Beautiful embroidery designs are everywhere on clothing right now, bringing fresh spring vibes and the promise of warmer days. My sister has an amazing embroidery machine, so we made this diy embroidered jean jacket the other day. This was such a fun sister craft! She’s quite the sewing wizard and has been making custom pieces for years. You can find her and some of her beautiful fiber crafts on instagram @plurabellaties. I couldn’t have done it without her guidance, so check out the pro tips below from her 🙂
DIY Embroidered Jean Jacket Materials
- Levi’s Jean Jacket – The more classic, the better. Wrangler is cool too.
- Awesome Moby Dick Embroidery Patch – The designer behind Urban Threads has so many amazingly inspiring embroidery designs. I picked this one with one of my favorite quotes from Moby Dick, but there are so many other cool, high-quality stitching patterns to choose from and combine!
- Embroidery Thread – Simthread 63 Brother Colors Polyester 120d/2 40 Weight Embroidery Machine Thread for Brother Machine
- Brother Pre-Wound Embroidery Bobbins #90 White PWB350 – It’s a good idea to use the pre-wound bobbins, because the absolute last thing you want is to get halfway through a design and have your bobbin catch!
- Bolt of Unbleached Muslin: Rockland 92 by 76 Count Muslin, 44/45-Inch, Unbleached/Natural – You only need a little, so if you can find this at your local fabric store like Joann’s, go for it.
- Sulky Spray – Temporary spray adhesive
- Stabilizer:Tear Away – Machine Embroidery Stabilizer Backing Medium Weight 1.8oz. Roll of 8 in X 50 Yds – Also available at Joann’s in smaller volume if you only plan on doing one project.
- Embroidery Machine – Brother PE525 Embroidery Machine. My sister has an amazing embroidery machine, the Brother Innovis 950D, which is only available through an authorized dealer. There are some other good machines that are more readily available, though, like the Brother PE525.*
- Embroidery Needle
- Embroidery Foot
* You can also do a similar project with hand embroidery if you don’t have an embroidery machine. It’s not against the rules!
DIY Embroidered Jean Jacket Instructions
Load the design into the embroidery machine by transferring the file from your computer on a thumb drive. Make sure the file is in the proper format and size for your machine. My sister’s machine uses PES files that fit within a 4″ square.
Cut a piece of muslin and a piece of backing about 3-4 inches larger from all sides than your embroidery hoop. This embroidery piece has 3 parts to it, so I made 3 muslin prints. The machine I used can only do pieces that fit within its 4″x4″ embroidery hoop, so the design is split up into 3 parts in order to sew a larger piece. There are other machines that can stitch on larger sized hoops. If you’re in the market for an embroidery machine, I’d recommend springing for one of the larger hoops from the start, because it’s much easier to do large scale pieces. Smaller hoops are easier to manage, though.
Stitch the muslin version of each design first, so you know how it will look before you put it on the jean jacket. Once you start embroidering the denim, you won’t really have room to make mistakes, so it’s better to know ahead of time how the design will sew. Some people don’t do the muslin, and measure out the design, marking from the centerpoint, first. We’ll do the muslin because it helps the design be more precise.
Spray a light coat of sticky spray on the muslin and tearaway backing. Sandwich the two fabrics together. Sticky spray is my sister’s secret master trick to embroidery. She says it’s really the best way to perfectly align the fabric in the hoop. Most people just sandwich the fabric into the hoop with the stabilizer, but the sticky spray keeps the fabric from stretching when you’re hooping it. If you do stretch it, the design will buckle when you unhoop it.
Secure the embroidery hoop over the fabric. On embroidery machines the hoop sits “inside out” to hand embroidery, so it can lay flat on the bottom of the machine. You want the fabric to be firmly situated, but not stretched in the hoop. If it’s too loose the thread will catch, and if it’s too tight it will pucker later.
Make sure to drop the white embroidery bobbin in, and thread the colored embroidery thread through the top of the machine. I used a silvery thread for all of the banners, and jewel rainbow tones for the each progressive piece. Put a fresh embroidery needle in to help keep the thread from catching.
Snap the embroidery hoop into the machine. Drop the embroidery foot to the fabric. Select the design on the machine interface, and start it sewing! Hold the loose end of the thread when it starts. Pause the machine after a few stitches, snip the loose end of the thread flush with the design, and then press the start button again. Keep an eye on it as it sews. It’s pretty much guaranteed the thread will catch as soon as you look away 😉
If you pause the machine soon enough, it’s pretty easy to back the stitches back up to where it left off. My sister recommends backing it up a little further to make sure there are no skipped stitches in the design.
Before removing the stitched muslin from the hoop, outline the inner hoop with a pen. You can use this as a template to help line up the hoop on the jean jacket and properly position each piece of the design.
Take a look at the sewn muslin. If there are any issues with the design, you can fix it in software like Stitch Buddy before sewing the final piece. This embroidery design was beautiful and had no issues with skipped stitches.
Prepare the jean jacket on the hoop the same way – with tear away stabilizer and sticky spray. Don’t stretch the fabric. Start sewing!
Once the first part of the design is done, use the next muslin piece to line the next design up. We lined up the stitches and traced the hoop outline with a disappearing fabric ink pen.
Hoop the following 2 layers this way.
Once all pieces are sewn, flip the jacket over and tear away the stabilizer. Flip it back to the front, and trim away any stray threads between pieces. Here’s the final piece:
We were so excited about how it turned out!
Looking to make one yourself? Save this handy how to for later:
Embroidered Jean Jacket Style
Not feeling up to sewing your own jean jacket? I get it, it took me practically a year to get around to making this one. There are so many beautiful designs you can buy out there right now! These are a few good ones, but if you shop around on Etsy you can find one from a custom artist.