Restyle Jeans by Embellishing with Embroidery

September 30, 2016By Angela WolfEmbroidery, Garment, Tutorial 13 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

A great way to restyle jeans is to embellish with embroidery. In a previous blog post, I demonstrated embellishing jeans with free-motion embroidery, but that technique was limited to a small area.  What if you want to embellish a large section of the leg or the entire leg for that matter? It’s really quite simple!

Mark the Design Placement

Start by using tailors chalk to outline the general area you want the embroidered design.

I have marked an area on the right leg from the thigh to just below the knee. The left leg has an area marked from the knee to just above the hemline.

Open the Pant Leg

Now we need to decide which seam to open up to make room for the embroidery hoop. It can be difficult to replicate topstitching on jeans, so the first thing is to check if you can get the same color thread and test a stitch to see if it looks the same. If the stitch looks great, then you can open either the inseam or outside leg seam. If not, then focus on the seam that does not have the topstitching.  In the photos below, you can see:

  1. The inseam is topstitched with a dark gold colored denim thread.
  2. The outside leg seam has topstitching along the hip area
  3. There is nothing from the hip to the hem.


Next, take a look inside the pant leg to determine how the seams are finished. The inseam appears to be just a basic seam with a serged edge and topstitching.  The outside leg seam is also a basic seam with a serged finished edge and the seam allowances are pressed open. A very easy seam to open and close as there is no topstitching to rip out or re-stitch.

Since my design is going to be on the front of the leg, I am going for the easiest route – the outside leg seam. Use a seam ripper and open the outside leg seam; starting at least 3” below the topstitch on the hip and ending at least 3” from the hem.  It is important to leave room at the top and bottom, so we can easily sew the leg seam back together without interfering with the hem or topstitching along the pocket area.


Hooping the Jean Leg

I am going to use a sticky back medium weight tearaway stabilizer so I don’t have to hoop the jean leg. Instead I can stick the front of the jeans leg onto the stabilizer which allows more flexibility on placing the design. I could even embroider all the way up to the seamline!

Insert stabilizer into the hoop with the shiny, paper side up.  Score the paper as shown and remove.


Position the jean leg onto the hoop.

Choose a design

  1. Choose a design.  I have chosen a built-in design from THE Dream Machine, a long, narrow design to run down the pant leg.
  2. The InnovEye® 2 Technology allows me to scan the fabric in the hoop and the box that I drew for embroidery placement will show up on my screen.
  3. Move my design around for perfect placement.
  4. Adjust the size of the design larger or smaller.
  5. Duplicate the design.
  6. Rotate each design.

This screen shows me exactly what my design will look like on my jeans! No guessing or holding my breath… just choose my colors and start embroidering!


The sewing machine will let you know when the design is finished embroidering.
Remove the hoop and tearaway the stabilizer from the jeans.


Continue to pick away all the stabilizer within the design.


Close up the Leg

Since we choose the easiest seam to open, it will be just as easy to sew it back up. With right sides together, pin the jean leg along the previous seamline.

Set the machine up for sewing using a straight stitch with a 3.0 stitch length (I am using a red thread so you can see it better). Starting about 1” above the open seam, backstitch to secure the threads and stitch the entire seam closed. Continue about 1” past the end of the opening, backstitch to secure the threads and stitch until the entire leg seam is closed.

Press the seam allowances open and turn the jeans leg to the right side. Now, follow all of the steps and embroider the second pant leg.


That’s it!

That’s how easy it is to restyle a pair of jeans with embroidery. In fact, these jeans were in the giveaway bin and now they are so cute I’ll have to keep them for another season! I’d love to see your jeans. Be sure to share your photos with us on social media by tagging us at @BrotherSews and #StitchingSewcial on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Happy Sewing!


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