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How Can You Improve Your Projects with Embellishments?

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Who would’ve thought that there were so many ways to embellish your handmade, personalized clothing items?

Many different techniques lend themselves to creating something new and unique, so let’s go and explore this whole world of embellishing that is waiting for you.

But, What Are Embellishments?

To define embellishment, an embellishment is like eye candy for your clothing. A fabric rosette or a line of sequins both would fulfill the embellishment definition.

Other things that you may have seen include piping, lapped seams, and braids, all attached to various pieces of clothing to add that little extra zing to make them unique.

The Wonderful World of Lace

Wonderful World of Lace

Lace, although seemingly dated when used traditionally, can be a fantastic embellishment for your clothing that will update your look. To find the right kind of lace, you’ll need to choose something that is appropriate for the clothing.

Too fine, and you’ll end up looking fussy. Too thin, and you’ll end up looking childish. What you want is a lace like Venise lace. A heavier trim is perfect for this kind of project.

You can wrap lace around the neckline of a cardigan sweater, the cuffs of your sweater sleeves, or even as a simple darning piece near the shoulder.

Be creative and don’t worry too much about the stitching. As long as your thread matches the color of the lace, you’ll find that stitching almost disappears into the lace.

Oh, The Embroidery!

There is so much you can do with embroidery. From buttonholes to entire pieces of clothing, there is no end to embroidery possibilities.

In fact, ancient pieces can be inspiration for learning new techniques and appreciating the way embroidery can be used.

If you like a subtler approach to embroidery on a piece of clothing, consider adding embroidery to an existing buttonhole, or if you’re working on a new piece, making the buttonholes embroidered from the start.

Embroidery embellishments don’t stop there, either. You can add buttons and ruffled toppers to add dimension to embroidery appliques, too.

Beads are another embroidery embellishment that you can work into your design to add simple and beautiful accents to your design.

Vintage Embellishments Give New Life

Surely you’ve seen the antique garments that are out there with the incredible eye to detail and technique with embellishments.


Consider studying these pieces more extensively, like Mary Ray over at Threads Magazine. She has a beautiful story about a blouse that was given to her by someone else. This blouse has a soutache braid attached to the silk in a way that raises the braid’s edge.

She estimates the blouse to be from the 20s, with machine sewn seams and hems. The soutache, however, was a mystery to her, because she could not figure out how the even stitches had been achieved.

Mary experimented with how to do this with her machine and realized that it would take a lot of time and practice to work around the curves. She ended up deciding to do hand stitches instead and learned that a slipstitch was the key for her.

Taking vintage elements like the soutache braid and learning how to do them in more modern times can help you breathe life into embellishments, too.

Taking Apart Embellishments to Learn How to DIY

Have you ever looked at something and wondered how it was done? As a thought, you can take apart an embellishment to see how it is constructed if you’re not sure.

In one such example, Susan Khalje, an instructor that also writes for Threads Magazine, did just that with a floral embellishment.

She claimed that she and her student had never seen that type of embellishment before, so they worked together to take apart the flowers.

They were silk flowers that were scattered on a dupioni silk scarf. She began by taking off the wooden beads, followed by taking apart the machine stitching that was at the center of the flower.

Choosing Your Embellishment

Susan and her students determined that the fabric chosen for the flowers was perfect to give the flower texture and detail in this relatively simple embellishment technique, but she never would have known if she hadn’t taken it apart.

Minimal, Bold, Romantic – Choosing Your Embellishment

If you are of the minimalist persuasion, then you might appreciate a more minimal embellishment like a simple embroidered rose at the collar.

If you are more daring, you might like bold and bright colors along with beads and studs on statement making fabrics.

Sometimes, you may even decide that you’re looking for a more romantic and feminine embellishment accent like roses and lace.

Explore the possibilities and find the embellishment that speaks to you!

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