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How to Work With Embroidered Denim

Hey all!  I'm Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, and I'm super jazzed to be sharing my first project here for Minerva Crafts!  I bet if you ask any number of sewists what their favorite fabrics are, Denim would make the top 5 on most people's list.So, periodically when some new fresh style of denim starts popping up on runways and fabric stores, we all take notice.  I've personally been itching for some time to dive into a project with Embroidered Denim Fabric.  What's not to love?  It's bold, it's super feminine, plus, it's DENIM!  But how do you handle such a lovely fabric as this gold embroidered denim?  Let's answer some of those questions!
How to Work With Embroidered Denim
Pick The Right Style
This embroidered denim has drape AND structure, but often no stretch.  So what styles will work?
· Shirtdresses!: The shirtdress is the best of both worlds.  In it you have nice structured elements like collars and cuffs, but also a skirt that will flow nicely.  Keep in mind that this fabric naturally will fall a bit away from the body, so A-line and circle skirts are a good bet.
· Jackets:  The embroidery adds some weight to this midweight fabric, but fusing all the pieces with interfacing will cut down on some of the drape and add some more structure.  Do this, and you'll be on your way to a fantastic statement jacket!
· Skirts:  Skip the gathered styles which will get too bulky with the embroidery and go for any pleated, wrap, gored, or A-line skirt.
· Yes wide-legged!: It may be tempting to make up a pair of skinny jeans in a fabric like this, but you'll want some stretch for that.  Instead, choose any wide legged style.
In my case, I went for a jumpsuit.  The flared leg style is perfect for the denim, and I love the structure of the bodice and the collar.  Here's how this jumpsuit came into being.
When I was brainstorming my plans for this fabric, I came across this Alice + Olivia jumpsuit and totally fell in love.  I love the lines of it, and I thought the embroidery would make this style just extra.
I've been working on learning how to draft, and for the first time I have a bodice sloper that's pretty reasonable.  To get to the end bodice, I converted the basic bodice darts into princess lines.  Next I added a curved panel like the inspiration jumpsuit.  It looks like a little gumdrop!  I simply drew a curve at the bottom of the bodice that curved down into the waist just past the side panel/center front seam and added seam allowance.
The pants are a pretty heavily modified version of Jalie 2908 Jeans Pattern.  I started by adding an extra inch of fit allowance in the side seams to adjust for the lack of stretch.  Then I added a little bit of extra flare from the knee down on the leg.  I took off the back yoke in favor of darts and raised the waistline to my natural waist line.
I couldn't resist adding ties and a split on the sleeves.
Use the borders!!
This particular embroidered denim has a beautiful border edge on the embroidery running parallel to the selvage.  The borders rarely run all the way to the edge on embroidered fabrics since they  have to be attached to the embroidery machines somewhere.  If you're planning a project with embroidered denim, be sure to budget a little extra fabric for this small loss in width.
One way to use the borders is to set the collar with the top edge along the border.  Align the top edge with the top edge of the scallops and use chalk to add seam allowance around each scallop.  If the center back lands on an awkward place in the scallop repeat, simply add a center back seam to the collar.  You can see on my collar the center scallop is a little smaller with the added center back seam, but the scallop repeat is nice and balanced on either side of the collar.
Other places to use the borders could include hems, or cuffs.  You could even run the bottom of a bodice along a border for a nice defined line.
Let Your Topstitching Shine
It might seem really busy to add more stitching to an already heavily embroidered fabric, but denim is denim, and denim loves topstitching.  Nice clean topstitching lines can actually help break up some of the business of the embroidery and help give your eye a break.  On the undercollar, it adds some shaping to  the collar and some nice texture.
Be sure to pick a topstitching color that compliments the embroidery.
Do You Really Need Pockets?
Everybody loves pockets, but be strategic with them on embroidered denim.  I thought they added an interesting line on the front of this jumpsuit, but that they were too much on the back.  The back was busy enough, but you might think otherwise on your own project.  Play around.  The worst that can happen is that you have a couple pockets you'll have to find another use for (I do!).
So there's my thoughts on working with this fabulous fabric.  Hopefully you have some ideas about how you can use it to its best advantage.
Daydream a little--where will this fabric take you in your own life?
Thanks so much to Minerva for providing this awesome denim for this project!
Go sew something creative today!
Elizabeth Made This

Comments (2)

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Love your jumpsuit Elizabeth and thanks for sharing the details. SMT Love · 7th Feb 2020 02:59pm

Karenr15 said:

Beautiful · 2nd Feb 2019 12:27pm