Personalize Your Denim with Embroidery!

How to embroider onto denim Friends, I could NOT be more excited to share this post today! We’re talking about how to personalize denim (jackets, shirts, etc.) with embroidery—so get excited! We’ve also got a little free pattern download for you as well, so stayed tuned for that, not to mention a chance to win your own awesome embroidery+sewing machines!!!

We worked with EverSewn on this post. I used the EverSewn Hero to complete these projects. The Hero is a combination sewing and embroidery machine (it can do both!), so if you are interested in embroidery and/or in the market for a sewing machine, I would totally recommend this one. It’s got a number of features that I like, which I’ll share more about through this post, but also, ahem, it’s a really CUTE machine. And I don’t know about you, but my sewing machine is pretty much always sitting out in my craft/home office area, so it gets major bonus points for being cute in addition to being useful. 🙂

DIY embroidered denim jacket (via embroidered denim jacket close up
Embroidery giftsI actually completed three projects I’m sharing with you today. I added my name to my denim jacket. I deiced to embroider both my first and middle name (Emma Marie) as I rarely get to use my middle name, but I think it’s pretty cute (thanks, Mom and Dad!). You could also embroider your initials, your IG handle name, or a nickname. The sky’s the limit. 🙂 I also embroidered this fun “The Babe with the Power” design onto the back of a denim shirt. This is a quote from one of my favorite childhood movies (The Labyrinth) as well as a shirt we sell on Oui Fresh.

And the third project is I embroidered a little present for the newest member of the A Beautiful Mess extended family. 🙂 Laura and Todd recently welcomed their baby girl into the world, so I made her a jacket that says “gummerbébé”. I was sort of giving a nod to the fact that Laura is a major Francophile and also loved the book Bringing Up Bébé. I added a few hand-stitched daisies around the text as well.

DIY baby giftsHere’s me making the baby jacket wave. I think I’m hilarious. 🙂

EverSewn Hero embroidery and sewing machineI thought I would just share the basic process with a few little helpful tips I learned. There are also some tips for hand-stitched embroidery. But for all you veteran embroidery queens out there, you can skip ahead to the download if you like. 🙂

-denim clothing
EverSewn Hero machine OR a hoop, needle, and a LOT more time 🙂
-embroidery thread
-temporary fabric adhesive
-embroidery scissors

Let’s do this.

DIY embroidery suppliesThere are a number of different kinds of stabilizers. Above you can see the kind I used. If you are embroidering on to denim or another sturdy fabric, then I like tear away stabilizers, and you can even consider using two layers as you work. If you are working on something more delicate, like a lace design or something of that nature, you might consider using a wash away stabilizer.

Also, this temporary fabric adhesive is really useful and sort of amazing. I kept thinking of other ways to use it while I was working on this project, and I came up with mostly Halloween costume ideas… so, not very helpful ideas for May. I’ll just tuck those away onto my mental Pinterest board for now I guess. 🙂

Hoop stabilizerCut a piece or two of the stabilizer and hoop it.

Use temporary fabric adhesive to hold fabric in placeSpray the stabilizer with the fabric adhesive, and then stick the denim jacket (or other item) to the stabilizer. This is going to hold your clothing item in place while the machine (or you, in the case of hand stitching) embroider. You want to make sure your denim item is lined up within the hoop so that your design will be added in the right place. The Hero machine comes with a guide you can use, also the hoop has little indicators on it that help you line up the item so it’s straight and centered as needed.

Don’t be afraid to peel the item off the stabilizer and try again until you get the placement exactly right. Taking the time at this step to ensure you’ve got your denim exactly where it needs to be is important. And in case you’re curious, the temporary fabric adhesive peels right off but IS strong enough to hold large denim items in place. It doesn’t leave hardly any residue either (nothing you can see, just a little sticky until you wash the item). Amazing, right!? How do they make this stuff?

Choose design text or usb designsNow carefully click the hoop, with the item stuck in place, into the machine. (You should already have your bobbin with thread in place before you do this. I don’t go over threading in this tutorial as it’s all easily found in the manual.)

Make sure any excess fabric, so for the jacket in the photo above—the sleeve and bottom half of the jacket, is placed around the machine so it can easily move the hoop slightly as it embroiders. You don’t want the machine to get caught because you accidentally tucked the sleeve under the machine or something.

Then use the screen to choose what design you want. There are designs the machine comes with (left option), text (middle option), or you can add your own design from USB (right option). If you add your own design from a USB, you will need to make sure it is formatted so the machine can read it. EverSewn has software that will do this for you on their website, but right now it is only for PC users. So you may need to get a friend to help you with this part! 

Choose textThis was the jacket I added my first and middle name to, so I chose text and then spelled out the letters I wanted.

You can resize the letters (or design) some within the machine. So if you are just starting to use this, I would recommend embroidering your text or design onto a scrap piece of denim first just so you can be sure you are happy with the size before adding it your garment.

How to add your name to a denim jacketI call this part ‘machine magic’ because once you have everything set up and your design picked, you just let the machine stitch it for you. It’s amazing! It kind of reminded me of those pianos that play music and the keys even press down but no one is actually playing them—you know? It’s crazy!

Trim up embroidery designOnce the design is complete, just snip away any excess threads.

Remove tear away stabilizerAnd then tear (or wash) away the extra stabilizer. Easy!

Hand stitched elementsIf you are hand stitching an element (like my little daisy designs above), you can follow many of the same steps. Just hoop your stabilizer and spray with fabric adhesive to stick your clothing item in place, then stitch away. If you’re clothing item can be hooped itself, then you can do that, but denim and especially denim jackets don’t work well this way because the fabric is too thick and they have elements like collars and sleeves that can make it difficult.

The Babe with the Power embroidery pattern The Babe with the Power embroidery design downloadI sort of want to put this design on everything now. So if the next time you see me I’m wearing a jacket, jeans, and this shirt and they all say “The Babe with the Power,” I’m sorry in advance. This could also work on a baby jacket if you just resize the design in the machine. 🙂

Click to download the Babe with the Power file and worksheet here. You may need to make the design smaller in order to fit it through the hoops, here is a second embroidery file and here and here are the split design worksheets.

DIY personalized embroidered denim jacket (via Red heart patchesHere’s what is on the back of my jacket in case you are curious. Claire gave me that big patch for my birthday so I used red embroidery thread for my name on the front to match the red patches on the back. Matchy matchy.

How to embroider onto denimIn summary: embroider your name and maybe also this babe design on EVERYTHING. You probably won’t regret it. Ha. But seriously, thanks for letting me share, and if you do use this embroidery design on something, let us know! Tag it with #ABMcrafty xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Elise Abigail Photography and Emma Chapman. Embroidery design by: Mara Dawn. Hot Tub Club patch can be found at 

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