DIY Embroidered Denim

Buffalo Exchange Eugene DIY Embroidered Denim collage.

By Emily S., Buffalo Exchange Eugene

When embroidery became popular in fashion again, I was so excited! The vintage vibe it adds to a pair of shorts, bell bottoms, or a denim jacket has some serious appeal. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to break the bank on this trend. So what do you do when you’re on a budget?

Two words: GET CRAFTY.

Adding a bit of flair to your favorite jeans is super fun, inexpensive, and easy. Pinterest is full of inspiration. Let me show you.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene DIY Embroidered Denim Supplies.

You’ll need:

  1. Scissors
  2. Floss! I am partial to D.C.Pearl Cotton, 5 weight. If you’re unsure, ask the nice people at your local craft and hobby shop. Grab as many colors as you want to use. This project uses 2 different colors.
  3. Embroidery needle
  4. Straight edge
  5. Sharpie
  6. Jeans/Shorts/Jacket of your choosing. A tip: retro/vintage denim with minimal stretch is the best material to work with for embroidery. Spandex, while creating a great fit, can cause your design to warp when it is stretched out or contracts when you’re not wearing them. It is also the easiest to embroider on without a hoop.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene DIY Embroidered Denim pen marks.

Step 1: Draw the design on your shorts! This is where your straight edge comes in handy.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene DIY Embroidered Denim needle and string close up.

Step 2: Thread your needle, pulling the floss all the way through and tying it at the other end (like so). This will create a doubled-up thread and save you some time.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene DIY Embroidered Denim sitch close up.

Step 3: Begin stitching! Working in straight-lined long stitch is the easiest to cover large areas. Begin by inserting your needle in point 1, then pulling your needle through point 2. Pull slowly until you’re comfortable to avoid knots. Repeat this process, staying inside the lines. Tie a knot in the end of your thread when you run out, and keep going. Really, it’s just “paint by number” with thread.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene DIY Embroidered Denim close up.

Step 4: Put on a good movie and keep stitching! Repeat the process with your secondary color.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene employee Emily with finished DIY embroidery project.

And just like that, you’re all finished. Wasn’t that easy? You’re ready to go show them off! Pair them with a great pair of platforms, round sunnies, a breezy top, and you’re good to go.

Buffalo Exchange Eugene employee Emily.