Kat McTee

Hand Embroidering Denim

Kat McTee
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Duration:   14  mins

Doing hand embroidery on a ready-made garment offers unique challenges. Kat demonstrates tips for the best results, even on hard-to-reach places, such as a back pocket or collar.

Prepping Your Fabric

Kat recommends washing the denim fabric or garment before stitching to be sure no dyes are left over from the manufacturing process. She also recommends testing the colorfastness of your thread if you are sewing on light-colored denim to be sure the thread dye does not bleed onto the fabric.

Denim is typically stable enough that a hoop is only sometimes necessary. Sometimes, you can “stitch in hand,” meaning embroider without a hoop. This becomes necessary when stitching hard-to-hoop places, such as a collar point.


Kat demonstrates several ways of transferring designs onto denim fabric. The peel-and-stick variety of wash-away stabilizers stabilizes the garment for stitching and allows you to draw your design onto the stabilizer rather than the denim. Kat shows several other stabilizer varieties, including cut-away and tear-away varieties, and discusses the features of each and how to use them.

When hand embroidering on a ready-made garment, design placement is critical. Kat discusses what to consider when placing designs on jeans.

You’ll also learn how to remove the back pocket from your jeans and hoop it with a sticky stabilizer for hand embroidery. It’s easy to remove the stabilizer after the design is complete and stitch the pocket back onto your jeans.

Learn several hand embroidery stitches from Kat in the Spot Stitches and French Knots video. Watch the video How to Hand Embroider on T-Shirts for more information on embroidering complex fabric, such as T-shirts.

Hand Embroidering Denim Join National Sewing Circle to continue watching for $9.00 per month / $92.00 per year