DIY Military Jacket

Written by joanne robitaille
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Military jackets transcend their functional purpose for the military uniform --- they're also worn by the civilian world. In term of basic construction, military jackets are fitted jackets that have been embellished with large metal buttons and braided ribbons. The amount of embellishments that are added is entirely optional. Some military jackets are only recognised as such because of the rows of brass buttons acting as fasteners. While the majority of military jackets are generally black, dark blue or army green, when making your own, choose whatever colour you want. If you're not an advanced sewer, it may be easier to use an old jacket as a base.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fitted jacket
  • Metal buttons
  • Braided ribbon
  • Embellished ribbon
  • Shoulder pads
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Needle

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  1. 1

    Find a fitted jacket in the colour of your choice. You can use one that you already own or look at a thrift store for a used one so you don't have to spend a lot of money. Any fitted jacket will work, but try to find a jacket with a mandarin collar if possible.

  2. 2

    Remove the existing buttons from the jacket's closure. Replace the buttons with large metallic ones. Make sure that the buttons you choose fit through the jacket's buttonholes. Rounded brass buttons have a very militaristic look and can be found at most fabric stores.

  3. 3

    Sew shoulder pads into the shoulders of the jacket. The shoulder pads will give the jacket the sharp, clean edges that it needs. Sewing a single line down the centre of each shoulder pad is enough to secure it in place.

  4. 4

    Trim the edges of the sleeves with a braided or embellished ribbon. Circle the cuff with the ribbon approximately a half-inch from the edge and pin it in place. Stitch the ribbon to the jacket with matching thread. Add another line of ribbon to the bottom edge of the pocket openings.

  5. 5

    Add decorative trim to the front of the jacket. Circle the buttons and buttonholes with elongated ovals made of braided ribbon that stretches all the way to the side of the jacket. Use pins to hold the ribbon in the exact shape that you want before sewing it to the jacket. If there's a top button close to the collar of the jacket, make that trim a bit shorter than the rest.

Tips and warnings

  • Use ribbons with a metallic colour.
  • Any jacket or coat with boxy proportions like peacoats and blazers can be made to look like a military jacket.
  • Add further embellishments to the shoulders if you want a highly decorated jacket.
  • The shoulder pads can be pinned in place rather than sewn if you want to be able to remove them later.

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