Introduction: Wearable Fiber Art Embellished Jacket

I've gotten to a place in my life that I want color. A lot of color... and texture... and created with a passionate abandon that will satisfy the little gypsy that lives within my soul. Fiber art is a great way to do all of that!

My plain black quilted jacket, though warm and serviceable, was in dire need of an upgrade.

I am a seamstress and scavenger by nature. I love to collect odd bits of fabric, ribbon, thread, brass stampings, keys, buttons... well, you get the idea. Fiber art is the perfect venue to use and display some of these wonderful small treasures.

I hope to be able to inspire you to create your own piece of wearable fabric art with my Instructable. Please come along with me as I show you how I used bits and pieces to make my jacket into a colorful piece of wearable art.

There is no wrong or right. You can embellish any old way that makes your little heart happy!

Remember, it's your art!


  • Piece of clothing to embellish - a coat, jacket or vest works well
  • Buttons
  • Ribbons
  • Cording
  • Embroidery thread
  • Fabric scraps - velvet, brocade, something interesting
  • Felt
  • Brass stampings
  • Small keys
  • Beads
  • Etc, etc, etc

Step 1: How to Begin

You can see the plain black coat that I started with. It is basically divided into two halves by the front zipper. I know that I wanted an asymmetrical design. Because of this, I offset two lace appliques that would become the foundation other embellishments. These would help me to balance the other items and keep the jacket from looking lopsided when finished. They also gave me a general V-front for my fiber art.

After stitching on the appliques, I began cutting out leaves from felt. You can either use a pattern from a magazine or a real leaf, or just free form them with your scissors as you cut. At this point I pinned them on the jacket where I thought I'd like them. Pinning is a great way to try things out as you go. You can move the items around until you're happy with the placement. Once you've decided, just stitch them in place.

Next, I knew that I wanted a big happy yellow flower. I made one out of satin ribbon, thread and a small piece of yellow felt to anchor the petals. You can find tutorials on how to make several different kinds of fabric flowers here.

Once you've got your flower made, just stitch it into place and you're ready to add some more. I added some beads in the center and another burgundy sheer ribbon flower above my yellow one. You can see this in the photos in the next step.

Step 2: Adding More Dimension

I had a small length of shimmery ombre ribbon that I just knew had to be on my jacket. First, I folded the ribbon lengthwise. It was very simple to do a running stitch along the two edges and then just pull the thread to gather up the ribbon into a ruffled free-style embellishment. I added beads and copper metallic embroidery thread to expand the copper design and fill in a bit of the black empty areas of the coat.

At the upper portion of the coat, where the burgundy flower was, I added some small satin ribbon flowers, embroidery, a brass stamping and beading to outline more leaves. If you need a refresher on embroidery stitches, you can find several different variations here.

When you are making your own wearable piece of art, just keep adding whatever you like. Bits of jewelry work well, that lone earring, pearls, necklace parts, old hankies... anything goes!

Step 3: Finishing the Second Half

In creating the embellishments for this coat, I was having so much fun that I forgot to take photos of each bit. I've tried to put the closeups in some semblance of order so that you can see how the second half of my coat evolved. Basically, I just kept adding until I was happy with it. I even added a small satin coin purse on the right half for coins and other small items... just because it made my little heart happy!

I hope you've enjoyed this photo journey of my wearable piece of fiber art. Please give a try creating your own. You'll be amazed at how fun it is and by the many compliments that you'll receive when you wear it.

Fiber Arts Contest

Participated in the
Fiber Arts Contest