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5 ways to update your old denim jacket

Denim was designed to last, but there’s nothing more cathartic than tearing into an old blue denim jacket. With every tear and stitch, you make your mark on a jacket that is essentially your second skin. There could be plenty of people walking the streets with a blue jean jacket, but none of them will be custom just like yours.

Bleaching, stitching and distressing is the only way to truly make it your own. Wouldn’t you agree?

When it comes to starting your own project it’s easy to become overwhelmed. There’s so many techniques that it’s hard to choose where to start and very easy to over think it!


Denim is made to withstand a lot of wear and tear, so you’re going to need a paint that can meet the same standard. Your everyday use puts the jacket through a lot! Wearing your jacket in the rain, wearing a bag over your shoulder, leaning against surfaces; we often take denim for granted and you’ll need to keep this in mind in order to protect your design.

Fabric paint works perfectly on denim as the colours sink into the material. Some artist experiment with acrylic, but you’ll need to use a fabric medium to ensure your masterpiece is water resistant. We’d also recommend coating your painting in a finishing fluid, either gloss or matte depending on the desired effect.



Patches are probably the easiest way to update your old denim jacket. If you’re not a dab hand with a needle and thread, don’t worry! You can purchase iron on patches and heat setting glue to apply your desired design.

The key to working with patches is spacing each piece individually. It’s a good idea to lay your jacket flat and pin your patches down before committing to heating the adhesive. This way you can ensure that your collage of patches are all perfectly placed.



Safety pins give a nod to the punk era, when distressed denim really made a statement! It was common to see this design back then, when people had to make do with whatever they had at home to personalise their jackets.

Cheap but chic, safety pins shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to customising. Tightly pinned together along the sleeves of your denim jacket, they add texture and a rebellious throwback! You could also using the pins to hook other items to your jacket. For example in the image above, you can see an array of pom poms, hair grips and ribbons woven into the chain of safety pins.



Everyone is trying to make a statement online, but sometimes it can feel as if you’re shouting into the abyss. A great way to make your voice heard is of course through art, so why not put your own slogan on your outerwear. You wear it everyday and carry it with you everywhere, so it’s a great way to spread a positive message.

But it doesn’t have to be a personal message. You could alternatively write your favourite lyrics or quote on the back panel of your jacket. Grab some fabric paint pens and get creative!



We absolutely love this DIY denim jacket! This is another great way to add beautiful patterns to your jacket without having to spend days hand stitching it by yourself. One tip we would suggest with this method is to choose a scarf or other thin material so that the jacket remains comfortable and not too heavy on your shoulders.

So which style would you choose?