How to Embellish a Jacket With Beads, Silk, Ribbon & Lace

Updated February 21, 2017

Embellishing old clothing with beads, silk, ribbon and lace can add new life to a tired wardrobe. Transform a jacket, jeans or a plain shirt into a designer original with a few well-placed embellishments. Accent existing features, such as a jacket lapel or jean pockets, to add sparkle and colour to the clothing. If you can make a straight stitch by hand or with a machine, you can embellish your clothing with style.

Position the desired stencil for your bead design onto the face of the jacket's lapel. Any stencil will work, but beginning bead artists may prefer a straightforward pattern with few swirls and circles. Beginners can also randomly dot the lapel for the bead placement.

Select beads to embellish the lapel based on the design pattern. Small seed beads or 3mm beads work best for a busy pattern; use larger beads, 4mm and up, if you plan to dot the lapel. The more dots you have, the smaller the beads should be.

Thread a beading needle with waxed beading thread. Double the thread and knot the end for dotted beads. Do not double the thread if you are stitching a pattern. Anchor a seed bead at the end of the working thread for pattern stitching.

Insert the threaded needle up through one of the marks in the lapel. Pull the thread to the end. Pick up a bead and slide it to rest against the lapel. Insert the needle back down through the lapel beside the bead to hold it in place. Continue to stitch beads over the marks with an up-and-down stitch.

Measure the lapel from the center back of the jacket to the tip on each side of the jacket. Measure the width of the lapel at its widest point.

Cut two strips of silk and two strips of lace 2 inches wider than the width of the lapel and 1 inch longer than the length of the lapel. Cut two strips of 1/4-inch wide ribbon equal 1 inch longer than the length of the lapel. Spray the cut edges of the silk and the lace with non-fraying spray.

Sew one 1/4-inch wide ribbon on top of the length of the cut edge of each strip of silk, similar to cording. Layer one strip of silk over one strip of lace so that the ribbon cording is in the centre of the lace. Fold 1/2 inch of silk, ribbon and lace to make end seams. Adjust the position of the silk if you prefer that more or less lace is visible. Pin the silk strip to the lace strip. Sew a straight seam to hold the silk and lace strips together.

Measure the length around the bottom of the jacket, from the left front edge to the right front edge. Measure the circumference of the jacket sleeves. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 to make silk, ribbon or lace bands to fit beneath the sleeves and below the hem of the jacket.

Pin silk, ribbon or lace strips to the section of jacket beneath the lapel. Pin the strips to the hem of the jacket. Stitch the embellishments in place.

Turn the jacket inside out. Pin the strips to the seam at the end of the jacket sleeves. Stitch the embellishments in place. Turn the jacket right side out.

Things You'll Need

  • Stencil
  • Fabric marker
  • Beads
  • Beading needle
  • Silk beading thread
  • Beading wax
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Silk
  • Lace
  • 1/4-inch wide ribbon
  • Non-fraying spray
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing needle/thread
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.