I love making handmade gifts whenever I can. They provide entertainment for me and warmth for the person to whom the gift is being awarded.
One of my favorite gifts to make in the autumn is a decorative jacket made from a sweatshirt. Using silk fall leaves brings brightness and cheer to deeper colors like forest green, brown, burgundy or black.
Best of all, it is easy to make the jacket even if you can’t sew a lick. To get started; however, you will need several things:
Sweatshirt (sized to fit the person it’s for);
Package of colorful silk fall leaves;
Permanent fabric glue;
Acrylic puff paint;
Acrylic glitter paint;
Small craft paint brush;
A ruler and a
Follow the step by step instructions below to create a beautiful fall decorator jacket for yourself, a friend or family member.
Step 1. Purchase the necessary items noted above at an arts and crafts store. (Note: If you need an XXL or XXXL sweatshirt, it may be necessary to purchase it from a discount department store. Craft stores usually only carry small through extra large.)
Step 2. With a ruler find the center front of the sweatshirt. Using dressmaker’s chalk dry a straight line from the neckline to the bottom. Cut down that line being careful to keep the line straight.
Step 3. Remove the plastic spine from the backs of each silk leaf. If necessary, iron the leaves flat to make certain they will adhere well to the jacket.
Step 4. Lay out the leaves on both sides of the jacket front. Make sure the leaves touch at a point so as not to leave any raw selvage of the sweatshirt showing.
Add extra leaves elsewhere on the jacket as desired. For example, I like using two or three leaves in the back; one around the neckline and two others near the hem. You can also add leaves to the sleeves if desired.
Step 5. Use permanent fabric glue to adhere the leaves to the sweatshirt following your established layout. Make sure all of the corners are glued down. Otherwise the leaf will eventually begin to pull away from the sweatshirt, ruining your design.
Let the glued leaves dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 6. Along the front edge of the jacket, on both sides, cut around the leaves, removing the sweatshirt material. The leaves themselves will now form the jacket opening. Both sides will be somewhat jagged and uneven in nature. That is the way it is supposed to look.
Step 7. Using acrylic puff or glitter paint, outline around each leaf to cover its raw edge. This will keep the silk from fraying over time.
Choose puff paints that either compliment or contrast with each leaf to add more color and interest. I don’t recomment being too matchy matchy or the look could be a bit dull and one dimensional.
Allow the paint to dry completely on the front before moving to the back, if you are placing leaves on both sides of the garment. Let both sides of the jacket completely dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 8. Using acrylic glitter paints and a paint brush, add a very thin coating of glitter over pre-chosen leaves. Add just a touch for a little bit of shimmer or coat every leaf for a lot of sparkle and shine.
Choose glitter colors that enhance the colors on the leaves. For example, use copper over red, gold over yellow, etc.
Allow one side (front or back) of the jacket to dry completely before doing the other side. Make certain the jacket is completely dry before hanging or folding.
That’s all there is to it. The whole project can be done for $20 or less if you already have craft paints on hand.
Have fun and create your own unique designs following the outlined steps. You will find friends and family members who will be delighted with a gift made by you, especially for them.