How-To: Embroidered Denim

September 15, 2017

When it comes to adding personality to an ensemble, there’s nothing that offers as much character and individuality as embroidery. Just ask our Customer Styling Director Christina Frederick. “Embroidery is part of our style DNA here—it inherently infuses a unique, artful, and soulful spirit into any and every piece.”

A natural showcase for embroidery, Frederick notes, is denim—especially in light of the recent resurgence of iconic, classic fits. “In the years when skinnies reigned supreme, jeans were more like leggings than actual blue jeans in the wardrobe,” she says. Now, Frederick observes, we’re celebrating the qualities of the true-blue jean, from heartier fabrics and classic washes, to higher rises and a heightened appreciation for craft. The addition of embroidery is in this spirit.

Before you start stitching your own pair, Frederick recommends asking yourself one important question: Do you want this style to be versatile or to make a statement? “The answer will help determine the color direction, design style, and placement of the embroidery,” says Frederick. For a statement look, she suggests opting for bold, colorful and playful embroidery that pops. For a wear-everywhere pair, consider a more tonal color scheme and subtle placement—think trim around the pocket instead of across the leg.

When it comes to choosing which pair of jeans to jazz up, Frederick is all about the details. “Stitching color, hardware tone, hem details, pockets, and wash are all important. Building upon this foundation—and not clashing with it—is key,” she says.

As for the motif of your embroidery, Frederick suggests using your words. “Words are timeless and less likely to ebb and flow with the trends than a graphic or image ,” she says. “They can also hold personal meaning—like a private joke or memory—that will remain valuable to you always. I think that’s the essence of any unique treasure we hold dear.”

To help ensure your embroidered look is as treasurable as it is on-trend, check out our tips below.

Jeans of your choosing
Hand needle
Measuring tape + pins (optional)
Vanishing fabric marker or chalk pencil

1. Using a measuring tape and pins, mark the area you want to embroider.
2. With a pen, marker or piece of fabric chalk, write or draw your design on the denim.

3. Select your embroidery thread. Cut a piece about 2’ long, and separate the 6 strands into two 3-strand lengths. If you’re choosing to use a thinner thread, thread your needle with two lengths of thread (this will allow you to create a thicker line). Tie a knot in the long tail.
4. Using a basic running stitch, follow the outline of your writing or drawing.

5. Knot the thread on the inside of the jeans to secure it each time you finish off a length of thread.
6. Remove the fabric marker or chalk.
7. Wear with verve!