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Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists

Urban Threads’ first-ever fashion contest is closed, and we are so blown away by your entries! Every time we hold a contest like this, we’re never sure what kinds of things people might cook up, and every year you guys show just how passionate you are about designing amazing embroidered creations. After much debate in the office, we chose our top ten finalists. Luckily for us, it is now up to YOU to vote to pick the winner of this contest and the $50 Urban Threads gift certificate!

Scroll through these amazing ten finalists and find out a little about each, then vote for your favorite at the bottom. Don’t wait — voting closes Monday, Oct. 5 at noon, Central time! The winner will be announced Tuesday and contacted via email.

Here are your top 10 finalists


Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Beaded Gothic Gown by Anke

Anke in Holland stitched this stunning dress for a theme party last year. Not only did she incorporate a fancy two-color version of the baroque rose along the back hem and a subtly chic use of the cutwork cobweb, but she added an amazing amount of intricate beading on top of these skull and roses.

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Feather Blazer by Ceclie

This sharp jacket was fashioned by Cecile. It incorporates some gilded feathers along with a design from the Talisman series. I just love how she layered the designs.

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Mermaid Coat by Chris

Chris crafted this mermaid coat out of three sweatshirts and a flannel shirt, using a modified version of a Simplicity sewing pattern. It incorporates everything from lots of mermaids, to tentacles, octopi, and seahorses. The embroidery is beautifully planned out to fit together into a wonderful brocade of nautical chic!

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Studded Jacket by Christine

Christine bought an old and dated studded jean jacket at a carboot sale, and gave it a great update. She dyed it black, refitted it at the waist, and added some Briar Rose and Parisian embroidery.

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Steampunk Coat by Janice

Janice upcycled and restyled this men’s coat to fit her, then added a whole range of embroidery and other embellishments to make a Scottish steampunk masterpiece. She stitched all her designs in gorgeous golds to pull together designs like wings, skulls, clocks, thistles and roses. What a statement piece!

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Lace Wedding Gown by Maris

Maris used more than 40 pieces of freestanding lace to embellish her dress for her wedding. She also stitched earrings, a necklace, shoe ornaments, a tiara, and dolls for the cake. An amazing statement of personal creativity, and for such a special occasion!

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Denim Outfit by Miriam

This denim coat, hat, and bag were all fashioned by Miriam, using the bold red designs of the Grow Wild collection all over. I love how well each design suits the shape of the piece.

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Lace Up Jacket by Nancy

This jacket was designed, embroidered, and sewn all by Nancy. Using the main theme of roses, she managed to incorporate everything from cutwork on the sleeves, layered light stitching on the shoulders, a little steampunk on the lapel, and a simple baroque accent for the collar. Everything comes together beautifully with the unique lacing up the back.

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Girl's Parisian Dress by Nicole

In crafter Nicole’s house, she says, “We’re all about upcycling.” Her particular favorite is to take ladies’ dresses and turn them into little girl’s dresses. She dismantled this thrift store find, removed the boning and curves, then added an underskirt, straps, shirring, and ruching. And of course some elegant Parisian and draping embroidery, using silver thread for that extra sparkle.

Urban Threads Top 10 Fashion Contest Finalists - Elven Cloak by Sabrina

This warm-looking fall cloak is by Sabrina, who used embroidery from the Elven Court collection to bring it to life. It looks especially suited to a walk through the autumn woods.


There you have it, Urban Threadsters, your top ten! Choose carefully, and please only vote once. Remember, voting closes Monday, Oct. 5 at noon, Central time, so vote now!

Of course, there were so many amazing entries to this contest, you can’t just look at these ten. Go have a peek at ALL the amazing creations entered over in our flickr gallery. Thank you to everyone who entered — we’re so inspired by all your amazing fashion creations!

Bummed you missed your chance at this contest? Never fear: another, spookier contest is opening up tomorrow..

Fall Fashion Contest Closes Sept 30th


Hurry! The first ever Urban Threads Fall Fashion Contest closes this upcoming Wednesday Sept 30th.

All you need to do to enter is take a photo of your awesome fashion item that features at least one Urban Threads embroidery design, then email and either A) attach your photo, or B) send us a link to your photo in our flickr group or on instagram and tag it #utfashioncontest. You MUST send an email to for your entry to be counted! Participants can enter any custom-made or upcycled fashion project not previously entered in an Urban Threads contest.

See full contest details and rules here

Want to get inspired? See all the entries so far right here. There aren’t a ton of entries right now, so this could be your chance to grab yourself $50 worth of Urban Threads goodies! Just craft up something fun and submit your entry before the stroke of midnight on Sept 30th.

Good luck!

Volume 1, Issue 8 Lookbook Out Now

august_lookbook_smclick here to flip through

The latest Lookbook is out!

Catch up on all the designs, tutorials and trends you might have missed in Volume 1, Issue 8. This addition features fresh new tutorials and fun design trends. Urban Thread’s full lookbook series is available through Issuu, you can see all our past editions right here and never miss out on fresh inspiration.

Special Guest Designer – Tim of Tim+Thom

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As part of our fashion focus for the month of September, we kicked off an upcycling contest to see what kinds of creative ideas you guys can come up with using fashion and embroidery. For a little extra inspiration, we invited local rockstar fashion designer Tim Navarro of Tim+Thom to share his take on upcycling with embroidery.

Tim has been involved in everything from curating local fashion events and showing collections, to Project Runway. Last week I got to hang out with Tim in his studio as he created a one-of-a-kind creation for Urban Threads.

Friday we’ll share with you Tim’s full tutorial on how to upcycle a plain hoodie into a stylish leather-trimmed jacket, but today we’re offering a little sneak peek into his studio, the project, and a glimpse of some of his past work in fashion.

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TIM+THOM started with the desire to create clothes that enhance personality and evoke confidence in the wearer. Their passion for the industry still grows and focuses on the entire package.

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The twin brother design duo of Tim and Thom Navarro consider fashion a fine art that builds community. As advocates for fashion and the arts, they are committed to strengthening the relationship between those who wear their label, those who work behind the scenes and all who attend their productions.

For TIM+THOM, fashion isn’t just about clothes; it’s about creating inspiring events and creative communities. They have been the curators of numerous fashion events around the Minneapolis area, and participated in even more.



Tim has worked with incorporating embroidery into his designs before, like in this piece from the Red Dress Collection featuring the Blackthorn designs.


Garret Born Photography

Tim has also designed numerous collections for men and women, often with a vintage twist. He was even involved with Project Runway, appearing as one of the 18 contestants at the start of season 13.

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Garret Born Photography2

With Tim’s love of vintage style and sharp lines, it’s always a treat to see what he comes up with next. So of course, we couldn’t end without sharing a sneak peek of tomorrow’s project…

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From a plain hoodie to a chic jacket with leather and embroidery detailing, all with a few steps and a FREE exclusive pattern from Tim+Thom. The amazing embroidery you see on there is also a sneak peek of the new Dark Creatures collection. Everything will be available on Urban Threads Friday, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

If you’re inspired by all the upcycling fun happening around here, be sure to enter your own creations into Urban Threads Fall Fashion Contest before Sept. 30! You can find all the contest details here.


If you still can’t get enough of Tim’s fashion after Friday’s tutorial, you can always see his next event LARK on Sept. 25 in Minneapolis. LARK is an engaging runway event that highlights the vibrant local design community, and is Co-presented by the historic Minneapolis Club. You can find out more about the event or purchase tickets here

fashion photos courtesy of Garret Born Photography

Urban Threads Fall Fashion Contest

Enter your custom made or upcycled fashion items featuring Urban Threads embroidery and you could win a $50 gift certificate! Contest closes 09/30/15

Fall is here, and style is on our minds. In celebration of the fashion season, we want to see what kind of amazing embroidered creations YOU can dream up for the new Fall Fashion Contest!

So, how can you enter and what are the rules?

Just take a photo of your awesome fashion item that features at least one Urban Threads embroidery design (hand or machine). Fashion items must be for people (sorry, no pets). Fashion items do NOT have to be fall-themed! They can be items for any season.

Then email and either A) attach your photo, or B) send us a link to your photo in our flickr group or on instagram and tag it #utfashioncontest. You MUST send an email to for your entry to be counted! Your entry must be submitted by Sept. 30, 2015 at 11:59 p.m., Central time. That’s before the stroke of midnight! Participants can enter any custom-made or upcycled fashion project not previously entered in an Urban Threads contest.

So, what do we mean by custom and upcycled?

A custom piece is anything you make from scratch, either on your own or from a pattern. You might make a jacket, a dress, a bag… anything fashion-related that you made yourself.

An upcycled piece is any project that takes an existing object (like a sweater, or jeans) and through modification creates a new version of it. This does NOT include simply adding embroidery. In order for a piece to qualify as upcycled, it must be modified or transformed in some way from its original condition. This can include simple things like updating the fit of apparel (fitting a sweater or modifying a collar), or bigger things like transforming one object (like a sweater) into something totally new (like a skirt).

Some examples of upcycled fashion includes…


Upcycled sweater into skirt


Lace covered shoes         –         shirt into drape cardigan         –         sweater into boots


some examples of custom fashion includes…


custom made Baroque Punk jacket

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gothic loli dress         –         embroidered leather cuffs         –         custom kilt



So, got some crazy fashion ideas floating around in your head? Good! Get stitching. After your projects are submitted, we’ll choose our 10 favorites as finalists, and post those 10 to be voted on BY YOU after the contest closes. Urban Threads stitchers will vote to see which lucky costumer wins…


A $50 Urban Threads gift certificate!


One final note: If you’re unsure whether your entry might count as fashion, or might be more of a costume, keep in mind… we’re still going to have our annual Urban Threads Costume Contest coming in October. Projects entered in the fall fashion contest cannot then be entered into the costume contest. So if you think your entry would do better in a costume contest, you may want to save it! 


Volume 1, Issue 7 Lookbook Out Now

july_lookbookclick here to flip through

The latest Lookbook is out!

Catch up on all the designs, tutorials and trends you might have missed in Volume 1, Issue 7. This addition features some fun ideas to get a headstart on your holidays, from Christmas to Halloween. Urban Thread’s full lookbook series is available through Issuu, you can see all our past editions right here and never miss out on fresh inspiration.

Vestido de los Muertos – Behind the Scenes

In case you missed it, this past Friday saw the release of another UT Lab project, once again heralded by resident Urban Threads artist and Halloween diva Dani. You can see all the gorgeous photos from the Vestido de los Muertos project right here


Today as promised, Dani is here to talk a little about her amazing creation she designed and embroidered, and to show us a little bit of the behind the scenes creation of making a dress like this…


With this lab project, I wanted to make something both dark and colorful to fit the bright, pretty Day of the Dead designs of the Bella Muerte collection. I took inspiration from flamenco dresses, Mexican folklorico dresses, and even tiered evening gowns. With that cultural mix in mind, I sketched a rough idea of what the dress would look like.


The pattern I used was a modified version of the Katjusha dress found on BurdaStyle. I shortened the circle skirt and added two tapered tiers on top of it. I did my modifications in Adobe Illustrator–one of the benefits of being a digital artist!


These are the basic raw materials I used for this project. I used a type of satin fabric for the main fabric and a light cotton linen for the lining. And lots of frills! I’m fairly certain I used over 20 yards of ribbon/lace for this dress.


After cutting out all the pieces, I pinned together the dress on my dress form before I started sewing, to make sure the size and shape were right. I ended up making the dress shorter than my sketch due to the limit of the fabric width. This pattern also only comes in one size, and it was a tad small for me. I fixed this by using less of the seam allowance included in the pattern.


I then started stitching the bodice pieces together. There is a lining to this dress, so I labeled each piece with masking tape to not get them mixed up.


Here’s the exterior and interior of the front part of the bodice.


The nice thing about this pattern is that there aren’t any zippers or buttons to sew on. The back is cinched together with elastic. I measured out the elastic and sewed casings into the fabric. After that I used a safety pin attached to each piece of elastic to thread them through the casings. I had to be careful not to pull the elastic too far in before I sewed it in place.


Here it is all sewn in. After the elastic was in place, I attached the cinched back to the front of the bodice. I went over this seam a couple times so it could withstand the pull of the elastic.


Setting the bodice aside for now, I went to work on turning my many yards of ribbon into ruffles. I wanted a less full ruffle to the top tier of the dress, so I set my sewing machine to its longest stitch and sewed a single run on the top of the yellow ribbon. By pulling on one end of the thread, you can ruffle the ribbon together without having to use a gathering foot or pinning it.


Since the ribbon was so long, I had to cut the thread a few times and pull from a different point. I had to be careful to keep the ruffling uniform, but this saved me of having to pull a single thread through several yards of ribbon. After this, I sewed it to the top tier of the skirt.

I wanted the bottom tier to be more voluminous, so I used a wider ribbon and manually pinned the ribbon in place before sewing down. I did turn over the seam of the fabric and sew it in place before pinning the ribbon to make it easier to place. Since this is a satin ribbon, I finished the ends of the ribbon with a lighter to keep it from fraying. (An old trick I learned from ballet!)


I used the same method of pulling one end of a long stitch to ruffle the skirt. I did this very loosely since I would be adjusting it to fit the bodice later.


I pinned the cinched skirts on the dress form to make sure the ruffles and the tiers were layering the way I wanted. I also pinned the top two skirts together to keep the positioning right.


Next, it was time to sew the bodice to the skirts. I pinned them together, making sure to adjust the skirt to the back of the bodice as it was stretched out so it would still fit. At this point I couldn’t get the bodice over the shoulders of my dress form, so I’m afraid no more dress form pictures for you!


After trying it on, I decided to give the dress some straps. I made the straps by sewing two long strips of both fabrics together, pulling it inside out with a safety pin, and pressing with an iron. I sewed them into the front and back of the bodice and I had myself some straps.


I then started the first fun embellishment on the shoulder cowl… embroidery!  I printed out the templates for this series and placed them where I wanted with masking tape. This tutorial explains how to line up designs in this manner.


I then started stitching away! The first design stitched was the Bella Muerte Cuervo, or raven. I used medium weight cutaway stabilizer with these, and cut away the extra stabilizer with each design. I only changed two colors while stitching this on black fabric. I used a light gray silver for the white painterly fills instead of a pure white, and I used the pure white instead of black for the lacy line work on top.


Everything was going smoothly until I got to the back centerpiece design and got hungry. I then made a classic mistake. I left my machine for five minutes to go heat up some pizza, and the machine had eaten part of the stabilizer while stitching and had shifted the last stop of line work something fierce. Luckily I had used this design for my test sewout, so I was able to just cut it out and replace it with the test design.


There! It never happened… See? We make the same kinds of common mistakes you guys do. You just may not know it until you peek behind the scenes!


After finishing the embroidery, I sewed together the lining and pinned it to the embroidered fabric, placing some pre-ruffled ribbon in between.


I flipped the cowl right side out and pinned down the top hem with a different color ribbon. I sewed that shut and pressed both sides flat with an iron.


I made pleats on either side of the cowl to fit my shoulders. I pinned it first and tried it on with the dress to make sure it fit correctly. After this the dress was mostly done!


It just needed one final touch. The embroidered gauntlets! I measured the widest part of my forearm and cut out two squares of fabric that fit that measurement and the height of the design I wanted to use on them. I mirrored the Calavera Cascade to make the gauntlets seem more balanced when worn.


After embroidering the designs, I cut away the excess stabilizer. I pinned the lining with pieces of ribbon and lace in between and sewed a seam on either side.


I flipped the pieces right side out, pressed the seams flat, and sewed the raw edges together. Flipping that out once more, I was done with the gauntlets and the whole dress. And that is how I created my latest lab project – the Vestido de los Muertos, or the Dress of the Dead. Making something bright and colorful but still thematically dark was a perfect fit for our annual Halloween in July celebration!


These projects are always a fun way for our artists to bring Urban Threads designs to life in their own way! 


They also end up being an exciting team effort to bring the whole projects to life. After the whole dress was complete, one of our amazing resident digitizers Bonnie (you’ve met her previously here) did the face painting on Dani. Our newest Urban Threads member and photographer Heather did the shots for this project, and everyone had a grand time romping around the woods and through flowers. 

Be sure to check out the original post for more gorgeous photos of the finished project, and grab the new Bella Muerte collection to create your own colorful creations!