How to Embroider Any Design on Clothing By Hand (Without Messing Up) + Free Download

Learn how to embroider any design on clothing by hand (without messing up) - Including this face design. Click through for the free download and the simple trick that makes embroidery as easy as can be!

I’ve been seeing simple line drawings of faces popping up everywhere recently (here, here, here, etc). And I wanted to give this trend a try on a pair of jean shorts to see how it would look.

I ended up loving how they turned out, so I wanted to share the tutorial. Along with a trick I learned along the way that makes embroidering designs on clothing pretty much fool-proof. Click through to see how to make your own embroidered designs on jeans, etc AND download this face drawing to copy this look to a tee, if you’re into it.

Learn how to embroider any design on clothing by hand (without messing up) - including this face design. #embroidery

Materials Needed

  • embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle (or any needle with a large enough eye for embroidery floss)
  • pair of jeans, t-shirt, etc that you want to embroider on
  • scissors
  • straight pins
  • (optional) face design printable

How to Embroider any Design on Clothing by Hand without messing up

Start by drawing a design onto a very thin piece of paper (tracing paper works great for this). OR print out the downloadable face design here onto thin paper.

Next cut around the design, leaving some space all the way around, but not too much that you’d have a bulky area to have to sew around. Then pin the paper to the clothing that you want to embroider, in the spot that you want the design to go. Again, this is another moment where using tracing paper for the design comes in handy because you can see through it to figure out the placement of the design, in relation to pockets, seams, etc.

Thread a needle with embroidery floss and then double or triple knot the end of a long piece of that floss (make it much longer than you think you’ll need and double the width if you want a bold / thick line like you see in the photos).

Then start on the underside of the piece of clothing you’re using, so the knot won’t be visible, and hand sew the design through the clothing and paper that has your design on it, as shown in the photo.

Once the design is complete, tie a double or tripe knot on the inside of the garment once again to secure the remaining end. Then, you can rip off the paper by hand and it’s ready to wear. Be careful though, you don’t want to aggravate the embroidery floss design or cause it to fray / bunch up in any areas. 

This DIY #embroidered jeans idea would be cool for so many clothing items. Click through for the simple trick that makes embroidery insanely easy + free download for this design.

This DIY embroidered jeans idea would be cool for so many clothing items.

DIY Idea // How to Embroider any Design on Clothing by Hand

Photography Brittni Mehlhoff
Embroidery design and DIYing Cori Maass

Think you’ll give this DIY embroidery project a try? What other designs and or clothing pieces do you think would look cool for this concept?

















19 comments | Click here to reply

I have never seen anything like this! This is so cool!
Bea recently posted..Monday Motivation 053


Glad to hear that Bea. I feel like I’m going to be embroidering ALL of my clothes now. Ha!


This method is genius, I have to try it the next time I want to embroider something!
Michelle recently posted..Inspiration | Comfy Clothes Because You Just Can’t Today… But You Still Have to Leave the House


Thanks Michelle. It’s so, so easy!


I LOVE this!! Such a great idea and a fab design too!

Gemma recently posted..My Grand Canadian Adventure // Three Valley Gap Ghost Town


Thanks Gemma. Cori did an awesome job with the design. I love her drawings.


I used to love embroidery. How machine-washable do you find your stitching? I’ve had various luck and I don’t know if using backing will help my cause.
jesse.anne.o recently posted..This past week: travel, block print and cats


Hi Jesse. Good question. I’d recommend washing in a mesh lingerie / delicates bag if you’re concerned about the stitching coming loose or getting snagged. If you have tight stitches though, this will be less of a concern. Although…better safe than sorry. 🙂 Hope that helps.


I wish I had pictures of my now vintage clothes from the 70s. I embroidered faces peeping out of pockets, used blanket stitch and other variations on patches. I even used a Spirograph to draw designs on shirt pockets.

MG Thomas

This is so cool! I want to try this!
Sophie recently posted..Step Into My Week: High Museum & BBYO


The tutorial was very helpful. My first pair of embroidered jeans hit the world in 1973. If I had known to tracing paper, it might have been easier. But while I wouldn’t have expected anyone to recognize the works of Devendra Banhart or February James (first and third links), I am surprised no one here, including the author, noticed the second was a portrait by Henri Matisse. He was rather famous, and it pains me that he was given no mention other than to be an anonymous contributor to the list of “simple line drawings of faces”. Have we become so out of touch with our culture that we remake only because we think it’s a “trend” and without any knowledge of the art we are recreating? It breaks my heart. Please try to keep our artistic journey alive, young people. We’re losing touch with the knowledge as quickly as posts like these gloss over the history and origins of what is being presented.
Allison Dey Malacaria recently posted..Stitch Cafe Issue 3 September 2017 – digital craft magazine PDF by SweaterDoll

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OMGGG!!! So me and my sister wanted to do this and I was going through Pinterest to get some ideas and to learn how to do it. I came across your page and I loveeeee it, I kid you not you have helped me out❤️❤️❤️❤️ Much love

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Awesome. Glad to hear that Ramisha. 🙂


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