If you’ve read some of my previous posts like my ‘spring look’ post or my visit to the spice festival, you may have noticed that I have a customised denim jacket full of fabulous pins and patches. I DIY’d that jacket about a eight months ago, and I was obsessed with it. I had been wanting to create a patch jacket for so, so long – but I wasn’t all that aware of where to buy patches and pins from that were in my style. So, for my first patch jacket I started collecting patches from eBay. I had no idea at the time that patch and pin boutiques were a thing, so I kind of bought whatever I could find that vaguely was representative of me and my personality.
Eventually, the jacket was filled with a collection of patches, badges and pins – some that I loved more than others. At this moment I kind of wanted to start over. I had found some amazing online boutiques (that I’ll mention soon!), and a lot of the stores around me started stocking some stunning designs. I decided to buy a brand-spanking new denim jacket (I bought this one from Jay Jays for $50.00), wear it in a little, and begin my collection all over again.
Over the last few months I’ve been slowly purchasing beautiful new patches and pins that I’ve found from just about everywhere. I decided that I’d create a two part post on the revamping of my denim jacket (patch jacket 2.0, some might say). This first post is going to focus on the patches and elements themselves, where I found them and what I love about them. I’ll start to play with arrangements, have inner and outer debates with myself on where things should go, how ‘filled up’ the jacket should be, then publish it and receive some thoughts from you guys. Then, for the second part of the denim series, I’ll focus on the creation of my new jacket. I’ll show you some of the techniques I use as a fairly shit sewer that make my life a little easier, and then, the finished product!
P I N S & B A D G E S
I’m a big fan of pins and badges. They’re a good option for a DIY jacket as they’re probably the least ‘permanent’ addition you can make, if you change your mind as to where they should go, or which ones you want to wear, you can – even if that’s each day. I try not to have too many badges and pins for one jacket, I’ve got a few reasons for this. I tend to only place pins on the front of a jacket, for comfort’s sake – I prefer having them on areas of the jacket that won’t result in the back of a pin stabbing me whenever I lean against something or wear a bag. The other reason why I like to have less pins is that they tend to look a little messier, as well as hazards for things getting caught on them.
The badges and pins that I do have however, I LOVE! Some of my personal favourites in my collection include the ‘sick sad world’ badge, that I bought off eBay when I did the original jacket. I also am always obsessed with my ‘vitamin chill’ pin that’s in the shape of a pill bottle. I got it from Typo and think it’s a hilarious reminder for my anxious self. I also really like when I casually stumble across cute finds, such as my David Hockney badge that I got at the NGV after seeing his exhibition. Finds like this one are great to represent memories created.
P A T C H E S
E B A Y
This first category of patches in my collection are a bunch that were on my original denim jacket, and I’ve carefully unstitched, as well as some extra finds I’ve bought since then. eBay is great for patches as there’s quite a variety, and they’re all generally very cheap. There’s a few downsides to buying patches off eBay though – sometimes the quality of the patch itself isn’t that great, you may need to neaten and trim some threads of items, and sometimes the colouring or size may be a little different to what you expected. The patches available on eBay also tend to be fairly generic, with a lot of classic rock bands, traditional tattoo style patches and a lot of random junk. In saying all of this, I do love the patches that I have, and some of them will definitely find their way onto my new jacket!
I N S T O R E
As mentioned earlier in this post, a lot of the stores here in Melbourne are slowly releasing ‘patch packs’ and some really beautiful individual patches. The ones that I’ve found over the last few years include these two stunning floral and bug style patch packs from Rubi Shoes, a Cotton On retailer. The style of the butterfly and bee specifically are my personal favourites. I think the style of these two is just beautiful. As far as individual patches that are affordable goes, Kmart has been quite on-it with releasing on-trend single patches, like this AMAZING sequin pineapple that I bought for my original jacket, and is still one of my favourite patches in my collection. The last patch pack that I bought in store was this super cool, kinda grungy (in a very millennial way) pack from H&M. I spotted this pack at the checkout area, where I noticed the ‘introvert’ patch and was instantly intrigued, as I’m the biggest introvert ever and obviously need to advertise that on my jacket in the most ironic way. I also love the ‘plant lady is the new cat lady’ patch in this pack and find it’s very fitting as I have so, so many house plants.
O N L I N E S H O P S
As I kind of touched on in the intro to this post. I wasn’t very aware at the beginning of my first DIY jacket journey of the crazily large and amazing pins, patches and badges community that exists online (predominantly in California). It was when I first discovered stores like ‘Bobby Pins Co.’ (see links at the end of this post), that I realised how big and wonderful the endless options for online boutiques really is. Instantly, I knew I needed to make a new jacket – one that included pieces that reflected me better, and collectively came together in a fabulously curated and beautiful way. As well as Bobby Pins Co, the other main retailer that I tend to purchase patches (and pins) from is Gimme Flair. I learnt of this company through BPC, and was so amazed by the wide range of creators and designers that were stocked on the site.
Basically, both of these stores sell and stock designs and pieces made by themselves, as well as other creators who design and produce pins, patches, badges, jewelry, stickers and just about anything crafty. Sites like this kind of act as a vibrant marketplace for all things craft, and I think it’s just brilliant. I’ve found that I love to support the creators of these sites even more as from what I’ve seen – there’s just so many forward thinking, motivated and inspiring creative people that are activists in our society. There really isn’t anything I can say in criticism of these stores, and I’m more than happy to pay that little bit more to support such fabulous people!
A R R A N G I N G
I find arranging to be the trickiest part of creating a patch jacket. My inner ‘commitment issues’ self comes out to play and worries about just about everything to do with arranging my pieces. I find myself thinking things like “How many patches is too many?”, “should I select patches that match one another or are more mismatched?”, “what if I hate the layout after I spend hours sewing everything on?” – and that’s exactly why I’m publishing this jacket creation over two posts, so I can hear some of your feedback! I want to know what it is that you like to see on DIY jackets, layouts that you think are fool proof, whether you have the attitude of ‘less is more’ or ‘more is more’. Help me!
What I do know about the arranging stage is that the more you play the better. Pictures and safety pins are your best friend at this stage. I like to lay out my jacket, focusing on the front and back separately, and just laying out pieces where I’m drawn to put them. Then when the jacket is ‘full’ or I feel it looks fab, I’ll take a photo showing the full layout. I’ll then repeat this step a few times, rearranging, moving, removing… until I’m happy with how it’s looking.
Once I’m content with the arrangement, I’ll take a bunch of pins and secure them into my desired placing. This makes it really easy to try on the jacket (carefully, don’t stab yourself), and get a feel for how it’ll look on your lovely self. If you’re feeling mighty fine with how the piece looks and feels I’ll then get the jacket ready for assembly and fixing!
So, that’s where I’m at with this jacket. I’m a little overwhelmed with the number of patches that I have. Parts of me wants to include all my lovely pieces to showcase my whole collection, but another part of me doesn’t want to clutter the jacket. I’d love to hear your thoughts on hwo my jacket is looking and what it is you personally like in DIY patch jackets. Stay tuned with my progress over on my social media handles, and I’m sure you’ll see part two of this post soon!!
Sites/Places/Shops Mentioned in this post:
Much Love, Ebony xo
**all photographs in this post were taken and edited by myself**