It’s hard to tell if the boom of embroidered appliqués/patches is just passing trend or here to stay, but the concept has certainly allowed an entire generation of like-minded designers and fashionistas to make name for themselves. From the streets of Shoreditch to the runways of the four fashion capitals, embroidered appliqués are incontestably having the ”moment of honour” in the fashion world currently.
So, when Alessandro Michele and the iconic fashion house Gucci have integrated embroidered motifs in recent seasons—most prominently in an outstanding collection that has produced what could be the jacket of the year, I couldn’t stay behind. Do you have a better source of inspiration?! Moreover, given the influx of fast-fashion, we all look out for new ways to wear our existing wardrobe. This embroidered appliqué trend by Gucci has paved way for me to upcycle a few pieces from my wardrobe and re-energized this once-stagnant pale pink workwear shirt.
Embracing upcycle, and restyling my wardrobe with embroidered appliqué, just think, with the money I will save, I can travel to a few new places….
Here’s all that you need:
Any old outfit that you almost decided not to wear again (I used an old pale pink shirt)
Some embroidered appliqué/patches: I bought mine online here
Thread (keep two to three colors handy, preferably white and black )
A strong needle (but not too thick)
A thimble (optional though, I didn’t need to but if you are using a thick fabric e.g. Denim, you must use one to avoid getting the blister on your thumb, no fun!!)
Top tip: It’s well worth buying more patches than you think you’ll need unless you are too sure about the design you have in mind. Some won’t look the way you expected, also sizes can vary and most importantly, you really never know how it looks until you see them in person. Don’t worry, any leftovers can always become future DIYs!
Some of these appliqués can be directly iron-on your garments but they might not last as long as the ones sewn. So, I recommend you use a thread and needle. If your sewing skill is next to zero, you can take it a local tailor or someone who does clothing alteration jobs. It wouldn’t cost you more than a cuppa at Starbucks.
But if you are like me, take the matter in your own hand and start sewing. It took me less than 10 minutes, if you follow my Instagram stories, you have seen me sewing and showing you live there. First, place the patch on the garment where you want it to go and attach with pins to keep the patch stable.
Top tip: I wore the shirt and then held the appliqués in different places to decide where it looks better.
Take a photo with your phone so that you are sure about positions of the appliqués. Now, remove the pins, peel off the iron-on stickers from the back of the patches in order to sew smoothly and then start sewing.
Next, do a basic running stitch around the edge of the patch. Here is a tutorial on how to do it.
If your garment and appliqué are thick you may need to pull the needle all the way through the back of the garment and then pull it back through the front instead of the fluid motion (it will still be the same stitch).
Once you are done, you’ll have your own bespoke piece of ensemble art.
Don it and strike a pose (rain or shine)!
I have paired my upcycled pale pink shirt with red rose embroidered appliqué with a red pencil skirt for a day out in summer, and plan to style it with a grey A-line skirt for workwear come any season.
A 8 year old shirt given a whole new look and life!
Now I can’t wait to get a few more patches in different designs and give some unworn items in my wardrobe a makeover…taking them from function to fashion.