A while ago I bought a package of 200 safety pins for a specific purpose and only used up about 50 of them. A few weeks later I looked at the pins and thought that they kinda looked like feathers. I took a pinstripe jacket out of my closet and used the safety pins to make a pair of wings on the back. I got a lot of compliments on that jacket, so I ended up making several more . This is my most recent one.
Step 1: You Will Need:
1: A jacket made of something sturdy but not too thick. You will be putting a lot of pins into this thing, so thin fabric is likely to tear. Fabric that is too thick will be harder to work with. (I've used a few denim jackets before, which have worked pretty well, but something like polyester or a wool blend is easier.) Jackets with lining are nice, because then it is possible to hide the backs of the pins by only pinning through the top layer of fabric. Also, choose something with a simple pattern that won't overwhelm your pin design.
2: Safety pins of various sizes. (For this jackets I used size 0, 1, 2, and 3 steel and brass pins.)
3: A light colored pencil or chalk
4: A needle and thread
5: Optional: a dressmaker's dummy. This is very useful because it lets you see the overall effect of the image as you work. I like being able to constantly see what the worn jacket looks like, but working this way is harder on your arms. You also need to be careful not to pin th jacket to the dummy, as many of them are fabric-covered.
Step 2: Sketch
Choose an image that you want to go on the jacket. Something to keep in mind: not all images will translate very well into this medium. Try to pick something that will take advantage of the shape and texture of the pins.
Step 3: When Pinning:
When you close a pin, make sure that you don't have too much or too little fabric inside. Too much fabric bunched up on the pin will cause the material to pucker, too little will let the pin slide around and can cause the shape you make to get messed up as the pin moves out of place. Ideally, you should go for a snug fit like the pin on the far right.
Step 4: Start Pinning!
Start inserting the pins. Be systematic about it, finish an entire line before you start on another; you can mess with them later if it doesn't turn out just right. Don't be afraid to deviate a little from your original pattern as you go along; sometimes when you start putting the pins in you realize that the design needs a little tweaking to make it look better. Use different sizes and colors of pins to add variety and detail. You can also get different effects and textures by changing the spacing of the pins.
Step 5: Stitch
Gravity will tend to pull all of your pins downward. If the pins need to lie a certain way, use the needle and thread to stitch the pins down. (I use silver thread because it is less visable.) This will stop them from moving around when you wear the jacket, but it's not always necessary.
Step 6: Wear and Enjoy!
Ta da! Go and show off your awesome new bit of wearable art! These jackets are extremely versatile, great for formal or casual occasions. They are machine washable, if you run them on delicate and you dry them off right away. (Don't put them through the dryer though, that could end painfully with scorched fingers.) I've also been told that you can get rid of smelliness by spraying stinky spots with cheap vodka to kill bacteria.