• Gather inspiration.
  • Select your item.
  • Select your design.
  • Create!


Gathering inspiration can be as simple as looking back to the skills of those who came before us. High-end fashion designer has recently taken a look at the lovely thread work done in the past and re-imagined it for today’s look. Today you can take these lovely embroidery designs from the catwalk to your own closet.

We all love the detailed look of hand or machine embroidery on decorative items or home goods. With this new interest in embroidery it is now more than acceptable to interweave your delicate creations into existing elements on your favorite jeans, your shirts and even an old leather jacket. Why hold back?

Getting Started

Most high-end fashion houses are simply using updated versions of work your grandmother may have done. Think delicate but colorful flowers, twisting vines or leaves arranged in patterns. Fashion houses like Gucci or Valentino stick with bold colors, golden accents and absolutely perfect stitch-work.


A more artistically inspired approach takes traditional elements and adds modern flair. People are hand embroidering into existing clothing logos. Others are using rough and ready leather biker jackets to showcase ultra-feminine flower work. People with a flair for fun are free hand-stitching embroidery designs from today’s culture onto jeans or t-shirts.

Pick Your Canvas

Your selection will help to shape your design. If your tastes lay more towards a formal or a high fashion aesthetic then choose more formal clothing. Try working with a dress with a structured cut and somewhat stiff fabric. Dress shirts or dress pants could be enhanced too. Select a neutral color that will set off gold or silver thread-work.

More playful effects can be used on informal clothing. Pair colorful, playful designs with denim for a cheerful new take on jeans. Put your favorite sayings on a t-shirt. Add flowers to that jacket. Your yoga pants or other sports wear can become a place for creative expression. No item is too small to consider! Even headbands, socks or wrist bands are candidates for creativity.

Select Your Design

After you have your garment you need your design. Select something that you feel will enhance the garment, say something about the wearer or just look cute. If this is a gift, consider the tastes of the recipient.

First, you must decide between hand-stitching and machine embroidery. Fashion design uses both today. Machine work gives your work a certain lush appearance and professional flair. Hand worked embroidery designs can look like timeless Americana keepsakes or like a French lord’s royal brocade.

Consider the colors you will use. Too many colors can detract from some designs, making them look busy. Too few colors are bland. In general, the more abstract designs will have fewer colors. For example, a simple design of abstract swirls on formal wear might be done in dark gray, light gray and metallic silver. Floral designs are a little different from abstract designs. Large floral pieces just pop when worked in many colors. Deep greens, blues and reds are common, metallic thread-work is not.

embroidery textures

Bolder colors will stand out more on a darker background. Try bright primaries on natural whites for a nice primitive look. If your garment is colored, try using color theory to artfully clash. No matter which color and design choices you make, you will turn heads.

It wasn’t that long ago that embroidery was just for household items. Fashion design is always looking to see the past in a new way. A hidden gem as beautiful as embroidery on garments was only a matter of time.

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