Edit: See my Deathrock vest build blog here
Goth Confession: I am terrible at DIY. My whole goth life I've mostly admired DIY aesthetic from a distance, I tried my hand at it here and there and was never able to create something I liked. After a while I had a son and my time became incredibly limited and I'd all but given up on learning to sew or create. Recently I decided, to hell with it, I'm going to learn to DIY clothing.
I decided rather than build something from scratch, I'd start with some modification. I started with a pair of pants (you will see that bellow) and then began work on a deathrock jacket. So I'm going to walk you through my process and hopefully give some helpful tips, from a beginners perspective.
Whatever you do, be sure to make your next project your own. An important part of DIY is the ability to represent your own personal interests and unique style rather than buying something the looks just like everyone else, or completely coping someone else..
So let's start with the jacket, here is the only "before" photo I have of it. It's a Tripp Jacket which I modified slightly (as you will see) by cutting off all of the chains.
So after modifying the jacket, I took several months (like I said, beginner) to sew patches onto it. I had to hand sew them because I'm still learning how to use a sewing machine, but if you don't have the time, you can do what I did to finish the last few, and bring it to your local tailor. Here are some photos of the patches. If you are hand sewing your patches, I recommend using a whip stitch rather than a running stitch, because it will help keep the edges of the patch from fraying.
The next step, for me, was to create a spiderweb sleeve. I bought some tights off amazon, then just used scissors to shorten them to the length of my sleeve, pinned the top to the shoulder and just started shredding until I was happy with how it looked. Then I used Liquid Stitch to glue the top to the shoulder and the bottom to the cuff and let it dry overnight. It took me a couple hours to complete and 8 hours to completely dry.
Pro Tip: be careful when cutting to length, after gluing I realized I'd had to stretch the tights a bit to get them to the cuff, which then caused the sleeve to ride up because of the tension. After a few days, however, the elasticity had gone out of the tights.
Here are the before and after photos.
Next up, studs. No self respecting punk or deathrock jacket is complete without some studs or spikes. For this, I ordered from Studs and Spikes, and picked out some 1" studs. This, for me, was the most difficult part. Trying to line up the studs evenly and push the spike through the fabric, on a flimsy surface was difficult. Also you kind of want to get it right the first time, otherwise you're just punching a bunch of holes into your coat. If you have the time, I recommend measuring and marking, and then using a tool to cut the holes, rather than just eyeballing it like I did. Unfortunately I was trying to get it done in time for an event so I just tried my best, they are a bit off kilter but I'm OK with how it looks.
The final step for me was to add some pins (though I'll probably add more patches in the future). The best, most fun way to do this is to get your own pin maker, so you can print out any photos you want and make really unique to you pins. Also extra goth points for being the most DIY possible if you go that route. Alternatively there are several shops and probably local people in your scene you can purchase pins from.
I had some left over pins, so I put a few on the lapel of my velvet blazer ($4 at the thrift store). As you can see my son helped me.
Hopefully I have inspired you to go out and try some DIY on your own. Try hitting up your local thrift stores every weekend, it's a great way to get cheap clothing you can experiment on for modification. I've been able to build full outfits for just a few dollars. Then I can spend a little time experimenting with modifications, and If it doesn't work out how I liked, well it was just a few bucks and I learned something new for next time.
DIY is almost a lost art in certain goth scenes these days, though it certainly does exist. My hope is that I can encourage some of you to give it a try. If someone as shitty at sewing and creating with cloth as I am can do it, at least at a basic level, then you can too! It's a wonderful way to help build out your wardrobe, express yourself creatively, gain some goth cred, and it's fun and rewarding.
If you have additional tips, please leave them in the comments! Or if you liked this blog and would like me to do more let me know.