Make a Custom Jacket

Customising old and unwanted clothes can be a brilliant way to express your unique personality, save items from landfill AND spread love for your favourite bands/authors/biscuit brands. A great place to start is with denim, because it’s stiff enough and strong enough to withstand being painted on, glued on, snipped and frayed to your heart’s content. What I particularly love about this make is that these are suggestions only. THERE ARE NO RULES (beyond those pertaining to health and safety, obviously, and, you know… the Law and stuff). YOU ARE ONLY LIMITED BY YOUR IMAGINATION (and health and safety, the laws of physics and public decency) so THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER (within reason). 

There’s a lot to do, so let’s get started.

You will need:


– Paintbrush

– Scissors

– Felt-tip pen

– Needle

– Embroidery thread

(Make sure you have permission from an adult)

A denim jacket

Acrylic paint

An old (unwanted) t-shirt


Textile medium

Safety pins

Bobble trim

Hot glue gun (adult supervision required)



Step 1:

Paint the back panel with a mixture of black, purple, blue and red acrylic paint (you can mix in some textile medium if you have it, but it’s not essential).

Step 2:

Leave to dry completely.

Step 3:

Take a dry brush and some white, pale pink or pale blue paint and add wispy clouds of space dust to your galaxy panel. Add stars with a detail brush.


Step 4:

With a sharp pair of scissors, cut a thick strip of fabric from an old t-shirt. (This one is not fit for donation.)

Step 5:

At 1 cm intervals cut slits into the fabric, stopping about 2 cm from the edge.

Step 6:

Pin onto the jacket and sew using a basic running stitch.


Step 7:

 We’ve placed a blue bobble trim over the edge of the fringing, pinned and sewn in place as before.

Step 8:

With a felt-tip, draw outlines of letters on the space above the back panel.

Step 9:

Go over the felt-tip lines with embroidery thread. You can use any stitch you like but a basic running stitch will do.

What will you do with yours?

These are basic suggestions, you can take this make as far as you like. Rip, fray, glue and tear, dye, pin and sew until you (and only you) are satisfied. Then put it on and strut your stuff! 

We’d love to see your customised jackets. Why not send a picture to the address on the readers’ page of the AQUILA website, and we’ll share as many as we can. 

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Written by Freya Hardy