Archive for the ‘News & Updates’ Category

Urban Threads Runway Fashions

A chill is full in the air and fashion showcases are going on up and down runways around the world. We’re celebrating fall fashions all this week as part of our Fall Sale, and we thought we’d do a quick roundup of Urban Threads fashions that really have walked the runway, from a number of very talented fashion designers who use machine embroidery as one of their tools of the trade.

These stunning fashion images are courtesy of Jenny Jeshko for the Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend, Tim+Thom for the Red Dress Collection, Alt.Kilt for NY Fashion Week, Ivy Frozen for the Japan Expo 2014 and Scoundrelle’s Keep for the fall Pomme de Sang show.

1146490_917524738277079_7463509129282722046_nJenny Jeshko

10704045_10152430008379331_6494326720639323099_nScoundrelle’s Keep

15149883282_f62829fd29_kAlt Kilt

14937236887_b109b7326c_k Ivy Frozen

10402958_734653543254695_3552120096132717103_nScoundrelle’s Keep

10599337_907737995922420_1121501470123213926_nJenny Jeshko

10696257_10152430005494331_392701432966304297_nScoundrelle’s Keep

15123864255_297b6f4abc_kIvy Frozen


10450444_734658589920857_2858584041458089260_nScoundrelle’s Keep

10665742_911900255506194_6712562818831105523_nJenny Jeshko

From home machines to runway ready, machine embroidery is finding a new place and new audiences all over the world. We love seeing what these superstars of fashion do with Urban Threads designs.

If you want a piece of fall fashion to yourself, craft it up at home with the Fall Fashion Sale, going on now through the weekend. We may not all get a piece of the runway, but we can look like we do!

Fridays At The Office


When our head digitizer Dee needs to get some work done without being bothered, she shuts her cube door. We added this sign one day when she wasn’t looking. It helps that we have really awesome photos to work with and mad photoshop skills.

Want more sneak peeks, office life, and behind the scenes? Follow us on Instagram at urbanthreadsemb

Corvus Cloak – Behind the Scenes

Last Friday, UT artist Dani enthralled us all with her UT Lab Corvus Cloak creation. As promised, this week, she’s back to share the realities of making a project like this, with behind-the-scenes photos and some basic instructions on how she made it. While it’s fun to see the chic finished photos, it’s a good reminder of how much work goes into big projects like these!


In last week’s post, I shared the finished photos and talked a bit about my inspiration when creating the glamorous yet comfy Corvus Cloak. This week I’m here with the less-pretty (but certainly interesting) details of actually making it.


I started with a sketch of the cloak. This sketch is from when it was originally envisioned with only the Ghost Baroque designs. Like most projects, it was modified as the ideas developed. While sketching, I had to keep in mind how I would be physically modifying the pattern I found, and where and how to place embroidery designs on the cloak. First I started with my fabric choices. I wanted to give the cloak some texture within the vast void of all black fabric, so I decided on a heavy linen for the exterior. The cloak’s hood is lined with a faux grizzly fur fabric, and the lining of the rest of the cloak is made of a velvety polyester fabric.


This cloak is based mostly off this Burdastyle pattern, but with some heavy modifications, which I’ll explain as I go along. After purchasing the pattern, I started by bringing the pattern file into Adobe Illustrator to modify it before printing it off. I then cut out the pattern and tetris’d the pieces together on my folded fabric. I also had to consider where I was putting the embroidery during this step so I could leave enough room to hoop the fabric.


Here you can see how I modified the back pieces. (These are the pieces for the lining, without extra room for hooping.) The original pattern ends where those two very faint lines are, and the extra points are my addition. I extended the interior seams of each piece by about 18 inches and shaped the new line to meet up with the original cut line. I also extended the front cape and hood pieces to make the double-breasted closing I wanted.


I then had to pick the colors I was going to use for the embroidery. I originally wanted the cloak to be all black with charcoal or black embroidery, but the bird skull buttons I found were a shiny gold brass, so I ended up rethinking my original color scheme to include a gradual shift to metallic gold thread… except I wasn’t actually sure if I could get a good transition from black to metallic gold. I dug around in our less used thread and found…ta daa! A black thread wrapped in gold! (The second one in from left in the picture.) After a few test sew outs to see if it would even work, I finally decided on the threads I was going to use. (Since many of you have asked, I originally purchased those nifty bird skull buttons from this Etsy store, but at the time of posting the store was not currently open.)


After cutting out the pieces and embroidering the front Briar Rose Buttonholes and the back Ghost Baroque Bird Skull, I stitched the three modified back pieces together so I could start the long and arduous task of embroidering the toile pattern.


I started by printing off lots and lots of Toile Noir Raven templates and lining them up on the fabric using a yardstick and ruler. This tutorial explains how to line up designs in this manner. Instead of using a fabric marker, I just taped the templates on because I was using black fabric, and I wanted to be able to move my designs around to correct for errors in stitching it out so many times.


I used one large piece of medium weight cutaway stabilizer with this. It was very large, and I got stuck to it when trying to adhere it to the fabric. These things happen.


It took me three days and 33 sewouts to do all of the toile pattern on the back. This machine apparently loves me because there were very few thread breaks and I didn’t sew any of the fabric together. It was a Halloween miracle.



After all the embroidery was done, I cut off the excess stabilizer and fabric. I had already sewn together the back lining pieces, so I pinned the finished embroidered back and the lining together at the bottom hem with the wrong sides facing out. I then sewed the bottom hem together, sewing right through the embroidery. I did the back hem in this manner so I could easily hide the edge of the embroidery pattern and so I could get the clean, sharp trails I wanted. I cut off the excess embroidery, flipped the hem right side out, and ironed the trails flat.


Then I started to piece the rest of the cloak together. While the BurdaStyle pattern I used was perfect for my modifications, the instructions were a little trickier to understand. I ended up pinning the entire hood about five times before I figured out how it was meant to go together.


Another problem I ran into was that the hood ended up being really square with the stiffer furry lining I was using. I took the top edges of the hood in by about an inch and rounded them off to make the hood shape smoother.


I hand-sewed the interior of the hood to the interior of the cloak. There was a neck piece from the original pattern that I ended up not using because it didn’t fit with my modifications.


I began finishing the edges of the cloak, but while I was working on it I realized that the bottom hem was billowing out because of how I sewed it together. (Also, you get a great peek here at the state of the studio while I was working on this. Don’t pretend your studio looks any different in the middle of a project…)


My solution to this billowing was to use a large piece of iron-on adhesive on the inside of the outer cloak and the lining. It was tricky to get the giant piece of adhesive in there once I had most of the edges done, but once I had it set and ironed in place, it fixed my billowing hem problem perfectly.


My last steps were to finish the edges and hand sew the snaps and buttons on to the closing. I used snaps on the inside of the double-breasted closing along with the bird skull buttons. And finally, I was done!


So that, ladies and gents, is how I made the Corvus Cloak. Be sure to check out the original post for more gorgeous photos of the finished project. It was just the thing to frolic in the woods on a crisp fall day!

The Corvus Cloak – Wearable Fashion for Everyday Fairytales

Today is another long-awaited addition to our line of Lab projects designed to push the boundaries of embroidery and the imagination of our team. This lab project is a repeat performance of artist Dani, who decided to come back for her favorite season after last year’s amazing Gothic Loli dress and try her hand at another project…

Many of our fashion-based Lab projects focus on the fantastical, but this year Dani decided to make something she could wear practically through the season. Of course, a gal who gallivants around with fabulously purple hair and space tights on a regular basis has a decidedly awesome sense of what “everyday” wearables means. For this year’s autumn project, she took inspiration with a few newly released gothic designs, most notably the new Toile Noir collection.

With her theme of the raven (known as Corvus in Latin) and utilizing the unique interlocking qualities of the Toile Noir series, she created a brocade of embroidery to emblazon the back of the cloak, and made something unique for the season that’s just perfect for exploring the woods on those crisp fall days. 

Today Dani is here to tell us a bit in her own words what inspired this project…

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

I had so much fun making the Gothic Loli Dress last year that I knew I wanted to do another Lab project for this Halloween. While last year’s dress was fun to wear to Halloween parties, the frills and corset made it not so practical on a day-to-day basis. With Minnesotan falls being usually frigid, I thought a cozy cloak would be ideal for this time of year.

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

While I wanted the cloak to be more utilitarian than the Loli Dress, I didn’t want to lose the dark glamour that I’m all about. So, I started with a sketch of the cloak, deciding on a raven theme and taking inspiration from modern neo punk fashion in the dramatic cut of the design.

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

I scoped out this BurdaStyle cape pattern to use as a base for the cloak, thinking of how I could modify the pattern to fit the look I envisioned. I knew I could pretty easily change the hem of the pattern, so I went all out–going for an extreme high-low asymmetrical hem with trailing tails and a double-breasted front.

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

I originally designed this with the Ghost Baroque series in mind, selecting out the bird skull crest and raven designs to go with the raven theme. However, upon seeing the first few sketches of Toile Noir I knew I wanted to incorporate the raven design from that series as well.

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

I found some awesome brass bird skull buttons, and the first thing I thought was “sparkly toile gradient…”

There was a bit of a challenge in getting the gold to transition to black, but with the color stop in the Toile Noir designs and three days of embroidering, I got it to look just fine.

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

Now that this is done I just want to wear it all the time because it is so snuggly and warm!

The Corvus Cloak - Artist Dani is back in this latest project from the UT Lab, where she uses the Toile Noir collection to stitch a brocade of dark loveliness and show how to rock your everyday fairytale fashions in the woods.

If you’re as bold in your fashions as Dani is and in love with this cloak, you’re in luck. Next Friday, Dani joins us again to give am exclusive behind-the-scenes peek at the making of this cloak, so you can see just how it was constructed, and whip yourself up something equally wicked (and cozy) for the season. In the meantime, be sure to grab your Toile Noir collection and try your hand at stitching up everything from one to a magical brocade of designs too!

This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery.
Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.

Urban Threads Costume Contest 2014

The embroidery machines are a-whirrin’, and a chill is in the air. The spooky season is here, and that has to mean it’s time for one of our favorite contests…

The Urban Threads annual Costume Contest!

The contest starts Wednesday, Oct. 1, and ends Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. Central time. Your costume can be from any time (meaning it doesn’t have to be a Halloween costume), but cannot already have been entered in a previous year’s contest.

How do you enter? Just take a photo of your awesome costume that features at least one Urban Threads embroidery design (hand or machine). Costumes may be for people or pets! Then email and either A) attach your photo, or B) send us a link to your photo on flickr (add it to the Urban Embroidery group and tag it utcostume2014). Remember to get your photo entered by the end of Nov. 2!

We’ll choose our 10 favorites as finalists, and post those 10 to be voted on BY YOU after Halloween. UT stitchers will vote to see which lucky costumer wins…


A $50 Urban Threads gift certificate!


Looking to get inspired? Check out the amazing entries from last year…

Every year, you blow us away. I’m sure this year will be no different. Good luck and happy stitching!

Free Halloween Printable – Mummy Kitty


Happy October, everyone! If you’re a fan of today’s Mummy Kitty design, you’ll love this…

oct 068

Our artist Taylor enjoys bringing his little creations to life in paper form, and the little Halloween printable from last year was so popular, we just had to do another one. So now we’ve got a downloadable printable Mummy Kitty for FREE!


That’s right, just click here to grab your free downloadable PDF of your kitty printable doll. It includes one simple page to print your kitty which already includes the instructions. Just remember to click “fit to page” when you print him.

He’s even easier than last year’s little guy to assemble. All you need is a sharp knife, some cardstock, and a glue stick, and you too can have a little undead kitty to cheerfully greet all your coworkers or friends this spooky season. So grab your mummy kitty embroidery design right here, and then grab your FREE printable mummy kitty right here.

Happy haunting, everyone, and happy October from all of us at Urban Threads!

Haunted Soiree Sale – 6 Simple DIYs to Glam Up your Halloween

The leaves are changing and it’s that time of year. You feast on candy corn (wayy to much candy corn), pull out the pumpkins, stitch some costumes, and spook up the house. Well, spooky has never been so chic as the decor and projects you’ll create this season! Haunt your home with a hand-picked collection of embroidery designs on sale for $1.31 in the Haunted Soiree Sale — ravens and pumpkins, skulls and skeletons, frightfully festive greetings, and more. This fall will be a nonstop Halloween party with eerie, elegant embroidery on throw pillows, table linens, wall hangings, and lacy accents.

There are all kinds of fun ways you can use these spooky designs on sale…


Not finding the kind of spooky banner you’re looking for in the store? Make one yourself! You can use the Letter Perfect Alphabet collection in Halloween hues to craft any greeting you like! Stitch it on burlap for a chic rustic look.


Add some dark romance to your decor by stitching the Autumn Votive Wrap all in black. It will give a gothic touch to your lighting, and everything looks creepier by candlelight.


Don’t want to carve your pumpkins? Don’t! Get some elegant white ones (yeah, pumpkins totally come in white) or spray yours with some spray paint, and give it a touch of machine embroidered lace. Instant elegance, no carving required.


Pillows are an excellent way to haunt your home, and easy to change out with the season. Stitch up this rustically chic pillow with some fun orange fabric. Add a seasonal raven design and the date of Halloween in a spooky alphabet, and your home is instantly more seasonal.


Throwing a spooky dinner party? Dress up the linens for a quick touch that’s sure to impress. You can repeat these festive dancing skeletons along the bottom edge of a napkin for a quick-stitching but classy motif. Heck, maybe this one can live on past Halloween…


Want a quick pillow update that’s a little more fun? Make it a mummy! Just stitch on your favorite pair of spooky eyes from the Monster Factory collection, and then wrap a few scraps of white fabric across the front and stitch in place. It’s so easy and quick, you could spooky up your whole couch in an afternoon. Want a little more variety? The Monster Factory pack can create all kinds of fun ghouls and goblins.

The machine embroidery designs on this page are on sale for $1.31, with selected design packs 25% of, and there are SO MANY more designs on sale over on the Haunted Soiree Sale page. The sale ends Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 at 11:59 p.m., Central time, so get shopping and pick out your favorite treats today!