With more awareness about fast fashion and disposable clothing, we’re all looking for sustainable ways to refresh our wardrobe while expressing our individuality! One fantastic way to achieve this is by upcycling old clothing with embroidery. Embroidery breathes new life into old garments, adding a personal touch that makes them uniquely yours.

Here’s a few creative and eco-friendly ideas of how to upcycle clothing with visible mending embroidery.

Before you dive into your upcycling project, you’ll need a few materials:

  • Old clothing: Start with pieces that have stains, holes, or simply lack the excitement they once had. Before you start embroidering, wash and iron your clothing. If there are any stains or holes, consider patching or mending them before you begin. I use standard cotton thread to stitch up any holes using a simple ‘up and down’ or running stitch.
  • Embroidery hoop: Ideal for larger items, this will help keep your fabric taut and make the embroidery process easier. Occasionally, for smaller, more trickier items – socks or holes on elbows – an embroidery hoop may not be necessary.
  • Embroidery threads, needles and sharp scissors.
StephieAnn Visible mending jumper with holes embroidery

Find clothing with holes, stains or in need of sparkle

StephieAnn Visible mending jumper with holes embroidery stitch

Stitch up with standard thread as best as possible

StephieAnn jumper clothing embroidery upcycling visible mending

Use hand embroidery to upcycle clothing with visible mending

StephieAnn jumper with holes embroidery upcycling visible mending

How to DIY Upcycle

You may want to experiment yourself without buying a pattern. 
The most common embroidery stitches for upcycling clothing are backstitch, satin stitch, and French knots. You can experiment with these different stitches to add texture and dimension to your design. My favourite, perfect for beginners stitch is the ‘lazy daisy’ – this easy to learn stitch always looks great.
Here’s a quick step guide on how to stitch the lazy daisy:
How to stitch a lazy daisy StephieAnn

1. Pinch needle through fabric 4mm

StephieAnn How to stitch a lazy daisy

2. Wrap the thread round the needle

StephieAnn How to stitch a lazy daisy embroidery

3. Pull the needle through the loop

StephieAnn How to stitch a lazy daisy hand embroidery

4. Put need down & up to the next petal

StephieAnn How to stitch a lazy daisy hand embroidery flower

5. Complete the flower centers with back stitches in a row.

StephieAnn How to stitch a chain lazy daisy flower hand embroidery

6. Make little back stitches until the flower looks complete – 3 should do it

Occasionally my cashmere bed socks aren’t fully stitched up and have holes. I’ve been using this technique to darn the socks, stitching them up first and embellishing them with the little flowers. These are sold in the StephieAnn shop as seconds.

Visible mending with embroidery upcycle cashmere bed socks StephieAnn
Visible mending embroidery StephieAnn upcycle cashmere bed socks

Embroidery patterns or designs

You can find some here at StephieAnn or create your own! I’ve listed a few of my fav’s below.

Hand and Lock Insect Embroidery Kit StephieAnn

Hand & Lock are experts in embellishment. You may recognize my gold letters from them! They sell intricate embroidery kits. This insect kit would look fantastic on denim jackets. 

Hand & Lock Insects Goldwork Kit £65

Personalised embrodiery kit Hand embroidery Shop Co

Make your upcycled clothing truly unique by adding initials, dates, or meaningful quotes. The more personal your embroidery, the more special the garment becomes. You can find personalised initial templates online via Etsy.

Alphabet Embroidery Template £5.16

Wildflower and company embroidered patches StephieAnn upcycling with embroidery

If you don’t want to get technical, why not simply get a iron or stitch on patch? You can find some really unique and modern designs online. 

Wildflower Company Botanical Patches £4.13

StephieAnn Upcycle embroidery kit

The StephieAnn daisy kit is perfect for adding to necklines or pockets. It’s easy to use and comes with everything you need. 

StephieAnn Daisy Upcycle Kit – £17

Upcycling clothing with embroidery is a creative and sustainable way to refresh your wardrobe while reducing waste. With a little creativity and some basic embroidery skills, you can transform old, tired clothing items into one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect your personality and style.

StephieAnn Embroidery Kits…

Christmas Napkin Embroidery Kit Review 

“Top quality product with everything needed to create a luxury item of hand crafting”