This year a softer feminine version of men’s wear is back in fashion. With that in mind I thought it was time to pull out an old recycling idea I invented.
It all began back in the 80’s when “Miami Vice” was hot and pastel sports coats were all the rage. It was actually easier, in some instances, to find men’s jacket in the color you wanted than it was to find them in the women’s department.
I figured there had to be a way to make the hot men’s garment of the time look more feminine. I played around with several ideas and finally came up with one that worked. It became a hit around the office and for a while, I had more business than I could handle making them.
The real trick was to find a jacket that fits properly. For some of my friends that was as simple as a trip to the boy’s department. For others a little bit of tailoring was required. For most; however, it was easy to find something right off the rack (preferably at the thrift store).
The rest of design is up to each person’s individual creativity. Here I will describe one of the ideas I actually used.
To begin you will need several things. These include the following:
A men’s jacket that fits;
Trim (lace, braid, ribbon);
Other décor (beading, sequins, ribbon roses, etc.);
Fabric (pattern or print of your choice);
Acrylic craft paints (puff, shiny, glitter, etc.);
Iron-on fusible webbing or strips;
Needle and thread;
An iron and
Follow these step by step instructions:
Step 1. Find a men’s jacket that fits well enough to use. The whole idea here is to recycle old garments rather than create new ones. Most of my jackets were found at a thrift store or were handed down to me by my male friends.
The jacket chosen doesn’t have to be in perfect condition since the décor you will use will likely cover any minor blemishes. I also doesn’t need to fit perfectly since men’s wear is intended to be a bit larger, even when it is designed for women like today.
Step 2. Sketch your design layout. Be very specific in what you want use so that you can purchase all the items at one time.
I particularly liked tailoring jackets toward holidays or seasons. Since Halloween is coming up, I will use décor from that holiday to explain the process here. However, the same ideas can be used for other holidays or just in general.
Step 3. Make your purchases. Most of the items listed above can be bought at an arts and crafts store. Choose colors and themes that go with your design layout.
For Halloween, you might purchase fabric that has pictures of jack-o-lanterns, witches or ghosts. You could also choose iron-on appliques of those same things.
Ribbon and lace choices should also correspond to the theme. Paint, on the other hand, can be more general in nature.
Step 4. Lay your planned design out directly on the jacket.
If you are using fabric, you will need to cut out the pictures you intend to use before hand. For my Halloween jacket, I chose jack-o-lanterns.
Step 5. Start with lace accents. I used a 2″ ruffled lace, running it underneath the collar and jacket lapels. I sewed it into place by hand using a blind stitch. I also used the same lace around the cuffs.
Step 6. Attach ribbon or braid accents with iron-on fusible strips or permanent fabric glue. For example, create vertical stripes down the front or back of the jacket to add some whimsy.
Make certain any trim is attached securely or it will tear away from the jacket. I recommend sewing it at both ends even if you do use other media to secure it to the jacket.
Step 7. Apply your appliques, as planned in your design. Use iron-on fusible webbing, permanent fabric glue or a needle and thread.
For my jacket, I put two medium sized jack-o-lanterns on one side of the front of the jacket and two more on the back of the jacket near the hemline. I also put a smaller one near the shoulder on back.
Make certain every applique is securely adhered. If you are using needle and thread, choose colors that match the appliques being used.
I used both fusible webbing and needle/thread. I fused the jack-o-lanterns onto the jacket with an iron and then used needle and thread to secure smaller parts of the applique like the pumpkin stem.
Step 8. Using acrylic paint, outline around the applique to hide the applique’s rough edges and to further secure it to the jacket. If you are using pre-done appliques that have finished edges, you may choose to skip this step.
You can also use paint to give the design a three-dimensional look by highlighting certain things within the applique itself. Add more pizzazz to the design by highlighting parts of the appliques with a thin coat of glitter paint applied with a paintbrush.
I used puff paint to give a raised, three-dimensional effect to my jack-o-lanterns. Then I highlighted them lightly with clear glitter crystals.
Let the paint dry thoroughly on the front of the jacket before moving to the back. Make sure the entire jacket is dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 9. Add any other planned trim like beading, sequins or ribbon roses.
For my Halloween jacket, I replaced the jacket’s buttons with new ones resin jack-o-lanterns. I also glued a line or orange sequins on top of the collar and lapels to further accent the black lace. Finally, I used seed beads, sewn on by hand, to accent the jack-o-lanterns more.
Step 10. Apply Scotch Guard to your fabric appliques to prevent easy staining.
This same idea can be used for almost anything. For example, I also made jackets with a floral theme, which I wore in the flower shop I used to run. I also made one with a baby theme for an expectant mother. The only limitation here is your own creativity.