Queens of the Neighborhood: A Tutorial

Ava’s jacket

First, I embroidered a piece of tie-dyed fabric and affixed it to the back of my jacket with safety pins. For the tie-dye, I twisted the fabric into a coil and cinched it with elastic bands. Then I just followed the instructions on the dye packet.

Once the fabric was dry, I drew my rocking-horse design on it in pencil. From here on it helps to have embroidery experience, but the backstitch is pretty easy to learn. I used it to create a continuous line, and I added details, like sequin flowers, to the hair. The embroidery hoop you see below helped keep the fabric taut while I sewed.

For the collar I used some lace fabric that I bought at a thrift store. Fabric stores often have discount baskets for smaller swatches; otherwise, I recommend doilies or tablecloths. I cut the lace in half and pinned it to the jacket collar. (It helps to pin before you stitch to prevent mistakes.) For detail, I sewed an assortment of sequins into the lace. I did the same for the inside of the cuff.

I bought a couple of coin purses from the junk shop and made them into elbow pads by turning them inside out, unpicking the stitches, and cutting them into the right shape.

All done!

Published by

Eleanor Hardwick

Eleanor Hardwick was born in Oxfordshire, England. She and her photography have been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue, Dazed & Confused and the Independent in London, among other places. When she’s not taking pictures, she enjoys making films, painting and going to music festivals.

48 thoughts on “Queens of the Neighborhood: A Tutorial”

  1. I love this! I have a denim jacket in my closet that I’ve been wanting to do something to for the longest time. This gave me lots of ideas.

  2. Yayy! I’ve been waiting for this tutorial, I’ll totally be trying bits and pieces on one of my denim jackets possibly even some old jeans?! \m/

  3. After your Queen of the Neighbor shoot, I couldn’t wait for a tutorial. And now it’s here! DREAMS DO COME TRUE.

    Haha, anyway, I love love love Mirren’s jacket. The cherub painting + silk flowers had me screaming! And now that I know that you can actually paint of denim… well, the possibilities are endless!

    Anoosha Draws

  4. I’ve had a denim jaket for a while that I never wore and I wanted to customize it soon! Thanks for all the ideas!

  5. I know you’ll probably think this is such a TERRIBLE CRIME but I….don’t. own. a. denim. jacket.

    So if I was to do this, do you think I should aim to find one in a charity or vintage shop (I’m in England and we don’t possess beautiful thrift stores) ?

    1. Well… I live in the US, but I’ve always found really cheep denim jackets at Goodwill, so I guess your equivalent is a charity store. Check out the men’s section if you can’t find a good one in the women’s section- the men’s section is where I always find the best jackets and flannels.

      1. Yeah – thanks!! I’ll do that next week, mwahahahahaa
        When I eventually escape to the U.S, I will buy the entire contents of a thrift store.

    1. I immensely adooooorre your blog and ive only just read the first post (which is generally a good sign) its got a gguuttspaa that i cant put my finger on.

  6. I’m so glad you guys made this DIY omg as soon as I saw those photos I knew I had to make a jacket like that

  7. Great tutorial. I have a plain denim jacket I plan on screwing with once the weather cools down. Band patches all around, ayy.

    {I totally died laughing when you said each jacket is from Urban Outfitters though. Thrift stores are LOADED with denim jackets. Why waste all that money on overpriced “vintage”? Isn’t DIY about making awesome personalized stuff for cheap?}

  8. I know this is a bit off topic, but I once sat behind a girl in my Geometry class who drew an exact replica of herself topless, the collar is where the neck started and yes, she even drew her nipples. :/

  9. My mind was blown by this DIY! Using a coin purse to make elbow patches?? Pure genius. And the tie dying turned out so pretty!

  10. these are soo gorgeous and I adore the rose petals. they look real. i will have to puzzle through the tutorial for them later. I keep going to Saver’s to look for a denim jacket to do stuff to but I can’t find one! maybe st. vincent’s? anyway never considered using clothes as an outlet like this and it actually working! :)

  11. I love DIY stuff like these!
    I wanted a jean jacket for the longest time, and I finally got one as a Christmas present last year…
    I customized it by putting spikes on the lapels, sewing a “Do It Yourself!” patch on one of the arms (like the Vivienne Westwood one) and filling the front with band pins.
    On the back I used safety pins to put a photo of Bikini Kill, with “I’m so sorry if I’m alienating some of you, your fucking culture alienates me” written over it, and I still want to write “Kamikaze Grrrl” on the top.

    (I love the Wallace Collection, the rococo idea is great!)

  12. i fell in love with eleanor’s jacket in that photo album! i’m so glad you posted a diy post for it! now i shall have a tie-dye denim jacket to call my own.

  13. You have no idea how much I wanted this tutorial after looking through the Queens of the Neighborhood photos.
    Like I cannot begin to explain how much I wanted this tutorial…
    So in short, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!
    The Lovelorn

  14. oh my!!!!!!L thses are so fab and girl gang-y!!!!!!! i am super excited to go and diy my mums old denims now. COIN PURSES AS ELBOW PADS:BEST IDEA.

  15. This is so cute ;_; Definitely my next project. I loved the Queens of the Neighborhood photos.

  16. wahhh this is brilliant I’m so excited to try this! except I def won’t be getting my jacket at urban outfiters, they’re hella unethical and awful

  17. What is the best way to hand sew patches on denim? I don’t have a sewing machine or friends with one and I am looking for the best approach.

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