Upcycle Your Denim Shirt

Upcycle Your Denim Shirt
03/03/2020 Elin
Upcycle your denim shirt with hand embroidery

Are you on the look for a fun diy project and something new for your wardrobe? All at a minimum cost? Then you are in the right place! Because this article will go over how you can upcycle your denim shirt.

How to upcycle your denim shirt, save money and get a unique look

The first step is to look through your wardrobe. Of course you can choose to purchase a new denim shirt to personalise. However, the benefit for both your wallet and the environment of taking something you already have massively outweigh the benefit to buy something new.

Embroider your clothes online courseThanks to upcycling, you can create a unique look with just a thread and needle. Because, even if you may use a pattern that someone else has created, your finished result will never be identical to another one. Each stitch and colour choice will still be yours.

For more in depth information, you may consider to have a look at our full Masterclass: Personalise your clothes with modern hand embroidery.

Source materials to begin to create

Secondly, as soon as you have chosen the garment to upcycle (perhaps in denim), you will source the materials. Depending on the design that you wish to make, you will need different things. But in general here is a list of what you need to consider:

  1. Kind of design (for example one of these small patterns)
  2. Colour (s)
  3. Type of thread (I recommend DMC or Anchor threads to better resist in the washing machine)
  4. Transfer method (here is a full article with different transfer options)

    Petits Champs Paris Embroidery

    Rue des Petits Champs pattern

For the specific project that I will use as an example here I used the following materials:

  1. Rue des Petits Champs mini pattern
  2. Black
  3. DMC
  4. Solvy paper 

Full process to embroider your denim shirt

Thirdly, ones you have your garment and the materials ready, it’s time to start creating. As I chose to use a pattern for my upcycling project, I had to begin by preparing the design.

When you use a solvy paper, you must first transfer the pattern onto it (ps. magic paper works perfectly as well). To transfer, you simply place the solvy paper on top of the pattern and trace the lines. To easier trace, use a lightbox or a window behind the solvy paper.

In the full Youtube tutorial that I did for this project, you can see that I just used our window.

Attach solvy paper to upcycle your denim After the transfer is done, you want to attach the solvy paper onto your clothing. I chose to attach it on the pocket. Thus, to avoid to close the pocket when embroidering, I also had to use a paper blocker.

Thereafter it’s time to stitch!

For the particular pattern that I used, I chose to stitch with only single stranded backstitches. The reason is that the fewer strands the more fine the work will look. Furthermore, the backstitch technique allows you to create more precise line-work, which is just what I needed for the architectural design of Rue des Petits Champs.

Finally, when the full design is stitched, the last step is to rinse off the solvy paper. Both solvy paper and magic paper disappears when you rinse it in medium hot water.

More detailed video tutorial on the full process of embroidering a denim shirt

It can always be a bit tricky to explain with words a process that is highly visual. Therefore, Charles and I have also put together a full video tutorial of how I did.

You can find the video below – truly hope you find this information valuable!


Comment (1)


  1. […] might also enjoy this article that I wrote on upcycling my jeans shirt. Instead of turning an already stitched embroidery into a patch, I embroidered right onto the […]

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