Posted on

Embellish A Denim Vest With Lace For Less!

I think I must have seen a thousand denim jackets and vests today-truly! Some weeks back I glimpsed a very slighted modded denim jacket in a mall shop in Reno for around $50. So today I went on the hunt for an inspiration jacket or vest that would be simple to recreate at home with basic sewing skills, for much less. My field trip took me in and out of Bebe, J. Crew, Gap, Dillard’s, Chico’s, Tilly’s, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Maurice’s, and finally, Rue 21, where I found my inspiration piece. Randomly checking price tags showed a range of $26.99 up to $128, with most of the pieces priced in the middle. That’s a good chunk of money for something that functions mostly as an accessory in the wardrobes of many.

Here is the inspiration vest spotted at the mall for $26.99:

The lace on this vest is sewn in the inside of the cutout, allowing the edge fray to be highly visible. The trashy chic of this piece is a bit over the top for me, and appears overly contrived and downright cheesy. $26.99…really?
Inspiration vest

Later, at the Salvation Army thrift store, I found this printed denim jacket:

Project vest
The price for this one was $4.99, but I was in luck-today all green tags were 50% off, so the jacket was just $2.49! My plan is to remove the sleeves, add a lace inset to outside of the yoke cutout, and run some color matched eyelet around the bottom edge. Maybe some studs or buttons if the mood strikes… maybe not… I believe it will look super over a summer dress or tee!

My next stop was Mill End Fabrics http://www.millendfabricsreno.com/contact-us, a fantastic local shop where one can purchase trim as needed, rather than as packaged:
Lace trim at Mill End Fabrics
From all of this and more, I chose some eyelet lace (currently enjoying quite the comeback!) and lace panel for the project vest:
Trim & receipt project vest
All that I need for the project, plus a bit extra, cost just .97!

First, some simple prep work and gathering of supplies and then, off to the work table…
I washed the jacket and trims in cold water. Best to put the trims in a lingerie bag and let hang dry, which takes almost no time at all.
For this project you’ll need: sewing machine, thread, pins, sharp fabric scissors, any button or studs you may wish to put on at finish, and less than an hour. You may want to press the jacket, but just out of the dryer ought to be fine for this project. Something I recently learned and would like to pass on is to never use waxed thread. This is intended for ease in hand sewing, and could damage your machine.

First, cut off both sleeves:
Blog 2 remove sleeve
Then, carefully trim edge that is behind the outer finished edge.

A good pair of sharp fabric scissors make this easy, with a neat finish.
Blog 2 trim sleeve

Next, cut out both front yokes, leaving between 1/4 ” and 1/2″ from existing seaming.
Blog 2 cut out yoke

Pin lace over cutout, using plenty of pins to avoid shifting. Take advantage of any nicely finished edges in your lace, as here on the bottom edge. Place to avoid trimming finished edge later.
A tip: Those thin, flexible plastic chopping boards? Placed under fabric, make for really easy pinning.
Pin lace on outside

Sew lace over both openings using zigzag stitch. Then trim excess lace as desired.
Blog 2 sew lace inset

On this vest I chose to add eyelet trim along the bottom. You may choose to sew this over outside edge, or along inside for a more subtle effect. Use plenty of pins.
Blog 2 sew eyelet around bottom edge

I also decided, as I often do, to give the vest a bit of a rocker edge with some low profile stainless steel studs from Studs & Spikes http://www.studsandspikes.com/blue buttons would have also been a fun choice.

Finished close up

And here we are, all finished and ready for Spring and Summer or Fall-enjoy!
Finished and ready for Spring and Summer!

Shop for upcycled and embellished jackets and vests here!