Embroider a Fashionable You

Embroidery is everywhere! Jeans, blouses, bags, even shoes – embroidered embellishment is blooming on all elements of apparel and accessories. Traditionally, embroidery was limited to expensive items created expressly for special occasions.  Luckily, the introduction of home embroidery machines make it possible for home sewists to make their own beautiful creations suitable for any lifestyle. Creating fashion embroidery is a wonderful way to enjoy your embroidery machine.  Success at embroidering fashion lies in understanding design flow, contrast and color, and optimum stabilization.

True fashion embroidery is more than simply placing a design onto a garment or accessory.  Consideration should be given to the scale of the design in relation to the wearer and area to be embroidered. Ideally, the embroidery should have a natural look, as though it was grown on or woven into the garment, rather than simply placed at random.  Use printed templates or embroidery software to audition your designs and create a pleasing effect.

Color and contrast are equally important elements as design placement. Although subtle differences between thread colors are beautiful, they may not allow individual elements to show in the overall design.  Often a slightly bolder color choice with a bit more contrast will provide a more pleasing effect.  Similarly, the color of the fabric background, as well as its relative lightness or darkness, needs to be considered. Dark colors do not show well on a dark background, nor light colors on a light background. Be careful to use enough contrast to ensure your designs will show.

Finally, proper stabilization is needed to support your embroidery and keep it looking its best. Using too little stabilizer can result in puckering and other fabric distortion, as well as cause design outlines to stitch incorrectly.  Yet stabilizer should not interfere with the wearability of your garments.  Using two layers of lightweight cutaway stabilizer, for instance, gives excellent support and is softer and easier to trim attractively than one heavy layer.  Be sure to match the amount of stabilizer support with the density of the designs you are stitching.

Embroidery is not only fashionable, it is a wonderfully creative way to have sewing fun! There is an amazing wealth of designs available and an unlimited array of threads to choose from. With a little attention to preparation you can successfully stitch your own fabulous creations.  

–Katrina Walker –


About the author: Katrina Walker is a regular contributor to Creative Machine Embroidery and hosts two online embroidery classes for BurdaStyle Academy – Fashion Embroidery with Katrina Walker, and Embroidery Essentials: Fabric Focus. Join Katrina at Expo! Register for her classes now!