Hand-Embroidering a Jean Jacket with Video Tutorial
Updated: Feb 23
This week, I'm sharing how I took this Gap Kid's jean jacket from Goodwill and made it extra special for my daughter, Sara. I love a good hand-embroidery project! We don't get much downtime but when we do, I love to be able to put a few more stitches in a new project and see it all come together in the end.
Sulky 8.5 x 11 Stabilizer (more on this below)
Something to embroider on (jean jackets, jeans, sweatshirts, etc.)
Embroidery Hoop (this Amazon set comes in several sizes for pretty cheap)
Embroidery Floss (if you don't have a craft store nearby, here is a big variety set)
Needles- I love John James needles, but any embroidery/sharp needle will do.
1. Prepare your template: Sulky stabilizer is probably the coolest thing I have ever seen. Not only can you actually load it into your printer and print your template directly on it, but it also sticks to your project AND is water soluble. This is a brand-new discovery for me. I have always printed and traced patterns, so this is a huge time saver!
I purchased this floral initials embroidery template on Etsy (find that here). After downloading, I printed it out on a piece of the Sulky stabilizer. I cut it down to size and that was it! Just a quick note- you're printing on the fabric side of the stabilizer, not the paper side!
2. Prepare your work to embroider: I got this Gap Kid's jean jacket from Goodwill for maybe $4. It's a size bigger for Sara so she can enjoy it longer. I will say, this project took me hours to embroider, so no way I was putting it on something that she would grow out of in 3 weeks.
The first step here is to figure out where you want to embroider your work. I choose the middle/lower back, but get creative! Think pockets, sleeves, jeans, and sweatshirts. You really can go anywhere. Some things to keep in mind:
How thick is the material? You may need a sharper needle. Is it stretchy? If so, consider some iron-on stabilizer on the back. If using a pocket, will you need to gain access to the pocket or is it okay to sew closed?
Once you've selected where your embroidery is going, hoop the area. Next, peel the paper backing off of the Sulky's, revealing the sticky side. Place this inside the hoop. Another idea for this process is to iron a crease in your clothing item to find the center point. This makes it easier to see exactly where the hoop needs to go and where the template should be placed. Since I had the seam lines in the back of Sara's jacket, I could eyeball it pretty easily without ironing.
3. Embroidering your project; This is where you can get creative! In the video, I did a quick tutorial about the stem stitch, satin stitch, stem stitch, and a French knot. I'll be going into more detail about these in a later video! But if you can get the basic hand-embroidery stitches down, you can finish any project! It seems so daunting to hand stitch, but I promise, it's easier than you think! I used all six strands of my embroidery floss for this project, but feel free to experiment.
A note about the back of the embroidery: I'm not a stickler about how the back of a project turns out.
It's never bothered me. It's a mess and I'm ok with it! It's not seen on this jacket, so out of sight, out of mind. Try not to stress about this! I feel that the time it takes to hide all the flaws in the back isn't worth the extra time to me. So tie knots and do your thing.
Finishing your project: Once you've finished with your embroidery design, unhoop your project and carefully cut away any excess stabilizer. Take care not to accidentally cut your clothing...not speaking from experience or anything! Soak your work in some warm water for about 10 minutes to remove the stabilizer. After soaking, I rinse the project. I like to repeat this process twice to make sure I get it all off. After drying, if you feel any leftover residue, it's okay to repeat this process. I throw my work straight into the dryer and out comes the final product!
Tag me in your work on Instagram @southernsewingcompany. I would love to see your creations!