Embroidery Upcycle for Barnardo’s

Hi, I’m Laura from www.thriftylondoner.com, where I talk all things money saving- including lots of reviews of the best charity shops in London, with regular up-cycles and repairs that you can follow along with on Instagram @thriftylondoner.

Barnardo’s stores always feature high on my list as affordable, well organised places to find unique pre-loved clothing. One of my favourite Barnardo’s stores in London is in Brixton, but the store that has a special place in my heart is the dedicated Barnardo’s vintage store in Cheadle (you can follow them on Instagram @barnardos_vintage). If you live in Manchester or you are ever visiting- it’s a must-visit!

LauraToday I’m here to chat about up-cycling an item bought at Barnardo’s, using a couple of simple embroidery stitches which you could use yourself- even if you’ve never embroidered anything before.

Embroidering an item of clothing can make you fall in love with an existing piece from your wardrobe, or jazz up something that you’ve found in charity shop.

I love embroidery because it’s something that you can do from the comfort of your sofa, it’s easy to get started with, and it’s low cost.

For this up-cycle you will need…

-An item of clothing (ideally from Barnardo’s!)

-Embroidery thread colours of your choice

-Embroidery hoop

-Washable pen or chalk



First of all, you need to decide what you would like to embroider onto your item of clothing- you can embroider pretty much anything! For this tutorial I have decided to embroider some daisies which are super easy, especially if you are new to embroidering.

Next, you need to draw out your design using a washable pen or chalk. I prefer to use a washable pen because you can add a little more detail than you can with chalk, and it shows up better on white. But if chalk is all you have, it will be absolutely fine to use for this daisy design.

After you’ve drawn out your design, you can start to thread your needle. Embroidery thread will always come in ‘skeins’ which is another word for a length of thread all gathered up. All embroidery threads will be made up of 6 strands which are wound together to create the thread. Once I have cut a length of thread, I will always separate it into strands of two or three to make it easier to embroider with.

For this tutorial you should separate the thread into strands of 3.

Next, place your garment inside the embroidery hoop and tighten it so that it is pulled securely across the hoop. This ensures that your embroidery design turns out straight and not distorted.

Now you’re ready to start sewing! You should first secure the thread by tying a few knots at the end of the thread, and then pull the needle through the fabric. Do a backstitch in a circle to create the starting point for the middle of the daisy.

Next, fill in the middle of the daisy by using long stitches back and forth until it is filled in as a solid circle. Now it’s time to change the colour of your thread- remember to separate it into strands of 3 again and secure with a few knots.

You can go around the edge of the circle with long stitches to replicate the delicate daisy petals. Vary the lengths slightly as you go around to give a realistic effect.

It’s super simple! Once you have finished your design, dab it with some water to remove the washable pen, and then it’s ready to wear.

You could up-cycle absolutely anything with daisy embroidery- jeans, t-shirts, blouses and even homeware. Embroidery is also a great way to personalise clothing, and even makes a great handmade gift for your friends and family.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial, please tag me on Instagram @thriftylondoner if you try it as I’d love to see your up-cycles!

Big thanks to Laura for sharing this fab up-cycling idea. Be sure to head over to our Instagram for a step by step video guide.

Want to share your top Barnardo’s finds with us and feature on The-Thrift? Comment below and we’ll get in touch!


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