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Journal Entry: April 25, 2014

Repurposing old clothing into new clothing designs and the renewal of traditionally home-crafted arts is making an international resurgence. Clothing, from shirts and jackets to the glitter of formal eveningwear is revitalized with embellishments such as pieces of crocheted dollies, scarves and edgings, hand-stitched embroidery, beads and buttons, and ribbon trims to create bespoke designs. 

Original Denim Jacket

I undertook a massive closet clean out a while ago and discovered I have collected 5 denim jackets over several decades. Granted, each is a different style, but really, how many does a person need? I just love wearing comfortable denim so felt I had reason to keep all of them, and leave them in their original state.  I finally forced myself to let go of one of them and decided to use another to experiment with wearable art. You can see the front of my final design above. There are a couple of close-up photos of the front and back-yoke of the jacket below. I pulled out some more pieces of my Pagoda Red, Deep Purple and Marigold hand-dyed fibers for the embellishments. 

I decided on a floral theme for the jacket. As the prominent design element, I used the yo-yo quilt pattern, little three-dimensional rosettes created by gathering circles of fabric. The pattern was very popular in the 1930’s and 40’s to create decorative bed covers that did not require batting filler or a backing fabric. These designs took hundreds of handmade yo-yos.

Embellished Denim Jacket by Tricia Patterson 2014
Embellished Denim Jacket by Tricia Patterson 2014

I’ve made a couple of vests using the yo-yo pattern but tend to add yo-yos more often to embellished wall hangings, which require a much smaller number. For my embellished jacket, I scattered several flower yo-yos on the front and back yoke first, and then placed cut-out flowers from doilies, which I found at antique shops and hand-dyed. With these flowers in place I filled in additional flowers and stems with medium weight embroidery. I finished trimming the jacket with dyed crocheted edging trims.