Fashion & Beauty

Reinventing a Jacket: A Patch Job

Left: LittleBird Janet’s attempt at dolling up her black jacket. Right: Libertine’s Medal-Embellished Fitted Blazer, available at Bergdorf Goodman’s for $3,250.

MY FAVORITE black jacket was looking, well, a little too black. And although Punxsutawney Phil promised spring would come early, that doesn’t seem a likely outcome. Especially given the view from my window of  3 inches of snow cover and an outside temperature of 23 degrees. If spring wasn’t coming to me, at least I could bring a little lightheartedness to what I was wearing.

The first idea that came to me was to round up a bunch of brooches gathering dust in the drawer—my grandmother’s and my mother’s pins—and attach them to my jacket. Those, however, didn’t provide the powerful punch I was going for, especially once I noticed Libertine’s bright and kind of kitschy wool blazer embellished with a galaxy of sequined metallic medals. (If you’re not familiar with Libertine, it’s known for its quirky and irreverent designs—and its prices climb up into the stratospheric realm.) I conferred with managing editor LittleBird Nancy, who suggested I look on the M&J Trimming site to bulk up my limited collection with their varied appliquéd offerings (for example, a stick-on pink donut patch, an iron-on lipstick, a New York City subway appliqué, even a CIA patch—no joke.) With the help of a needle and thread or glue and an iron and about $100, I could up the cool quotient on my jacket and refresh my outlook or wardrobe, possibly both. If you have a large stash of brooches, you may not need to go this route. If you’re DIY-averse, try your local tailor for help.

Still, when plotting out the arrangement on your jacket, whatever raw materials you have, here are some useful tips from “How to Wear Jewelry: 55 Styles” by Judith van den Hoek and Abrams Books, 2016 ($12.95, Metropolitan Museum store):

1. Keep things looking cohesive by sticking to similar-looking colors and shapes.
2. Start with your largest two statement brooches/appliqués and pin each to a different side of the jacket for anchor pieces.
3. Surround the anchors with smaller pieces.
4. Create symmetry with equal amounts of medium- and small-size pieces on each side.

So, go ahead and find your inner craftsperson. Chances are you’ll have fun and end up with something new and interesting to wear. Plus, think how much you’ll save by not buying (ha!) the Libertine blazer.

—Janet Kelly
LEFT: Sew-On Bullion Crest Applique, available in gold or gold and silver mixed. $19.98,  M&J Trimming. RIGHT: Bullion Anchor with Rhinestone Chain, available in gold or silver in 2.375 inches or 2.75 inches, $15.98,  M&J Trimming.
LEFT: Made from 3mm rhinestones and one 8mm rhinestone in the center, the Rhinestone Petal Flower Applique is 4.5 inches, $29.98, M&J Trimming.  CENTER: Intricate Knot Bullion Applique, 3.5 by 2.75 inches, $15.98, M&J TrimmingRIGHT: Bull Dog Applique, complete with cute red rhinestone collar, is 3.5 by 3.5 inches, $5.98, M&J Trimming.
LEFT: Made with beads, bugle and seed beads, the Sun Disc Beaded Applique is 2.75 inches. $9.98, M&J Trimming.  RIGHT: Abstract Flower Rhinestone Applique, with golden rhinestones and beads, is 4.5 inches. $11.98, M&J Trimming.


7 thoughts on “Reinventing a Jacket: A Patch Job

  1. Love this! Nothing like a little glitz.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Agree wholeheartedly!

  2. Carol says:

    Love this idea! Makes me want to go out and buy another black jacket

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Great. Go for it!

  3. cynthia tilson says:

    Never considered myself particularly crafty, but this looks like fun – and it’s trendy chic to boot! Hard to resist the call to embellish now…

    Thanks, Janet!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      I have never considered myself crafty either, but I very much like the idea of reinventing clothing.

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