Mirren’s jacket

I was inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli, the 20th century surrealist designer, to make silk roses to sew onto the shoulders of my jacket. I made the roses out of a variety of pink silks. I used a cross-stitch fabric as my base, which I cut to form a circle (any thick fabric, like felt, will do). I then cut a piece of the silk in a petal shape, gathered it, and sewed it onto the thick fabric vertically to make the central bud of the rose. I wrapped a different pink around the rest of the circle horizontally to make the rose, sewing it in place as I went. Then I ironed the rose flat. I found that if I used a slightly too-hot iron in different parts, it discolored the silk a bit to give it a more aged look. Finally, I sewed my roses onto the jacket, being careful not to make the stitches too obvious.

On a recent trip to the Wallace Collection in London, I was inspired by the 18th century painter François Boucher to paint a Rococo-style scene on the back of my jacket. I discovered that it is possible to paint denim with acrylic paint–AND IT STAYS! (I even tested this for you by washing my jacket on a quick wash at a hot temperature.)

You can paint the denim jacket just like you would paint a canvas. If you’re going to have a go at painting a sky and you want it to look realistic, imagine the position of the sun and the direction its rays are coming from. On my jacket, I imagined the sun being in the top-left-hand corner, so the top-left-hand clouds are white, while the bottom-right-hand ones are the darkest. (This is a helpful tutorial.)

Finally, I safety-pinned some patches I had made to the front of jacket. The one above was a drawing I made, scanned, printed, and transferred to fabric using Dylon Image Maker. You could also use iron-on transfers. I then appliquéd this to a backing fabric and added trim. Finished!