Saturday, March 31, 2012

✿ Chelsea's DIY Corner: Denim Vests ✿

As you may know, I am a big fan of customizing denim vests. It's an easy, fun, creative hobby that I've picked up and the best part is that it's cheap to do! I use mostly thrifted/recycled materials. So here are a few tips for any of you who want to decorate your own vests.

First off, some things you will need.
1. Denim vest. (You can also get a denim jacket and cut off the sleeves, duh.)
2. Fabric dye (you can find it at any craft store)
3. Studs (I get mine from old studded belts, more on that on that later)
4. Needle/thread/pins
5. Fabric, patches, etc. (See that faux zebra fur? That used to be a pillowcase.)

Tip: I get most of my large back patches from cutting up old t-shirts (kids shirts are great for this)

Pin your back patch in the position you want it and sew! I sew everything by hand but this would be way easier if I owned a sewing machine.

Tip: If you're really feeling extra creative, 3 words: Puffy Fabric Paint.

Instead of buying individual studs I find it's cheaper to buy studded belts at thrift stores. Make you sure get one with an open back so you can easily pry out the studs. I use a metal nail file, which is also good for pressing down the backs when you're studding your vest.

I'm not a perfectionist about this but if you want them super straight you can align them with a ruler.

Tip: Ever heard of a Bedazzler? They're cheap and awesome and totally worth investing in. (That's what I used for the smaller round studs!)

And voila! My beautiful Jon Benet Ramsey vest is complete.

Here is a collection of other vests I've done:

If you have any questions or comments you can leave them on my Formspring.


  1. where do you get these big prints for the back of your vests?

  2. So that tip about reusing old studded belts is pretty life changing, I have 700 el cheapo studded belts sitting around that I haven't worn since my 2004 emo heyday - I feel some DIYing coming on! Also love the pink one with the fabric grain showing through (was that just dyed straight on top of the denim?) and the McDonalds pin, I remember when it was the coolest thing ever to wear somebody's older brother's name pin (probably 2004, as a matter of fact! Good days, good days), pretty hardcore baha.

  3. Love this! I tried this out on my own denim vest. I made a YouTube video about it on my channel here: I start talking about the vest at about 23:55 :)

  4. did you make your jon benet patch? are you willing to recreate for sale?