These days you see embroidery everywhere. From Paris to Peoria embroidered garments, bags and accessories are adding a lush, bohemian vibe to fashion. I love needlework and am thrilled that it is making a comeback! I was so inspired by embroidery in fashion that I wrote a book called Stitched Style that contains embroidery designs as well as embroidered project instructions. However, you don’t have to start from scratch to make a unique embroidered garment, you can use embroidery to personalize mass market garments. All you need is a needle, thread and a little inspiration!
Consider the style of embroidery that you prefer. Do you love lush flowers and details as seen below in garments from Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino?
The embroidery below is beautifully detailed but has a lighter, airier feel.
For a more modern look you might try something more geometric as shown in the shorts and skirt below.
Don’t forget about accessories! A purse is a perfect canvas for embroidery.
When I wrote Stitched Style, I created embroidery designs that incorporated paisleys, florals and stylized, organic shapes. These designs are incredibly versatile and can be used to embellish many different garments and accessories. The book includes instructions for projects such as cell phone cases, jewelry, and belts as well as ideas for embellishing ready-made garments like a denim skirt or plain tank top.
Today I want to share with you one of my favorite projects from Stitched Style, a leaf design embroidered on the wrong side of a jeans pocket. The leaf design itself is very versatile, you could shrink it and embellish the corners of your collar, stitch a row to the bottom of a skirt, created a stitched “brooch” on a cardigan (a ‘la Laverne & Shirley) or you can do as we did and embellish a pair of jeans.
One of the most important parts of the embroidery equation is the thread. In the image above we used a special thread used for embroidery called floss. Embroidery floss is different from thread in that it consists of 6 thin strands of thread twisted together. You can separate the strands to change the look of your stitching. In the above image we used all 6 strands to create the thick stitching line, but you could use three to make a thinner design. Coats and Clark make a 100% cotton floss that comes in a variety of colors and is perfect for this application.
There are some new options for embroidery these days. The Bold Hand Quilting line of thread from Coats and Clark is much heavier than traditional thread and while it was created to use in quilting, it is also great for embroidery. The polyester/cotton blend thread comes in 12 fun colors and its glace finish keeps it from tangling and fraying.
Another option is to try a heavy duty machine thread. Coats and Clark makes jeans thread that is thicker then regular all-purpose machine thread. You can use this thicker thread for hand embroidery. If you use one strand it creates a delicate, thin embroidery line, or you can double the thread to create a thicker line.
Download your free embroidery diagram & instructions here.