Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery

April 6, 2016By Angela WolfEmbroidery, Tips & Tricks, Tutorial 12 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

An easy way to restyle jeans is to add a touch of embroidery. Free motion embroidery, also referred to as thread painting is so easy and you don’t even need an embroidery machine for this technique. Instead we are going to use free motion quilting techniques.

Materials:

  • Jeans
  • Medium Weight Tear-away Stabilizer
  • Any type of thread (all-purpose, rayon, embroidery, silk, cotton)
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Fabric marking pen or chalk
  • ‘Open Toe’ Quilting Foot

Free Motion Embroidery - Materials

Step 1: Layout the Design

  1. Try on the jeans and determine where you want the embellishment to go (Fig. 1).
    • Don’t place the embroidery..
      • Too close to the zipper
      • On top of thick seams
      • Over thick pockets
      • On top of metal rivets
      • Too far down the leg (remember you need to be able to get to the stitching area)
    • Good places for the embroidery:
      • Above the hemline
      • Along the back yoke (avoiding the center back seam)
      • Front hip
      • Waistband
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery
Fig. 1 – Choose some Jeans
  1. Choose a hoop size that can easily fit into the jean pant leg and large enough for the design you have in mind (Fig. 2).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Hoop your design
Fig. 2 – Choose a hoop
  1. Using tailor’s chalk, mark the placement for the design (Fig. 3).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Mark your position
Fig. 3 – Mark your position
  1. Draw a design with a fabric pen (Fig. 4).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Draw a design
Fig. 4 – Draw a design

Step 2: Hooping the Jeans

  1. Slide the stabilizer into the jean’s leg behind the design area (Fig. 5). My design is close to the front pocket, so I will pull the pocket lining out of the hooping area.
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Add stabilizer
Fig. 5 – Add stabilizer
  1. Align the smaller inside hoop on the outside of the jean leg with the larger hoop and stabilizer inside the jeans leg (Fig. 6).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Align Hoop
Fig. 6 – Align Hoop
  1. Push the hoop closed, encasing the jean fabric and stabilizer, and tighten the screw on the hoop (Fig. 7).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Embellish Jeans with Free Motion Embroider
Fig. 7 – Securing the hoop

Step 3: Free Motion Embroidery

  1. Set the sewing machine up for free motion quilting by dropping the feed dogs on your machine, and sliding the hoop under the presser foot, making sure to keep the back of the jean leg out of the way.  We only want the fabric in the hoop under the needle on the machine (Fig.8).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Machine Set-up
Fig. 8 – Machine set-up
  1. Start in the middle of the design and fill in the design with thread (Fig. 9).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Color with thread
Fig. 9 – Begin to color with thread
  1. Here I have outlined the design first. Then fill in the petals by moving the machine back and forth with thread (Fig. 10).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Fill in petals
Fig. 10 – Fill in the petals
  1. This is your design, so don’t worry about perfection, just have fun (Fig. 11).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Have fun
Fig. 11 – Have fun
  1. Continue to change colors of thread and paint away (Fig. 12).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Change colors
Fig. 12 – Continue to change colors
  1. When you are all finished designing, remove the hoop and tear-a-way the stabilizer (Fig. 13).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Remove hoop and stabilizer
Fig. 13 – Remove hoop and stabilizer
  1. You can see here how my design falls just under the front pocket, perfect (Fig. 14).
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Check position
Fig. 14
  1. Brush off the chalk marks and your new embellished jeans are ready to go!
Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Clean chalk marks
Fig. 15 – Clean of chalk marks

Final Product

Embellishing Jeans with Free Motion Embroidery - Enjoy your new Jeans!
Fig. 16 – Final Product

Cheers,

angelas-sig
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12 Comments

  • Excelente idea..!!!!
    Para que la imaginación y creatividad personal. pueda plasmar lindos diseños originales…
    Muchas gracias por compartir.

  • I am so excited about the website. I have 2 brother embroidery machines and love all the tips and education.

  • i intend to start an Embroidery Company down here In Mochudi ,Botswana.I think i can trust Brother because they have the kind of High Tech EMBROIDERY Machines.I have grown up in a family where My Mom was a designer and She is Still a designer up to Now..Soo all the years she is been in this Industry she has struggled to Embroid School uniforms More especially.She had to travel to the Gaborone City which is the main City OF our Country,and this on its own was time consuming.So i have been going through the Website for quiet sometimes now.And i have good tips and Ideas on how i can Best Run the Company.I will be watching this space always.SO I WAS WONDERING HOW BEST I CAN BE ABLE TO PURCHASE AT-LEAST 1 OR 2 HIGH TECH HEAVY DUTY EMBROIDERY MACHINE.Thank you FOR THE tips

    • Love this free hand, I have a small sewing machine I intend on giving to my Grandaughter (very soon) and she would love doing this on her own!! She is 13 and very very busy but smart.. loves to embroider and sew.

  • I love doing free motion embroidery, I have been doing it for over 30 years. My technique has changed over the years. The hoop method is the best choice for pictures, but for adding names on towels I love using “freezer paper”. I draw/write the words on the non shiny side, then iron it on to the front. I iron two pieces (one on top of the next) to the back. It stays stiff while sewing, easy on hands, easy to remove.

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