Liberty Fabric Applique Embellished Jeans

Liberty Fabric Applique Embellished Jeans

One day I was idly scrolling through Pinterest and came across these Free people Brand Jeans. 
I love the fun floral applique and the print fabric they used. I liked the distressed raw edge to the denim layer of the flower. It felt really springy and happy to me. When I clicked on the link to get to more images I saw that it was price in the $$$ range.  The jeans were collaboration with another brand and they were handmade. The artisan factor accounted for the price tag.
Well, I'm an artisan, and I decided to make my own. 
I really appreciated the multiple floral references in the original jeans. I headed to my fabric stash and found some Liberty scraps left over from other projects. They would be perfect accent to the applique.
I could have  stitched these up by hand, but I really wanted the multiple textures that could be afforded by using machine embroidery. My previous embroidery machine had a 5x7 design field. It worked for small projects, but it was a little tedious for bigger projects to have to change out the hoop after every motif stitched. With my Baby Lock Altair, I can add multiple motifs to the large 9x14 hoop and stitch more efficiently. 
I had an embroidery file that I purchased years ago. "Raggedy Flowers" By Design by Juju was perfect to give me the flowers I wanted and the raw edge texture for which I was looking.
For this project, I used upcycled denim from my jeans stash as the base fabric with Liberty prints on top. I used a liquid fabric stabilizer which provides weight and stability to the fabric and washes out once the design is complete. It allowed me to hoop the fabric without any added bulk.
After the primary design was stitched I then added a few random contrast prints to the center. A little dab of fabric glue held it in place.
After the designs stitched out, I removed them from the hoop and cut each flower out. I left about a half-inch beyond the design at each layer. I then added random snips in the edges before throwing them all in the wash to remove the stabilizer and to get the desired distressed edges. The quilting cotton frayed with more fuzziness than the cotton lawn.
I recently purchased some new flares at a declining price thrift store for a dollar. I chose to use them as the canvas for this project. I wanted the design to wrap around the outside leg of the jeans. To gave me greater access to the area, I opened the inner leg seam.  I made sure to have coordinating topstitch thread on hand to match the hem when I was done.
It was tedious to rip through the double layer of topstitch thread and serged edge, but it was worth it to give me the access I wanted.  Once opened, I auditioned the placement of the appliques. When I was satisfied, I secured them in place with a small bit of double-sided fusible web. I wanted them to be held in place until I took them to the sewing machine.
At the sewing machine, I secured the applique in place using the zipper foot to get close to the edge. 
After the appliques were sewn, I wanted to add a little more depth to this project. I decided to add some hand embroidery details. I used a heat removable pen to draw an echo of the original applique shapes. 
I then used various embroidery floss to sew a running stitch around each shape.
Once that was complete, I sewed the inside leg scene closed again.
They turned out exactly as I had hoped.
These are fun and springy and I love the depth of texture it adds to a boring pair of jeans. I added more details to my pair than the inspiration piece. Here is the applique on the back pocket. I stitched it in place so the pocket is not functional but I like the interest it brings.
I also added an applique to the opposite front hip.
It goes without saying, but I love the extra interest of the hand embroidery.
I love my one-of-a-kind take on the jeans I admired. I am excited about the prospect of using these techniques on other garments. 
Happy Sewing,


I wish I could sew like that. You did a beautiful job. I love them!!


Excellent tutorial. Well written and easy to understand. I love your jeans and am inspired to make more. I’ve hand appliquéd and stitched patchwork, but it is so tedious and hard to make any money selling them. I’ll try again!!


Love your jeans – very beautiful hand work flowers. One day I will do those – haven’t had time to sew

Irma Orozco

I love flowers! The flower appliqués made the jeans really pop, they look great.

Patricia Walker

As much as I love Free People, I love your version so much more!


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