15 ways to tart up your favourite old jacket for next to nothing

My favourite jacket is short and fitted, in crushed velvet. With three silk-covered buttons and a silk ribbon tie instead of buttons. It’s this fantastic dark olive green, exactly the same colour as the outside crust of a dried cow pat.

I love it, and it’s been a wardrobe staple for (I can’t believe it!) ten years.

Sadly the cuffs are slightly worn at the edges and I managed to get glue all over the bottom hem when I was too excited by a creative project to wait five minutes and change into something sensible. Duh.

I also have an equally ancient yet fabulous pencil skirt that fits perfectly, hangs beautifully and has a stain on the front.

Because I can’t bear to get rid of either of them yet, it’s time for some serious creative action. I’m not 100% sure what I want to do yet, but I have my materials at the ready. Here are 15 ways to cover up stains and damage on gorgeous jackets and skirts you love too much to throw out.

  1. add layers of lace, stating off at the hem and working upwards for a lovely, floppy, foppish and feminine look
  2. accessorise by sewing on loads of tiny pearl buttons…
  3. …or pearl beads, which you can pick up at good craft shops and habadashers: cream, white and coloured
  4. tiny glass bugle beads come in fantastic colours and you can get opalescent ones too. They’re fiddly to sew on but they look stunning
  5. try your hand with embroidery silks, creating a simple pattern like cross stitch or just neat lines of vivid colour travelling up your jacket or skirt to create pinstripes
  6. find a rubber stamp or two – I love the butterfly ones, they’re so girly – and use fabric paint to print flocks of butterflies
  7. use toning or contrasting 3d craft paints to draw on swirls and abstract lines, tiny circles, flowers or just dots. 3d glitter paints are particularly lovely, sparkly and rich
  8. embellish hems with stripes of velvet or silk ribbon attached with fabric glue
  9. you can buy beautiful miniature roses made of ribbon, which look stunning sewn on in bunches or singly
  10. tie ribbon into mini-bows and sew them on. Tartan bows look particularly funky at the cuffs and hem of a black skirt or jacket
  11. cut out patterns from fabric – flowers or swirls or whatever – and glue them on with fabric glue or sew them on with contrasting embroidery thread
  12. go crazy and tack on silk flower petals for an eccentric and unique look – dismantle the flowers first to remove the plastic bits, then either sew them back on in the right order or make up your own flowers
  13. Go hippy chic with patchwork panels in luscious velvets and patterned flock fabrics. I buy charity shop floppy velvet and flock shirts – popular in the ’90s – just to cut up for craft projects
  14. sew or iron-on ready-made applique fabric decorations. You can get sequinned union jacks, bows, flowers, bikes, animals… all sorts of crazy stuff. Your best bet is Ebay, unless you’re lucky enough to have a good independent haberdasher nearby
  15. cut out leather or suede shapes and glue them on with fabric glue: stars, flowers, spots, hearts…

PS. the picture shows a black velvet Marks & Spencer top that I managed to ruin and decided to decorate. I’ve saved its life used silk flower petals, miniature glue-on mirrors,  3d craft paint and glitter glues!