More Upcycling – a little jacket

This little edge-to-edge woollen jacket was inherited from a great aunt. She was much smaller than me (I’m not tall, but my great aunts were all tiny!) so, among other things, she’d turned up the sleeves to create cuffs, which has resulted in rather unattractive, and potential life-limiting (for the garment) wear patterns. Naturally, I’m not in favour of that. Nor do I especially cherish the look of me in unadorned beige, especially since the arrival of my “corona wings”, which otherwise I rather like. So the jacket is going to be jazzed up.

In fact, it probably won’t know what’s hit it, by the time I’ve finished!

I am returning to the motifs from Grandmama’s tablecloth, which I also used on the Coat of Many Colours and the Jacobean Firescreen, so at least some of what you see over the next few posts will be familiar, but whereas the design for the Coat of Many Colours stretched across the skirt of the coat, the design here trails over the shoulders and down the arms.

And whereas the design for the Coat of Many Flowers was planned in advance, with some care, the design for this one was put together in a series of adventures. First, my mother put the jacket on and I drew trailing stems around and over the jacket. Then I tacked them in with a single strand of Appletons Crewel Wool (then I won’t need to take them out!) and pinned cut out paper patterns of the motifs in their place.

Then the paper cutouts were replaced with felt cut outs. You can see from this picture of the back that I missed out some necessary stems here..

I wonder whether it’s luxuriant enough?

Meanwhile, in other news – Episode 64 of Slow TV Stitchery is now live, in which we discuss Impressionism in stitches and an Announcement is made..


  1. I like the term corona wings Rachel! This jacket project looks wonderful, it’s so good to bring garments back to life. I would try experimentally placing more elements, you’ll know instinctively when the arrangement is right for you.

  2. Alex Hall says:

    What a fabulous idea to draw the stems on while the jacket is being worn. Things look very different in three dimensions. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops.

  3. Carolyn Foleyc says:

    It is great to be able to give old garments a new life. I must be very hard on my clothes because there isn’t that much left to be reused! Sometimes I can be lucky and find parts of the garment to use again, but not often.

  4. Jen Mullen says:

    I love when art becomes wearable! The jacket is going to be beautiful!

  5. Lin says:

    A great project and I am all for upcycling. xx

  6. Sheryl says:

    What a great idea, this is going to be lovely with the added colours.

  7. This jacket must be so happy – there will be flowers growing on it, and colourful ones, too.
    I love your ideas for upcycling garments, and I am sure you will do something spectacular about those upturned sleeves.
    You are so good at adjusting to the situation, as you go, and if there is anything that you see as a problem now, you will solve it.
    What does Corona wings mean?

  8. Sue Jones says:

    This looks like another project that I will be drooling over! I hope I will get to see it in the flesh (as it were) eventually. I am sure it will be very grand when it is finished.

  9. Corona wings sound as though they should be a sort of halo, something that might be stolen from the moon on a misty night and brought down to decorate ones head and shoulders!
    Your jacket embroidery looks really lovely and, as another commenter says, how inspired to draw out the tendrils and stems while on the body. I hope you will feel your great aunt’s approval as you work the embroidery and then wear the jacket – a lovely connection to be making. I wonder if you could edge the worn sleeves with some of the felt you are using for the decoration?
    How very exciting, and very brave, to be preparing a stitchy course to run in such a lovely location. I should think there’s a terrific lot to think about, but it must also feel good to know the place and the owners, a little bit of safety in that. I hope you get plenty of takers – I am very tempted, but have a trip booked already next year – already postponed twice because of Covid. Let’s hope by then we are all in a much better place.