it well out of reach of young children!


Click here to subscribe and get a monthly free pattern! For more crafty goodness, you can also subscribe to my weekly crafty newsletter, or updates about new patterns in my shop and special offers. 

For lots more free tutorials, visit my archive.
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By December 2015, the Christmas quilt I was sewing for my sister looked like this:


(If you've not read Part One click here to catch up!).

2016 was a very busy year for me and (I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this) it took me nine months to get around to shopping for wadding and backing fabric to complete the quilt. When it arrived, though, I was excited to get stuck into the quilting process.


I found some nice red extra-wide fabric which wasn't a perfect match for the deeper red in the quilt top, but still looked good and meant I didn't have to worry about joining fabric together to make the back of the quilt. After washing and ironing the backing fabric, I ironed the quilt top...


... and laid all three layers out on our living room floor, pinning them together with special curved safety pins. 


As well as the wadding, backing fabric, and quilting pins, I also bought some special thread designed for hand-quilting and a massive (16 inch / 40 cm) quilting hoop - you use the hoop to help hold the fabric as you stitch. It was, I'll be honest here, a bit annoying having to buy a great big wooden hoop as well as all that other stuff (making a quilt is not cheap!) but all the hand quilting tutorials I read said you needed one and they were right.

I'd decided to do the quilting with red thread, sewing a line either side of each seam. I used masking tape to help mark out a line for me to stitch along, which I found worked really well.


It took a while to get the hang of the hand-quilting, and I'm sure if any "proper" quilters took a look at my stitches they'd be appalled by how messy they are... but I made slow and steady progress. Sitting under the layers of this quilt as I stitched it was super cosy!


It's a little hard to see the quilting lines in photos, but they stand out much more clearly in real life and as well as holding the layers of the quilt together they give it a lovely bit of added detail and texture.


The hand quilting process was relaxing but boy was it time-consuming! I timed myself one afternoon and found it took approximately one and a half hours to sew one of the grid lines across the quilt. With 44 lines to stitch in total, that's at least 132 hours of quilting (and probably a lot more - to say nothing of the time spent on all the other stages!).

In October I hit the halfway point...


... then spent so much of my spare time quilting that I got totally sick of it and had to take a break for a couple of weeks to do other things to stop myself going a bit bananas.

By late November I had just two lines left to stitch. I'd drawn a little diagram of the quilt and marked off each line in red pencil when it was finished so I could easily track my progress. It was very satisfying seeing it slowly fill up with red lines!


At the end of November, the quilting was finally finished! I took a late night victory selfie and (foolishly) predicted that I'd have it finished by Christmas.


The quilt was looking soooo gooood...

 

 ... though its size meant it was tricky getting a decent photo of the whole thing!


I asked my Facebook and Instagram followers what colour they thought I should use for the binding (there was a pretty decisive vote for red!), started looking up binding tutorials... and then got no further.

December that year was incredibly hectic. I packed everything I owned up into boxes, moved across the country and into a new flat, then almost immediately began lots of DIY projects. I might have possibly been able to find the time to do the final bit of stitching for the quilt, but I definitely didn't have the space in my brain for planning fabric purchases and getting my head round the binding instructions.

So, the quilt went in a box and it stayed there... until last month! A mere 17 months after I finished the hand-quilting! I know this is not the longest time anyone has neglected a work-in-progress (heck, I myself have another quilt which has been "in progress" since I was a teenager) but FOUR Christmases have now passed since I started making my Christmas quilt. Full of enthusiasm for Finally Finishing Things after finishing my mini squares blanket - I was DETERMINED to get this quilt finished.

Over the course of a few April evenings, I trimmed away the excess fabric and wadding, cut the binding fabric into strips and sewed them together, ironed them, then began sewing them to the quilt.


I totally misunderstood the instructions for how to do the corners (oops) but managed to get them looking okay in the end (though not remotely how they were actually supposed to look). 

Adding the binding wasn't exactly a quick process but after all the hours of stitching that have gone into this quilt (and all the months in between) it seemed to go by in a flash.


Now I know this is a bit of a tease as I don't have final photos to show you yet, but it is amazing how much impact adding the binding had on the overall look of the quilt. It actually looks like a quilt now instead of just a bunch of fabric sewn together. I know technically all a quilt is is a bunch of fabric sewn together but I'm sure you get what I mean - it looks complete now, it's delightful. 

I did a very happy dance when it was finished and I cannot wait to show you guys photos of how it turned out!
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Your inbox has probably been filling up this week with emails from everyone from big multinational companies to individual bloggers and makers like me, getting in touch with you about updating your newsletter settings. As you probably know, this is because there's some new EU data protection legislation (GDPR) which came into effect today and we all need to make sure our mailing lists comply with the new rules.

I've been busy behind the scenes getting ready for the new legislation (which covers lots more things than newsletters!) which has felt a little like doing my tax return - quite boring, rather complicated, a bit stressful, but very important!

I used to use a service called TinyLetter to send my email newsletters. TinyLetter was lovely and simple to use but when I looked at how best to manage my mailing list to comply with GDPR I realised I needed to switch to a service with a few more features.

So, I've moved my newsletter to TinyLetter's parent company: MailChimp. I know it's a bit of a faff for my current readers to have to resubscribe to a new service but I'm quite excited about the possibilities offered by MailChimp (well, as much as it's possible to be excited by newsletters, anyway).

I've set up four different newsletter options, so you can choose how often you want to hear from me and about what topics. You can subscribe to just one, or all four, or any combination you like, and easily manage your subscriptions at any time in the future via the handy links which will be at the bottom of every email I send.

For example, I love writing my chatty weekly-ish newsletters and sharing lots of links with you guys but I know not everyone wants to hear from me that often! Now you can choose if you want a weekly-ish update about everything I'm up to or just get emails when I add new products to my shop and/or run sales and other special offers.

I'm also making my monthly free patterns a separate newsletter that you can subscribe to without having to receive any of that other stuff. This month's free pattern is a tutorial for sewing the felt flowers pictured at the top of this post.

As well as giving you guys more choice about what you subscribe to (and me more tools behind the scenes to help me manage my lists and comply with the new legislation), MailChimp has lots more tools to help me make my newsletters look nice - hurrah! They might be a bit funny-looking for a few weeks/months as I get my head around all the settings, but hopefully my newsletters will soon be lovely and bright and colourful.

The new service will also give me lots more room to grow my mailing list long-term: I'm not sure if I would ever have actually outgrown TinyLetter's 5K subscribers limit (I just hit 500 subscribers on my old list this week, which felt like a pretty huge amount to me!) but a girl can dream, right??? It's always important to have goals to work towards, haha.

Still interested after all that newsletter-related waffle? Click here to see the new newsletter options and subscribe.

P.S. I've also added a new Privacy Policy to my blog this week, giving you more info about how I collect, use, and protect your data here on my blog and throughout my business. 
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After finishing my patchwork mini squares blanket last month (which was a work-in-progress for six and a half years), I decided to tackle another of my slightly neglected WIPs: the Christmas quilt I'm making for my sister.

My youngest sister loves Christmas so when I spotted a gorgeous collection of Christmas quilting cottons at the Festival of Quilts in 2014, I decided I absolutely had to buy a bunch of the prints and make her something festive. Full of quilt-related enthusiasm after my two days at the Festival, I decided to make her a cosy quilt to curl up under during the holiday season. I decided to hand sew the whole thing, because I love hand-sewing... and also because I haven't used a sewing machine since 1998!

It was going to be a big task, but one I was excited about! I ordered my favourite prints from the collection in August 2014...


... then in the autumn I washed the fabric, ironed it and cut it into squares.


(I still have these scrappy off-cuts in a bag somewhere - they were just too lovely to throw away! I must try to think of a tutorial to make use of them sometime...)

Once I'd cut out the squares I laid them all out on the floor to try out possible layouts for the quilt. It took a while to get a good balance of the prints but I got there in the end.

 

I spent a lot of hours that winter watching made-for-TV Christmas movies and sewing these squares together. I love made-for-TV Christmas movies, and it turns out that they're the perfect easy background viewing to accompany hand-sewing a quilt. I like to think my choice of viewing also helped infuse the quilt with festive vibes! This sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, but if you can stitch love into something - which I think us makers know we absolutely can - then I'm sure it's possible to stitch in some Christmas spirit along with it.

Because I am an idiot I initially thought I'd be able to put in lots of evenings working on the quilt and have it ready for Christmas 2014. Hahahahahahahaha. This was... not a realistic goal.

When it gradually dawned on me that I wasn't magically going to be able to hand stitch an entire quilt in just a few weeks, I pushed my deadline back to Christmas 2015 then immediately neglected the project in favour of other things (you know how it goes with works-in-progress: always so many distracting projects to work on!).

I picked it back up the following summer, getting all the squares stitched together in rows and making a start on joining the rows together.
 
 

By October 2015 I had just two more rows to add - the end was in sight! (Well, the end of this stage of the process was, anyway).


For the first year of working on this project I'd managed to keep it secret from my sister. I'd been tempted to blog about the process as I went along, but decided it was better to keep it Top Secret so I could surprise her at Christmas with a massive parcel full of quilt-y goodness.

Unfortunately, I forgot to properly hide the in-progress quilt one day when she came to visit and of course she spotted it and asked what it was and I immediately blurted out that it was a Christmas quilt I was making for her. Oops! (I would clearly make a terrible spy). It's a shame the surprise got spoiled but it has been nice being able to mention the quilt on my blog and social media as I've worked on it, so there's the silver lining to that cloud.

In late November I stitched the last few squares together...


... then photographed the finished quilt top with help from my dear departed furry assistant.


It was looking lovely, but there was still a long way to go...
I'll be blogging about the hand-quilting in Part Two next week - stay tuned!
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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.


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.




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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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...


... one line along the front...


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



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?). 


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!


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.



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.


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).


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. 

 

 
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.


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


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


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%.




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

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