How to Decorate Kids' Jackets

Ribboned Denim Jacket
Trace the shape of the area you'll cover.
Trace the shape of the area you'll cover.

Make a ribboned denim jacket by transforming a dull jeans jacket into a rainbow of color and texture. Apply a few easy techniques and just enough patience when trying out this project -- the results are eye-catching.

What You'll Need:

  • Denim jeans and jacket
  • 6 different colors each of 3/8-inch and 5/8-inch-wide neon-colored satin ribbon. To determine quantity of ribbon needed, estimate l 1/2 yards per 3 running inches along leg, jacket front, and jacket yoke.
  • Double-sided fusible webbing, 17 inches wide by length of jeans leg. This should allow enough for both jeans and jacket.
  • 10-15 yards 1/2-inch-wide double-sided fusible webbing for seam allowances
  • Tracing paper
  • Straight pins
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Water-soluble pen
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Seam sealant (optional)
  • Fabric glue (optional)

Step 1: Pin a piece of tracing paper on the jacket or jeans and trace the general shape of the area to be covered with ribbon, allowing about a 1/2-inch overlap on all sides. Draw diagonal lines at right angles to each other in the direction you want the ribbons to follow. This mark will serve as your starting point for placing the ribbons.

Step 2: Remove tracing from jacket, and straighten the drawn edges with a ruler. Trace this shape onto a sheet of fusible webbing and cut. Cut two of this shape, one a mirror image of the other. Follow the shape of the jacket for the yoke shape. The vertical strips on the front of the jacket we used measure 3 1/2 × 13 inches; the pants leg strips measure 3 1/2 × 36 inches. (Our jacket and pants are a girl's size 14.) On the adhesive side of pattern, using a water soluble pen, carefully -- without ripping the adhesive -- draw a cross at right angles to the direction you want the ribbons to run, just as in Step 1.

Trace the shape to a piece of fusible webbing.

Step 3: Place fusible webbing pattern on ironing board, adhesive side up. Selecting colors and widths at random, cut several pieces of ribbon long enough to cover length of pattern. Begin placement of ribbons on pattern at marked cross, working your way to the ends. Using straight pins, pin ribbons to ironing board as you cover pattern. Continue to cut ribbons in random colors and widths and pin to board until pattern is covered. Ribbons for yoke pattern will be varying lengths. Ours were cut 4 - 6 inches long. Ribbons for vertical strips on jacket and pants will all be the same length. Ours were cut 6 inches long.

Cover the shape with ribbon as desired, and pin.

Step 4: Cut a few ribbons to cover length of pattern in opposite direction. Because the pattern is covered with ribbons at this point, refer to the marked cross on tracing paper to position ribbons correctly. Beginning at center, weave a ribbon under and over each pinned ribbon. Keep all ribbons flat and at right angles. Also make sure they cover the entire pattern.

Weave ribbons.

Step 5: When all vertical and horizontal ribbons are woven in place, fuse ribbon to webbing, carefully removing pins as you press. Caution: Follow manufacturer's instructions for fusing. Do not allow temperature of iron to exceed suitable temperature for ribbons. Be especially cautious when using silk, lightweight, or finely printed ribbon. High temperature can cause too much adhesive to bond to the ribbons. Once fused, turn ribbon assembly over and press again on paper side to secure fusing. Cut off all ribbon tails along edge of paper then remove paper backing.

Use an iron to fuse ribbon to webbing.

Step 6: With right side facing up, place ribbon fabric over area of denim to be covered. For the jacket yoke, place appropriate ribbon fabric over yoke, mark where the button hole should be, and cut a slit in the ribbon fabric for the button hole. If desired, use seam sealant to stop fraying where ribbon fabric was slit. Return ribbon fabric to yoke. Turn under and pin 1/2-inch seam allowance on all edges, but do not pin ribbon fabric to denim.

Size the ribbon to the area of denim to be covered.

Step 7: Remove ribbon fabric from denim. With wrong side of ribbon fabric facing up, fuse webbing strips to all edges of seam allowances. Fuse only seam allowances, do not allow iron to touch center fused area of ribbon fabric. Remove paper backing.

Fuse edges and remove paper backing.

Step 8: Return ribbon fabric to denim and iron over entire area, fusing ribbon fabric to area. Repeat for all ribbon fabric pieces. A little dab of fabric glue will help to hold trouble spots.

Tip: A great deal of ribbon is needed to complete both the jeans and jacket. Consider doing only the jeans or the jacket, which should cut your ribbon usage by about half.

Fuse finished ribbon section to denim.

Ribbons bring color to a jacket, but you can show your true colors in another way -- with a traveler's denim jacket.

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