Long and short stitch creates a rich surface embroidery, used to fill areas of a motif; it’s like ‘painting’ with thread. It is a variety of satin stitch and is great for covering larger areas to create a neat, even result without distorting or puckering the fabric. Split stitch and chain stitch have also been incorporated into this pretty floral bird design which we've to decorate the back of a plain denim shirt.
- Denim shirt or jacket
- Erasable marker pen or pencil
- Embroidery hoop
- Embroidery thread, assorted bright colours
- Crewel needle
- Motif: 18.5cm x 19cm
Embellish a denim shirt
1 Choose a denim shirt or jacket that has a suitable flat area to accommodate the design. Make sure the fabric is stable; stretch denim is not suitable. Also bear in mind that it is easier to embroider a single layer, so if you decide to embroider your design on the yoke of a jacket instead of the back panel, this is usually double thickness so it might be a good idea to cut away the inner layer before you begin.
2 Download and print the motif by clicking the button above and tape it to a light box or a window. Place the shirt on top and trace the design, using a light coloured dressmaker’s chalk pencil. Make sure the design fits well within any seams. Place the fabric in an embroidery hoop. It doesn’t matter if the whole design doesn’t fit inside because as you finish one area, you can remove the garment and reposition it.
3 Choose which area of the motif you wish to start on. It is a good idea to fill in the flower centres first, using satin stitch, then work on the petals. Thread a crewel needle with two strands of embroidery thread. Fill in each petal with long and short stitch, with stitches radiating out from the flower centre.
4 Continue filling in the design, using satin stitch for smaller areas and long and short stitch for larger areas. You may also choose to fill in some areas using rows of split stitch or chain stitch worked close together. Embroider thin stems using stem stitch and thicker stems using chain stitch. Use the picture of the finished embroidery as a guide, or choose your own colour and stitch combinations. When the embroidery is complete, remove the fabric from the hoop and press lightly on the reverse.