How to Make your Hokusai-inspired Denim Jacket

Jealous of my denim jacket from last week? C’mon, you know me by now, I love sharing good tips! Today you will learn how to hand sew a thrifted random denim jacket into an original piece of art. Ok maybe not that far, but you get the idea. Now let’s grab some pins and go…

Inspiration : denim + sequin + Hokusai

When I was still in Paris, I use to live right next to a great asian museum called Musée Guimet. And I never went. Not even once. Shamed much? Yes, shame on me.

Yet I would often see on coming exhibition ads the famous Hokusai estampe of a wave, the one we have all seen somewhere at some point.

A few weeks ago, I read by chance this  article from A Pair and a Spare. She was presenting embroidered jackets made by the génial Hatrik, a great (and young) artist using vintage clothes to create incredible drawings.

One of Hatrik’s creation in the middle

The graceful design, the art reference, the in-trend use of denim : it was love at first sight.

Luckily I quickly realise I happened to have at hand all the materials necessary: fabric remnants from my mermaid costume (not yet translated in english but you can have a look at the pictures)

And I found in Out of the Closet a cute second hand jacket from Free People (similar here, but much more expensive)

Let’s get things clear first. Did I copy Hatrik? Yes, in a way. I tried to recreate something close while adding my personal touch to it. I hope she won’t mind and rather take it as an homage. Which it is, really. Her work is amazing and I would never have the patience to sew 1 by 1 all the sequins necessary…

But Let’s go into the making process.

Step 1 – draw your wave

Using internet, find a picture of the painting (not really a painting, but you see my point). Draw your own version on white paper.

As you can see, mine way pretty basic. No need for a lot of details.

fit the paper to the back of the jacket

Trick : if you’re like me, not a drawing expert, type “the wave hokusai coloring”. The drawing in black and white is even easier to recreate. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you.

Step 2 – cut fabric

Cut 2 sets of fabric patterns, silver for foam, green for the water. I recommend cutting from the right side (which normally, you don’t) to be able to check which direction sequins are going.

Step 3 – sew the 2 layers together

Patiently go around each piece of “foam” 

I must warn you, sequin fabric is a pretty touch deal, get ready to bleed. No, not really bleed, but almost. The trick is to “wriggle” the needle around the sequin to find a point of entry (do not try to pierce sequins). If that makes any sense?

Step 4 – add pearls

To add depth, I used long dark blue pearls. A thin line of white pearls finished the look.

Step 5 – fix everything on the jacket

You just hand sew around the shape through the denim jacket. Do strong stitches, I have been wearing it for a few weeks now and already lost a few pearls on the way…

And… that’s it, done !

More pictures from Peru? click here 

Technical details:

Cost : 30$

  • 1 second hand denim vest : 15$
  • 1/2 yard of sequin fabric, 2 colors : 10$ like the ones on ABFabric16 (Etsy)
  • 1 box of dark blue pearls : 2,50$
  • 1 box of tiny white/silver beads : 2,50$
  • paper, scissors, thread, needles

Creation time : 1 afternoon chatting with my friend Tiffanie, 2 episodes of Harlots

What about you, fan of denim jackets or not yet?

To read more on my trip to peru, click here. To see how I wore the jacket in Miami, click here.

And you can always follow me on instagram to get a glimpse of what I am working on next!

La bise

see you next week


7 comments Add yours
    1. Oh I am sure you will come across one in no time, they are literally everywhere I look in San Francisco! In which city are you going to look?

  1. Very creative! I love this, being able to make such upgrades yourself. I can only imagine how hard it is to sew sequin – I already struggle with lace, haha ;D

    1. Thx Minn! Yes sequin is the worst lol. My first sequin project was a full length sequin skirt (mermaid costume). my fingers will never be the same since lol (and my flat still has shiny left overs appearing in the most unexpected places 6 months after lol). I’d definitely recommend a smaller project first! Lace has its trickiness too I agree ;-).

      1. I have seen it and yes, that looks like a lot of work (and pain too)! But – and I guess that is what counts – it just looks good 🙂

Un avis, une question? A vous le micro !