Living My Leopard Embroidered Dreams (£4.85)

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I this post I’m not giving  precise instructions on how to create the exact same jacket as me, but I am showing you how you can live your dreams and make something totally personalized and cool. Topshop has had a pretty strong embroidery game of late: they have all sorts of nice bombers (£85)and denim jackets (£50), plus you can even go to the Oxford Street shop and get your name sewn on (for £15 a letter). What I had was a bank holiday weekend and an old denim jacket with a stain on the middle of the back, which had rendered it unwearable. Accordingly I set out on my first ever embroidery mission, and I am so, so happy with how it turned out.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Choose an image.

I’m crazy about leopards, so the choice was easy. I just googled leopard face, and found something I liked. I, with great sophistication, used ‘remove background’ on microsoft word so that the face was isolated, and saved the image. I then plugged it in to this website The website basically makes you a sewing pattern and tells you what colours of thread to buy. It’s great because you can choose how many colours you are willing to buy, and the website whittles down to what is most important. I went for 9 colours, plus the pink that I wanted for my lettering, so that I could buy 10 skeins of thread.

2. Buy the thread

Pixel Stitch gives you the exact colour codes that you need. I used this seller on ebay (,ext=ext) to buy 10 skeins (£4.85), and then sent the seller a message with my list of codes. They arrived promptly.

3. Transfer the image

I just drew my leopard free hand onto the jacket in pencil, but I’m sure you could do some tracing if you’re not confident with your own drawing. Whilst I sewed I continued to add more detail to the face with a bi of pen when I needed it. I then typed my name in a nice font, and again just drew it on.

4. Sew sew sew!

The pattern that pixel stitch gives you is for crossstitch, which I am far too impatient for. I just used it to get a vague idea of what colours should go where, and did everything else by eye. Like I said, I’ve never embroidered anything before, so I just approached the face as if I was colouring in or painting. I did small straight stitches close to each other, and that worked for me. Because I did an animal, I used the different colours of thread and the straight stitches to build up a furry effect, but even when I did my name in plain old pink, small straight stitches turned out fine.

I have to admit, whilst I started this project on good Friday, I didn’t finish it until 2 weeks later. I worked pretty intensely on it throughout the bank holiday, and then just did little bits on the train to work or whilst watching tv in the evening. It was a pretty long project, but my desire for a fierce little leopard having my back at all times outweighed my impatience. The process went a little something like this:


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