Wearable art – Upcycle your clothes with your embroideries

Have you ever made an embroidery that you feel very proud to have finished? But instead of putting it on display, the work quickly gets protected in a drawer to not get “harmed”. Or, perhaps you simply can’t decide how to frame it and store it for a decision later on. why not making it as a wearable art?

It is very similar to purchasing a new fine dress that you almost never wear, because it feels too nice for everyday use. You don’t want it to get worn out.

What if we instead only used our favourite clothes? So that we can feel amazing every day? Not just on special occasions? Or put all our embroidery works on display (even without proper frames) to be able to enjoy them when we feel the most proud?! PLUS for others to enjoy them too?

Charles Henry Patch

Turn your jacket into wearable art

One perhaps provocative way is to take your best and most time consuming embroidery piece and turn it into a patch. When Charles first told me that he wanted to use his wonderful pianist embroidery work to put on his jeans jacket, my instant thought was NO. What a shame for such a precious piece and that it should be in a frame on our wall instead….

But then I thought again… How wrong I was!

Because to put your best work on the back of your jacket will turn your average jacket into a wearable art piece. A jacket that you might not have worn so much because it felt dull, now becomes your new favourite piece and you’ll wear it daily. With pride!


Be proud of your work, not scared to show it.

Furthermore, everyone you pass on the street will be able to enjoy your work as well. It will spark conversations in a way that a piece at home never will after your regular guests have seen it already.

And imagine the disappointment you feel if your friends doesn’t notice your new wall hanging at all… In the street you may not have as many people come up to you and compliment your jacket… However, they don’t have to, because truth is: A look can speak a thousand words!

In addition, the main purpose of upcycling your clothes with your embroidery art isn’t for others pleasure. The ultimate enjoyment must still come from you. Both to wear it as well as to create it!

I wanted to share these reflections, because I know that I’m not alone to sometimes be scared to use my large embroideries for clothes. But to help Charles stitch his pianist onto his jeans jacket was so energizing and fun that it can me the courage to do it more!

Hopefully, by sharing my experience you will feel encouraged to make more bold moves as well. Don’t think of your embroidery as something too precious. Something that can’t be displayed or used… Because what a shame if all our works got stored away in drawers!

Elin Petronella Embroidery on Clothes

Learn to upcycle your whole wardrobe

Perhaps you have never embroidered on your clothes before? Don’t worry! We have a full online course that shows you all kinds of projects so that you can upcycle your whole wardrobe. For example, learn the difference between embroidering on a stretchy vs. non-stretch fabric. Or on knitting vs. jeans.

We also show you how you can turn an embroidery that you have already stitched into an embroidered patch and sew it onto your jacket, pillow, bag or anything you want!

Just click on the image to learn more about the course on Charles and Elin Academy:

Embroider Your Clothes

You 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 pocket of my shirt.

It’s a very efficient way of upcycling, if you don’t want to make a fully covered design. In other words, an embroidery is more suitable to become a patch if most of the fabric is covered. Thus threadpainting designs like the pianist above are perfect to turn into patches!

On the other hand, architectural designs like Rue des petits champs that I stitched on the shirt is better embroidered right on the garment than as a patch.



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