Awhile ago I bought a package of 200 safety pins for a project, but only used about 50 of them. A few weeks later I looked at the pins and thought that they kind of looked like feathers. So I took a pinstripe jacket out of my closet and used the safety pins to make a pair of wings on the back. I got a lot of compliments on that jacket, so I ended up making several more. This is my most recent one.

Project Steps


Choose an image for your jacket. Keep in mind that not all images translate well into this medium. Try to pick something that will take advantage of the shape and texture of the pins. When satisfied, draw your design onto the jacket with chalk or pencil.

When you close a pin, make sure you don’t have too much or too little fabric inside. Too much fabric bunched up on the pin will cause the material to pucker; too little will let the pin slide out of place, possibly messing up the design. Go for a snug fit.

Start pinning.

When inserting the pins, be systematic about it. Finish an entire line before starting another; you can mess with them later if it doesn’t turn out just right.

Don’t be afraid to deviate a little from your original pattern. Sometimes while pinning, you realize that the design needs tweaking to make it look better.

Use different sizes and colors of pins to add variety and detail. You can also get different effects and textures by changing the spacing of the pins. Go with the sizes that look best with your design. I end up using size 1 the most.

Stitch. Wear and enjoy!

Gravity will tend to pull all your pins downward. If the pins need to lie a certain way, you can use a needle and thread to stitch them down (I use silver thread because it’s less visible.) This will stop them from moving around when you wear the jacket, but it’s not always necessary.

Go and show off your awesome new bit of wearable art! These jackets are extremely versatile, great for formal or casual occasions.

They’re machine washable; run them on delicate and line-dry them right away. Don’t put them through the dryer, though — that could end painfully with scorched fingers.


This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 07, pages 118-119.