Patches have been showing up on clothing and accessories for some time now. While some pieces can be categorized as "trendy", patches have been around for a long time and, if done right, can have lasting qualities. Just think about Mike's excitement finding a vintage car club jacket on American Pickers, instead of disposable fashion from Forever 21. That is the thought process I took when I wanted to put together a patched jacket for myself. This project has been in the works for quite some time, and it will continue to be a labor of love as I add to it over the years. When I first started this, I thought I could find a jacket I liked with some patches already on it (since I knew I wanted a mix of just pretty patches I liked as well as memories from places I'd been) and then just add to it. After a while of nothing jumping out at me, I decided to start from scratch. Since I have several olive green jackets, and several denim jackets, I decided to go with a khaki one. I found this Sonoma Twill Utility Jacket at Kohl's and knew it would be perfect! And it did have a little bit of detailing above the pocket and cuffs which was a bonus.
So let me start taking you through the patches I have sewn on so far. On my left arm, I have the Chicago flag as a memory of my 40th birthday trip there (gift shop on Michigan Avenue). That trip aside, I go to Chicago at least twice a year and just love that city! The three white stripes represent the North, West, and South sides. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bottom blue stripe represents the South Branch of the river and the canal. The four six-pointed red stars represent major historical events: Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933–34.
On my right arm, I firmly believe in showing respect for our country so I have an American flag. And, a peacock of course (purchased at Joann Fabrics). This is probably the best view too, of the Girl Scout 75th Anniversary circle on my bottom right. Yes, I pulled out my Girl Scout sash so that I could enjoy the patches again! Their 75th Anniversary was in 1986-1987 so that would have put me in about 4th grade. I plan to add more of my Girl Scout patches, and I should also note that Richard is doing Boy Scouts for the first time this year! I think a lot of my inspiration to finally get going on this project was getting his uniform shirt and now sewing things on as he earns them. I couldn't look closely at the huge section of patches at the scout store when we went, but I am excited to go back someday and look forward to this journey for Richard! I have such fond memories of Girl Scouts!
Above the right upper pocket, there is a navy circle with a rose that says "Live the life you love". I just really liked the look and saying of that one. On the lower left pocket, a souvenir from Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek which we visit several times a year. I happen to get the patch while chaperoning Richard's Kindergarten field trip back in June. On the upper pocket, there is a Waterloo Junior Ranger circle and a few butterflies. I will explain Waterloo in a bit, and the butterflies (from Joann Fabrics) are just to add some feminine details.
On the back is a monarch butterfly (from Walmart) for fun. The Sinner! patch I bought at the Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween show in Chelsea, which my friends Jennie and Joe put on. The booth I bought it from was there promoting Theatre Bizarre in Detroit which is a huge multi-weekend show in October for Halloween at the Masonic Temple. While I have not been to Theatre Bizarre, I have been to the Masonic Temple and it is a gorgeous building! The patch will not only remind me of the special time in Chelsea that time each year as Halloween kicks off, but it is also a nod to my Catholic upbringing where everything was so focused on "sins". The Tawas Point Lighthouse is from our week long vacation near there in June. Such fun memories from that trip! The huge Michigan's Living Resources patch ties back to Waterloo Recreation Area (which is right up the road from us), more specifically the Eddy Discovery Center. With Richard in scouts, we are now looking at different activities to fulfill his requirements. I am really thankful this has giving us new things to do as a family! A few weeks ago, we set out to explore/hike from Eddy's. While visiting the little gift shop, I was excited to see a board of patches! It was tough to choose just one, but I figured it would be a good plan to look forward to getting one every time we visited (as I figured we'd be back). When I was telling the gal about my patch jacket project, she pulled out the Waterloo Junior Ranger patch I referenced earlier as a freebie! Later that night, I started researching the Living Resources Patches. The DNR started issuing them in 1975 as a way to raise awareness and funds for work on threatened and endangered species and nongame animals. Over the years, patches have depicted a variety of species and one system (wetlands) as important to Michigan's natural heritage. The gift shop has the most recent ones, but I thought it would be fun to take a look on eBay..... some of the vintage ones go for big bucks! So yeah, my Saturday nights might consist of researching DNR patches - I am a complete nerd and proud of it!
If you're still with me at this point... thanks! As you can tell, this project is very fun for me. Not just the "making" but also the "researching". I can't wait to keep adding to this jacket! I will say I can only manage to sew a few patches on at a time because it is hard on the hands (I don't have a sewing machine nor do I have the desire to learn how to use one). I am now thinking back to all the places we have been over the past few years where I could have gotten a patch. But I know they are places we will visit again. My poor family will now be subject to Mom always scouring the gift shops for patches! I will still seek out fun/pretty ones too...... have you heard of the adult merit badges (or demerit badges)? They are pretty funny. I wonder how "full" my jacket will get..... some of the ones I have seen are completely covered! If you want to do a patch jacket search for inspiration, I would suggest Pinterest or Polyvore.