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Tips for embroidered jeans

Tips for embroidering jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns

Have you noticed the embroidered jeans trend that’s being going on in recent years?

I have wanted to try this for so long but have been hesitant to try a lot of the embroidery positioning that I’ve seen. I think to make this feature work you need to be careful not to go overboard. I decided on embroidering one back pocket, the idea being that it’s enough to be a feature and is also a removable part of my jeans so if i get sick of it I can easily remove the pocket and sew a new one on. This is a great option if you are worried about fully committing to embroidering your handmade jeans.

I thought I’d walk you through the process I used and a few tricks I figured out along the way and some suggestions for where to find great embroidery designs!

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

The first thing I did was to find a great embroidering pattern. I knew I wanted a floral arrangement that was traditional but updated and I did a lot of hunting without finding exactly what I was looking for. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Sometimes I really hate having a super specific vision of what i want. Finally I did a call for help on Instagram stories and received so many amazing embroidery designer suggestions. After which I immediately fell in love with Thread Folk! Libby is a super lovely Aussie designer and all of her designs really just fit my personal tastes so perfectly. Her floral spray design was love at first sight and exactly what I was looking for – as an added bonus it’s the perfect size for the Dawn jeans back pocket!

Here are a few other embroidery designers who were recommended to me:


If you have any other great suggestions let me know in the comments!

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Next up I traced the design onto some tissue paper. Ordinarily I would draw the design straight onto the fabric with either pencil or disappearing marker using the window as a light box – but the denim was so thick this wasn’t working at all. If I had been more patient I think a better solution would have been water soluble stabilizer unfortunately my local sewing store didn’t have any, and I didn’t want to wait weeks to receive an online order – i wanted to embroider right now dammit!

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

I placed the tissue paper over the pocket, and inserted them into the embroidery hoop. I then embroidered directly on top of the tissue paper.

I did have to be careful as the tissue paper tore quite easily – you can see a few tears above – but by being careful I was able to get through the entire design without any distress.

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Once I was done I tore away as much tissue paper as I could, and then careful removed the remaining tissue behind stitches with the tweezers that came with my overlocker. This worked really well and was an oddly satisfying task.

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

I used a 6″ (150mm) embroidery hoop and you can see how the pocket just fit it. If I was to do this again I would recommend cutting a larger piece of denim, doing your embroidery, then cutting your back pocket. Just so you have a bit more fabric to secure in the hoop.

After completely removing all tissue I gave the design a good press.

If you were using water soluble stabilizer you would simply need to wet your design and the stabilizer disappears. Magic!

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

After spending half the weekend on this one back pocket – I can’t remember the exact number of hours, but it felt like a whole lazy Saturday – I decided to take an extra step to protect my embroidery and help it last longer.

I am definitely a hands in back pockets kind of person – and though I had done my best to be neat on the wrong side, I was worried about the damage constantly putting my hands in pocket whilst wearing jewellery would do to the back of the design.

I decided to enclose the back of the design with some basic cotton. I cut some scrap fabric and sewed it to the wrong side of the pocket using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Tips for embroidering jeans // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

Finally I attached the pocket on the right leg as per the instructions!

I’ve washed these jeans a few times already and the embroidery still looks brand new.

I hope I’ve convinced you to give embroidering your jeans a go! It’s such a fun way to personalise your handmade Dawn jeans or even an existing pair of jeans that need a freshen up!


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About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Leigh Rollins
Leigh Rollins
5 years ago

The embroidery looks beautiful—well done and very smart to protect the backside of it. Don’t think I would have thought that far ahead.

5 years ago

So pretty! I’ve been saving embroidery ideas on Pinterest. I love how yours turned out and appreciate the tips.

5 years ago

I really like this article and idea. The jeans are looking more pretty after this embroidery idea on your jeans.


[…] handmade clothes and finally decided to take the plunge with this project. I took inspiration from this blog post from Megan herself and also from the book Thread Folk by Libby Moore. I decided to go with some random daisies that […]

3 years ago

Nice article! Thanks for sharing this post with us. I really enjoyed reading your posts. Thanks and keep sharing.

3 years ago

Hey Meg!
Thank you so much for such a nice article .I like it so much and also the embroidery looks so pretty& beautiful as you embroider it without Harm to the fabric.
Keep posting the beautiful Ideas.

4 months ago

this type of work is looking very pretty and creative nice idea thank meg