We are in an era of appreciating embellishment - including beadwork, embroidery, applique, and patches - and all its techniques and styles. And embellishment isn’t just for tutus or pillow cases! Especially if hand-applied, these crafts can enhance fashion pieces with intricate detail that is versatile to your style.
We’ve picked out a few examples to inspire you. These pieces make great gifts (including for you!) and cover a range of price points and styles and are all made by small-scale designers. Many artisans offer custom embroidery (even for clothes you already have) that personalizes the gift that much more.
What it is: Beadwork is the art of attaching small beads to one another, or to fabric, with a thread or thin wire. Beads are as old as human beings themselves and remain a timeless way to accent clothing and accessories.
Recommendation: This linen shirt embellished with beadwork celebrates the long tradition of Ukranian embroidery in a modern, versatile design. Designer NadinSEV can also apply the technique to dresses and other custom orders for adults and children.
What it is: Embroidery can hardly be called a “trend” since it originated many thousands of years ago! Embroidery uses thread or yarn to decorate fabric.
Smallwoods Studio’s hand embroidered utility jumper takes impressive skill at classic embroidery technique and applies them in a breezy, fresh, and adorable way to modern casual style. Smallwoods also offers customized embroidery for apparel from facemasks to jean jackets.
For a bit more pop culture flair, here’s an embroidered hat featuring musician Lauryn Hill. The Carter Brand designs a variety of embroidered hats with cultural icons as well as a variety of other embroidered apparel.
If you’re looking for a subtle look, the UK’s Pink Bird Original’s solar celestial shirt that can be customized to your astrological sign!
What it is: Reverse applique is a technique that cuts out designs from a top fabric design (here, the natural dyed linen) to reveal a second fabric coming through from the bottom layer (here, the bright blue linen.
Recommendation: Aaron Sanders Head’s reverse applique shawl offers a subtle design to what could be a summer staple. Sanders Head uses only natural dyes, making this an eco-friendly gift idea. The artist offers other items, mostly decorative and table linens.
What it is: Embroidered patches for fashion have history rooted in identification badges, or patches, common in royal families and military. In addition, patches have been used to mend clothing items to extend their life. Today, patches are used to decorate fashion items to add interest and express our personalities. A great thing about patches is that they make embellishment accessible as DIY projects!
Recommendation: If you have any item already, or even one you have just purchased, that would benefit from a unique accent, you can purchase patches like any one of these from Wildflower and Company’s many designs; these sweet flowers by Meri Meri; or this Hasma bullion applique.
We hope this inspires you to see how the embellishment crafts might suit your style and your gifting this summer!