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Embroider on Denim with Success
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Have you noticed how department stores are filled with embroidered jeans, skirts and jackets? You can duplicate this look at a fraction of the cost with your embroidery machine.


It all starts with the right pair of jeans. It’s imperative to concentrate on fit when selecting your denim blank. Splurge on a pair of designer jeans, and you’ll feel like a million bucks! It’s hard to describe the feeling that pulling on perfect-fitting jeans can bring. As we age, it’s all about fit. Often, a little stretch with fullness over the upper thigh and derriere and a contoured waistband is perfect for mature needs. The low rise jean may help fit petite figures with its short crotch length. You may need other features, so prepare yourself for a day of auditioning jeans at the local mall. Once you find the brand that works for you, you’re set.

Color also plays a part in the overall look. Faded, bleached jeans are casual, while dark jeans lend a dressier look to an ensemble. Dark jeans make the wearer appear thinner than she actually is, plus the embroidery has a more powerful impact on the dark denim. So select color carefully.




A successfully designed embroidered denim outfit makes you look great! It’s all about focus – and that’s what embroidery does. It draws focus to you, to your figure and to specific areas on the garment. So make it work to your advantage. Use the embroidery to fool the eye –use vertical streams of embroidery to lengthen the figure. Add a horizontal focus at the hemline to balance wide hips.

Be careful about pocket embroidery – almost all figures can wear embroidered pockets (yes, even back pockets!) if careful attention is spent on the size of the design. Larger derrieres should embroider on one pocket, not both, to minimize the wearer’s girth.

Front pocket embroidery is trendy and interesting. Place it just under or above the curve of the pocket. Make sure it doesn’t ‘point’ to the crotch and don’t let it span across the side seam – that too can widen the figure.

All embroidery should be auditioned on the garment with templates. Don’t take a stitch until you’ve printed a template of the design, put the garment on and stood in front of a mirror. Use this method to work on the layout before you start to rip open any seams and you’ll be so satisfied with your finished project.




Lay your spools of thread on the denim and critique the mix. Make sure the embroidery will ‘pop’. You want your efforts to show, so use color and value to showcase your talents. Contrast is the key to success for embroidering on denim. If you’re working with a soft, faded blue, select thread that is dark or at least fully saturated with color. Darker denim can sport lighter shades of thread and still provide a highly contrasting illusion. Satin stitched outlines are more visible than single-run outlines on all denim so select designs with that feature.


I like to use polymesh cut-away on all my denim. I hoop the polymesh, spray it with temporary adhesive and press the garment onto the hooped stabilizer. I add pins for added security. After sliding the hoop onto the machine, I slip a piece of tear-away under the design area. I’ve used this combination on regular denim and stretch denim for satisfying results.


Use a large embroidery needle , 90/14, for most denim projects. Since you’ll be using embroidery thread, you’ll need an eye that can accommodate the thread.

Grab an old pair of jeans and start playing! Then move on to your favorite designer jeans – you’ll love wearing them!

The Denim Fashion Guide includes 30 fantastic embroidery designs from Eileen Roche's personal collection and Designer Denim, her step-by-step guide to embroider on denim. Buy Now!

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Meet The Author: Eileen Roche
Eileen is the editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery and a regular contributor to freeEmbroiderystuff.com. Editor Eileen Roche shares her wealth of embroidery and sewing experience in this project based magazine. Her talent, creativity and enthusiasm distinguish her from others in the industry and are the driving force behind the magazine’s success.

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