Designer Embroidered Jeans in 4D Part 2: Choosing a Design

Designer Embroidered Jeans in 4D Part 2: Choosing a Design

Now comes the fun part - choosing the design!

I purchased my first embroidery machine 10 years ago, and as a result, I likely own more embroidery designs than I will ever stitch out in my lifetime! And I am very certain that I will continue to collect designs that capture my interest.

That being said, I think we are living in a golden age of machine embroidery, especially with more and more designers/design companies producing what I think of as 'modular designs'. That is, design collections that contain multiple design components that are made to be combined into larger overall designs. These are just perfect for incorporating into a pair of designer jeans!

For example, here is a vest made from a former pair of jeans that I embroidered (this is the 'Pant Leg Vest' from the book Denim by Design). The designs are from 'Bella Fiori' by Jenny Haskins. I saw this design stitched out on a pair of jeans at a Sew Fun a year and a half ago. I liked it so much I bought the design, went home and created my own version. Now that the the jeans had worn out, they were recycled into another Sew Fun project. Talk about a life cycle!

But I digress. In 4D it is especially fun to combine designs, as the software will remove any overlap in embroidery designs. Plus you can use the Stitch Density tool and the Design Optimizer tools in the 4D Stitch Editor to help tame some of the denser designs.

So what should you consider when choosing a design?

First of all, consider density. Denim weights vary, but even the heaviest denim can tend to pucker around designs if the embroidery is dense. The denser the design, the more stabilizer is required. Consider what type and thickness of stabilizer you are willing to live with on the inside of your jeans.

Here is an example of a very dense design on denim.

These are a pair of my jeans embroidered with the 'Roses for Mary' design by Jenny Haskins. I love this design; I think the roses are incredible (and I am very, very fond of roses!). However these designs are very dense - sometimes I jokingly call these my 'Tin Man' or 'bulletproof' jeans! They are very stiff. I found that using Wet and Stick stabilizer did a good job, but I still had a fair amount of puckering around the design due to the sheer volume of thread being pushed into the fabric (the yarns in the denim fabric get displaced by the embroidery threads thus causing distortion). But I still love them. I just wish I'd used some No Show Fusible Mesh or similar afterward to make the back side a little softer against the skin. The stiffness of the jeans leg combined with the thread and stabilizer makes for a less comfortable jean.

Here are some important things to consider when choosing a design for your designer embroidered jeans:

1. How do I envision my design? A design collection that already has elements that are made to be interchangeable makes creating big designs much easier.

2. What is the scale of my embroidery design? If you need to size up or down more than 20% in order to create the scale you envision, you should probably reconsider using it. Also consider the scale of your body. I am tall, so large, bold designs are in proportion to my larger scaled body, and it is not unusual for me to increase the size of a design. If I were petite, I could still use the same designs, but I would likely decrease the size proportionately. Some of the Anita Goodesign fashion collections (for example) feature the same motifs in different sizes.

3. How dense are the designs? As I mentioned above, the density of the designs affects the amount and density of stabilizer required for a clean, smooth stitchout. In the vest at left, an old pair of jeans were cut up to make the 'Shawl Collar Vest' from the book Denim by Design. I had interfaced the denim with a medium weight fusible interfacing to give the denim more body. These designs - 'Louise' by Angie Spong - are of average to light density so they did not require much more in the way of stabilizer to stitch out without fabric distortion.

For my new pair of jeans, I've decided I'm going to use designs from the 'Fashion Roses' design collection by Anita Goodesign. As I said, I'm very partial to roses! They are my other obsession - apart from textiles and fiber arts! Stay tuned next week for the next installment - Design layout!

Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July holiday!


Back to blog