Elvis Up-Cycled Denim Jacket

Updated: Nov 1

While creating my 'Elvis Collection,' I decided that a classic denim jacket would be a good addition - so off to Goodwill I went. Score...I found a large and long Jantzen Jacket with dropped sleeves and interesting red cotton plaid flannel buttonhole pockets for $7.99! I was so anxious to get started, that I failed to snap a picture of the jacket with the red plaid flannel pocket welts...but here is my final result.


I DID get this picture proving my AMAZING purchase, and size of this Jantzen jacket.

You can also see the beginning of the Elvis orange T-shirt with screenprinting - but again, I'd already started cutting away. Those first cuts are HARD, but honestly - You just MUST make a first decision and CUT CUT CUT...just be sure you leave extra around if you possibly can.


DESIGN BEGINS

At this point in the design process, I'd already decided that I would utilize the E-L-V-I-S letters and the bottom strip 'The King of Rock & Roll' separately.





Next, it was time to start playing with those letters ON the jacket ON my dressform.

Note also the post note pinned to the neck: When I'm designing...I often come up with ideas and so I don't forget them, I WRITE THEM DOWN so I don't forget! What I've written: "Use the silk foulard tie on the collar and for tabs on the 3 buttonhole pockets, and cuffs - perhaps also binding the cuffs and collar with scraps of the orange heathery Elvis T-shirt." For what it's worth, I have NEVER EVER gone back to my Sewing Studio and stuck with a project for more than a couple of hours at a time. My process needs some 'dreaming' time I suppose.





What is folded under at the top of the 'S' is the pink Cadillac which I just didn't like color-wise here on the front. It ended up on the back yoke - but even that, I had to have a 'vote' on from an Elvis Fan-Friend of mine - thanks, Jeannie!


What I especially love about this Fabulous Fit Dress Form I use is that it is so easy to stick pins into! I used to use a Duct Tape Double, but it did NOT accept pins. She - Me is still here - but in the shed out in the back yard!




COLLAR

I knew that the bias nature of the men's silk tie would mold nicely to the collar, but I did NOT want to deal with mitering a sharp corner with binding as was my plan, therefore I elected to just round off the collar point as you can see below. What I cut off of one point, I used as a template to cut off the other Collar point.

Also in the photo below, you can see that I've placed the right side of the silk tie to the right side of the seam where the Collar joins the Collar Stand - stitching from the underside of the Collar to get it stitched EXACTLY in the right place. Then, the tie silk just flopped down over the Collar, got pinned down, stitched, and bound with orange cross-cut knit strips from the T-shirt.

Look VERY closely at the large photo below: I used a double layer of the knit T-cross-cut for stretch the lengthwise of the 3" wide strip. I prefer to 'finish' on the front, or outside, so I stitch the doubled strip to the WRONG side with a scant 1/2" seam, wrap TIGHTLY around the edge, and then I've zigzag stitched using monofilament (smoke color) to 'tack' it down invisibly on the outside of the Collar. Why do I do it this way? Because it is done quickly by machine - which holds better than if I hand-stitched this on the wrong side to finish. If I tried to use the machine on the wrong side - heaven only knows where that stitching would 'land' on the outer, visible side of the collar. Also - I use this 'French' double-folded bias so that the finishing edge is a fold, eliminating the fussiness of having to turn an edge under. I know - it is bulkier, especially with this knit, but I tested it and it worked beautifully. Give this technique a try! I also did an entire blog post on my Bias Finishing Techniques: Click HERE.

The other thing colorwise that was working out so nicely on this jacket using the orange binding is that the topstitching on the jacket is the typical Jeans Gold color. YLI makes a thread that matches, and I carry it at my website HERE.


BESOM DOUBLE-WELT POCKETS

By far, these double-welt pockets posed the largest challenge of this jacket - taking MUCH time! I spent several hours in front of the TV at night with a big lamp close by to carefully rip out the original red flannel bias original welts. Honestly, it had been SO long since I'd done these tailored pockets, that I had to go dig in my teaching samples to refresh my own memory of the technique I'd used so often back during tailored jacket days and classes. NOW, writing this Blog Post, I remember that then - Gee, a whole 11 days ago - I dug up and did a Blog Post on these pockets. Check it out HERE. At 70 years old now, it is scary how my recent memory seems to be going Bye-Bye. All the more reason to constantly be growing brain cells with blogging, typing, composing, and SEWING! I'd sure rather SEW than do crossword puzzles...


FINAL JACKET PICTURES

Sew... here are some good final pictures. Yes, I put a tear-away stabilizer behind those ELVIS letters for applique work. NO - I did not get out the embroidery part of my big Brother machine to do it automatically. I just don't like that automated embroidery stuff - call me silly, I just don't! And EEKS - I even had to go and purchase a spool of shiny embroidery thread at JoAnn's to do the stitching, as I just didn't have any on hand. I believe that purchase was $3.45! Outrageous in my old thinking!



Turn-Back Cuffs - I love this feature!

Design-wise, I like how what I put here over the left breast pocket serves to 'balance' the ELVIS letters on the left side.



This garment is up for sale HERE.

It was great fun to do - but onto the next Elvis project!

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