Wear an Embellishment Project While You Work on It!

When I was at the International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, I ran into Susan Brubaker Knapp, the new host of Quilting Arts TV, and she was wearing the most amazing jacket. It was a simple jean jacket, but the entirety of it exploded with vibrant, colorful embroidery.

Jacket by Susan Brubaker Knapp.

Jacket back

  Embroidery detail

It looked so intricate that I assumed it was something beyond my skill set, but I had to ask how she did it. She just shrugged her shoulders and said that it was an ongoing project that she pulled out and worked on when she had time—on the airplane, in waiting rooms, and so forth. 

But here’s the clincher: She is also using the jacket while this work is in progress.

So to spell this out: She wears the jacket on the plane, and then when she’s flying, she takes it off and works on it. Isn’t that brilliant?!

The jacket is denim, which is a real wardrobe workhorse to begin with, and then the embroidery has so many colors that it goes with everything. It’s definitely a project that you could use enough to be able to wear it and work on it.

Now I love the idea of that and find it downright fascinating that I can use a project at the same time as I am working on it. I certainly couldn’t do that with a garment . Could you see me walking down the street with half a skirt on? Maybe the front, but no back? 

But with an artfully embroidered jacket, no one can really tell that it’s half-done. It just appears artistic. Susan has an abstract pattern that looks like scattered raindrops or rays of sunshine with sewing supplies interspersed, and she lightly traces it on the jacket, so that the tracing isn’t visible to the casual observer. Then she embroiders it as she has the time. The design just keeps slowly expanding until it takes over the jacket.

Now clearly Susan is a very talented artist, but if you choose a simple pattern and repeat and expand, you could accomplish the same thing. You may recall the denim jacket that I created in my patternmaking class a couple of weeks ago. It’s the perfect candidate for just this type of project. I think I will make that my sew-and-go project!

For some great embellishment projects, check out the bead embroidery kit in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have an embroidery project that you are using as you work on it? I would love to know!

Happy stitching!



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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

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