If you are looking for a quick and simple weekend or after work craft project, this easy hand embroidery DIY is everything. All you need is a steady hand, some patience, and a good pair of denim cut-offs. Pour the wine, get your supplies together and get ready to give your favorite denim a little makeover.

Hand Embroidery DIY Materials:

Embroidery thread
Sewing needle
Pencil or Fabric Chalk
Denim jacket, jeans, or shorts

Skill Level: Beginner

hand embroidery

Step One: Review Your Hand Embroidery Stitches

You’re going to need to review some different types of stitches to choose which one will be best for your design. I decided to do lettering and I learned that the best stitch for doing that was the backstitch. It is a really simple stitch to learn but you can choose whichever one strikes your fancy. If you haven’t done embroidery since your preschool days, this hand embroidery video is a great refresher.

hand embroidery

Step Two: Choose a Design

Start out by choosing a design. What I love about this medium, is that it can be a quick and simple project that you can work on between other projects or you can choose something more complicated if you’re in it for the long haul. Since this was one of my first times doing hand embroidery, I went with something simple that I knew wouldn’t take more than on hour. When you have something you love, take your pencil and draw it out lightly right on the denim.

hand embroidery

Step Three: Start Your First Stitch

Cut a long piece of embroidery thread (I did two feet) and tie a double knot at the end. Start your first stitch through the opposite side of the fabric so that the tail is on the inside. You can make the first stitch as big as you’d like but keep in mind, the smaller the stitch the stronger it will be. Start the second stitch by coming right through the middle of the first stitch. Continue this method until you finish your design.

hand embroidery

hand embroidery backstitch

Step Four: Finish Your Hand Embroidery Design

Finish it off with two or three knots on the inside of the fabric. Voila – you now have a “new” pair of cut-offs. Sidebar: I bought these shorts at Goodwill (without trying them on, I might add) over a month ago and I had been meaning to do something cool with them. They really were more of a Bermuda style short, so I just cut them a little shorter and they turned out perfect which for anyone who has ever tried to DIY their own cut-offs – you know what an amazing feat this is. It just goes to show that you can take chances and sometimes they work out.

vintage calvin klein cutoffs